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"Be Still" | A HopeGo Trip Participant's Experience in the Dominican Republic

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT) As three of my children, Kylie, Courtney, Colt, and I traveled from Texas to the Dominican Republic this year, we were excited that the much-anticipated mission trip with Mission of Hope was finally taking place. I thought I was prepared, but my plans quickly began to crumble.


We served in the Dominican Republic community of Guatemala with Pastor Edwin. The first day in the community was spent walking up steep rocky roads and narrow paths to visit with some of the families there. I don’t know how, but it seemed like we only walked up the mountains and never back down. We were able to share God’s Word and food with several different families. After the day was over and even as my body still felt the lingering effects of the miles traveled that day, I was excited for day two. Although I enjoyed visiting with the community, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and do something. On day two we were planning to do a kid’s club. This is what I had looked forward to the most. That night, the kids and I began to plan a Bible story, songs, and activities for the children that would be attending. The agenda was planned and written down with each of us knowing what our part would be.

As we woke up, we were quickly made aware that our plans were not God’s plans for the day. Colt had become ill during the night and was unable to go out into the community that day. Although I was disappointed to miss out, I decided to stay with Colt in case he needed me. Kylie and Courtney were going to have to take care of the kid’s club without us. Anyone who knows me knows that I am always busy. In fact, I prefer to be busy. As I sat staring into the beautiful landscape, I caught myself disappointed and discouraged not knowing if this would be the extent of the rest of our time here. I began to ask God why He brought me all this way to sit. I wanted to work. As I spent more time pondering this question, God reminded me of the verse “Be still and know that I am God.” I was also reminded that day that God wants me to be content wherever He has me. Sometimes that is not in the middle of the work but in the stillness.

kid's club

When the girls returned that evening, it was such a blessing to hear them share about their day and how they had both stepped out of their comfort zones and shared the love of Jesus with that community. I can now see that God directed our steps in a different direction for His purpose to be fulfilled. Colt was only sick one day so we were able to rejoin the group the third day.

Learning to slow down and just be still was one of the main themes of my experience in the Dominican Republic. As we continued visiting with family after family, I realized just how blessed they were. Many of the homes we visited had dirt floors, no running water, and very few earthly possessions; but they displayed more joy, love, generosity, and genuine concern for us and their neighbors than I had ever seen back home. Everything was much slower-paced, and no one was too busy to stop and welcome us as strangers into their homes. They went out of their way to make sure everyone had a place to sit, and many offered us something to drink or eat. One very sweet lady even gave me a pair of her shoes after seeing that my flip-flop had broken during the day’s journey. They looked like her best pair of shoes, and she would not take no for an answer. I decided then that I wanted to take more time to really see people and their needs instead of just being busy. In the past, busyness has been a tactic the enemy has used to distract me from truly looking for opportunities to serve others the way I saw this community serve each other.

community visit

As my kids and I look back on this awesome experience, one of the things that impacted us the most was when one man said he truly felt seen and loved because we had come from Texas to visit him in his own home in the Dominican Republic. I began the trip planning to “do” as much as I possibly could. God directed my steps to “be still” instead. I challenge you to take time to be still, really see those around you, and just be where God has placed you to serve. Make your plans, but let the Lord determine your steps.

Interested in serving on a HopeGo trip with Mission of Hope? Check out more information here.

packing meals