Dominican Republic Dreamin’: My First DR Sunset

Photo Source

Summer 2007…

I remember traveling to the Dominican Republic for the first time and seeing God’s beauty physically surrounding me. I arrived to my Uncle’s house after a long day of traveling; my initial emotions prior to take off in Michigan was excited, expectant, and curious of how my first trip to the DR would unfold. Ultimately after landing, those emotions became weary and ready for a good night’s rest. However, once I walked up the arched stairs to the second floor, across the kitchen and through the living room under archways and into the balcony… was my first sighting of a Dominican sunset. The view of the garden down below layered with palm trees and exotic flowers trickled further down into more greenery shadowed into the night which you could barely see, but all you could hear were the leaves rattling in the wind. Just a few meters more and my eyes reached the beach towards the endless sea where the sun met the ocean line. Taking a picture couldn’t even do justice. I remember those initial feelings of excitement were revived in me and I knew God would be doing great work in the days to come, just as He beautifully created in that sunset moment.

Dominican Republic Dreamin’: What I Packed

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
– Psalm 96: 11,12

Dominican Republic Dreamin’: What I Packed

Dominican Republic, 2009

In the next eight weeks, I’ll be collaborating with Harrison’s Fine Caribbean Jewelers by sharing my experiences in one of my favorite places in the world- the Dominican Republic! The DR holds dear to my heart for a number of reasons, a few of them being “firsts.” It was the first country I had my first missions trip abroad and the first place I dipped my feet into the fashion industry as a visual merchandise intern at Harrison’s. I also met and bonded with a group of girls from a local church, some that I still keep in contact with over the last nine years.

Continue reading “Dominican Republic Dreamin’: What I Packed”

Mission Trips RECAP

The final video for #JirehForFour! *tear* It’s been such a good run, I still don’t want it to end, but some good things must come to an end and I’m just incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord worldwide and that He allowed me to tap into the hearts of so many people and bring hope, encouragement, and love. The thought and fact that people heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus into their hearts still blows me away. Hope you enjoy this last video with some new footage! Thank you again for all your support! It surely did not go to waste and your investment goes beyond this time on earth but into eternity. May you be blessed tenfold!

Be on the lookout for new posts, too! Will be back to posting on fmG regularly 🙂 XOXO

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”
– Psalm 33:12

1 Nation 1 Day #2: Bani Miracles!

foot washing

One of the highlights of the entire week was this moment above- foot washing for around 70 kids and providing them with new shoes. It completely reminded me of Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” which was the whole purpose of our trip; we were there to serve them. To encourage them. To love them. And to share the greatest Person that ever lived on earth with them. ministry siteHere was another site we visited who waited two hours for us and because of the scorching sun, people were jam packed under this pavilion as well as in the surrounding trees. Our team tried to perform in the center of the circle which was so hectically fun as children were crawling on the floor or sitting on an adult’s shoulders just to get a better view. So precious!

dominican republic beachFree day!!! After touring Café Santo Domingo’s coffee factory, we headed to the beach where we all basically baked and burned; so worth it. Some people from Team Bani were also water baptized in the blue Dominican water which was such an amazing sight. There’s nothing like praising and worshiping God for all He has done in the week so far by being surrounded by nature; the sound of crashing waves while laying on the sand under a palm tree and witnessing baptisms. To God be all the glory.

dominican kidsThis shot was taken during our second to last site on Friday. Because the church was a sauna and extremely hot to do anything, we decided to take it outside. Just a few minutes later, there was a group down the street walking in our direction who happened to be satanists. We immediately stopped our skits and started praying that God would change their direction. They turned on the intersection right before our road. Hallelujah.

1 nation 1 daySaturday night’s Bani crusade. Goodness gracious, the minute I stepped off the bus at the venue I was already dancing and praising God: Sovereign King, Redeemer of Bani, Healer of all brokenness. We were dancing from beginning to end; I couldn’t sit down once. After Team Extreme used their biceps one last time Pastor Kevin Stark, the stadium speaker, gave the salvation prayer where hundreds of people lifted their hands to ask Jesus to come into their lives as well as prayer for healing. So powerful. I was awestruck. How do you not get goosebumps from the sight of 5,000 people hearing the Gospel? And to think that was only one of the 20 states in the Dominican Republic that was holding this event!

1 nation 1 day banidominican sunriseThe morning after at our gate in the airport. Remember my last post where I mentioned Bani had been in a drought for three years? Just driving to and from our sites was a blur of dry beige scenery. For the entire week, Team Bani was praying for rain and because God is amazing and never fails, it started raining on our way to the airport and ever since we’ve left it has rained four times. What a mighty God we serve indeed.

I remember being at The Gathering and watching promotional videos for 1 Nation 1 Day thinking, “Ohhh, that’s nice,” not even contemplating on going, but I am so grateful God made a way. I’ve encountered Christ in a different and fresh way and spending the week with world changers who are so radical and on fire for Him made it that much better. So blessed. So joyful. Thank You, Jesus.

Last stop of #JirehForFour: L.A.!

1 Nation 1 Day: Miami Experience + Welcome to Bani!

I have been in Delaware for a couple of days now and I find myself staring blankly out a window or smiling at the ground reminiscing on all the experiences from last week’s mission trip to the Dominican Republic (DR). PRAISE God for all that He has done and will continue to do in that country through His people. The things we witnessed- incredible.

lastday

I was not physically ready for this trip. I remember leaving the Philippines in tears; I had the best of times for two months (including Thailand) and the friendships that God blessed me with were engraved into my heart. It was difficult leaving my new friends and family. Plus, I was still recovering from a fever and the thought of traveling for almost 24 hours then to be jet lagged in the States on the mission field didn’t help. But I believe God uses our position for a purpose. He didn’t make a mistake by providing for this opportunity!

dawn of a new missions era

When I arrived at the hotel where 1 Nation 1 Day (1N1D) registration and check-in was held I was immediately impressed by Missions.Me. They had everything covered from luggage tags, your departure time to the DR, and your own bag complete with information for the week ahead. We were taken to The Fillmore in Miami and- okay. Guys. When they said “Miami Training” I envisioned a big room where we’d meet our teammates and go over the dance, skits, and dramas. Wrong. We stepped into the building and it was covered with missionaries and a DJ on the second floor. What?! We entered the theater and from then on out, us 2,000 missionaries were ready for God to stretch and use us. I returned to the hotel to prepare for my 1:00am flight to the DR and in just a few hours we were in the nation that was about to be transformed forever.

dpraviahotelbani

Team Bani stayed at the D’Pravia Hotel, a small and humble hotel with employees with the biggest hearts. They helped make our stay and experience so incredible. On our first full day we went to the park and had a flag raising ceremony during which people were already praying for the Dominicans, whether it was a young shoe shine boy or a man selling fruit in a makeshift cart. We also had the opportunity to pray for workers in the nearby government building where one group actually signed an official document stating 1 Nation 1 Day a historical moment in the city.

flag raising ceremony fruit vendor salvation prayer

We went to our first site in our smaller team (#TeamBruh!) where we performed the dances, skits, and just connected and loved on people. The sight of people making their way forward during the altar call to receive Jesus into their hearts will never get old. We visited 3-4 different sites a day that had more or less than 100 people of all ages. Crazy.

One girl that touched my heart was Melanie. The team and I were at our third site and after praying for a girl moving to Brooklyn, she asked if I could pray for her and healing for the pain in her eyes. I brought over a translator and prayed. Afterwards, she unexpectedly said “I love you” in English and ran out the church doors. Five minutes later she came back with a stuffed bear as a parting gift. I’d say it was both of us who left that church overwhelmed with joy.

IMG_1261

During our first two nights we visited two different churches; the first welcomed Team Bani with worship, dancing, and native food. The next night we heard word from our own Pastor Tony on the abundant rain coming, both spiritually and physically, as they have been in a drought for three years- more on that later *winky face emoji*.

bani church

At this point, I never felt the effects of jet lag and my fever was entirely gone. God never ceases to amaze me. He sees our struggles and weaknesses and uses them to His advantage so that we can rely and be fully restored through His grace. He doesn’t overlook anything.

I hope you enjoy part one of the DR! Can you believe this was just the first half of the week?? “Like” if you prefer this kind of video over my head shot commentaries (because I do, hah). Until next time!