“God is doing amazing things that you get to witness if you go on a short-term mission trip.”
In January to mid-March of 2020, David and Susan Brown traveled from their Indiana home for an extended short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
“There is something energizing about going into another culture,” says David, a retired pastor. “Americans sometimes can only see their own world, but the world is a bigger place and God is doing amazing things that you get to witness if you go on a short-term mission trip.”
After serving for four years as missionaries in India, the Browns brought their love for cross-cultural ministry back to the U.S. with them, leading groups from their church on short-term trips to Mexicali and Nicaragua.
They had sensed God calling them to consider another trip. As they prayed about it, they were invited by IM Global Servants Ketly and Vital Pierre to stay in their home and serve alongside them for seven weeks in their evangelism and discipleship outreach in La Romana. This city of 150,000 is home to many Haitian immigrants.
“I really respect the work IM does,” David says. “I’m proud to take part in it. We helped out in the bateyes, which are rural communities for Haitian sugar cane workers and their families. Many do not have running water or electricity.”
David and Susan, who is a certified tutor in teaching English as a second language, volunteered at the Community Center in La Romana, where Vital is the chief administrator. The center provides an after-school program for children and offers classes for different levels of English learners. “The center was also the site for a health clinic and is presently helping to provide food and basic needs during this coronavirus epidemic,” David explains. At the Good Samaritan Hospital in La Romana, the Browns worked with a small class of nurses, doctors, and administrators to help them improve their English. During the Sunday worship services, David sang and preached, with Ketly translating.
“I’m 67 years old,” David says. “Some people would say my time to go on a mission trip has passed. Baloney! If you have a week to spare, consider a short-term mission trip. Even volunteering for one week will change you. You can go with the idea that you have so much to offer, but when you get there, you discover God’s already there. We are invited to see what God is doing and throw our little gifts in the basket. We are the ones who come back richer. I learn, I grow. It doesn’t matter how old you are!”