This past June a group of Gateway’s youth traveled to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip through Mission Possible. The youth team spent the week at Ebenezar Church in Barahona, Dominican Republic. They did a sports camp teaching the children correct form and skills in soccer, basketball, and volleyball. The team also lead an art camp doing clay projects, painting cross necklaces, and creating beaded jewelry. While the camp was fun, the team's mission was to be God’s light to the kids and to teach them the gospel. Each day after camp the group gave a bible story that was parallel to what the kids learned in camp that day. Campers heard about God’s grace and love everyday. The Dominican children absolutely loved the camp and truly enjoyed the experience.
The first day of camp was a hit. Camp started at 9 am and kids were out on the courtyard eager to play at 8 am! Some kids showed up in their school gym uniforms ready to learn and compete. Throughout the week the kids were super excited every time they got to change stations and experience something new. The first day of art the children learned about how art is a display of God’s beauty and love in this world. It was great having high school students that could help translate and communicate with the students in both sections of the camp. At the end of each camp session a mini sermon was taught to the kids. Each day the kids heard scripture they could apply to their lives.
While the camp was going on, Jared McBride lead a different team every day for a painting project inside the church. The group managed to paint the entire inside of the church. They also began painting the outside of the church as well. Sunday morning the group experienced church and worship like they never had before. It was a great experience for our youth see another culture’s way of worship. Youth Pastor David Rath then gave a moving sermon about the great commission and how we are called to ‘go’ as Christ-followers. Sunday night the group attended a revival service at the Creole church in Barahona. Again, it was another opportunity to experience different types of worship. The youth group prepared a spanish worship piece called “Gracia Sin Fin”. They performed it at the revival service and the congregation absolutely loved it. Missions trips like these really get groups to grow closer with one another. Every night we had dinner and special devotion time together where we would talk our daily scripture we read that day. The youth team got very close with one another. But, even better grew in their relationship with God and learned to get in the habit being in scripture everyday.
On the last day of camp the whole group took the kids down to the Pan American Games training facility to play on the soccer field and run on the track. The younger kids had a great time playing soccer against one another. Also running races against each other and doing relays. The older group loved competing against the “Americanos”. There was a few competitive soccer games played where both sides had a great time. The week ended with all the children getting a camp shirt and mini bag to take home with them. Our youth team was able to teach the kids all kinds of things throughout the week. But our youth team also learned a lot throughout the week. About love, fellowship, compassion, and thanking and praising God no matter what life throws at you.