Rachel Macolino, 9th grade
There is a special kind of tired that I’ve only ever found on Missions trips. This was my second year on Maranatha missions, and I had the privilege to be on both the Spruce Hill team and the Northeast team. Before the trips began, I thought that this year would be easier than last year, because I had more experience, but it turns out that the challenges were just as numerous, only different. Despite these difficulties, or rather because of them, God’s hand was evident throughout both trips. I saw campers accept Jesus as their Redeemer, team members working together to create the best possible environment for the kids placed in their care, and both campers and team members open up to those around them and make new bonds. There was desperation, and full-hearted prayer, and tears, and everyone being everyone else’s crutch. I know for a fact that I would not have been able to complete those trips without my teammates, and without my Heavenly Father. I now know with all my heart that he can pull me through.
Andrew Duggan, 11th grade
This year I signed up to work on the two-week-long King’s Kids camp. This was my first time working on this trip and I was a little nervous. In fact I almost withdrew my application. However, after a lot of prayer and thought, I decided to carry through. In the end everything went extremely well. Everyone got along and the children seemed to have fun. For me, the best part of the trip was being able to give one of the kids in my group their first Bible. Overall, it was a great experience.
I also helped out on the second week of the Northeast trip. Again, this decision was made after much anxiety and prayer. This trip too turned out to be a good experience. Overall I feel that the Lord used these two trips to teach me to trust in his plan instead of worrying so much.
This year I participated in the Spruce Hill and Northeast missions trips. On both of these trips I learned to look past my own judgments and preferences about and toward people and to strive to look at and act toward them the way God does. This was really hard because I had to do things I wasn’t used to doing, which took faith and courage. I saw deeper into hurts I’d never seen, both on the team and in the campers. Talking to some people was really uncomfortable and I honestly didn’t want to do it. But I definitely saw and am seeing God’s hand in the people I talked to.
Alexandria Figueroa, college freshman
This was my second time doing the Maranatha overseas missions. The trip both years was to the Dominican Republic. We stayed up in the mountains in the retreat center, which is the project we had worked on building the previous two trips, and we were under the care of Amado and Ramona. Up in the mountains, in the mornings before lunch, we worked on construction. The construction this year was building Amado and Ramona’s new house on the mountain and doing finishing touches to the retreat center. In the afternoons we walked down the mountain to Amado’s church and ran a two-hour VBS for the children of the mountain. In an overseas missions trip to a country with a completely different culture, it can be hard to adjust. I noticed that as the trip went on, I saw us start to feel comfortable in what we were doing, connecting with the people, showing God’s love even if we didn’t speak the same language, and just being there for each other. This team in particular was just so loving, and we had an amazing sense of community with each other and especially the people on the mountain, and it was such a blessing to see God work in and through us on the mountain.
God truly opened my eyes and helped me grow in my spiritual walk. I learned to not put my walls up when I am in a frustrating situation and to have an open mind if people give me input to help me. I also learned that when I am feeling anxious about being in new situations or experiences to not isolate myself from my team, because they have my best interests at heart. Finally I learned to not overthink situations and to pray and trust God with everything I do and every hard situation. This trip was such a good reminder that I am not alone in my struggles and that God will forever be with me.