During spring break, the NCC youth ministries department sponsored a mission trip to the Dominican Republic (DR) that combined Pathfinders, Yuba City Church and School members, Lodi Academy, and Adventist volunteers from Kansas.
Trip leader Eddie Heinrich, youth ministries director, stated, “Our group grew as a result of several mission trips that were canceled or redirected for various reasons.”
The workers, 63 in number, descended on Santo Domingo, where the heat and humidity were met with positive attitudes and excitement. Karen Kanas, trip co-leader, posted on social media, “It’s much hotter today, but we got a good night’s rest, and everyone is having a good time! Did we mention the food is AMAZING?” This spirit would continue the entire trip.
The local Adventist members gained a sturdy church for worship and community service through the team’s passionate, hard work. Lauren Johnson, a parent, explained, “This building was larger than the standard Maranatha church plan and included complicated window shapes that took more time. But we tackled each obstacle as a team with grittiness and much laughter. By the last day of the trip, the walls were completed up to the roof line.”
While the construction team mixed mortar and laid block, another group, led mainly by the students, provided vacation bible school for the local children. This team assisted with crafts and other activities for 100 children daily. Costumed players acted out popular Bible stories while others translated the acts into Spanish.
Led by Tom Sanders, an accompanying optometrist, vision checks and care were offered to community neighbors. Kanas exclaimed, “There was a line of people down the street for the eye services, and over 600 pairs of glasses were distributed to the eager townspeople. God mightily blessed our efforts to minister in this country.”
Various mission trip veterans mentioned how this group integrated with the local congregation more than they had ever seen before. One worker stated, “The local congregation was such a lovely group! We were blessed to join them in this effort to expand their church presence and make a community-relevant impact.”
Heinrich laconically summed up the trip, “Blocks were laid, eyes were checked, and Jesus was shared with the kids and community that live near the island church—there is no better way to spend spring break than doing ministry.”
Featured in Northern Lights, May 4, 2023