Dr Student Team Day 8

Today is our second and last Tuesday of the 2021 Dominican Republic mission trip; I know there are many mixed feelings about this trip coming to close as it is coming so slow and yet too fast. Today started like some other mornings. We woke up around 6:00 a.m. to be in the chapel by 6:25 a.m. ready for our morning prayer in which we pray for sites and our day. As most of us are sleep deprived, getting up and waking up provided a challenge. Some of us are recovering from sickness, while others are currently sick, yet while others are praying they don't get sick. After the morning prayer, we all parted ways to pick a spot on base for our individual quiet times. Today, I jotted down notes from other teammates' testimonies because for me, testimonies influence, inspire, encourage, and challenge us in different ways and are seen at different times in life. Everyone's testimony is unique to them in their own ways, but these are the stories that make us who we are and can plant the seeds of Christ along with the Gospel. After quiet time, our Woodmen team had our own devotional in which Kirby talked about offense and the biblical way to combat offense IF we choose to be offended. He had each of us pray individually and with a partner as well. If any of us had an offense against another person, we made that right today in order to preserve our team's unity and strength as this week closes our trip.

Breakfast included pancakes with a choice of peanut butter, butter, or syrup on top and any combination thereof. We also had some delicious fresh fruit! We then got ready for our sites. For physical therapy and two other sites, we get to ride in an open air truck to our sites. I really enjoy the experience of Jarabacoa air breezing through our truck, keeping us cool, in the morning along with the beautiful nature that God created. It's very reassuring to know that God, even after creating the earth with all its splendors, wanted me and you, and everyone on the planet, in it, that that's what completes His artwork.

Once we got to our site, our site leader, Silvio, drove half our group (Austin, Josh, and Anna (the summer intern for Students International)) to the nursing home to work on mobilization exercises with the elderly patients. At the physical therapy clinic, Mackenzie and I helped Ramona (the clinic's maid) clean, and when Silvio came back, he massaged both Ramona and Mackenzies back muscles. Tony, one of his patients who had a stroke a couple years ago, came, and we got to work on his ankle and foot, as well as his knee, range of motion, and arms. Another patient came in that I counted reps and sets for. Then Silvio left to pick up the others for lunch together. One thing about the Dominican Republic that we don't see very often, if at all, in the United States is that businesses close for one hour during lunch time that. They can eat lunch there or drive home to enjoy a nice afternoon meal with their family unit. I appreciate this aspect because it highlights the importance of family and a strong family bond.

The two person media team picked up the five of us and took us to the river with our popsicles. We talked, walked around, played on some park exercise equipment, and ate our popsicles while the media team ate their lunch. Back at the clinic, we experimented with Perraffin wax which is uses to moisturize dry/burned skin, warm up joints to provide easier mobility, and other things like that. When we peeled it off, it was a putty consistency which was so fun to play with and mold into shapes. After the media team left, we all sat down and Josh, Anna, Silvio, and I shared our testimonies with the group. That was definitely the highlight of my day.

Unfortunately, time ran fast and soon, we were leaving, picking up the other sites, and heading back to base (the compound at which we stay). We had a sopapia type cake that was good, then because Josh wanted to go for a run, Austin, Sarah, Natalie, and I went for a walk on the same trail/road behind the compound. We talked about life and our trip. Oh, and also how nice an ocean, pool, ice cream, or popsicle would have been in the hot, humid Jarabacoa weather, so very unlike Colorado weather.

My shower afterwards was so refreshing, even if it was temperamental... We had a meeting after that in which we learned about Global Bridge. Global Bridge, in a nut shell, is a program in which new college students get to study abroad in the Dominican Republic; it's similar to the work we are doing currently. Just add Spanish classes, college classes/credits, and nicer living spaces/better food...even though the food here is good! At debrief tonight, our team talked about missions from the Bible's standpoint, a continued topic throughout our trip. We went over a passage in Matthew 24 and Matthew 28 (The Great Commission). Sarah and Mackenzie shared their testimonies tonight, and my highlight of the day includes both of their life stories as well. People's life stories matter and impact one's decisions so much; I love getting to know people and their stories. As the finish line for this mission trip draws nearer, we plan to hold on to our unity and finish strong and on fire for the Lord. Thank you so much for your continued prayers, and may God bless you the rest of this week!


Sophi Rivera

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- Sophi Rivera