On the fifteenth of April twelve students will leave for the Dominican Republic on a seven day mission trip. It is a chance for students to not only minister to those less fortunate, but it is an opportunity for these students to minister to those who may never have heard the story of Jesus Christ. Although they may encounter some adversity and challenges, the students will make the most of every opportunity to share the gospel.
One of the more pronounced challenges the students will face is the language barrier. None of the students traveling speak Spanish natively, but the group has ways to combat this adversity. Many of the students have varying amounts of spanish training through high school classes while attending Hillcrest, which will help spark conversations. The group also will work with translators who travel with the group to make sure the message of the Gospel is conveyed to the people. ”It’s going to be a little awkward at first,” said Quincey Circo, senior at Hillcrest, “But through various activities and the spanish knowledge we have, it will go well.”
Another tool students have at their disposal are Evangecubes. Evangecubes are cube-like objects that tell the story of man’s fall and the redemption that is brought through Jesus Christ in a picture format. They are a great device to convey the Gospel when there is a language barrier, and are a great way to facilitate conversation.
One of the other challenges students will face is stepping out of their comfort zones and starting conversations with strangers. Mr. Gregg Preston, leader of the mission trip, believes “It puts everyone in positions where they need to fully rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them.” Mr. Preston has lead mission trips of this nature since 2001 at Hillcrest, when the basketball team traveled to Florida to minister to people using athletic talents. For the last five years, seniors and chaperones from Hillcrest have made the trip to the Dominican Republic as a senior class trip.
Over the past five years, the Dominican Republic trip has seen Hillcrest support a school called Santa Fe. The grade school Hillcrest partners with has improved the lives of the local community. Over the years, as the school has purchased land and improved curriculum, Hillcrest’s support through countless donors has facilitated various construction projects. Local residents say this work has created channels for the message of Christ; establishing the school as a beacon of hope for the impoverished community.
“This is going to be a great opportunity for everyone who goes to grow in their faith walks,” said Liz Peterson, senior at Hillcrest. “We are going to be stretched and forced to step out of our comfort zones, but the Lord will be there to guide and help us.”
The Lord calls all of us to spread the good news of Christ to the nations, and Hillcrest’s Dominican trip provides a meaningful experience to train students to accomplish the Gospel commission. Mr. Preston invests a lot in the trip every year, hoping to help students see their calling. “The Lord tells us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Everything that Hillcrest teaches through its Bible classes teaches this. Going to the Dominican Republic puts what we have learned into practice.”