Hillcrest students often speak of the gift it is to attend school at Hillcrest. Their experience inside the halls carries more relevance than learning how to conjugate verbs and who Pythagoras was. Many Hillcrest students begin to see the value of education, and how it drives students to a deeper knowledge and relationship with the Lord.
When the Hillcrest mission team visited Los Guandules Reformado Cristian school they did so in sharing their appreciation for Christian education. Following a program of songs and the Gospel presentation, Paige Schutlz and Sam Ihrke shared their stories of growing in their faith. Both students were raised in families who made significant sacrifices for their children to attend Hillcrest. Their testimonies carried weight for the students attending the Los Guandules Christian school.
Following the program, Hillcrest presented funds that will boost the academic program at Los Guandules. Throughout the year at Hillcrest, during halftime of the boys and girls basketball games, funds were raised to create a pool of resources that were gifted today to the Los Guandules school for the creation of a science lab. With meager resources in the Dominican Republic, these funds will be transformational in helping students see the intricate design God has placed in the world.
Following a lunch time with their new friends at Los Guandules, the team traveled to visit friendships built over the past decade of connecting that has gone on in the Dominican Republic. The group visited Sante Fe and Ebenezer Christian schools. These two schools were some of the first connecting points for Hillcrest in the Dominican Republic. Over the past decade Hillcrest has built strong ties with the schools, helping support their infrastructure financially, through the purchasing of land and resources to build and renovate dilapidated buildings. In bringing funds to the communities Hillcrest watched as local men were able to work and earn wages that boosted the local economy. At the Sante Fe school resources were given to a water purification project, making Sante Fe a self-sustaining ministry where they are bottling water and selling it locally in the community.
Hillcrest students were able to see how passing on the gift of Christian education has transformed the communities around the Sante Fe and Ebenezer schools. Following times of touring the classrooms and water purification project, the Hillcrest team rallied the grade school students for baseball games and coloring projects in school-wide recess times.
After a time expelling energy, Daniel Isaac and Zach Jacobsen shared how God is working in their lives with the Dominican students. The times of touring, gift giving, and building community through play are powerful platforms that open opportunities for students to share the attractive message of the Gospel, where Jesus Christ communicates His incredible love for humankind through his death and resurrection.