Hillcrest Takes Mission Day to Reflect on Hillcrest's History in the Dominican Republic
Hillcrest students caught a glimpse of how their time in the Dominican Republic is part of a much larger story of how God is reaching into the island country.
In the afternoon the group sat in desks that were fundraised by a Hillcrest alumna, Ahna Lacey, whose brother attended the mission experience the year before Ahna did. Ahna raised funds to update the desks, sparking a close and personal relationship with the Santa Fe school, run by a man named Pastor Freddie.
Pastor Freddie visited Hillcrest last year during graduation. He spoke briefly during the commencement service, sharing some of the impact Hillcrest has had in his community. Hillcrest students heard more of the story as they sat in the classroom at Santa Fe, and their imaginations were flurried with images of what the first Hillcrest mission team encountered when they visited the school.
Where the school yard is now, with students running and playing games, was rocky terrain of overgrown patches of tall grass and piles of bricks that held pieces of metal, glass, and other materials dangerous for students. There were paths that students and teachers would walk, worn by feet that lacked shoes.
Every year Hillcrest would return to find the offerings given to the school had transformed some aspect of their courtyard. Their classrooms were completely redone by community members who took resources given by Hillcrest to employ young and old men to build a two-story classroom section in the middle of an impoverished village.
The students from the school were inspired by Hillcrest's vision to take their classroom learning and go into foreign environments. Having built relationships with Hillcrest's students who ventured into the Dominican Republic, the students of Santa Fe started serving people in nursing homes and throughout their own local community. In one instance the students served a meal to a nursing home around the Christmas holiday. The teachers were driven to tears, commenting to Hillcrest's group that visited in the spring that they now know what it is like for the Hillcrest teachers to train students to share their faith and then to watch the students boldly grow in confidence to make others aware of God's love.
After hearing the story the students were given a report on the water factory that has been created as a capstone of Hillcrest's financial support for the school. The goal being to equip Santa Fe to be completely self-sufficient. Now, the Hillcrest teams visit Santa Fe because of the decades old friendship, a marker of the unique partnership in the Gospel that the two schools share.
Students then gave lab equipment to a new school the Lord has brought into Hillcrest's path. Los Guandules is the school that Hillcrest is now building a relationship with. There is talk about supporting the school with Bible-based Christ-centered curriculum. Hillcrest's unique integration of worldview teaching will likely now spread into the Dominican Republic.
Following these significant encounters the Hillcrest students took some important time to debrief at the mission house. They ate the famed empanadas, something that makes the mission team alumni salivate at the sound of the word. Prayer times ensued after a large team devotional before bed time. The mission team will take their last day in the Dominican Republic to reflect on what God has done on their trip.