cHurcHes Fortville Christian Church member Dave Griffey helps local children with their crafts during Vacation Bible School. The church members connected with youths during a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
ricH in Joy
mission builDs relationsHips abroaD hey traveled to the Dominican Republic with by anne soccer balls, fingernail polish, stickers and DurHam smitH markers tucked into their suitcases. They staFF Writer returned to Fortville with photos, tears and a new perspective on what makes a meaningful life. Nineteen members of Fortville Christian Church traveled to the Dominican Republic recently with tasks in mind: benches to build, vacation Bible school to lead and walls to paint at a church and several houses. “Different trips have had different work projects,” said tim Flick, an elder at the church and coordinator of this year’s trip. “our main purpose, though, was to go down and love the pastor and his family and the kids in the community.”
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they did this work in a setting of eye-opening poverty. Dorinda arnold said she thought she had seen enough news reports and documentaries to make her aware of poverty. “i thought i knew what
poverty was, but i didn’t,” she said. “the first night, all i could see was poverty; the second day and on, i saw the people.” Beyond the jobs they performed and the great needs they saw, she and her teammates forged relationships
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with people who showed them moving examples of great love, deep gratitude and exuberant faith. there was the boy who brought a mango to a team member each day after he saw the man searching for one early in the trip. there was the hospitality offered by homeowners inviting the group in. there was the wholehearted singing by people in the local church, a sight remarkable enough to bring residents of surrounding homes “out on their porches watching the christians worship,” said Dain anderson in a video. (He and other team members shared thoughts on the trip in Fortville christian church’s June 28 service, which was posted online.) “they were there to praise the Lord and to worship God,” he told the local congregation. “they weren’t there to check a box.” in her words to the congregation on the video, nikki Privett voices a similar observation. “they celebrate Jesus in a way that churches in america just have no idea,” she said. “they celebrate with their whole mind, their whole heart, their whole body — just everything. they are dancing and shouting praise to the Lord. “it is the most beautiful, most authentic, most joyful worship experience i have ever seen or been a part of in my entire life, and it makes me sad that we don’t celebrate Jesus, the way they do, in america,” she continued, her voice breaking with emotion.