At the end of June, 2023, our youth ministry had the opportunity to return to the Mission Possible school in the Baharona district in the Dominican Republic with 17 students. This had been a regular trip for our Gateway Youth prior to Covid but was the first opportunity since 2019 for us to return. This was also the first VBS camp that the Mission Possible school has been able to host since our last trip.
With over 140 registered students split between a morning and afternoon session, we had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We taught the Dominican students “The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me”, which we use with our elementary kids at Gateway Church on Sunday mornings. Every day we were able to point the students to the hope we all have in the risen Savior. Our students were fantastic at any role we asked of them as they led in different stations while investing personal care into the young kids who were quite literally hanging all over us.
Our trip coincided with a heat wave through the south and we were a tad bit worried how the American students would handle the oppressive humidity and temperatures. While we did have some overheated kids, it was amazing to watch our kids face all the challenges with positive attitudes and care and support for one another when their friends were feeling wiped out. One of the best parts of the trip is getting to witness our own students growing together as a community of personal and spiritual encouragement.
Something that wasn’t “officially” planned for the trip, but was a personal favorite for me as the Youth Director, was seeing how our upperclassmen on the trip modeled personal commitment to Bible study and prayer. It was obvious that our younger students were encouraged and challenged by the examples of the older students’ faithfulness. Being in that close knit environment for over a week straight provided ample space for our students to exhibit their own maturity through words and actions!
After a long and hot week we had a bit of an adventure returning home due to last second flight cancellations when we arrived in New York. The unsung heroes are truly our church family members back at home who went above and beyond to help us figure out how to get all our students back home after the airlines stranded us! While driving from New York City to Ohio wasn’t part of the original plan, it was a great adventure to end a week that we were privileged to be a part of.
What a blessing to be a part of a community that invests in the ministry of the Gospel all over the world with an emphasis on inviting our teens to be a part of that work!
Adam Borsay, Youth Director