Mission trip was life-changing experience


I do not think I will ever be able to look at life the same. 

This past summer, I was able to go on my first mission trip, and it truly changed my life. In order for the trip to happen we needed 10 people. Thankfully, finding 10 people who wanted to help others was not a difficult task. 

I went on the trip with my mother, my brother and sister, my grandmother, my godmother, my god cousin, a friend of my god cousin, and my godmother’s mother. 

We traveled to the Dominican Republic, a popular tourist destination, but also a country that has many citizens who live in poverty. 

The Dominican Republic shares a border with Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. Haiti has always been a special place for my family. 

My mom used to travel to Haiti every summer with a large group and spend two weeks serving the Hands and Feet orphanage. My godmother always joined my mom on her trips to Haiti and eventually felt like she was being called to adopt. 

My godmother never had children of her own and decided to adopt a little girl from Haiti. Her name is Neika and she joined us on the mission trip. 

My mom was hoping to be able to return to Haiti but there is far too much political unrest to visit. So we decided to go to the Dominican and serve the Haitians who had fled there in hopes for a better life. 

In the Dominican, we did a variety of tasks while we served the Haitian refugee camps. Many Haitians have fled to the Dominican in hopes for a better life. The Dominican government does not recognize them as citizens and they live in small villages called Bateys. 

Some of the things we did while in the Bateys included: laying down cement in homes so they could have new flooring, having a women’s ministry, a children’s ministry, giving them water filters so they could have clean water, and donating food and clothing. 

The work we did and the people we were able to help gave me such a new perspective on the life I live. 

The sweet children in the villages all had such wonderful attitudes despite their situation. I was able to talk to them as I knew some Spanish and they helped me converse with them by translating some words I was unsure of. 

We came to the Dominican with lots of large bags with clothes and hygiene products

 We left with nothing but a bookbag on our shoulders. 

I am hoping to be able to go on another trip very soon and possibly visit some of the same villages. 

Going on this trip allowed me to gain a new perspective and appreciation for everything I have been blessed with in my life. So many people take the simple things in life for granted such as floors and warm water, a rarity for those who live in Third World Countries.

The work we did and the people we were able to help gave me such a new perspective on the life I live. 

— Athena Leskovics

Knowing that I was able to improve the lives of these families and children has truly changed me. Being in the villages made me realize that I would give away the clothes on my back for these sweet children who have been faced with nothing but challenges all their life. 

I truly believe everyone should be able to experience a trip like this at least once in their life.