Riding in a taxi van, dodging pot holes, motorcycles, stray dogs, and plenty of rogue vehicles, we turned onto La Gustavo, the street I’ve traveled over 1000 times, the street that leads to Tia Tatiana School in the slum community of Herrera, Dominican Republic. This was my first trip overseas in 4 years, since I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Elle. Throughout the week of painting and loving on the kids, I was reunited with many faces I recognized, but a special few will forever be burned upon my heart.
Lissandra was in 6th grade when I met her, and I spent two years teaching her and her friends how to play volleyball. During our time together I also had the opportunity to share with them all about Jesus, and how much he wanted to have a relationship with each one of them. Lissandra was one of the poorest girls in the group, she came to play volleyball wearing small ballerina slippers. I gave her my extra pair of tennis shoes which her mother took from her because she too needed shoes to go to work. Lissandra’s father died when she was in 7th grade, leaving her already poor mother in serious trouble. By the grace of God and through the help of many that are part of the ministry of VisionTrust, Lissandra is now 19, graduated with a high school diploma, attending church and working as a secretary at Tia Tatiana School.
Miguel was in 2nd grade when I met him, and 2 months after I arrived to the Dominican Republic, Miguel’s mother was murdered, leaving him orphaned. He began living with his elderly grandmother, and was at serious risk for being sent to an orphanage. By the grace of God and through the help of many people who are part of the ministry of VisionTrust, Miguel still lives with his grandmother and has made it to the 8th grade.
July marks my 8th year with VisionTrust, and on some levels, especially the spiritual levels with the kids overseas, it has taken all 8 years to see real fruit from my labor. Lissandra is an excellent example of that. But, investing in the lives of children takes time. And when those children are coming from really hard places, it can be exponentially difficult. But God has not forgotten about the orphans around the world, He has a plan to redeem their lives, and that plan includes you and me.