Bonnie and Gene have a particular emphasis on enlisting young people from their area to share their talents on the mission field. On their latest mission trip to the Dominican Republic, they brought 8 young people with them, ages 17-21: Taylor, Elijah, Robert M., Ryan, Francesca, Ian, McKensie, and Collin.
These young adults worked with enthusiasm and high energy to keep up with the children and adolescents from the Dominican Republic. We were working in rural areas where the children have little access to any organized play with young adults so this was a treat for them.
The Valpo team was given the gift that only children can give, a peek at the Kingdom of God. This is a gift that can scarcely be explained in words but can be felt deep inside, something like joy in the midst of chaos, noise, heat, and humidity. Bonnie, Rigoberto (our Dominican translator), and Ardell led this campaign and came home every night exhausted but still smiling.
In another field of mission about a kilometer from where the youth worked with the kids, four older guys worked with a Dominican construction crew building a parsonage. Gene, Robert K., Bud, and I (Gordy) painted the house inside and out and did so with all the wisdom and patience of the ancients. All around us in whirlwind fashion the Dominican professionals put in windows and doors, did the wiring, built countertops and closets, and dug a deep hole in which they built a septic tank. It was exciting to be a part of their theater of construction.
When our week came to an end, the parsonage was nearly finished and had the glow of a new home. The older guys also had a glow, not that anyone noticed, must have been on the inside. It was a sense of satisfaction that comes from a job done carefully and steadily with patient attention to detail.