ANDERSON, Ind. —
After graduating from high school, Breya Porter decided to expand her horizons before entering Ball State University. Included in her adventures was a two-month mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Even though she had never left the country before — and she would be traveling alone — she stepped up to the plate to teach English in a private school designed for low-income and troubled families.
“I was surprised at the way I fell in love with the culture and people,” Porter said. “They are so inviting. They welcomed me even though they didn’t speak English and I was able to form relationships despite troubles with communication.”
When her grandfather, Tom Farling, pastor of Living Water Community Church, traveled to the area to speak at an institute and return with Porter, others from the congregation accompanied him. They spent one week working at the school with her while Farling spoke to the other pastors.
“The language barrier didn’t matter that much,” said Elizabeth Weir, psychology student. “We had an interpreter but he couldn’t be with all of us at the same time when we were in the neighborhoods. Love was still projected. The kids wanted a hug and to sit on our laps.”
Farling has been involved with street evangelism in the past, but on this trip he primarily spoke to eight groups of pastors. He shared some of the truths he has learned in his many years of service.
“All of these pastors were hungry for spiritual truth,” he said. “I talked to them about pouring into others as a son or daughter like Jesus did. Rather than using 21st century programs that are entertainment based as a way to build the church, we should be intentionally making disciples.”
Traveling abroad was an eye-opener for both Porter and Weir, neither of whom had previously left the country.
“I have a bigger picture of the world and have seen that God is the same everywhere,” Weir said. “God’s love transcends cultural conditions. I absolutely want my kids to leave the country and get outside our own bubble.”
“Going on a mission trip opens up the whole world and forces you outside your box,” Porter said. “It opens your eyes to see how others live and pushes you to be better. Once you are outside your box, you don’t want to crawl back in.”
From Here to There: A Series about Madison County residents that travel to help their fellowman. If you know of an individual or civic, school or church group that has embarked on a mission trip in the last year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.