Only 9 days until we head down to the DR! Wow! It really snuck up on me this year… Perhaps it was the chaos that characterized my last month of school, perhaps the rush of jumping into my summer internship only 2 days after finals ended, or perhaps the fact that I’m so used to this trip that the time needed for “mental preparation” diminishes each year… By now, I know exactly what to expect. This will be my 5th year packing the same suitcase with the same t-shirts, taking the same flight and enduring the same layover, staying at the same hotel, eating at the same restaurant, riding on the same bus… well, you get the point.

But what’s really amazing about this routine, this would-be monotony, is that I get to see the same beautiful faces, hug the same sweet girls, laugh with the same brothers and sisters and mothers and teachers and grandpas. There is nothing monotonous about that.

So although I already know exactly what to pack and exactly what to expect, I must prevent my prayers from becoming routine, like everything else. This year, I am praying for God to rejuvenate this community that I have come to love. I am praying that He brings fresh life and extraordinary freedom – freedom from financial burden, from sickness and disease, from broken relationships, from grief and sorrow. I am praying that God’s truth is made clear and available. I am praying that through games and dance classes, through meals and music, the joy of the Lord will be real and present.

I am praying for our team as well, that we speak only words of encouragement, that we grow in friendship and trust, that we are strengthened by each other to glorify God in everything.


I’m also preparing for the dance workshop with the girls! Last year, our final performance was to the annoyingly popular, yet oddly endearing song “You Don’t Know Your Beautiful” by One Direction. The girls absolutely loved it. It fit in well with our theme of self-worth and seeing ourselves as the beautiful girls that God created us to be. We reminded ourselves that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).

This year, however, I’m struggling to find the perfect song! I’ve tossed around a few ideas, from Harlem Shake to Bruno Mars, Katy Perry to Black Eyed Peas. We need a fun, upbeat song that can easily be counted in 8’s, but has a positive, appropriate message. I’m open to secular or Christian songs. I thought about “I Am Free” by the Newsboys (“I am free to run, I am free to dance, I am free to live for You, I am free”), but I’m still not sure… I would love to talk to the girls about the freedom we have in Christ because of what He did on the cross. Still contemplating, though… Any suggestions?!


Last year’s dance workshop, preparing for our first day of class!