Youth Mission Trips
“What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world”.— Acts 1:8
West Side Youth Ministry believes mission experiences are an important part of faith development, and we strive to give students a variety of opportunities to serve during their years in the youth program. We rotate our mission experiences every three years: an evangelism training conference (Momentum 2012, 2015), a regional trip (MissionSeattle 2013, Week of Hope 2016) and a cross-cultural experience (Dominican Republic 2014).
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” —Isaiah 6:8
During our two-week trip (July 7-23, 2017) to Dominican Republic, we will be living and working in the town of Caraballo. Our team of 22 (18 students and 4 adults) will be working with Kids Alive International doing primarily construction on the school, which has become too small for the children it serves. Opportunities to interact with the children during the summer program and in the Barrios (neighborhoods) will also be part of our experience. This will be the sixth West Side trip to DR to work with Kids Alive and alongside West Side supported missionaries and former members, Vic & Leslie Trautwein. Our trip will conclude with a quick visit to the coastal town of Puerto Plata.
Kids Alive International
Kids Alive International is a non-denominational faith mission dedicated to rescuing children in crisis, who have no other means of support, by meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, social and emotional needs, and raising them to be contributing members of their society and witnesses to their family and community.
Kids Alive runs three types of programs:
- Children’s Homes: where national house parents provide 24/7/365 care for the children in a safe, loving home-like atmosphere.
- Care Centers: Needy children come here for the day to receive everything a Children’s Home provides (food, clothing, education, etc.). But at the end of the day the child goes home, often to a house with a dirt floor, no electricity or running water.
- Schools: quality education is provided for children who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance in life. In addition to education, we also provide breakfast and lunch, medical care, tutoring and devotions.
The staff of Kids Alive is both Christian nationals and western missionaries.
Kids Alive is funded through their Child Sponsorship, and support of family, friends & churches. Service Teams (like ours) fund the building growth of the ministry sites. Almost half of our cost to Kids Alive goes straight to the construction fund.
For more information on Kids Alive International, check their website at www.kidsalive.org.
About the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic (population 9 million) shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti in the Caribbean Sea. The government is similar to the American system—on paper. The president has more power, and the judicial system is very corrupt. The towns and cities are growing rapidly as people leave the rural areas because they can’t earn a decent living by farming. They also want the benefits of electricity and TV, although the electric service is sporadic. When people arrive in the towns and cities they often squat on unused land in makeshift shacks. Poverty is widespread. The economy is based on tourism, agriculture, and industrial free zones. The predominant religion is Catholic, but a large percentage of the people don’t go to church. The evangelical church is growing and many people are open to hearing the Gospel.
Caraballo is a poor, mostly Haitian community located in the sugarcane fields on the north coast of the DR. Migrant Haitian workers have come to cut sugarcane, one of the lowest paying jobs in the country. This community is truly the poorest of the poor in the DR. In this impoverished setting Kids Alive is working to meet the needs of children who are growing up with very few opportunities.