A Family Vacation with a Purpose

Edify partners with those who are providing low-fee Christ-centered private education to children in underserved countries. “Edupreneurs” currently offer robust educational opportunities for children in 10 countries, to provide them hope and opportunity to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Yet all these schools face common challenges: few capital resources for expanding classrooms and facilities, a lack of academic and extracurricular resources to provide a strong Christ-centered education. That’s where Edify steps in, financially, educationally and spiritually. My family landed in Punta Cana and made our way to La Romana. What ensued was eight days of service, fun, love, education and joy. You’ll see from the photos and short recaps just that. I’m not sure who learned more: the local children, my family or myself.

On Sunday, we traveled to the Dominican Republic. The villa is beautiful — not what I expected for a mission trip. And then on Monday we toured three private schools run by women who have taken out multiple loans to improve and expand. These schools charge about $15 a month per student — very affordable from an American point-of-view, but a stretch for many families in the Dominican. Edify forecasts 98% payback on their loans in the next three years, having over $8.5 million in loans serviced the last nine years.
We also met Luis Sena, Edify’s VP of Latin America programs. After sharing dinner with Luis, I was anxious to listen to this wise, inspiring man again on Friday.

Tuesday was the first day of summer camp kickoff. The kids sang and danced to celebrate the kickoff. Our camp had a little more than 60 students from preschool-age to 16, with three teachers. The students take great pride in their schooling and value building a community, something our kids back at home miss out on all too often. We split into four stations: technology, Bible, craft and recreation. My nephew and I led the technology station, with half-hour lessons exploring the use of battery-powered technology that uses a tablet because the electricity is very unreliable.

Wednesday was another day of back-to-school camp! The kids did their rotations through the four stations. Today included time spent picking up trash with the students in their neighborhood, which was a lesson for all of us on stewardship.

Met a 12-year-old girl named Penelope, who had a brother who was diagnosed with cancer at age 3 and underwent 25 chemo sessions and a kidney removal. He is now healed and back to normal, turning 5 in October. God is good.

On Thursday the students enjoyed engaging with one another and making new friends. My wife and I were amazed as we watched our kids step up and make true connections and impacts.

On Friday  we hosted Fiesta Day at the school with a jump house, popcorn, and stations for bean bag toss, balloon pop, Plinko, ring toss, Nerf darts, and face and fingernail painting. The kids won tickets at each of the stations and could use the tickets for water balloon toss and whip cream pie in the face. My daughter received the most pies in the face, and all the kids were great sports.

The best part was hearing the students call our kids out (through a translator) for how much they appreciated and loved them.

Saturday and Sunday We celebrated the great week by hanging out at the beach. Then we headed back home on Sunday.

The Edify Family Experience in the Dominican Republic took me away from clients, from work and from business partners. I understand, in our society, that leaving these things behind for even a week can be difficult. But seeking to serve on a deeper level teaches us so much more than we can learn otherwise. It can give us insights, provide us perspective — even help us recharge — as we head back to our professional callings. I encourage you and your families to find your Edify Family Experience mission. Go make a difference. Connect with others. Seek to serve. Written by  a volunteer participant with Edify and their Family Experience Mission.  To learn how you can volunteer for an Edify  mission trip or support their work visit their website here.

Edify makes quality education more accessible to children in developing countries. Millions of children in developing nations will never even have the opportunity to step into a classroom. There are currently an additional 250 million students that are unable to read, write, or do basic math despite having spent several years in school. Edify offers a solution by helping to improve and expand existing, national-led schools that are making an impact. Edify provide loans and training to entrepreneurs who offer quality, affordable and financially self-sustainable Christ-centered education for children in their community. This partnership helps them grow their infrastructure, improve teaching, and incorporate innovative education technology solutions into their curriculum.

On MissionFinder, we have over 1,000 ministries offering opportunities like this to serve at home and around the world. Does your church or organization need help organizing mission trips? Check out our partner site, MissionMinder.com. Their easy to use software will help you manage all the details for your short-term mission trips and team members online. Unlimited Trips. Unlimited team members. Easy online fundraising pages. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.

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