Destino Summer Project Journal
My husband and I are a part of the Destino Summer Project that has been re-routed to the Domican Republic this summer. While we are here, I thought it would be fun to invite others into what makes a Destino project so special. I’ll be journaling some over the next few weeks giving you glimpses into what life is like for us this month as a team. Here are my thoughts after our briefing and first day in the country
I’ve been on an international project with Destino before. But, for some reason, this one this summer feels different already. When we went to El Salvador 3 years ago, we had only been doing Destino for a year. I was just beginning my own ethnic journey at that point. I can tell that this summer, my eyes are more open to the unique ways that our students are equipped to enter a new culture.
At our briefing, we have typically covered the 4 L’s before leaving the country:
- Love the Lord
- Love your team
- Launch a movement
- Learn a new world
I noticed this time that as we entered into the topic of “learning a new world”, our students immediately began talking about what their experience has been already crossing cultures. For some it was coming from Latin America to study in the states (2 of the students on our project are not American). For most, however, their experience began when they came to college to a majority white school.
We spent a lot of time talking about how to maintain your own identity while adapting to whatever new culture you find yourself in. One of our students made the comment, “ After adapting so well to the new culture, you start to wonder who you really are. Are you Guatemalan? Are you American? Are you both?” For our Latino students, the issue isn’t if they are capable of “learning a new world”. The issue is are they able to maintain a sense of self in the assimilation process? That’s where we can help them begin to walk through this tension well. We can help them view this as a gift from the Lord that they know how to be “all things to all people” so that they might win some. At the same time, we want to help them have a settled sense of who they are in the Lord so that they don’t just get swallowed up into the new dominant culture around them.
Day 1 in La Republica Dominicana:
Since arriving today, I can already see how our students are quickly starting to speak more Spanish and adapt to their new environment. With so many of them able to speak the native language here, they were able to be more observant of cultural differences even on their first day in a foreign country. The skill of adaptability is already so advanced in them, they see things about the cultural environment around them that are more subtle. It was really affirming to watch as we went through our afternoon together.
So those are my thoughts after my first few days with our team and our first day in country. I look forward to sharing more specifics on what makes a Destino Summer Project distinct and unique from other mission trips. Please be praying that we would be sensitive to his Spirit and walk with the Lord daily.