“Our hope is not in who governs us or what we do as nations.Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people.” – Chuck Colson
What’s in a world view? I have always thought this quote from the pre-eminent Christian world view advocate, Chuck Colson summed it up well. A world view can be thought of in many ways but for me the most basic question a world view answers is: “In what, do I place my hope?” After spending a week with my family working in an amazing school in La Romana alongside Dominicans and 8 other American families, I have a renewed sense of the “power of God working through the hearts of people.
In July 2011, Edify partnered with Halftime to help organize a kids camp at Collegio Evangelico Luz del Porvenir. 8 American families with 18 kids between the ages of 5 and 15 joined 50+ Dominican children and their teachers for 3 days of fun-filled games, crafts, language learning and computer classes. The American kids were campers next to their new Dominican friends. The American adults were counselors, teachers and coaches.
Our Dominican hosts opened up their school and their hearts. Here are a few highlights from the week:
- The day before the camp started some of us drove to the school to scope out the facilities and to discuss logistics for the camp. We met Elaida, the school proprietor and she welcomed us warmly. Through an interpreter we told her enthusiastically the name of the camp we had chosen was “Campo de Gozo”. Elaida chuckled good naturedly and our interpreter gently corrected us that Campo doesn’t actually mean camp but field. We all laughed and nodded with approval when Elaida told us the name she had picked was “Campamento Esperanza Porvenir”. Elaida liked both names though: Gozo meaning Joy, Esperanza Porvenir meaning future hope. We were off to a good start.
- The camp leaders planned for 40 children from the Dominican to attend the camp. On Day 1 we had 50 Dominican children at the camp and we divided them into 4 groups based on age. We were glad that everyone got a t-shirt. Day 2 came and another 15 Dominican kids showed up to join in the fun! With 80 kids in total, the camp was starting to feel a little crowded by our American standards. Still there was plenty of food, surprisingly enough art supplies and plenty of balloon hats for everyone. It reminded me of the loaves and fishes…
- On the final day we had a BBQ dinner for the campers and their families. The Dominican and American kids were really clicking and somehow communicating. Games of UNO, elaborate high-five handshakes among the older kids, Patty-cake games among the girls, enthusiastic worship and prayer in Spanish and English. As the night came to a close, one American father grabbed his two sons, pulled them close and said, “Boys, I want you to remember this experience for a long time. This is one of the best things we’ve done as a family.”
We left behind a school full of momentum; freshly painted, poised to add high school grades and a new computer lab. But these things were not a “contribution” at all. The school is sustaining and growing itself. As I reflect on the experience, I am grateful for the opportunity to explore the Christian world view in a hands-on, relational way. This world view is powerful – it crosses the divides of age, culture, materialism and language. This world view is the hope that we share in the Gospel. Thanks to God for using Campo de Gozo “Field of Joy” for teaching us this so tangibly!
By Gates Bryant