It’s amazing how smells can take you back! In fact, it’s amazing how any of our senses can trigger memories. Seeing photos and videos of past experiences are incredible. I’ve also had it happen with music, instantly tapping into the time I attended a concert, watched a movie, or played a video game. And as I write this, I’m currently being transported back to the Dominican Republic via smell and also taste of coffee.

As I take a sip of the coffee I purchased while in Santiago, I’m reminded about our recent trip. This trip was supposed to happen in the spring of 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to postpone it. We took 9 teenagers and 3 adults on a partnership trip with GO Ministries. While we were down there, we poured made and poured cement for 2 houses, began work on replacing a section of driveway on another house, painted 2 houses, and taught kids in 2 different communities. We also got to tour the community, do some prayer walks, and see what all the missionaries have been doing recently. Our church has partnered with GO for a number of years, and this is the third time I had gone to visit.

The first trip, back in 2017, came somewhat as a surprise. My previous church had been exploring a possible partnership with GO, and I was planning to take an exploratory trip to check it out for our student ministry. Unknown to me at that time, my time was winding down at that church. Nonetheless, right after I arrive at this church, I was told about their partnership in the DR and invited to attend an upcoming medical trip to check it out myself. Of course, I loved the trip and what they do. So we’ve continued to make it a regular trip for our students as well.

The coffee smell instantly puts takes me back. I remember sitting around in the early morning, chatting with the missionaries and others on our trip. I then begin to picture the rest of the missionaries there and the people in the community. I remember the families we helped and the kids we taught and played games with during the week. I remember the excitement of hearing about GO’s mission and seeing them live it out every day. I remember the way God inspired me to not only live for Him during the trip but also when I got back home.

Funny enough, my mind then drifts to other mission trips I’ve taken. I think back to my first one in high school. What an experience!! I then think about the others I’ve taken to build houses, do home repair, teach kids, and witness the work of missionaries in various locations around the world. I also think about the time my wife and I got to visit our sponsored child with Compassion International in Haiti.

This blog post is really just a reflection of what is going through my head right now, but while I have you hear, I do want to encourage you in a few ways:

  • Try not to go through life so quickly that you forget to take it all in with all of your senses. And when you do take it in, allow yourself to remember.
  • If you have never taken a mission trip, make it a goal to do at least one (and soon). It will open your eyes, get you out of your comfort zone, and change your life.
  • If you are looking for a great partner organization for future mission trips, I highly suggest both GO Ministries (Dominican and Haiti) and workcampNE (US). And if you are looking for a travel agency to help you with a future mission trip, we have loved working with Servant Life.

Thanks for letting me explore my thoughts as I sip my coffee and remember!

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