By Aaron Rodriguez, Baylor University ’21
In March 2020, members of the Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) and Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) at Baylor University joined forces to partner with One More Child, and serve in the Dominican Republic over their Spring Break. Throughout the mission trip, students helped lead children’s Bible study, and provided public health education to children and families.
During our week in the Dominican Republic, we were given the wonderful opportunity to serve God and His people by hosting health talks within the Villa Esperanza community and surrounding elementary schools, doing children’s ministry, and playing with and serving as role models for the kids. Throughout our experiences, we learned what true service is, both in the context of mission work and also in everyday life.
Service is the devotion to the suffering of another and the effort to inspire hope for the better. No matter who you are, whether you are a member of the Villa Esperanza community, a college aged missionary, the valedictorian of your class, or a high school drop out, suffering and encountering adversity throughout life is inevitable. You could be the happiest and strongest person on Earth but would still have to cope with struggle and pain at some point in life.
In one way or another, we all innately depend on each other as a means of comfort, understanding, and acceptance in combatting the struggles of everyday life. It is a part of human nature to come together when times are tough and be there for each other. The struggles that we are bound to face do not seem as bad when we have somebody by our side and supporting us every step of the way.
And so, drawing from this, we can find an answer to the question, “Why should we serve others?” Put simply, we serve because one day we will need to be served. It goes without saying that all of us would be completely different people without the love and support of our family, friends, and professors at school. We truly need each other and we depend on each other in so many ways.
Many of us on our team plan on one day being a doctor, or some other healthcare provider. The definition of service stated above is central to the role of the doctor in that they encounter and care for those who are in their worst struggles and seek to provide an answer for them and bring healing.
Whether it be performing brain surgery, excising a malignant tumor, or doing a routine physical exam, doctors dedicate their lives to their patients and walk with them through their struggles. A good doctor is one who truly cares about their patient and will do all that they can to bring out the best outcome for those that they serve.
In regards to our experiences here in the Dominican Republic, we realized that there is essentially only one thing that is on our agenda for this trip. As many of us came here untrained to perform any kind of medical procedure, the main thing that we could do was devote ourselves to the suffering in the communities that we visited and inspire hope for the better within the hearts of all that we encountered.
We dutifully served and lived out our true calling of loving God’s created people by fully being present to those that we encountered. We did this by being genuine in the relationships that we will built with each other, One More Child, and those in the Dominican Republic.
We did this by listening to the stories of struggle and being a source of hope for the better. And finally, when all else failed, we prayed for the guidance of an all-knowing and loving God who answers any question that may come up in our lives…for hope is the anchor for all souls.
Aaron Rodriguez is a junior Biology major, and serves as the Vice President of Service for Alpha Epsilon Delta at Baylor University.
Baylor Missions would like to thank the servant faculty-leaders that prepared and led this team on their experience: Mary Ann Jennings, Beth Lanning, and Beth Williams.
To view this team in action and other Spring Break #BearsOnMission check out the SB20 Takeover Highlight on Instagram: @BUmissions.
ABOUT BAYLOR MISSIONS
Baylor Missions seeks to shape Baylor University’s faithful engagement with Waco and the world by creating intentional opportunities to integrate faith, learning, and service within a broad Christian worldview. Learn more about Baylor Missions at www.baylor.edu/missions.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.