Concordia Students Travel to Dominican for Educational Mission Trip

Published by Olivia Dunklau 4 months ago on Tue, May 31, 2022 2:21 PM
On a beach in the Dominican Republic. Pictured from left to right: Rebekah Freed, Nathan Birtell, Katie Anderson, Rosanna Scott, Autumn Johnson, Karissa Ternus, Christina Lee, Owen Dawson, Abigail Dawson and Brian Gauthier.
On a beach in the Dominican Republic. Pictured from left to right: Rebekah Freed, Nathan Birtell, Katie Anderson, Rosanna Scott, Autumn Johnson, Karissa Ternus, Christina Lee, Owen Dawson, Abigail Dawson and Brian Gauthier.

Eight Concordia University, Nebraska students traveled to the Dominican Republic for an eight-day experiential mission trip led by assistant professor of theology Dr. Brian Gauthier and director of student development, Rebekah Freed.  

With the help of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Office of International Mission missionaries and alliance missionaries in Santiago de Los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, the trip was planned out and made possible. The trip was created and structured to be a “Mission Education” tour so students could observe missionaries in the field to see if God is calling them to long-term, overseas missions. They served in the community, at local churches, and in a group home right next to where they stayed. “Our students were amazing,” said Freed. “They were flexible, willing to jump in wherever needed, and often spent their free time hanging out with the young adults that lived at the group home next door.”    

Throughout the trip, the group visited churches, toured the Concordia Seminary and Mercy Center, visited with current missionaries, completed outreach in Cienfuegos and gained lots of experience in the culture and language of the Dominican. Christina Lee, a junior from Papillion, Nebraska, stated, “I saw how the church influenced the culture in different ways. This was evident in the neighborhoods and with pastors and deaconesses working in programs with kids. This gives them positive role models, safe people to talk to and a firm foundation in their relationship with God.”    

When they were not traveling around or helping with children’s Bible school, the students spent extra time at the group home and would do activities with the members. “Of these eight students, I have had seven of them in a class and they are excellent students,” stated Gauthier. “To see them spending their free time at the group home, playing with children at Sunday School, and actively learning about the mission work of the LCMS was a joyful week for me.”   

The Sunday services at church had a significant impact on the students. Dr. Gauthier also had the opportunity to preach a service in Spanish. “After Sunday morning worship, we shared God’s peace, and instead of handshakes, the people there all gave hugs and asked about each other’s lives,” said Lee. “The people genuinely love and care about their fellow Christians and it was so powerful to see that in action.”  

“I saw the compassion of our Concordia students, and it gives me great joy that these students will be stepping into our church’s schools and congregations soon!” Gauthier stated. He plans to take a group to the Dominican every other year with a medley of other mission trips in the years between.