Letter from a First Time Traveler to a First Time Traveler

27 Jul

Hello to any potential “first time travelers”!


Sister Fifi and Victoria

I have just returned from my week at the Campamento at Hogar Teresa Toda in the Dominican Republic! It was a life-changing experience for me, which is exactly what I wanted. Now my intention is to use what I have seen, heard, felt, tasted and touched back in my own home experience in Minnesota. I don’t know what God has in store for me next, but I could definitely feel his love and protection throughout the whole trip.

If you think this is the right move for you, I would like to encourage you to pray about  joining the journey next year. You will get to meet the most fabulous, beautiful nuns you have ever known! You will get to share meals (including the absolute best mangoes ever) with fellow travelers and the girls at the camp. You will get to sing, play games, dance


Zumba on the Kiosko!

(maybe even Zumba if you are lucky) work and interact with the girls in smaller
groups at the daily camp stations. Local beaches and pools may also be a part of the trip, and you get to experience the joy of the girls as they participate in summer activites that are not in their normal lives. Mostly, you will be a loving presence to some girls who really need that! This is your opportunity to share the love of Christ in a very simple way with some sweet girls who really appreciate your presence.

Do you have to speak fluent Spanish? No (I didn’t) and you will still communicate your


Making Burp Clothes for Azua Babies

care by your presence while coloring, making beaded bracelets and other crafts, doing puzzles, playing cards, etc. Would it help to speak some Spanish? Definitely yes, just for the ability to communicate one-on-one with the girls. Don’t worry, though, some people on the trip will speak Spanish well enough to translate for you, and the girls are really accepting of our “deficiency”. Your best language tools are a smile and a hug, along with a listening ear and a caring heart. I got invited to share meal tables with the girls, and they totally knew that I didn’t speak Spanish well, but they wanted me there anyway. What an honor for me!

Here are a few suggestions for a first-time traveler (from me):
1) Follow the suggested packing list
2) Bring a personal fan to use under your own mosquito netting at night
3) Deep Woods Off (green can) worked great!
4) Bring a towel (they will give you one, but I was wishing for a second one some times)
5) Bring a light robe if you can
6) A mini book light is just as good (maybe better) than the suggested headlamp for nighttime reading, etc.
7) Bring a book (or two) for your personal reading
8) Sleeveless shirts are a must, even for pajama tops!
9) Don’t bring out your sunscreen in front of the girls, they all want to use it
10) There is a small chapel located in the nuns’ courtyard. I went their every day for a little talk with Jesus – He always wanted to hear about my experiences!

Again, please pray about whether or not you would like to join the experience. There are definitely challenges to a mission trip but the change of heart that you feel as you grow during the week is priceless.

Best wishes,

Victoria Gregus

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