Mission: Dominican Republic
GOOD NEWS FROM A FAR COUNTRY
By Annika Jackson and Kim Von Lehmden, Third Grade Teacher
One of the highlights of the Upper School experience for a Hill Country Knight is the chance to serve on an overseas mission trip. In the Dominican Republic, we work with Makarios International to assist their orphanage and school, Colegio Makarios. They are “dedicated to cultivating a cycle of hope and opportunity and breaking the cycle of poverty in the Dominican Republic through Christ-centered education, community programs, and relationships that empower.”
The school is located in Montellano, a city just outside of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and has classrooms ranging from PreK3 through 6th grade. The students come to school from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day, and learn about math, manners, language, and most importantly, Jesus. When the children complete the program as teenagers, the school works with them to provide vocational training and help them find employment.
The trip originated with one of our former Spanish teachers, Laurie Majcher, who worked at one time with Makarios, both before and after teaching at Hill Country. She saw how our students could benefit from an immersive Spanish, cultural experience, and service opportunities, in addition to helping Makarios further their mission. Thesis and Logic teacher Annika Jackson has faithfully led and organized the trip since 2015.
During the trip, Hill Country students experience the joy of serving others and receive a real-world education about how people in other parts of the world live. Students build relationships and share the love of Christ by assisting with a variety of projects, including delivering medical supplies, painting buildings, and playing with children. They also lead worship and teach Bible lessons to children—all in Spanish!
In 2007, third grade teacher Kim Von Lehmden heard Upper School students present their Dominican Republic stories to Lower School students during chapel. Those stories burdened her heart and left her with a strong desire to go on the trip. She began to dream of taking the same 3rd grade students she was then teaching on
the trip when they reached Upper School.
In 2018, God fulfilled the desire of Mrs. Von Lehmden’s heart by providing not only the opportunity, but also the finances for her to chaperone the trip with five students she taught as 3rd graders!
The Dominican Republic mission trip continues to build the vision and joy of missions in the hearts of our student body. Upper School students share their experiences and encourage Lower School students to pray and provide needed supplies. Most importantly, the seeds of future missions are planted in our students as God continues to unite our Hill Country community with His passion for sharing His love in the Dominican Republic.