I was always the kid that was “different, and the one that had few friends. I moved when I was in elementary school to a new school that I was afraid to even walk in the morning, because I got bullied so often. I went to this school up until sophomore year of high school. One major event happened during this time. I wouldn’t take it back because it has brought me to being the person I am today.
Before I say what it is, I want you to know that I believe that God does stuff to us, for us to get something out of it, for it to get us somewhere. When I was in eighth grade, I hung around all the “druggies.” This led me to smoke and to go to a party one night that had drugs. I continued to hang around these friends because I thought I was a “cool” kid. The day that I will never forget is the day that I also will never want to take back. It’s made me part of the person I am today. This is the day that I went into the bathroom with friends, and when I walked out with an E-Cigarette in my hand, the principal caught me.
I was in the office all afternoon. He called my parents, and they couldn’t believe what had happened. I lost all trust in my parents, my brother and myself. I knew that I could never trust any feeling or any action of mine again. Little time had gone by, and I asked my mother if we could start going back to church. She said, “of course.” We were on our way to the Catholic Church next to Crossroads.TV, and something in me said, “Turn left now.” That action of mine was God. He had a reason that we made that left turn. He had a reason for my mother and I to make that turn into Crossroads.TV. This was in 2014. I then saw a promo video during a sermon at church of a mission trip. My first reaction thought was “Wow. That looks amazing.” I attended the meeting for the trip and put down my deposit soon after. The countdown began for August 1, 2015. That day was the day that the Dominican Republic mission’s team flew out of Columbus.
As we were about to touch down in the Dominican Republic, I suddenly froze, and a tear began to go down my face. The plane hadn’t landed yet, and I could already see the poverty of this country. Of course on the four hour bus ride to the village, my eyes were as big as my head because of how much I had to take in, the view, thinking about being in another country and about how I got to be a part of such a wonderful opportunity. We got to the village safely, and the team went to sleep. We woke up the next morning to a wonderful cooked meal from Pastora and then went straight to Sunday School. This was the first day that we were actually out of the walls from the building we were all staying in.
The first hour that I was there, I built friendships with multiple people. The kids there are so loving, and you can make their day with something as simple as a high five. We went to the Batey to put in water filtration systems. Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling taking in everything around me. Seeing that these people live in huts made out of mud, it got to me, deep, not just what they lived in, but how they lived. At the Batey, I met the most amazing family. That was Pastor Anderson’s family. I met their daughter who was three. Her name is ‘Ana.” She had a smile bigger than anyone and was the happiest little girl. Ana and I grew so close, so fast.
I remember sticking by her side the whole time I was at the Batey, playing games with her, drawing, talking to her in Spanish and playing tag. I would do anything that made that beautiful smile shine. Back to El Jobo, where we stayed, I met a young boy named Jandi. He was four years old when I first met him. He showed me so much stuff. He introduced me to his family and young friends. While we were in El Jobo, I stuck by his side the whole time. I connected with him so much that week. I felt as if he was my own brother.
Leaving was the hardest part for me. My heart was broken. I fell so in love with the beautiful country and the people. My heart ached for weeks and weeks. Two things that God taught me during that trip is to stop being greedy, and most importantly, he showed me that I have a passion for kids.
When I returned I started to serve in the ccKids room. From that point on I knew I had a calling to do something that allows me to interact with people. Another couple months went by, and I went to the missions meeting at Crossroads for the second time. The countdown began again to go on the trip. It was July 29, 2016, year two of going to the Dominican Republic!
When I stepped foot off the bus, Jandi was standing there. I got the biggest relief and had the biggest smile. I just experienced a whole year of worries and a whole year of me missing the country and the people that I love. He gave me a huge hug.
Back in the Batey, I started walking towards the door to get off the bus. Before I was even off of the bus, I saw Ana standing there in a black and red dress. Ana and I made eye contact, and before I could even step one foot off the bus, she ran towards me and gave me the biggest hug. Again, this was the biggest relief, and seeing her was the most amazing feeling.
When I went home this year my heart wasn’t broken. It felt like it, but it was more a feeling that I’ve successfully done what God wanted me to do. God showed me during this trip that if He sends you a calling somewhere, go where He says because there is a blessing there waiting for you. Just like God called me to a third world country, the Dominican Republic, to do his work and to spread His love. Another thing that He showed me was that Jesus loves us all. Last, He showed me that Jesus and God both loved me so that I can pass their love through me and out of me to these people in the Dominican Republic.
The countdown begins for year three! These mission trips have shown me a lot. They’ve shown me that I have a passion for kids and people. God has shown me that he wants me to be a missionary. He has shown me opportunity experiences right here in Columbus that I could never have seen myself doing if I didn’t go on this mission trip.
God called me specifically, and I took his call, and I went for it. By taking his call, it has opened many doors for me, changed my life from left to RIGHT and has blessed me in so many ways.
Bryce R. Fryman