Upon returning from the Domincan Republic sports camps, we were delayed from landing at the Louisville airport for four hours due to the storms in Louisville, our destination.

Our flight from Miami was forced to land in Nashville, to get fuel and to wait the storm out.

After sitting idle a few hours, we were cleared to resume our flight to Louisville. We were tired but knew we had accomplished much and made a difference to the Dominican people.

We were glad to be coming home to family and friends.

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This was my first time going to a third world country.

Many who have taken this trip, past or present, have called this a ‘life-changing experience’.

For me, I keep reflecting back to the many experiences we encountered.

I now appreciate more the amenities I have here in the United States.

Among the luxuries I didn’t have available: air conditioning, refrigerators, good drinking water, water period (sometimes, we had no water), toilets that work, etc.

The Dominican people appear to be happy, even though they don’t have these benefits.

We went to the Dominican Republic to teach them two sports (basketball and volleyball), and to witness to them for Christ, yet we teachers learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Our motto was, “MAKE A DIFFERENCE,’ and I know we accomplished that.

We made an impression upon hundreds, if not thousands of Dominican children and adults, during our eleven-day stay.

This was Jason Goen’s fourth trip to the Dominican Republic, and his first trip as a sports camp leader.

Despite his new role being challenging, he was quite pleased with the results.

“The trip went well,” Goen said. “We had a lot of veterans and a lot of new people that meshed very well. This allowed all the teams to conduct very effective sports camps. We were able to bring the word of God to over 1,000 kids while having fun playing basketball and volleyball.”

This is a trip that I would highly recommend to any high school student or adult.

I don’t know if it’s been a “life-changing experience” for me, but it’s definitely changed my outlook on life to some extent.

I also know that Donna Sullivan is already making plans and improvements for next year’s trip.

I want to thank her, Dan Weaver, and the other sponsors and staff, and I’d like to thank Seymour Christian Church and the many generous donors, for making this trip possible.

Also, I’d like to thank those that built the camp in Salcedo, from 1998 to 2008, and those who have worked on mission teams at the sports camps, since 2008.

You’ve made this camp a very positive experience for the Dominican people, and the volunteers who continue to come.

Lenny Hauersperger is a correspondent for The Tribune. Send comments to jmorey@tribtown.com.