Mya Maxwell, 18, Bella Maxwell, 16, and Anna Gross, 15, were among a mission contingent with Solar Oven Partners to the Dominican Republic in early March. Grandma and the girls all live in the Madison, SD, area. Phillips, who has twice before gone on mission trips with SOP, says she felt God’s nudging to take her granddaughters on a trip. Phillips jokes that she didn’t know if her teen granddaughters would whine or complain during the trip, but says she was pleasantly surprised by their exuberance.
“Honestly, I was really amazed. They didn’t complain or whine,” she says. “It was a wonderful feeling to see them working and sharing with the Dominicans. I think God was smiling down on all of us.” Mya admits that she thought her grandmother was kidding when she first brought up the notion of going on the mission trip to the Dominican Republic. But once they arrived in country, she realized what a valuable experience the SOP mission trip was.
“For me it was a real eye-opener,” she says. Mya even wrote about the trip for her home church’s newsletter. “My time spent there was filled with hard work, gross hotel rooms, hot and humid weather, and freezing cold showers,” she wrote. “But the people there were friendly and greeted others with genuine smiles and warm welcomes. They even jumped in to help us build the ovens, to the point where they’d take the hammer out of your hand. We will never forget our time in the Dominican Republic, as it forever changed our hearts and lives,”
Bella Maxwell says she has gained a new appreciation for the blessings in her life. “I loved seeing how happy the people were without all the things we think are necessary. They had close bonds with friends and neighbors and they had next to nothing,” she says.Phillips also says she was pleased with how well her granddaughters interacted with the children of the Dominican Republic. In a country where the sun shines more than 70 percent of the time, it rained for two days dur-ing their March mission trip. That proved to be an opportunity for the girls and a college student on the team to spend time in the elementary and high schools. Mya said they forged a real connection between the students of the Dominican school and the “Americano” students.
Upon reflection, both Phillips and her granddaughters say they are filled with gratitude for sharing the mission experience. “We were already pretty close, but being stuck in a motel room with your grandma for 10 days, you have an even closer bond,” Bella says.