Is Sending Money Worth More Than Going?

October 27, 2016

I admit I was skeptical. Should we have all stayed home, sent in our money and paid to have real builders produce a beautiful church?

Today was different! I woke up with an excitement that matched my thirty-four fellow teammates. Today was the day we would travel to a remote town in the Dominican Republic to build a church. I admit I was skeptical. I am no carpenter, and from the looks of my teammates, it didn’t appear as though too many of them had experience in construction.

But we all crowded into small buses laughing and singing, excited to encounter a new act of giving. Although I was having fun, one huge question kept looming over my head.

Should we have all stayed home, sent in our money and paid to have real builders produce a beautiful church?

Our buses struggled to get through the potholes on the dirt roads. It was pitch dark when we arrived not a glimmer of electricity anywhere to be seen. Fear arose as we crept into territory that was foreign to us.

Walking in groups of four with flashlights guiding our paths we set out to meet the people. Most were receptive however a machete was drawn at one home. I held tight to my daughter as I promised her father I would not let her out of my sight.

In the morning I sat attentively waiting to get my assignment for the day. I was sure I would be working with the children. That probably was where I was most gifted. To my surprise, my daughter and I were on construction duty. The assignment was unbelievable to me, how could God use me to build?

 I am not very big or strong.www-mareedee-com-2

Together, my daughter and I, shoveled sand, mixed cement, and moved cement blocks. Our primary job was to fill the blocks with cement. The two of us lugged cement buckets back and forth and used our little hands to fill the holes with wet cement. Physically I had never worked so hard.

Word traveled quickly throughout the town, “The Americans are here to build us a church.” All day people came out of their homes to see what we were doing. Many joined in to help that day, but one boy, “Mundo” in particular, stole my heart.

Mundo was deaf and so excited that he could join in and be a part of helping his community. He worked without ceasing, all day long in the hot sun. He solidified the idea that we all have the ability to communicate regardless of the language we speak.

All day long hugs and smiles spoke more than words ever could.

I saw the love and sweat pouring into every detail of this building, and so did the people of this community. They understood we had left our comfortable places in the US to build them a church. They were eager to have their questions answered. “Why a church?” “Why not clothes?” “What makes you care about us?”

“Who is this God you talk about?”

Slowly but surely my mind was changing, and my question answered. I went on this mission knowing I would have no problem loving the people but skeptical as to whether sending money would be better. I left knowing that the money could have bought so much more in materials, but …

This church was built full of God’s love and our love.

Most importantly the people in that town knew that. I now know giving of myself was the wisest decision for me.

They were so excited to learn why we would take the time, effort, and money to do it for God and them. Many wanted to know who our God was and how to get to him. We eagerly answered their questions.

The last night we left we held a church service inside their new church. Even without a roof on the building, the people came in their Sunday best, crowding in to hear the very first message spoken. It was evident that God’s work had already been started in that town by a local pastor and we were just a small part of a bigger picture.

I left with a heart full of love, gratitude for the experience, and the hope that I would see many of them in heaven one day.

I know not all of us can take a mission trip nor does God call us to do that. Indeed each of us can step out into areas in which we are not qualified.

God will equip us!

I would love to hear in the comments below how God has equipped you when you felt you were not qualified.

If you would like to hear part one of this story click here: Are You Willing To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone?

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  1. Reply


    What an awesome experience! I have helped support missionaries and mission trips but never been on one. One day I hope to go with my whole family. I don’t want to go without them and come back changed, without them understanding. 🙂

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Sarah, Yes, it would be fun to go with your family. I was lucky to get to go twice with my daughter. A shared experience is always good. Maree

  2. Reply

    Joanne Viola (@JViola79)

    Maree, I loved being reminded this morning that sometimes there is nothing of greater worth then giving of ourselves. Thank you for this post!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Joanne – Thank you for stopping by and taking time to read and leave a comment. I hope you had a great start to your week. Happy Monday! Maree

  3. Reply


    Such a heart-warming, inspiring story, Maree Dee! When I read the title of Part 1, I half-jokingly thought to myself – ‘No, no I don’t want to leave my comfort zone.’ But the truth is I think we all do – I do, but I’m afraid. Your story is such a good reminder that when we allow God to lead us out of our comfort zone, we are among the blessed and He gets all the glory.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I love the way you said that “When we allow GOd to lead us out of our comfort zone, we are among the blessed.” Yes, indeed he does get the glory. I feel blessed by your words. Thank you for stopping by. Maree

  4. Reply


    This is inspiring. How much more you gained by going and not just sending money. My husband had a similar experience in Kenya, doing a project for ELI. . .someday I hope to go to Kenya to serve in The Living Room, a hospice.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      I hope you do get a chance to go. It is life changing. Please if you do include me on your newsletter mailing. I love hearing about trips people take. Due to some circumstances in our family, I no longer take short term mission trips. I hope to resume one day.

      I am going to have to look up “The Living Room” it sounds like a remarkable organization. I am pretty familiar with hospice in the US; it offers such hope and compassion to families that need it.



  5. Reply


    What an amazing experience and I would have felt the same being assigned to construction. Hopefully my family and I will get to go on a mission trip and experience it together!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I hope you can go on a mission trip too. I think everyone should go at least once to expereice it. Of course we are all called to do different things.

  6. Reply


    Mission trips are such priceless experiences for believers in Christ Jesus. I went on my first one when I was pregnant with my middle child and even got sick while I was there, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. My husband went to Columbia with a group and it was his first time, and he loved it too. We had such a heart for missions we rented for 7 years, waiting on God to open doors, but apparently we still had things to learn and that was not the path He had in this season of our lives. I feel like our testimony is reversed. On how to trust God when missions ISN’T in the plans LOL. We have this idea of our lives should look, and what I am learning is God wants our hearts over the performance of it all. I am so glad you went too and that He allowed it to happen and caused growth for those there and for you! Blessings! Your neighbor at Holley’s.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Wow, pregrant and on a mission trip. You were a brave soul. I too have such a heart for missions and that was not God’s long-term plan. I thought I had found my calling and was so excited to pursue it. I was able to step into leadership and help co-lead trips for a few years but then God had other plans for my life. I was so sad to let it go but I can tell you it preapred me for what God had before me. I frequently go back on what I learned to help me serve in the area of mental health. I too had to learn to trust God when missions was not his plan. I will have to write about it sometime how I tried to force a trip in God’s name when that was clearly not his plan. I can be hard headed.

  7. Reply


    I along with everyone else loved this story. Such a great reminder that God really has us all in the palm of his hands and will lead us exactly where he wants us! I know myself I have gone on many cross-cultural experiences and many times I always thought they were crazy for sending me to some of the countries and places I went. I thought surely they should at least send me to a country I could actually communicate in. I grew up speaking english and spanish. I could never understand why I was never sent to a country that spoke spanish! Or better yet like you mentioned, working with kids! I was never sent to an orphanage, or sent to play with kids overseas. It was always in a capacity I thought God was just crazy for sending me. Of course looking back, I see God’s plan and I wouldn’t change any of it for a thing! I was stretched in ways I never thought I could be stretched and honestly nor would I ask to be put in those situations. God taught me so much in all of my trips and experiences and that is something I would have never learned or even tried had God not put me out of my comfort zone and stretched me. It’s in those moments when I am overseas and completely out of my comfort zone that I also feel SO close to OUR God. Because so many people will never fully understand the feelings, smells, chaos, cultures, etc., but God was always with me. I have had some of my most candid talks with God while overseas. I so vividly remember one day when I was in a foreign country all by myself for the first time. It was pouring rain, cold, I couldn’t speak the language and I couldn’t find a single taxi to take me into town where I needed to go, and I was way too far to walk. (Yes I know, an American saying its too far to walk, but really it was!) I was walking up and down the street with no umbrella trying to find a taxi and I was so frustrated, I vividly remember being in the middle of the street all alone, not a sole to be found and I threw my hands in the air and said, “God what the heck are you doing to me?!” Well he showed me….. Always and forever grateful for these experiences good and bad. Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Marie, Thank you for sharing your story about “being in the rain with no umbrella” yet GOD was with you. It was a great reminder that GOD is always with us. Just listening to you makes my heart year for another trip. How about you? Any plans for a voyage in your near future?

  8. Reply


    I loved this story and it just shows how God can use us no matter how big or strong we think we are. We just need to listen and trust. And yes, we never know how strong we can really be when in a crisis with a loved one,
    we just do and worry later.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I love that “we just do it and worry later.” So true.

  9. Reply


    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. God has enabled me to participate in a variety of ways in church music that I never thought possible, and what a blessing it has been. But more than that, he is teaching me how to love, understand and cope with a loved one with mental illness. I’m her best friend, although she doesn’t see/know it. It is true that when He calls us to do something, He will give us what we need to be able to do it.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad you say “yes” to God in a variety of ways. I am sure you bless many with your music. I am so glad you are willing to love and understand your daughter. She is lucky to have you.

  10. Reply


    Thanks for this memorable, heartwarming story, Maree! It was clear to me that going was so much more than just sending money, and no doubt you and your daughter will never forget this experience 😉

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Bette, I am so glad you like my story. It was an amazing adventure. I went on to many more trips. I thought I had found my purpose in life but then God took me in another direction. Some of the lessons I learned on those trip have carried me through the waters of loving someone with a mental illness. So thankful I had the opportunity.

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