She stands in front of her church stage. Five year old Jenn Dasilva’s small hands are barely grasp the microphone. The traditional folk song, sung numerous times by children before her, would begin a chain of events that would change her life. Her eyes scan the ceiling; in this moment DaSilva has her first encounter with God. From that one song grew a passion. And from there, a mission.
From that moment she grew as a leader in her church and as a person. Now eleven years later, the passion for mission has only grown stronger, and DaSilva has been presented with the opportunity to affect people on a global scale.
February 9th through the 20th, DaSilva and her team will be engulfed in the lives of hundreds of people as she travels to the developing country of the Dominican Republic. She will experience their lives in the rawest form, and do whatever is necessary to improve their lifestyles and bring spirituality into their lives. Although no specific plans have been in place yet, while in the Dominican they will clean churches, build bathrooms, and touch the lives of as many as they can.
“When I say I’m going to the Dominican Republic people say they want to come with me. They don’t realize the poverty and filth those people live through everyday,” shares DaSilva. “I’m going to the Dominican Republic you wouldn’t want to vacation in.”
At fifteen with a strong youth group standing behind her, DaSilva participated in a Quest Missions Trip Meeting. Although an intimidating experience, the young leader felt as though she was meant to engage in missions trips. Next came the application process.
DaSilva explains that it wasn’t easy to qualify to travel with the group, several requirements must be made. A specific GPA was necessary, essays had to written expressing her spiritual growth, and DaSilva had to be deemed a growing member of her church community.
“I was so scared that I wasn’t going to be a part of this program and experience what God was calling me to do. I couldn’t let small obstacles stand in my way,” says DaSilva.
Five months later, the missionary was facetiming a friend who also applied when she received a call from the representative for the Dominican Republic Missionary trip. DaSilva and her friend were both headed to Dominican. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she registered her dream had come true. Now only one thing stands her way: $2,220.
DaSilva covered $500 with her own money she raised working at her family’s deli, but she still had $1,720 more to go. On November 21st, her friends, family, and community came together for a concert where DaSilva and her youth group performed with song, games, and skits they had created. Raising $543 from that fundraiser, DaSilva is now left with $1,177.
As DaSilva worked for months meeting the requirements to obtain this experience and be a part of the Dominican Republic team, she hopes the remaining cost doesn’t restrict her. She has planned another fundraiser for this Saturday at the Igreja Communidade Batista Church at 159 Church Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770. For fifteen dollars per person, join DaSilva for pasta and a performance by her youth group. The goal of the night is 75 people, and any donations are accepted. If you are unable to attend, DaSilva is also having a Go-Fund-Me page to reach the cost.