Missions -

‘This trip helped me bring God back home’ —

By Becca Haines

The first thing you need to know about Maya Vaughan is that she’s a planner.

The 17-year-old from McAlester, Oklahoma set a long-term goal to open an orphanage in Bolivia, South America immediately following her Engage mission trip to Zambia in the summer of 2017. But God moved in her heart again and revealed a whole new plan when she traveled with Engage to Dominican Republic this past summer. 


“I was going to live in Bolivia so I thought it was best to immerse myself in the language during my next mission trip,” Vaughan said. “I prayed over it and the Dominican seemed to be the best fit for me. I was expecting this trip to only be about the language, but I was wrong. This trip turned my world upside down and my plans became completely twisted.”


Vaughan wasn’t planning on completely falling in love with everything about the Dominican in just 10 days. She developed a passion for the El Circulo Church and the people there.


“You have to meet them in order to fully understand how loving, caring, compassionate and true they are,” she said. “I believe that they are true examples of Christ. Everywhere I went, I felt loved. Jesus is in that country. It’s the kind of country that I want to be a part of. They are the kind of Christians that the U.S. needs to strive to be like. I am planning on returning to the Dominican after I graduate high school in the spring.”


Vaughan described God’s creation on spectacular display, overwhelming praise and worship and feeling the Heavenly presence – and more importantly ¬– how it changed her perspective on life back home.


“God is always present, He is always here and He is always with us,” she said. “It’s easier to feel His Spirit on mission trips or at church camps, but it’s hard to remember that He is in our homes also. I felt His presence in the hostel, but it is not stuck there. I feel like this trip helped me bring God back home with me. God is in the Dominican Republic. God is in the United States. God is in McAlester, Oklahoma.”