Build Then Bless From a Beachy Oasis

Hailey Webster

To me, Build Then Bless is so much more than giving monetarily (although that can help!) It’s an attitude of inclusion. It’s a way of living.

I recently went on vacation with my husband to the Dominican Republic. While there, we decided we wanted to have a city tour from a local. After some research, we found our ideal tour guide—Carlos. Carlos works as a taxi driver in the city of Puerto Plata. Day after day he shuttles tourists to and from the airport, or just around the city, helping them get to where they need to be.

On the day of our tour, Carlos arrived early to pick us up. We excitedly climbed into his car. We had a city to see! My husband speaks fluent Spanish, so he took care of most of the communication with Carlos at first. But later in the day, I tentatively began using my broken Spanish with Carlos. He was grateful to speak to both of us in his native language no matter how messy my conjugation was; it was about human connection, not perfection.

At our first stop of the tour, we came to a cable car that takes people to the top of the mountain. From the top, you can see the whole city below. At first, Carlos told us that he’d wait for us at the bottom—but we insisted that he come up with us. We paid the small price for his ticket and off we went!

When we got to the top, something was different about Carlos. He was glowing. He told us it was his first time seeing his city from above. He was thrilled. He took pictures of the mountainside and the city down below. At first, it seemed that Carlos was trying to “pay us back” for bringing us up the mountain. He offered to take our pictures repeatedly because he was grateful we allowed him to come. Instead, we invited him to join us in our pictures.

The rest of the day went similarly. We experienced the city with Carlos not only as our tour guide, but also as a new friend. When we went to the supermarket, Carlos came along. At lunch, we paid for his meal. In American money, the day’s activities hardly cost us anything. But it continually amazed Carlos that we paid the extra money for him to join us.

By the end of the day, Carlos was full of gratitude. He told us that it was, “the best day of work he’d ever had.” What we did was small—but to him, it made a big difference. Not only did Carlos have an amazing day at work, but it also quickly became our favorite vacation day.

It’s the Build Then Bless attitude that made our trip special. Even in a foreign country far from home, Build Then Bless made a difference in our vacation, Carlos’ life, and our own.

To me, Build Then Bless is so much more than giving monetarily (although that can help!) It’s an attitude of inclusion. It’s a way of living. It’s about eradicating loneliness, one conversation at a time. Our giving doesn’t have to be perfect, just as my Spanish was far below standard. But, giving of ourselves will always make a positive difference, no matter how imperfect.

I’m grateful for Carlos, for Build Then Bless, and for the opportunity to do good in a place far from home.

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