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A vacation with a purpose

The Brown family of Castle Pines North with some new found friends in the Dominican Republic. The Browns spent a week working on a church construction project as part of a missions trip with Castle Pines Community Church and Missions Door ministries. (Photos courtesy of the Brown family)

by Lisa Crockett

CPN Residents serve others in the Dominican Republic

A vacation with a purpose. For Fred Lautenbach, that was the idea behind many of his childhood travels with his family.

“As I was growing up, my parents took us on trips that combined fun and service to others,” said Lautenbach, who is a member of the Castle Pines Community Church (CPCC) and the Chairman of the Board of Missions Door, a nonprofit ministry that serves communities the world over. “I wanted to bring that idea to the Missions Committee at our church.”

To that end, in 2007 Lautenbach organized a trip to help with a building project at Benedicion Villa Hermosa, CPCC’s sister church in the Dominican Republic, located in the town of Villa Hermosa.

“We wanted to get the whole family involved and allow families to participate and fellowship together,” said Lautenbach.

That first trip was so successful, that CPCC organized another trip in winter 2008. Two of the families on that trip were alumni from the first expedition, including Eric and Debbie Brown and their three children: nine-year-old Jacob and seven-year-old twins Benjamin and Kaitlyn.

“We went a year and a half ago and as soon as it came up that there would be a second trip, my kids looked at me and told me they wanted to go,” said Debbie.

Because of the success and good feelings the family had on the first trip, she was unfazed at the prospect of a long journey to a third-world country with three young kids. In fact, of the twenty-five participants on the trip, nearly a third were children.

“These trips really make an impression on our children,” said Debbie. “A highlight of the trip was going to a host family’s house for lunch. Most of these families live on about three dollars a day, so feeding another family is a big deal. After seeing what this family had done for us, one of our kids said ‘Wow, they are really giving to us.’ It has made such an impact on our family and changed the way they see the world.”

While in Villa Hermosa, families from CPCC helped with a building project that involved hauling sand, gravel and cinder bricks to complete a second story addition to an existing building which will eventually house an elementary school. Several of the volun-
teers also conducted a Vacation Bible School for more than 200 of the local children, enlisting the help of some of the local school teachers to keep things running.

It wasn’t all work, though. The last day and a half of the trip were spent at a local beach resort to allow families time to relax together.

“We plan to go again,” said Lautenbach. “Combining work and play makes this a really great experience and a great way for families to be together.

For more information on Missions Door, visit



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