GLEN ROSE — For former Glen Rose volleyball players Logan Smith and Libby Hinton, their mission trip to the Dominican Republic in late July with their Harding University volleyball teammates was to help others, but they both agree it may of ended up helping them more.

“I learned to be grateful for what I have and the opportunities that I have had. It made the little things seem a lot larger,” Hinton said. “I just felt a greater appreciation for what I have at home and the blessings that can sometimes be easy to take advantage of.” 

Smith concurred.

“The biggest thing that I took away from our mission/volleyball trip was to appreciate the things we have no matter how inconvenient, uncomfortable or outdated because there are people in the world with far less than us,” she said. “God has blessed me, my family, my friends and my country with the opportunity to give back to others what we receive from him, and that is his unchanging, unconditional love. Things, tangible items, have much less value than before.”

Smith and Hinton and their teammates visited orphanages, and day cares as well as a home for women and child who escaped human trafficking. They spent time doing hair, painting nails, playing and interacting.

“I loved visiting the young girls at the orphanage. They were all so sweet and loving,” Hinton said. 

“I was truly blessed to be able to dance, serve and just love the wonderful people that I met there,” Smith said. “Not even the language barrier could stop the Lord’s work.”

In addition to service, the team played several matches against local teams.

“It was great to bond with the girls and do it in a fun environment,” Hinton said. “All the girls we played were so nice and just wanted to have fun with us.”

Following one of the matches, they gave away their knee pads. 

“Most of the girls who we played did not have knee pads, so our volleyball girls decided to give our knee pads to them as a gift,” Smith said. “As insignificant as this sounds, it meant so much to me to see how joyful and thankful they were to have something of ours and to benefit them as they played. No matter how sweaty they were, how gross they smelled or how old the knee pads were, the girls were just overjoyed to have them.”

The team spent nearly a week in the Dominican Republic, but the memories and friendships Hinton and Smith made there will last a lifetime, including the time they spent with their guide and interpreter, Hector.

“Before he sent us off to go back to Texas, Hector complimented us on just how proud of us he was and the wonderful ways that we spread the love of God and interacted with the kids, young adults and women,” Smith said. “I remember tearing up thinking of leaving, not only Hector, but the many friends that we made and brought closer to the Lord in the DR.”