Meet Allie Batcho
School: Miami University
Major: Health Promotion, double minor in Child Studies and Special Education
“JOY is something that grows and changes for me every day. It is an ongoing and learning process.”
Last May, Allie took a leap of faith.
At the very last minute, she said yes to an eight-day trip in the Dominican Republic.
A week before it was time to leave, Allie began doubting her decision to go. However, she would soon see how God was going to change her life in ways she could never have imagined.
On that first Monday after the team arrived in Jarabacoa, Allie met a small 11-year-old boy, who we'll call Daniel.
“This little punk was kicking and pulling on me the first day!” she said.
Allie and Daniel quickly formed an unbreakable bond.
On Tuesday, Allie learned more about her new friend. Daniel was rescued and brought to the children’s home because his mother was starving him and his siblings. Kids Alive International rescued him two days before he would have died from starvation and malnutrition. The children were taken to El Arca, a children's home run by Kids Alive staff and volunteers.
God used Daniel’s story to speak to Allie, and her heart burst for her new friend. She felt brokenness for him, but she also felt joyful; joyful that Daniel had blessed her life, and that they had been brought together.
Allie soon discovered Daniel’s love for music when she caught him playing with her phone. They listened to her workout music together; a lot of upbeat stuff, which Daniel loved.
Coincidentally, Daniel’s birthday was that Sunday. He told Allie that all he wanted for his twelfth birthday was a pair of headphones. Allie felt into her bag and realized that she had one extra pair.
“I knew in that moment that I was meant to give those headphones to him."
When she handed Daniel the headphones the next day, he burst into tears, and seeing his joy and excitement, so did Allie.
“I think about him every single day."
Since that week in the Dominican Republic, Allie’s life looks very different than what she expected. Allie is passionate about showing people joy and giving them hope, especially kids. In the last few months, Allie has seen Jesus working in her life on campus, with her friends, and in her dreams and plans for the future.
In the middle of her fall semester, Allie skipped a week of classes to return to Jarabacoa and her friends at El Arca. She and Daniel got to spend more happy afternoons on the soccer field together.
Allie said yes to stepping out in her faith, and God has been using Allie’s heart for children in new and surprising ways.
The trip to the Dominican was a reminder that Jesus is alive and working every day.
“God is present in every single situation, no matter where you go. God is there with you and loves that place.”
To Allie, "The Justification of Youth is an organization that has changed [her] life in so many ways”, and now Allie will be able to share God’s work with others.
In March of 2016, Allie will be returning to the Dominican Republic. This time, she will be leading a team of Miami students in Santo Domingo. . Allie is excited to share the same joy that she has carried with her since the day that she said “yes” to dreaming big and living joyfully!
By Caroline Kelley | Photos courtesy of Allie Batcho and Frankie Roskam
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