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'It changed my life' - Players reflect on the Dominican Republic impact
July 7, 2017

Each of the fourteen Auburn football players who embarked on the mission trip to the Dominican had different reasons for going - different hopes for the experience. But personal growth was the one common thread.

"You never know how different life is for someone else until you walk in their shoes."
-- Jalen Harris

T. Matthews in Dominican

"I will talk about this trip for the rest of my life because, it changed my mindset, it changed my thought process on life. It just shows how blessed we are and how much stuff we take for granted here in the United States. We all get mad at little things, get sad at little things, and, the people over there are so happy. They're so appreciative, they don't have much but they have God. They always leaning on faith.

"You start to wonder, are we the blessed ones, or are they the blessed ones because they're full of God. So, I know I'm blessed, but it definitely has me thinking differently about life."
-- Tray Matthews

A. Golson at a Haitian church

"I had the opportunity to get up in front of the Haitian church and share a little bit about what I know about God. I got to give a three or four minute sermon, and that's the first time I really have ever opened up in my life. So this moment right here changed me. It was one of the more special moments of the whole trip."
-- Austin Golson

Auburn football at a church

"This was at the church that Auburn football players built a few years ago when Cam Newton took this trip. We kind of had a moment in there where we sat down and just talked about everything. Some people were really moved in that moment. I got emotional because I thought about the second chances I've been given. How I'm really meant to be here, even though I made some mistakes in my freshman and sophomore years. It was amazing to me that I'm still here. I went on this trip and it gave me a different perspective on life. I think that church they built had an effect on everybody."
-- Stephen Roberts

J. Harris with kids

"At the school I got a chance to share my testimony, so that was a real special moment for me. I told them about my life, and how God has impacted my life, and all the things that I've been through. I got a chance to tell them about how I was in a car accident, and how I thought I was going to lose my life that day. And even though the interpreter was explaining it in their language, I couldn't even finish without them giving me an ovation. It moved me that they were clapping just for me."
-- Jalen Harris

J. Franklin

"I was going on this trip to try to make myself better. I wasn't going to see how I could help them, I was going to see how they could help me and make me become a better person. And what I took away from it is that we really have nothing to complain about. I mean no matter what we think is hard for us, or tough for us, I couldn't imagine what they go through. I really got a sense of what it feels like to be truly grateful for every little thing. And to be happy about life. They enjoy every single second of it. They helped me grow as a person, they helped me see the world more for what it is."
-- John Franklin III



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