During the first week of May, Univera Associates and Corporate Staff accompanied Serve First’s partner, Vitamin Angels, on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Though Univera has assisted Serve First on several of these trips, the DR was a first for Univera. While there, the Associates witnessed the mission of Serve First played out in real time, as the lives of some very deserving children were impacted with the gift of essential, life-giving micronutrients.
Below, you can get to know the lucky Associates who were chosen to attend this trip. How does one prepare themselves for a trip to a place unlike any they’ve ever been? Where things like clean drinking water, electricity and three square meals are considered luxuries instead of bare necessities? Let’s find out…
Dr. Katrina McGillivray
My name is Katrina McGillivray. I am a Family Physician living and practicing in Columbus, Indiana. I have been involved in Univera for 7 years and loving it! When on this Serve First trip, I will leave behind my wonderful husband, a former judge, who is closing his law practice to work with me full-time sharing Bill Lee’s mission and vision as he says in our local presentations, “bringing the best of nature to humankind one presentation at a time.” Our two sons are studying Economics and Industrial Design. Our daughter Skye, who accompanied me to Machakos, Kenya for church building and medical mission work 3 years ago, like her mother, fell in love with international mission work.
What is your favorite Univera Product and why?
Xtra is my single-most loved product. First, because it improved my focus and efficiency within my job, and made me a nicer, wife, mother, and sister; and second, because I’ve seen so many varied improvements in people’s health far beyond the energy, stress, focus and joint mobility that is emphasized.
What does Serve First mean to you?
Like attracts like and at every Univera event, I am humbled to be surrounded by so many people whose main focus in life is to be a blessing to others. Serve First is a tangible and communicable philanthropy that I can share with every person I introduce Univera to. Serve First offers a financial connection to those people far away that can be helped even when we are not physically able to be there ourselves.
How do you include the Serve First mission into your Univera business?
My sister, Shelly Sorg, and I try to do one event every year in which we help our team contribute to Serve First. Last year, we held a Birthday Party picnic event in Louisville, KY in which Associates gave money that they would otherwise have spent on a birthday (cost of cake, supplies, gifts, etc.) and donated over $3000 to Serve First, presenting the check to Bill Lee when he flew into Louisville the following day. This year, we are collecting balls to take with us to Dominican Republic and hope to have 2 full suitcases of deflated balls to carry with us. Rod and I also encourage each of our new Associates to contribute at least $25 on their monthly Convenience Plan.
Describe how you felt when you found out that you had been chosen to go on the annual Serve First trip?
The evening we were on the Field Call when the participants in the Dominican Republic Vitamin Angels trip were announced, I was so focused on how Shelly and I would present on the call later, that I mentally almost missed the announcement. I prayed for Shelly to be the Diamond-select as she had to forego the Vitamin Angels trip 3 years earlier. My “yoo-hoo!” paralleled hers. When my name was announced, it was almost surreal, and I moved into my doctor-emergency mode – emotions off, get-the-work-done mode, in order to answer the questions we were presented on the call. Sinking in later, I cried. It has been 3 years since I have taken any time away from my office for anything other than Univera training, EBI’s and Convention, and being unable to return to Kenya to finish up the work we started there has been heartbreaking. So this could not have come at a better time! I am truly blessed to be able to be a blessing to others and with people I so highly respect as Bill Lee, Ralph Bietz, and Stephen Cherniske.
What are your expectations about the Dominican Republic? What do you think it will be like there?
My expectations are simple. My motto, “Let go and let God” allows me to have no expectations, to move out of doctor analytical mindset and move into the natural service mode we were born into. I’m free to experience whatever is meant to be. With that, I expect to feel joy at the opportunity to serve, but also overwhelmed at the fact that we can only scratch the surface of all the human need. With that said, from a cultural and demographic standpoint, I expect dust and dirt and to feel grimy by day’s end. I am packing varied clothing to accommodate for the cool (60 degree) temperatures of the mountains and the warmth (80 degrees) of the lower altitudes. Not a fan of bugs (natural attraction for them) and curious about reptiles, I will avoid the Assassin bug and keep a look-out for the tiny Jargua Dwarf Gecko. PQ dieting up until departure, I am looking forward to native cuisine and especially want to try the Kipes (nice and fried) and the Sancocho. If holds true to most underdeveloped countries, I expect travel to feel a bit perilous at times with substandard road conditions and rules of the road which are far different than those familiar in the US. Lots of horns and gesturing. I’m ready for some excitement!
What are you doing to prepare for your trip physically, mentally and emotionally?
I read scripture and pray for God to help me be a blessing daily, so that continues. Physically, I am ready and preparing my household for a week without Mom and taking care of sister, Shelly’s, travel health requirements. I was going to brush up on Spanish, but this is as far as I’ve gotten…..
Hola! Repulica Dominicana, aqui vengo! Muchas gracias por la oportunidad, Univera!