Steamboat Springs Larry and Martha Oman packed their bags to move to the Dominican Republic in 1963, but they didn't get there until today.
After graduating from college, the couple joined the Peace Corps and started training for a project in the Dominican Republic.
But before their training was complete, President Rafael Filiberto Bonelly Fondeur was overthrown and the Omans were sent to Colombia instead.
Today, the Omans are boarding a plane for the country that has been a part of their consciousness for 40 years, this time as members of the United Methodist Church.
Along with eight other church members, the Omans will spend 10 days in the Dominican Republic completing the construction of a school in the town of Samana.
This will be Larry Oman's third mission trip to the country and Martha's first.
"I've been waking up in the middle of the night, trying to remember Spanish words," Martha Oman said. While most of those going to Samana will be painting and wiring the schoolhouse, Martha Oman will be traveling to 13 tiny outlying chapels to teach Bible school, and she will need her Spanish to tell Bible stories, lead the singing and help the children with arts and crafts.
Last year, 1,950 kids came to the Bible school over the course of the week it was held.
When they board the plane this morning, each member of the mission trip will have two suitcases -- one filled with personal items and the second filled with medicine, crayons and clothes to donate to the people of Samana.
They will land in Santo Domingo and drive the four and a half hours across the island to Samana. The group chose to land in Santo Domingo rather than travel from the Haitian capital, which is closer to Samana, because of the history of that city.
It was the first place settled by Europeans after Columbus "discovered" it.
"Santo Domingo has one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas," Larry Oman said. "We are going to visit it."
When they arrive in Samana, the pastor of the local evangelical church will be waiting for them.
600 freed slaves who made their way to the island from Philadelphia settled the town of Samana in 1840. Those African Americans built the church as protestant Christians, Oman said.
"We go down there to share in our faith," Larry Oman said. "By doing so, we all grow as Christians."
Members of the United Methodist Church were introduced to the Samana community by Penny Diehl, who spent four years in the country setting up missions for churches all over the United States before moving to Steamboat.
Missionaries pay much of their own expenses, augmented with donations from the church and the $4,000 raised at this year's chili lunch and silent auction fund-raiser.
The United Methodist Church in Steamboat has financially adopted the church in Samana, sending donations for renovation projects and recently paying for a young man to graduate from teacher's college.
"He was bright and eager, but he didn't have the money to go to college," Larry Oman said. A photograph of the man, Alfonso, in his graduation gown hangs in the hallway of the United Methodist Church next to a map of the Dominican Republic and photographs of the church's work there.
"This kind of mission work gives people in the United States the chance to see how much of the world lives," Larry Oman said. "We are so affluent here in America, but on this trip we will go out to places where people live in poverty. They have no electricity. No running water. The children get so enthused about Bible school, because they never get a chance to do crafts. They don't have the materials.
"Most of the people who go on these trips say that is a real inspiration to them, to meet those people and share in their faith."
When the schoolhouse is complete, the members of the Samana church plan to dedicate it as "Escuala Lorenzo" in honor of Larry Oman.