They say home is where your heart is. It’s bittersweet to be home here in the states because, I think I can speak for all our team, a part of our heart is still in the Dominican Republic with our brothers and sisters of La Vid. We all travelled back last Wednesday and the long day of travel was covered in God’s grace as was evident through a few different opportunities. I wanted to take some time to summarize our trip and urge you to continue in prayer with us.
Our small but mighty team consisted of nine, faith-filled and Gospel-minded saints, who operated as one unit. The unity of our team came from the fact that we were focused on one goal for the week: living out the Gospel alongside our Dominican friends. Our prayer and focus for the time was the simplicity of living out the one another commands of the Bible, and enjoying and serving through fellowship. This became a priority and was evident in how we spent the majority of our time and energy. Whether through intense games of Jenga, sharing testimonies and life stories, or through making and serving meals together, we operated as the body of Christ in much of the same way we try to live here state-side: in community.
Our dear friends joined in with our little “family,” and we continued to live out “new to La Vid” ways to love and serve their fellow students, co-workers, and family members. Our friends noted the impact of the time spent together, even sharing that they didn’t know each other well before our time with them. In reality, we had front-row seats to the Spirit of God working to unify the saints of La Vid over the course of 10 days. What we witnessed was these young people opening their lives up to one another.
Prayer Point 1:
We ask that you join us in our prayer for these saints, a prayer that Peter also prayed for us in 1 Peter 3:8. That we would “have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
Each day brought a new opportunity to share a way of living out the one-another commands of the Bible. Most of the students of La Vid work full-time jobs and commute into school on their days off or in between jobs. These students work hard and study not only to support themselves but also to help support and provide for their own families in some cases. As we prayed for the saints, we thought of ways we, as working adults in the states, would love and serve in our workplaces, homes, and classes.
Our exuberant and gospel-minded teammate Mel Holle led the charge one day to round up supplies so that she could, alongside Yuri and Gabriel, make treats for their co-workers. Our Dominican friends were skeptical at first of our American protein balls but were won over after finding that their co-workers loved them the next day at work and were disappointed that there were not enough for seconds. Yuri and Gabriel were excited and encouraged that this gave them an opportunity to love and serve their 40 co-workers and be able to engage in conversations about the Lord.
Prayer Point 2:
Please pray for our Dominican brothers and sisters as they continue to build relationships with their co-workers for the sake of the gospel. Galatians 5:13: “For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”
Another primary goal for our time was the equipping of the saints in sharing and teaching the truth of the Bible. Ed and I were able to spend time with a couple of the leaders of La Vid, helping them to examine the Scriptures, think through ways to share and teach them, and planning out Bible study times for the future. The financial support of our many friends and family members here made it possible to bring study bibles down for a few of the key leaders of La Vid, which we pray will help them in their understanding and knowledge of the Word of God.
Prayer Point 3:
Please be praying that with these new “swords” they’re able to deepen their relationship with Jesus and grow in their understanding of His truth. 2 Timothy 2:2: “And what you have hear from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
The Mission Continues
Our journey home from the Dominican did not mean that our mission was over. While waiting in Miami for our flight to Chicago, Mel was able to strike up a conversation with a man sitting next to her. I will note that the charging station seats are a hot commodity in the airports, and Wednesday, the Lord had a plan for a young man named Johnson. Johnson is a Haitian man who is living in a town outside of San Pedro, Dominican Republic working for a Christian ministry to serve underprivileged youth and orphans. He was in the United States to receive a month’s worth of training in New Jersey for ministry work. Johnson was a great encouragement. In him, we were able to meet and learn from a brother who truly desired to see God’s love and the gospel go forth in the Dominican Republic. We were able to give to him material from our time that would help to equip him in his work. I had realized just that morning that I still had many Spanish materials such as bibles, tracts, and training books leftover in my backpack.
Prayer Point 4:
Please be praying for Johnson as he is being trained for ministry in the United States. Also be praying for him to faithfully share the truth the Gospel.
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
I speak on behalf of our entire team, Shaly, Megan, Briana, Mel, Alicia, Tyler, Jordan, Ed, and myself, in thanking each of you who prayed and supported this trip. Without you, this wouldn’t have been possible. We know that God is working in the Dominican Republic, and we are beyond thankful and humbled to be a part of the work that He is doing. Thank you for allowing us to be extension of your desire to see the gospel go forth to the nations! We are trusting God to continue the work that He has begun (Philippians 1:6).
Prayer Point 5:
Please pray for us as we continue to seek to live for the Lord and honor Him in all we do. Also please pray for Alicia as she will continue to love and serve in the Dominican for a few more weeks.
I simply want to close this blog with this, our Great Commission as given to us by Jesus Himself, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
It’s an ongoing command that applies to wherever God has us in life. Let’s all be faithful to make disciples where God has us.