Katie and I returned from 11 days in the Dominican Republic last Friday. We helped lead a team of 20 senior high students and recent graduates on a mission trip in the city of Moca. It was an incredible experience and I'll try to share some stories in the next few days.
For now, here's a quick wrap-up of our trip:
Our travel was fairly easy, at least as easy as taking a group of 25 to another country can be! We worked with a pastor in the city of Moca named Quena. She is a woman in her 60s and her husband runs a chicken and plantain farm outside the city. She has started 5 churches in towns outside of Moca and we worked in 3 of them - Guanabano, Hoya Grande and Naranjal.
We split our team up into 3 groups to do VBS at each of the churches Wednesday-Friday. Many children were presented with the Gospel. We have no way of knowing how many accepted Christ but we pray that the seeds planted will grown into lifelong relationships with Him.
Saturday we spent several hours at a park in Guanabano just striking up conversations with the people in the park and sharing our faith and praying for them. This was an incredible day to watch our students get out of their comfort zones (and sometimes reach a new comfort zone) so they could talk with complete strangers and eventually share their faith with them. We had 5 translators on hand and many students relied on their own Spanish to talk with people. They showed great obedience and compassion throughout the day.
Saturday night was what we are all calling Warrior Night. Sam Borg, our trip leader who has been visiting the DR for 15+ years, spoke to us about hating sin, embracing Jesus' Warrior Spirit and defeating Satan so we can have victory in our lives. It was a powerful night of gaining perspective and victory in our lives.
The victory we gained Saturday night carried over to Sunday morning and God graciously gave us a lot of fruit for our labor. A woman from the church in Guanabano was saved in the morning. In the afternoon the team split up again - this time for some to go pray with a very sick young man and the rest to intercede for him. After about 2 hours the teams reunited and we all rejoiced that the young man was healed and that he began a relationship with Jesus! In the evening after church we stopped at another man's house and prayed for him. He too accepted Jesus! It was an amazing day of victory for our team and those people who were born again.
Monday was a fun day at a water park. We were able to spend time with many of the church volunteers we worked with all week at VBS and in the park. We also visited Quena's farm. Satan attacked us with overwhelming fatigue that evening (we sort of expected it) but once again Jesus fought the battle for us and allowed us to have one more powerful evening of victory. Many students drove stakes in the ground and declared their desire to live radically for Christ.
Finally, we spent the last two days at a resort in the mountain village of Jarabacoa. It wasn't just two days of pleasure - we used this time to capture our experiences, listen for God's direction on our next steps and encourage each other.