My pastor in Auburn, Bro. Al Jackson, would often say, “There are only two things that are eternal: the Word of God and the souls of men.” We experienced this reality in a fresh way today as we encountered the people of the Santa Rosa community in the Dominican Republic.
We began our day with a great breakfast, followed by a devotional that served to put us in the right frame of mind for a long, but productive day of ministry. As we drove through the city of Santo Domingo, it is urbanized and seemingly wealthy in some areas, but in other areas, like the Santa Rosa community, shelter and food are the most valuable assets.
This is why I was greatly blessed as we pulled into the community to watch the homecoming of some of our team members who had ministered in this community in years past. Ladies and children ran up to our bus and had a long-overdue embrace with one another. Not even the language barrier could prevent affection and grace from being communicated between friends. It was such a blessing to realize that this community and its people have intentionally been targeted — not as a project — but as a place to serve and love in the name of Jesus. The people’s response to seeing our team members arrived testified to their faithful service and love in years past.
Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, we passed out tracts and testimonies, while looking for Gospel conversations whenever we had the chance. It was extremely refreshing to share the Gospel over and over again.
Then, this evening we went to a youth service that Fernando, one of the local pastors, has several times throughout the week. This is where we were blessed to see Heaven seeming to meet earth and the present almost fade into eternity. As we gathered with the youth, we began to sing to The Lord. The songs were familiar: “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” “How He Loves Us,” “Mighty to Save” and “Lord I Lift Your Name on High.” But as we sang in English and the students sang in Spanish it gave us such a wonderful glimpse of how we will spend eternity around the throne (see Revelation 7). God created our souls to be unified with Him and those who know Christ have an infinitely satisfying destination in Heaven.
Finally, I had the opportunity to preach to this same crowd of students. I preached out of John 3 about the necessary ingredients of the new birth: repentance and faith. This is a message that I adapted from one I preached to the Emmaus Student Ministry several months ago. However, it didn’t matter that I was preaching it to another group of students in a totally different country. The Word of God is universally applicable. It is relevant, sufficient, and of utmost importance for all peoples and cultures. I was so blessed to see these students challenged to live a life of repentance and faith from God’s Word.
Thank you again for all of your prayers. We are going strong, but today was hot and tiring. Please continue to pray for strength and awareness of opportunities for us. And also pray for openness from the people we are seeking.