God is at work in the Dominican Republic. The gospel is changing lives, the church is reaching out, God is being glorified. As I have sought to share with and encourage the people of Santo Domingo, I have been encouraged, refreshed, sharpened, taught, and blessed in countless ways myself. On top of His usual tools, God has used some unexpected means to accomplish these things in my heart and mind over the last 8 days.
I have been so encouraged by how God is working in the hearts of the people of the Dominican Republic. I was surprised to see as many strong believers as I did in the Santa Rosa community. During our men’s Bible studies, I encountered at least 5 solid believers who were hungering and thirsting for God’s Word. The owner of the local hardware store, for example, was reading a thick Charles Spurgeon book as we arrived on our second day. Tony had given him this book to supplement his Bible study. It was also obvious that several other men were walking with the Lord and growing in their knowledge and understanding of Him.
Another gentleman, named Blaise, stood up after our first Bible study and confessed that he was struggling with unforgiveness toward a family member. Blaise’s uncle, a pastor, had hurt him badly and this was hindering his acceptance of the gospel. As he explained his situation, I could see that God was stirring in his heart. Ryan shared with him how he could forgive through God’s grace. The next day, the man looked and acted like a new person as he expressed his gratitude to the group for our willingness to share God’s truth with him.
God also used the people on our mission team to do a work in my life. I want to thank everyone from our team: Tony and Yanet, Jeff, Justin and Cammie, Tonia, Judd, Emily, Emily, Tommy, Ryan, Fernando and Esther, Osiris and Damaris. Every one of you encouraged, taught, and sharpened me this week by the grace of God. Thank you for your influence, your witness, and your hearts for evangelism.
I made some special friends while sharing the gospel this week. I had the privilege of sharing a lot of time with Fernando and Esther, who translated many words for me. This is a couple who are genuinely seeking and trusting in the Lord. I respect Fernando and Esther so much for what they are doing with the youth of their city and their commitment to serve God’s kingdom through translating. My favorite part of our in home visits was sitting back and watching you two share your faith. I love you guys and can’t wait to serve with you again.
Another blessing this week was sharing in service with some young people who are selfless and gospel minded. It was encouraging to hear Emily Lewis and Emily Outlaw, both teenagers, sharing their testimonies with strangers. It was also great to hear Judd Lewis, a senior in high school, preach the good news to large crowds with confidence. It’s great to see young people committed to God’s purposes.
Probably the greatest personal benefit of participating in a mission trip with intentional evangelism is, however, the number of times that you hear the gospel. I have spent the last 8 days preaching the gospel to others, but also to myself. One of the unfortunate consequences of living in a sinful world, is that we need to be reminded quite often about things that we should be treasuring. Oh the depth of the riches of God’s mercy and grace. My mind has been saturated in the gospel over the last week, I am a better for it. I am more appreciative and grateful for what Christ has done for, in, and through me.
I could go on and on, but I will close with this; God desires to use you for His glory. What is hindering you from sharing your faith? What is hindering you from going? It was good to see God working through the willingness of our team to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to see that gospel changing lives. It was also satisfying to see and feel God working in my life in a new and fresh way. I promise that you will be blessed if you make the sacrifice it takes to go on a short-term mission trip. If you want to know more about the trip and experience, just ask. Dios es bueno! Gloria a Dios! Dios te bendiga! Now, I need to learn a lot more Spanish before I return.
To God be the glory, forever!