Every return home from the Dominican Republic comes with an amazement and immediate relief by the quality air-conditioning, the sudden plethora of English signs and directions, and the less-thought-of fact that we can flush toilet paper into the American toilets. We laugh lots from being overjoyed at the thought of returning to our family that awaits us at the airport, and some of us have a little heartache because we have lived life with others the previous week in a new way.
We drive home and sleep in our familiar beds and the next day we unpack, getting used to the free availability of clean ice water and American food, but we always end up thinking a little about the Dominican (and if we’re going back?). Several of us are “veterans”: a handful of us took a chance in the first year of 2015 to go to a place we had never been before, much less heard of. Challenges and blessings ushered us into signing up for another year, grabbing the hands of a few others to join us in our craziness! We’ve been thinking about going back once again, but it hardly ever really hits us that we’re traveling back to the Dominican Republic this June, 2017.
Are we ready?
Are we ever? (Answer: Probably not. Not really. Because God always surprises us in the best of ways!)
We’ve been meeting periodically over the past months to discuss the needs of the country’s people and what we intend to do and bring in order to bring the hope and light of the Gospel. We’ve taken a deep look into the eyes of old and young Haitian refugees and Dominicans alike. We’ve tasted the sugarcane from between our teeth and we’ve held the hands of the elderly who are not far from death. We’ve seen children without shoes and with big white smiles.
This year, we’re stepping up our game.
In all of our Focus Groups, we’re planning to target specific demographics to meet their needs and to share the Truth and joy of Christ that we know and adore! We may not know Spanish or any Haitian Creole, but we do have love and a heart willing to do just about anything.
We’re bringing kids all sorts of fun things–jump ropes, balls, coloring pages, face paint, and so much more! Our Children’s Group has skits written out specifically in order to entertain the children with our funny actions and attempts at acting, but also to show them that we care and that we love them, and more importantly, how God desires them and has a plan for their life!
Our Women’s Group is super excited! Last year we traveled to a village where we had all the women join us in the church, and they prayed like there was no tomorrow. They were so passionate and they hugged us and kissed us (you couldn’t always tell who was crying more…so much joy and praise!). We gave them feminine hygiene kits so they could be reminded that they had no reason to be ashamed or afraid, that they are loved! This year we plan to spend more time in prayer and meeting their needs. How often is it that these women get to be pampered?
For the men, we are thinking of creative ways for our guys to have them open up and talk and understand why we are also here. It’s not just so the white folks can come and take pictures and have a little vacation trip to feel good about themselves, but getting them to understand that there is no Mañana when it comes to accepting Jesus.
Each year, one of the biggest opportunities that each and everyone of us participate in is evangelism. We get to a village and often times we hear from our jubilant translators, “Okay! Go evangelize!”. This means getting into small groups with a translator each, and we journey across the villages, looking into shanties and encounter families (and chickens and dogs and people who think we’re crazy) and we get a chance to talk to them. Some of them invite us into their home and to sit and we’re welcomed with such a sweet hospitality! Others hide their faces from us or scoff. Each of us takes turns listening, praying, asking questions, more praying, and alternating between these things. There is great reward in evangelism, but also some sadness when many tell us they want to wait. This year we are preparing answers to their many questions and arguments, and we are readying up to meet lots of new people!
We’re also launching small groups! Modeled after our own local community groups, we are connecting with our contacts in the Dominican Republic to see if they would coach local groups in villages so that when we leave, they still have an ongoing group to learn and grow and connect.
Our goal through all of this–all of these meetings, all the preparation, all the communication between countries and through different languages, everything–it’s all so that one might know how loved they are by a really good Papa God.
We are returning to the Dominican Republic this June 2017!
We are in need of your prayer and help!! If you would be so kind as to pray over what your role in this trip and group could be, please ask God how you can be involved. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that we ourselves have to go, but we skip over the act of “sending”. We would love for you to watch us as we have updates on our adventure and as we prepare to travel, we would love your prayer and encouragement.
We are in a critical time, finishing up our funding process, and we are working hard to get everyone 100%+ funded and ready to go make Jesus known. Please pray with us to make God’s will clear and executed in His time and His way!
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!'” (Romans 10:15)
We are so blessed and God is too good!
(En El Nombre de Jesus, Amen.)