Changed for Good

Please pray for the impact to be no less, but more as we come home. Thank you to all who had a part of this mission journey. Our God is always good and always faithful.


Giving the Gospel

What a day! From the growing urban city to the rural poverty-stricken village, no matter where, these people need God, and the Lord gave us wonderful opportunites today to be His witnesses! Passing out tracts this morning was rewarding because the people actually wanted them and were reading them. We had very little rejection. Now, we pray for the Holy Spirit to use the Gospel to help these people see their need of Jesus.

     In the afternoon we rode to Los Olivares where the people came together in the village church for singing and drama. The seniors were blessed as much or more to hear the people sing to them as their singing to the people. Giving them much-needed items such as bags of food, toiletry items, flip-flops, and children's tract packets truly blessed us because we could tell that these people had only the dirty clothes they were wearing and hardly a roof over their heads. However, they still sang to Jesus, applauded, and were so appreciative of the students' music and drama. Again, Mr. Mac presented the Gospel, and we pray the Lord will use that to encourage believers and win the lost.

I didn't get to ask the students their thoughts on the day, and they have hit the sack early tonight due to a very early departure of 5 am tomorrow. This is their last day, and they get to spend it at the beach and whale watching. I believe they would all say that it will take days and weeks to fully tell you the impact of their week. Please keep praying! God is working in us and through us to accomplish His will, and we thank Him! May we not forget the reminder tonight that Christ must be seen in us before the world.


Door of Opportunity

In a few words, I'll say we've had a rewarding and tiring day. The Lord has opened a new door for SCORE, and we were able to visit Guayacanes Public School. Because we were so close to SCORE, we visited the school for the morning, went back to the Training Center for lunch, and then returned for the afternoon school. Between the morning and afternoon groups, the school has over 900 students, and the Lord gave us opportunity to sing with them, present a drama, play games, hand out tracts, and give the Gospel through Mr. Mac's presentation of God's Bridge to Eternal Life. Even though things were noisy at times with so many students, the experience was exciting and went well. Mr. Mac even noted that his audience was engaged and listened to the truth. We pray the Lord will use the tracts and Gospel presentation today as SCORE continues to minister at the school.

In devotions tonight a few students summarized their thoughts on their day. Zack noted that baseball is one language. When he ran out of words during the times he spoke to the young people of the school, he would talk about baseball players, sharing a common interest and language they understood. Another one of the guys noted how the students actually read the tracts, while another noticed that no matter where we are, the States or DR, people are generally the same. Each of the senior boys told of something they appreciated and noticed, and it was truly a blessing to hear their thoughts.

Tomorrow, after a visit to the straw market in the morning, we will hand out tracts in Santo Domingo and then visit a village in the afternoon to handout tracts, present our program, play with the children and accept whatever opportunity the Lord gives. Thank you in advance for your faithful prayers. God is good to give us such opportunities, and we pray that we will please Him in every way.


Spirit Lead

What an assuring reminder tonight from Nate, who arrived last night, that our God is sovereign! Yes, He rules over all; He is supreme, and He has been in control of every experience in our lives good or bad, beginning to end. Today was one of our favorites. Our hearts and stomachs gripped their seats, tugged hard and aching with compassion for the elderly. We just wanted to love them and make them better. In moments like these, the germs don't matter. God loves them and so must we! To touch them, to embrace them, to say the name of Jesus and watch their beaming smiles, to sing with them, to love their company is God in us! Sponsor Lydia Daniel said, "I treasured every minute. Verses came back and songs that I didn't know I remembered!"

The day could be described as eye-opening and growing for the seniors. How would they describe it? "We loved to hear the people sing to us at the nursing home!" "I love Rena (one well-known lady at Monte Cristi who no one forgets) because she loved our company, opened up to us so quickly and prayed with us."

If moms and dads could have seen these four boys take the initiative and leadership in singing to the elderly, they'd be so proud. Before Marla entered the area, the boys had already lead in songs. We are proud of their ministry today!

On our journeys today, the students visited a very poor village to give out tracks in addition to visiting the primitive nursing home facility. When walking into the village, Brooklyn was surprised to hear one mother ask her to take her child. Brooklyn seemed a little confused as if the mother meant permanently, and that could have been true. She did enjoy taking care of her sweet little girl while we walked around the village giving out tracts. Mr. Mac was encouraged at the receptive hearts. The people read the tracts, and the Lord even supplied someone to help him communicate with the people as he talked through God's Bridge to Eternal Life.

Even though I'm back-tracking, telling the day from end to beginning, it's all good because God used something of every part to speak to us in some way. The morning worship service was moving for Caleb as he enjoyed the youth directing the service. Who could deny the passion for God of those who sang with hearts in tune with God! Our hearts overflowed with them!

Last, I believe the beginning bears mentioning again. You see, the pastor who runs the nursing home facility -very unlike the States, primitive in every way -prayed for God to supply for them today. He prayed in faith, believing that God would supply. Why? He has experienced God's goodness, His provision and was assured of His control. The pastor told us that He knew God would supply but knew nothing of our coming with food and supplies. What a blessing for the class to see God at work, show His power, answer prayer and use us! We are starting to see students with a passion for the Lord's work.

Tomorrow will be a long day ministering to children at a school. Thank you for keeping the prayer chain strong! We see the results already.


Impacting

It's the moments when they open their hearts for you to see what God is doing that makes the journey worth every mile! In devotions tonight, the seniors told of what God is teaching them. Nearly everyone had something to say, even if it was admitting, "I am not thankful for what God has given me." "I have no reason to complain about anything." "I miss my parents, and I have realized how much I love them."

It was so touching and true to hear boys say, "These people really love us. They want to come see us. They want to hear our program." "They truly worship the Lord and mean what they sing." More or less..."I shouldn't look around for others to work for Christ but pray for the Lord to make it me."

Now, thirty minutes after devotions, they are ALL sitting around the table laughing their heads off and playing cards. These kids have painted together today, cleaned, played some real baseball, witnessed God's redemptive work in the lives of young ladies who have come to Christ from the streets and counted it a great joy to help them in a small way. We are enamored by God's work in the Lily House ministry, not to mention that their coffee and cake are pretty good too!

Tomorrow, we will be at the church here in Juan Dolio, then visit Jumbo in order to take food and supplies to Monte Cristi where the students will do their program in a nursing home. We continue to be blessed by your prayers, and the impact is real. Please keep praying for the present as well as the future. As was said tonight in devotions, "We don't want to get over the impact of this experience."

Only God knows the effects of one week and a five-hour flight, a large amount of financial support, two teachers working for months to prepare the group, a faithful teacher who organized the trip and two willing leaders who agreed to come just a couple of weeks before the trip. When it seemed as if things were falling apart and what may have been said to be the Devil's fight on every end, God proves to be at war on our behalf, breaking us and making things out of our control so He can receive the most glory. We may be the smallest group in a long time, but we would agree that "Little is much when God is in it!"


The Excitement Continues

All the way in the DR, our loyal Tarheel fans and even a few Duke ones circle the TV right now soaking in the game! But, it's nothing like the excitement of our day around Los Fundos. From packing food to spreading dirt for a drive, moving mortar for those laying cinder blocks, visiting homes and giving out food bags, to playing with the children, presenting a program, then to be a part of the entertainment of youth night, the day is not over.

You should have seen the group with all the teenagers who met tonight at the Juan Dolio Missionary Baptist Church Youth Night, running around on a scavenger hunt unlike any they have ever done or probably ever will do! From finding a stray animal for a picture, to turning a back flip in front of the Judes' house, to packing into a tree house for a picture, to going to the gas station and taking a leap-frog picture, to doing the chicken dance in the street, I could keep going, just like this long sentence!

God was good to give us so many opportunities to share His love today. The boys and girls were in their elements throughout the day, and they are still going. Well, not exactly, but they were "all in" today, even the Tarheel game now!

It was a pleasure for the class to give out the toiletries and children's packets that Cameron Frye, Landon Brady and Ben Wensil prepared. Even though the three were unable to make the trip, they took part in ministering to these people today, and we are grateful for their help.

Tomorrow should be an action-packed day too as the boys will spend time with the Dominicans on the baseball field, and the girls anticipate the Lily House of which they have heard about so much. Work projects such as painting will take the afternoon. Please keep praying for us. Your prayers are a blessing and so necessary. God is using you to accomplish His work, and we thank you!


We Made It!

At the end of this day, we can all say, "It's been good." Brooklyn loved her first experience flying; Taylor is enjoying SCORE Hotel; BreAnna is glad to be here; Sarah is getting extra rest this evening since she was really sick this morning but looking better this afternoon, and Ashley believes the warm weather is making her feel better already. What a day! Flights and getting through the airports were smooth sailing, but finding the right line to go through customs proved to be an interesting experience. Mr. Mac is still laughing and saying, "The man told me he was in charge, and he was obviously a Dominican. He kept sending us to the line for the Dominican people as if he couldn't tell that I'm not from here!"

Thankfully, the Lord gave a sweet young lady in the back of our line who could obviously tell that we were not natives and told us where to go. It was all good and made the journey a story for the day.

The Lord has been good, and in spite of being up all night, we have enjoyed a peaceful evening of pool, cards, a quick walk out to the beach and just enjoying each other. Marla and Donna have been making a plan to accommodate all the ministry suitcases for us to go through and prepare for tomorrow. Mr. Mac is taking it easy on the couch. He just said, "It's been a great day, and all is well! We made it!"

We look forward to a new day tomorrow to serve by distributing food to an established church, distributing at an emerging church plant, and the seniors will be ministering to children for the afternoon. Keep the prayers coming! We are thrilled to be here and to be used in a small way. May God teach us to love and serve with compassionate hearts.


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