Sunday 5-28-16: Yesterday we arrived in the Dominican Republic all safe and sound. The team arrived on various flights from various locations. Finally our whole team was together for the first time. The luggage all made it here to. Miracles still do happen!. We were greeted to warmth and humidity but also to the love of many of our Dominican friends with whom some of us have bonded in past trips. Today we went to the village of Los Montonnes to attend church. Pastor Dave was asked to preach. It was a wonderful time worshipping with these Dominicans and hearing them sing so heartily unto the Lord in their Spanish. After lunch we had a brief orientation about how the clinics will run over the next three days. Then we set up all the meds as well as prepare for the skit that is presented at the clinics. There was little free time for several of the team to go to the beach and then this evening we had a great time of worship and devotion. Tomorrow we are off to do what we came here for.
Monday 5-29-16: Monday. Today the team labored in a metal roof church building with the temps at 95 degrees and 76 percent humidity. We were in Valiente, a village some of us have been to before and where God is always working. We thought we would see a couple hundred people. We saw 109 people in the clinic. This was God’s design as the team got to get acclimated to the surroundings and now feel more comfortable. The good news is that 9 people gave their heart to Jesus. One of our new female doctors got to lead her first person (who happened to be her interpreter) to Christ. This brings great joy in heaven. The brief dip in the pool sure was refreshing when we got back and just before supper. We had another great time of worship in song, a time of testimonies, and then new Dr. Matt brought a brief devotional about the importance of evangelism. It’s been a good day.
Tuesday 5-31-16: Today we went back to Valiente to a different location but very near where we were yesterday. The short story is that we saw 118 people om very tight quarters for the size of our team and we saw 12 people profess to accept Jesus as Lord of their lives. In addition our two pastors were able to make some follow-up visits with people from the community who accepted Christ on previous visits. We were able to encourage them to keep walking the walk of faith as several of them are doing. Again it was very hot and humid for these northern hemisphere people But God was gracious in giving strength and stamina to get the work done. Tonight we had a wonderful time of worship with the signing being led by the talented members of our group. Another group of high schoolers from the Memphis TN area arrived today and joined us for SCORE night where local missionaries present the work that SCORE is doing. Our faithful brother and fellow Dominican missionary, Felix challenged our group from the Word of God.
Wednesday 6-1-16: Gautier was the town of service today. This is a very difficult town to reach, so we are told. But today God showed up and blessed beyond our imagination. We saw about 150 people after starting over an hour late due to nobody available to open up the community center we were to do the clinic in. While waiting for things to begin to happen, two young men began to engage us in conversation. After several minutes of sharing the Gospel with them they both accepted Christ as Savior. One of the young men was 30 years old and is a trainer in the Milwaukee Brewers baseball organization. The other young man, age 26, could speak fairly good English and it wasn’t long before he was helping to translate as the Gospel was presented to another man who then accepted the Lord. In all there were about 15 decisions for Christ. We are now praying that there will be some good discipleship classes held for these people. Tonight devotions were held for our group in which testimonies were shared and then our own Pastor Dave Rojas shared his testimony of his deliverance from a life a sin to serve the living Savior and then shared a brief devotional. Tomorrow we lose two of our team members who will be flying back home after serving so faithfully as well as 4 other friends who came with us to work at Emmanuel house in the deaf ministry.
Thursday 6-2-16: Today was pretty soggy as we tried to experience life in Colonial Santo Domingo. But everyone3 seemed to enjoy the experience and the food at a traditional Dominican restaurant in the Capital. On the way back to SCORE we stopped at OLE grocery store and bought several hundred dollars’ worth of food and diapers to take to Casa De Luz, an orphanage for handicapped children, many of whom were dropped off at the home by parents with only a name pinned to their clothing. What a blessing to hear our team singing and praising God while holding hands or bodies of these severely handicapped children. The team was really touched by these kids and the caregivers who are so faithful on meeting their needs. For supper we enjoyed and Argentine barbeque prepared and presented by the young Dominican pastors. The day ended once again with a time of worship, praise and challenge from God’s word.
Friday 6-3-14: The day started with the team going to the nursing home in Monte Cristy. Once again these special team members blessed the residents by massaging lotion into their skin and once again the residents blessed them by singing songs of praise to God in Creole and Spanish. With so many musically talented members of our team, it wasn’t long before the ukulele came out and worship songs were being sung as the residents smiled and clapped along. Then this afternoon we had our traditional ½ day off to go to the local resort and enjoy the beach, volleyball and delicious meal. Tonight we had our final devotional time together and reflected on highlights of the trip and spiritual lessons learned. It’s been a blessed day. Looking forward to heading home tomorrow.
Saturday 6-4-16: Today was a day for good byes. What a great time we had—serving, growing, laughing, sweating, sharing, etc. etc. Some of the folks took time to walk to Lily House and see what God is doing there in the home and training center where women are brought who have been rescued from sex trafficking. We had to say good bye at the Santo Domingo airport to our team member from Texas who went on a separate flight. Then at JFK we said good bye to four team members who stayed in Long Island. Last night we said good bye to one member who went to Costa Rica via Ft Lauderdale. Good byes are hard but then many are already planning when they can come back to serve again.
Summary—A total of about 377 people were treated for various ailments at the village clinics. We served 39 children at the handicapped orphanage, and another approximately 50 at the nursing home. There were 36 professions of faith in the villages. For this we celebrate God who is working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13