We have a little more than 24 hours before we start heading back home. I will not miss the roosters crowing all throughout the early morning, but I will miss the our time together as a team. Throughout the trip I’ve been able to observe student after student step out of their comfort zone and serve the Lord. I’ve seen students doubt their abilities to teach only to see them pray all the more for His strength and then hear them deliver a great message and come back and tell me they like to teach again. There have been a few students who have had to gather their composure before sharing their testimonies, stepped outside and prayed or had another student pray over them, come back into the church and share their story like they’ve shared it 100 times before. And to see the smile on their faces and our team come around them in support has been priceless. It’s a small glimpse into the working of the Spirit in their lives when we are serving in circumstances that create the opportunity to rely upon Him, more than ourselves.
There have also been some deep conversations. Conversations that just don’t happen in everyday life but the kind of talks that only happen when you trust someone to share what’s going on beneath the surface. Struggles have been shared, tears were shed, and relationships strengthen. I’ve seen, heard and have experience a number of deeper conversations taking place in our team. Some of the best ones I’ve seen have come during our quiet time. Twice on this trip we went to scenic locations and spent time in prayer, one on one with God. As I walked to find my own spot to pray, I could see our team having conversations with God. Many quietly journaling or prostrate in prayer. Others crying out to God over the rush of the river.
It has also been a blessing to see change taking place in the Dominicans as well. While we were here each team held three youth rallies in their communities. The youth don’t generally attend church so this is a huge deal. At the end of each rally we would break up into small groups, guys and girls, and ask questions. It has been encouraging to hear the level of engagement back from the Dominican teens and even seeing them in church the next day. I ask that you continue to pray for them, pray for the youth of El Montana and Buenos Aires. Pray for mentors and discipleship to take place. Pray for a strong teen leader in each community to lead and encourage the other youth.
Lastly I will leave you with some pictures from yesterday. We spent a good portion of the day at Los Calabaozos, a beautiful little town up the mountain tucked away near a river. As the team was spending some quiet time with the Lord, a student felt the Lord tugging on her heart. She shared her story with me and her desire to be baptized in the river. She then approached another student and in sharing with him was likewise led. It was moment of celebration with our team, no… our family… as brothers and sisters in Christ celebrated the baptism of Dara and Carter. I will miss the Dominican Republic that’s for sure, but I am looking forward to what God is stirring beneath the surface in the lives of our students and our leaders. Thank you all for your prayers!