Jacob Michelizzi writing from the Dominican Republic;
Hola! I’m beginning to miss the beautiful weather and landscape from southeast Minnesota, but it’s nice down here though. What a beautiful country and culture the Dominicans have! Hugs and laughter are commonplace, and everyone is quick to welcome you into their homes. At first it seemed odd that total strangers would not only be happy to see me come up to their home but also ask if I wanted coffee. The hospitality of the Dominicans is pretty astonishing. I’m truly going to miss all the warmth and personality of the DR.
Me and my team have been assigned to help missionaries Katie and Derek Allen in a small rural region named Corocito. They are working on planting a local church and we are helping them get everything set up by painting, cleaning and other tasks. The story of how they got the property where the new church building is located is heart warming to say the least. Derek and Katie had been working with children in the DR for many years and had been teaching them things such as aquaponics (growing plants with fish poo) and woodworking. For 10 years they were praying for a good location where they could not only plant a new church but also host their woodworking and aquaponics classes. Last year Derek was sharing their prayer with Totino, one of the Allen’s friends. Totino told Derek “Follow me” and brought him through a large property to a house for sale… with a larger building perfect for a church, a workshop and plenty of usable space for aquaponics. When Derek told us this story it brought tears to his eyes. I was deeply moved by this story and just how faithful God had been to the Allen’s. After hearing his story I was even more excited to help them. Also our team got to be apart of the first church service in Corocito! It was in the Allen’s house because the church building wasn’t quite ready, but it was a beautiful service nonetheless and we had a number of locals excited to be there as well.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights we’ve had rallies where we invited all the youth of Corocito to come to a field right next to the Allen’s new property to play games, worship God and share personal testimonies with them. Again I was surprised with how happy the Dominicans were just to come play sports with us. Despite the language barrier it was easy to make friends with them because of how welcoming they were.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this trip so far it’s that God is at work. I’ve seen blessing after blessing be poured out upon not just the Dominicans through this trip but also everyone on the team. I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say that I’ve felt God’s presence in almost every moment of the last 10 days. I look forward to the rest of the trip and seeing how God works through his people.