How would you feel being bumped from coach to first class on your way to a third world country where you were going to engage in missions work? Well, that is what 4 of us experienced yesterday on our way to the Dominican Republic. While sitting there, I for one know I had mixed feelings. It was great to be on a four-hour plane ride in more luxurious seating with amazing legroom, but the amenities that come with first class made me feel uncomfortable. I had never before experienced first class, so being waited on hand and foot, having a warm, delicious meal on a plane, being offered a hot rag to wash with, a place mat and my own individual salt and peppershaker seemed extreme. It also seemed odd considering where were going and about to engage in. I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy the blessing of it all but I was amazed that this luxurious way of flying exists, it took me and Michael by surprise.
Our team here consists of two college students: Shannon McCaully and Shaq Hager, one college graduate looking towards next year where he will get his Masters in Social Work , a married young adult couple who are both in the secular professional world and myself. This team may seem small, but I know they are ready for some great things to go down! As we arrived yesterday we got the full description of what we will be doing and how we will be used here. Understand that in a Latin culture, things are always in flux but as of right now here is what we are going to be tasked with:
- Fixing a road so the summer teams can easily get to and from their build site as well as so people can get to their houses easier
- Going into public schools to share the Gospel-VBS style (This is a BIG deal and hasn’t really been done…so we are pumped)
- Hanging out in the Café in order to allow the local Dominicans to practice their English. We will promote this in the universities as well as possibly on a radio station! Our hope is to be used by the Spirit to share the Gospel, not by shoving it down their throats but by simply being available for conversation
- Playing baseball and basketball with the local teens in the area and giving them an opportunity to kick our butts at sports (because they are good!) as well as practice their English.
So far, we’ve been able to really get to know our site leaders: Rick and Tammie Romano (whom I’ve known) as well as the other team members: Brandon and Bethany Nutter as well as a 2 year couple named Terry and Matt from Oklahoma. Hearing their hearts for this Envision site as well as their passion to see this trip impact this corner of the world.
For me, the most amazing part of this Envision site is their passion to come along side the local church here and help them develop the best church for the Dominican that they can. To illustrate the need for this, last night Rick shared a story of the Elephant dancing with a mouse, where in when they danced together the elephant crushed the mouse. Rick then stated that many times local churches are the mouse and American missionaries are the elephants. His desire is to be mice hand in hand, which is exciting and necessary!
Today we had church on the beach and read through Matthew 5:13-16 Lectio Devina style, it was powerful and encouraging. Stay tuned as this week here our team will be sharing what’s been going on and how well God is using us to not only do the above task list but to also minister to the people here. My prayer is one of expectancy- that we will have expectant hearts to see captives set free, the broken healed and the lost found!