We finished up yesterday and are spending Sunday as a day of rest. We are joined by Ketley and Vidal, leaders in the church here and our host/contact people. This morning at breakfast, we had a chance to talk, and compare experiences. Each of us, as we looked back at the past seven days was struck by different aspects of God’s will. Fifty5five has visited the Dominican Republic three times. Each time we come, we minister to the same groups; young children’s program teachers, and the kids of the bateyes. Not the same people, but the same groups. I find it interesting that in looking at each of our “best moments” posts, one overriding “success” kept coming to the surface. Leaders from past visits and new leaders from this trip. It is amazing to see God working in these young people’s hearts and lives. I hope you enjoy these “best moments” posts.
It's always difficult to pick one favorite moment from a trip. I'll confess that I'm the one who always asks that question of the teams. So here goes...We handled this trip a little different than our normal teaching schedule (I use that term loosely). We opted to train in the morning and VBS in the afternoon. This allowed them to immediately practice what they had learned. A young man wandered into the training and VBS each day. It was obvious he was blind. He had no Cane or guide. His maneuvering skills were outstanding. Our training touches on the 5 senses as we teach but is heavy on visual and auditory. The kids were being tested on the 7 days of creation they had learned on their fingers. They were stumbling through the test. This young man raised his hand, maneuvered up front, and answered correctly. It was a special moment to witness how attentive he had been. His reduction in sight proved his heighten hearing and attentiveness. It was a blessing!
Sitting here at the computer, I am struggling to put together what I would consider to be my standout moment of the trip. So many individual things standout. The look on a young man’s face as I pull him aside to wash his feet. The expressions of shock and amazement as the “chopper” comes down on my arm as a substitutionary sacrifice. My overall feeling of peace from day one, and knowing I was supposed to be here. Watching the Holy Spirit work on adults that really don’t want to be worked on. These are just a few of the many noteworthy events that happened.
And then I realized that my standout moment wasn’t a moment. It is the people, and the lasting impact of Fifty5five in the hearts and on the minds of those we meet. It’s being greeted at the airport with hugs by three past teacher trainees. It’s Juandi, Estephan, Flor, and Leydi. All former trainees who have become leaders in their churches and their communities. It’s a young lady on the bus heading back to our home base following the final day of training who without direction or encouragement, stood up and told us of the impact we have had on her, and giving us her thanks for it. The interesting thing is, as my wife will testify, I am not a people person. And yet, the people forced their way into my heart in a way I will never forget.
I have been on numerous mission trips by the mercy of God and in all that time I have never experienced the gratitude of the teachers we had the privilege of ministering God’s love. Often, we received thanks from pastors and even children which was extremely gratifying in and of itself. But, to hear teachers express how their lives were impacted as teachers and in their personal lives crystalized the great commission giving it a vibrancy heretofore not personally experienced.
There are so many experiences. I don’t know where to start. The most meaningful experience is to was to see the transforming power of Jesus Christ through the teaching of Fifty5five. Yes, you were training teachers to do the work with the children, but the word of God and the way you model Jesus Christ to the teachers was a great example for them to live out into action the life of Jesus Christ to the children, and by doing that, they saw God’s transforming power through their lives. The teaching and the practice are great examples to leave out what they learned. So, many times, the mission of Fifty5five is to teach, but by giving us the opportunity to do both together, teaching and vbs made it great! I encourage you to continue to do so. For example, Jonah; a very shy young man, who the week before the training was so shy with the Word. But he needed to act on the truth that God has given us, a spirit of power. Thru the teaching, God showed himself and gave him the power and love and strength to him; that He is with him. And he was bold as ever!!
What a joy it is to serve the Lord in this ministry! One of the problems is trying to communicate with these people who don’t speak English. Better than that… to lead a class of wild ones that don’t understand what you’re trying to say. A young gentleman came to my rescue. Eleazar stepped forward. Gentle spirited but shy, he stepped forward and became my translator when Ketley was unavailable. Through him I was able to speak to the kids and bring order as well as talk to some of the youth. We became aware that as we taught about how to teach little kids, we were actually ministering to the youth at the same time! Some of them shared that their lives were changed from learning about forgiveness, and the calling the Lord was putting on their lives. As we taught about the various personalities, they discovered themselves and also some of those they were working with. They left knowing more about what the Lord had for them and it felt so good to know we had even a tiny part in that. They are the