“I don’t want to go home. I’m just dismissing the service because I know that the people need to leave.” That’s how the pastor at one of the churches in the Dominican Republic addressed the congregation as he took the microphone after the mission team concluded their presentation. Delron’s team of nineteen Bible college students spent just over a week ministering in churches, schools, and open-air settings in and around the city of Santiago – a one-million-population intellectual, educational, cultural center, and industrial center of the Caribbean nation.
Their first experience of the week was the open-air ministry in the city park where passersby stopped to watch the skits and listen to the testimonies that the students shared. At the conclusion of the presentation, one Mexican team member stepped forward to give the final gospel message and extend an invitation for salvation and healing in Spanish. Almost every one of the crowd that had gathered responded and prayed the sinner’s prayer with him; most of them also asked the team members to pray with them for healing. After a quick stop at the mission base to regroup and package food bags, the team headed to a church in one of the needy areas of town for a food distribution and an evangelistic service. Clowns and puppets intrigued the children while the skits and testimonies captivated the adults. Again, the majority of those present responded to the altar call and prayed that their lives would truly be altered. As the guests left the church, we handed each person a free bag of food and each child a fistful of candy.
The morning of the second day of our mission to the Dominican people was focused on a children’s outreach that was held at the La Casa Grande – the mission base of our hosts, Tim and Trena Johnson. The Johnsons, Delron and Peggy’s long-time friends, have lived in the Dominican Republic for twenty-two years and have seen thousands of lives changed, scores of churches launched, and twenty-three church buildings erected as a result of their ministry there. One of their approaches has been to reach children with the gospel by inviting them to their compound on Saturdays for a time of fun and games followed by a presentation of the gospel. Many of the youngsters they have reached over the years are serving as pastors and in other roles of leadership in the community today. Our children’s outreach this time was one more opportunity to plant seeds of destiny in the hearts of the future leaders of the nation as they listened to the testimonies and teaching and politely accepted the bags of candy as they exited the compound. That evening, our team visited another area of town where we began by canvassing the neighborhood inviting the children to our meeting. Like the Pied Piper, we returned to the little church followed by a parade of the neighborhood children. Songs, dances, games, puppets, clowns, skits, and testimonies held the attention of not only the children but also the adults who crowded into the building. When we offered them an opportunity to receive Christ, hands went up all over the sanctuary. Again, the front of the church was filled with those who responded to the invitation for personal prayer and healing. [Read more…]