Tuesday, July 04, 2006

God blesses in Dominican Republic!

I am back after 2.5 weeks in the Dominican Republic. It was a great experience. Our group consisted of a dental team of 6, 2 physicians, 2 photographers, and 7 evangelists (one of which brought his wife and 2 boys). We arrived Friday afternoon June 9th, began preaching that night, and continued every night and Sabbath morning from then until June 24! A total of 18 Bible messages. Thankfully there was nothing planned for the speakers during the days, so we used every minute preparing for that night's sermon.

This is my church, Los Jardines del Norte SDA Church on Sabbath morning. It is one of over 300 SDA churches just in the city of Santo Domingo!

It holds about 100 people in the pews, and on many nights all seats were taken and there were people standing outside looking in the windows just to hear God's Word! "Cristo Viene" means "Christ is Coming."

The DR is a beautiful country (as seen from our hotel room), I just wish the people took better care of it and didnt litter!

These were urgent messages. Jesus is coming soon! Are you ready? I hope so friends =)

Every night somewhere in my sermon I would say, "If it is in the Bible...I believe it. If it is not in the Bible...I don't believe it." By the 2nd or 3rd time the people would finish the phrase when I started it. Near the end of the conference I didnt even have to be translated for them to answer, "I believe it" or "I dont believe it." This was important to show that everything I was preaching is straight out of the Holy Bible, not my opinion!

This is Carlos and Jose-Luis. The young people ran the meetings. Praise God for committed young people! This was my favorite part of the meetings (besides the sermon), these guys did scripture and prayer and then asked the audience questions about the previous night's message. Someone almost always got the right answer, which made me excited that they were paying attention!

After each meeting my translator Raphael and I would greet everyone as they leave. I really enjoyed that part, because I could get to know the people better. Sparkles in the ears (or anywhere else) is a dead giveaway for a non-Adventist. Too bad it is not that easy to tell in the U.S.

There was a good-bye party for the Pastor (he's becoming conference secretary) Saturday night. It was on the roof of the church! It was a perfect opportunity for me to say my good-byes too (and get photos).

Here is just a few of my new friends:
Mayeli, Nicolas, Vimary, Moises, and Nora.

See next blog for more...

Monday, July 03, 2006

God blesses in Dominican Republic #2!

Here is the non-youth that helped with the conference: Juana, Onyx, Pastor Mejia, another nice lady, me, Mrs. Mejia, Dorka, Raphael (my translator). Dorka made me the dress I am wearing. The people there are so giving!

This is the SDA restaurant next to the Conference office. "Raices" means "Roots," so they are calling people back to God's original diet! They had many Adventist and non-Adventist customers, and the food was so good and cheap!! The posters on the walls have one of the 8 laws of health on them: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, Trust in God (NEWSTART). What a great witnessing tool, we should have one in every city.

I made 3 calls for people to come forward to make a decision for Jesus. The first was on my bday when I preached on the "good news" of Christ's saving grace. What an awesome bday gift to have people accepting Jesus as their saviour. Then I made another call when speaking on baptism, and even though everything went wrong (late at night, and decision cards were a mess), about 10 precious souls still came forward for baptism! Praise the Lord! Then my last call was my very last night of preaching (Fri). I preached on the Holy Spirit's role and how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Since it was the last meeting, I decided to do another call for baptism, and this time the cards were ready to be distributed correctly. So at the end of the message the audience stood for prayer and I proceeded to ask them to respond to Jesus by coming forward for baptism into the remnant church of Revelation 12. No one came. Then I asked about rebaptism. No one came. Then I asked if anyone wanted special prayer for a specific sin they were struggling with. No one came. Without trying to sound too disappointed I had prayer and invited them all to church the following day. Then walked out to greet everyone as they left. I wanted to cry, but Raphael reminded me that it was okay that no one came forward, that we were doing God's awesome work and planting many seeds. Of course he was right! So I felt much better (I also had a couple people tell me they would've come forward, but didnt for various reasons). Sabbath service went well, but very long! I didnt even start preaching until after 12:30. So kept it short and sweet and to the point. A beautiful sermon on the promise of heaven. I told the people that I had no plans right now to return to the Dominican, so they had better be in heaven so we could see eachother again!

The perfect end to a powerful conference!!! Carmen, Julio, and Juan-Paulo were baptized Sabbath June 24th in the afternoon. It was an amazing experience to watch people that had come out to hear little ol' me preach God's Word make a lifelong (hopefully) commitment to Him. After the 3 were baptized the Pastor called for anyone else that wanted to be baptized...and they came! I dont know why they didnt come the night before, butPraise God they came! I was so excited! I took a picture of them. Most of the children are probably too young for baptism, but praise the Lord they want to follow Him. The Pastor called me up to say something to them, so I told them that they were making the best decision of their lives, one they would never regret! Even though I was leaving my heart is with them, and that the church members have the most important job of loving these people and helping them to keep growing toward Jesus. Then I had prayer for them and shook the hand of each one with an Amen or Gloria a Dios. The woman in white's husband does not want her to get baptized, so pray for her family, please.

This was one of the best days of my life! If you are a Christian, and you have never brought anyone to know Christ, I would ask, "why not?" Christ did everything for you, why don't you go out and share with others the love God has for them?