Dominican Republic Recap
Water. H20. Agua. Wasser. Voda. Eau.
Whatever language you use, and however you choose to say it: it’s a necessity for life. I’ve never realized until this week how much I take for granted the blessing of clean water.
This past week a team of 25 students and adults from the Student Ministry of First Baptist Opelika spent a week in the Dominican Republic. We went with two goals: to tell others about the love of Christ and to provide clean water for a remote community. Our hope was to meet the physical need of providing clean water so that we could meet the spiritual need of telling them about the love of Christ.
There are a little more than 150 people that live in Batey (prounuced buh-tay) San Rafael, DR. You won’t find it on a map. It’s so small and so remote that most people in the DR don’t even know it exists. But it’s an amazing place full of beautiful sons & daughters of the King. Seven years ago a pastor from about two hours away began traveling to Batey San Rafael. His name is Pastor Eddie. He’s been faithfully showing up week after week and teaching about the love of Christ. He’s raised up a younger pastor named Nathaniel who is now making multiple trips per week to the community. The gospel has taken root in Batey San Rafael because of the faithfulness of these two men. Our team went into Batey San Rafael each day as partners with Pastor Eddie & Pastor Nathaniel so they could receive the credit for the work we did, and Jesus receive the glory for it.
As a Student Minister my desire is to see our students not just talk about loving others, but to truly do it. To put action to their faith. That happened this week. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of students. It wasn’t the easiest of trips and yet they never once complained. They got up each morning with a smile on their face and a passion in their heart to make Jesus famous. I saw God use this group of teenagers to literally change everything for this community. It’s a great reminder that if we’re willing God can use us for His glory far more than we can ever imagine.
Here are some highlights of what took place during the week:
-We installed 28 water purification systems. One in each of the 27 homes in the village and one in the church. This is the first time Batey San Rafael has ever had access to clean water. This means: dirty water caused illnesses can be eliminated, wounds can be cleaned, a newborn baby can be bathed in clean water, children will no longer be sharing drinking water with animals, and the list goes on and on. Each of the water systems will produce clean water for 10-15 years.
-Our students led a VBS for the 30-50 kids in the village each day. We had a daily bible story, craft, music, and time of recreation. Each aspect of the VBS showed the kids that they were loved by Jesus.
-Our team went in to each home and prayed with the families. Our students took the lead on this and made sure that every home was prayed for.
-God used our group to energize and encourage Pastor Eddie & Pastor Nathaniel. During the final evening service Pastor Nathaniel was unable to speak at the end of the service because he was so emotional. These men have been faithfully teaching the Gospel for several years by themselves. This week was a major encouragement for them and a beautiful picture of the body of Christ building up and strengthening one another.
-We were able to give Pastor Nathaniel 25 Spanish bibles for the church. He was excited because the bibles will not only help his people know more about God, but also help children learn to read. Thanks to Alan Jones for providing those Bibles.
-We partnered with Praying Pelican Missions (prayingpelicanmissions.org) & Running Water Missions (runningwatermissions.com) during the week. Both organizations were great to work with.
I’m thankful to be a part of a church that believes in teenagers. This week was a prime example of how when given the opportunity students can make a tremendous impact on the Kingdom.
Grace & Peace,