DR 2019 – Day 4-7

I said I would write more about our time at the school and it has been a couple of days. I apologize for the distance between writings. Ministry has been busy and good. God has been at work this week and for that we continue to give Him the praise.

For those who are wondering about our dilemma with the bags, there is no new news. I wish we could report that we have them all, but sadly that has not happened, yet. Despite not having the majority of the donations we came with, God has supplied all that we needed for the week and has allowed us to pack many more bags of food than we expected to be able to do. Even in the uncertainty of this trial we can say God is good. We are, and will continue, to be trusting God in the situation. Your continued prayers are welcomed as well.

As for our time at the school, that has been a huge blessing to them and to us. We have had many experiences that would be hard to put into words. The children had 3 days experiencing and interacting with the armor of God. They had the chance to learn what it means to ¡vistete!, “suit up!” Being ready for the battle before us has been a good reminder to our team this week as well.

It’s great to see the kids and teachers learn, sing, interact, and connect with us despite the language barriers. They are people like us who are wanting to grow in education and in faith. What we did this week was good, but what happens all year at our school has such a lasting impact that cannot be quantified. On Tuesday, we had the chance to talk with some of our Alumni and share with them the ministry of distributing food in the Batey surrounding the school. It was humbling and amazing to see our former students reach out in the name of Jesus to the people around them.

There is much more that could be said about our ministry in the school; being able to serve in two new Batey’s that we have never been to, and many individual conversations and encounters. We will be sharing more from our time here in the coming weeks. Even so, I want to encourage you to ask questions with one of our team members. Get to hear their heart and experience some of the stories from them first hand. I truly believe every one of on the team has been impacted and changed as a result of our serving and being served.

God has been at work this week, but He is not done. He is not done in the US, the DR, or anywhere around the globe. He is not done in the lives of the people of Bateys 35, Las Cejas, 108, or Guazabel. He is not done in the lives of our neighbors, coworkers, relatives, friends, or even our enemies.  Sometimes it might be difficult to see, but our God is always at work and we just need to be open to what He is doing. Even more astounding to me is that God wants to us in His grand plan.

We came here in the name of Jesus to serve alongside our brothers and sisters. We will be coming home to serve alongside many of you. I have loved seeing God work this week, but I am even more excited for what God has in store for us all to come!

-Pastor Josh

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with wisdom through the psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”-Colossians 3:15-17


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DR 2019 – Day 3 & 4

I will start off by saying we have appreciated your prayers, and have certainly felt God’s hand guiding this week. For those who do not know, we have struggled to retrieve 21 bags of donations that we came to the country with. They were taken by customs at the airport when we arrived on Saturday and we do not know when or if we will get them back. It has been heartbreaking to struggle with the idea that we may not see those bags and the items in them again. We are not disappointed for us, but for the good those items could be doing for the people we interact with. Your prayers are definitely appreciated as we continue to put this entire situation in God’s hands.

However, this struggle has not hindered God continuing to work. On Monday we were able to present our message on the Armor of God to the Joe Hartman school. They loved seeing Damian in a roman soldier costume and were able to hear what it means to prepare ourselves to be in God’s army. We interacted over crayons, the playground and even a 5 of 5 students vs. Americanos basketball game. It was fun to play and interact with the students even though we didn’t speak the same language. Kids are kids, no matter where they are from.

Woody and myself share the gospel at a men’s and women’s group. As the week unfolds some things get lost in translation. What got lost that evening was the translator. It was a surprise to realize on the way to the church that we had forgot to bring one of our translators. Thankfully, Elza did a great job of taking our words and sharing them and it was great to be able to hear them sing and spend time with each other and God that night. Our opportunities to share God’s message with different groups of people throughout the week have been a huge blessing to me and I pray we have been able to be the hands of God’s blessing to His people as well.

We did spend some time at the Batey 35 school yesterday and had the opportunity to distribute a lot of food as well. I will share a bit more about that in the coming days. For now I want to challenge us with a piece of Pastor Woody’s message to us last night. Matthew 22:37-38 says, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Jesus teaches in Luke 10 that everyone is our neighbor. Friend, stranger, family, foreigner, enemy; they are all our neighbors. So, who is your neighbor this week? How are you being called to love your neighbor this week? We are all on mission, not just our team here in the DR this week. God is still up to something this week and I am just glad we can play a part!

-Pastor Josh

(If you would like a song to listen to today, try Brandon Heath’s “Give me your Eyes” or “Do something.”)


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DR 2019 – Day 2

What a day of Worship it was! This is my second trip to the DR and I am still amazed at what God can do, even when you don’t know the language. We attended two separate worship services today and I could truly feel the presence of God among the people we were with. There were very few words in the service that were spoken in English and most of them came from me.

At first thought, it would seem that we just sat there until the service was dismissed and were not able to connect to God. But despite the language barrier it was evident that the people around us were joyfully praising the same God we came here to serve.

So it was awesome to know that at the same time praises were being sung in Creole, praises were also being raised in many of our churches in English, and many other languages around the world. It reminds me that we are not alone. It reminds me that God came for all. He broke societal, economic, language, and any other barrier or category we tend to think can’t be broken. We are all a part of a global body of believers seek God’s guidance in what we do everyday.

So, as we step into our week tomorrow with both feet, we covet your prayers for our team, our ministry, the people we will come in contact with and also our families back home. As were reminded of the verse I shared yesterday from Proverbs 3:5-6, we are putting our Trust in Him today and for the rest of the week. I also trust that God has a plan for you this week as well. But for now, let us just pray for one another for the coming week.

-Pastor Josh

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”


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DR 2019 – Day 1

Day 1 is coming to a close in the DR. We are here, alive and well, and for that I give thanks to God. As you read that you may think, “oh what happened?!” To ease minds, all in all the trip was uneventful. It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful God’s creation is. It is hard to deny God’s amazing design when you get to see the waters, clouds and terrain from such a high vantage point. When I see how little the people are zoomed out, it reminds me how thankful I am that God works through little people like us in his grand design.
 
The interesting part of our trip came when we entered the DR and went through customs. Long story short our bags of things we donated have been taken into a further process of scrutiny by the authorities. We hope to have the bags early this week, and would appreciate your prayers as we rearrange some of our plans and prayers that we are able to distribute the things that many of you helped to collect and donate.
 
I don’t write this to cause fear or anger. For me it is a reminder of God’s sovereignty in all of our circumstances. We don’t completely know what God has in store for us the week, or even what He has planed for this bump in our plans. But I do know God is in control.
As God’s timing would have it, I shared this verse with the middle schoolers at Spring Grove just 2 days ago. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We don’t know what tomorrow brings here in the DR, but we are putting our trust in the Lord for what we do this week.
 
I would encourage and challenge you as we step out in faith this week, that you too can step out in faith wherever you are. God has great things in store this week for all of us. The question is, will you be a part?
 
In Christ,
Pastor Josh

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DR Mission Trip 2019

So it is that time again! I can’t believe it’s been a year since our team boarded a plane to partner in ministry with our Dominican Republic family, but as we all know time moves quickly. This post will be short, but I wanted to let you know where you can hear about our journey during the upcoming days.
 
Throughout our week in the DR, myself (along with help from our team) will be posting daily updates (internet provided) as we serve. My hope is that it is uplifting to follow our journey and pray along with us as experience what God has in store for us. Feel free to share this page with others so that they can follow along too. Also keep an eye on our CABC Facebook Page to see regular updates of pictures throughout the week.
 
My encouragement to you is also to serve God faithfully where you will be this week. Whether we are in the DR, US, or anywhere else around the world, let us put on the Armor of God and be fully prepared to do what we each have been called to do this week!
 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” – Ephesians 6:10
 
-Pastor Josh

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DR 18 – Day 5

Day 5 – February 28, 2018

Wow has a lot happened in the 4 days since we last posted. The internet was basically non-existent till this afternoon, so I do apologize for the tardiness of this update.  You heard from Mike about our experiences Tuesday, and I want to share some thoughts from our Wednesday adventures.

Our morning began, as each one has, with the greetings of many friends as we load up for the day’s work. We headed to our second day at the school at Batey 35. Today’s focus, as we continued our theme of light, was the salvation message. I will end with my thoughts on this lesson in a moment.

What amazes me is how much can be communicated despite significant languages barriers. We didn’t always understand the students, and I am sure they didn’t understand us as we tried at times to talk without a translator. Sometimes a translator would be called over, but communication did happen through patience and creativity. Even when we have a common language, I don’t think we listen like we have been forced to this week. I would encourage you to take the time to look people in the eyes and really listen and you go about your daily conversations and see how it might affect your interactions.

The afternoon brought an outdoor service in a nearby Batey in Guazabel. The whole community slowly gathered under the shade of large tree. One of the students that our group has connected with over the years, Johnny, brought his youth group to lead in song and once again we were blessed to have Pastor Gusmane give the message directly to the people in Creole. After the service we were able to hand out bags of food and a solar powered light to each family in the Batey. Before we had left a few of the lights were already staked into the ground ready to light a path once nighttime came.

Our evening ended in a Pizza Hut of all places (and yes it tasted the same, great!). Our ladies held an American Bridal Shower for a young lady set to be married on Saturday while we took the groom out for the evening. Both groups had a lot of fun, but enjoyed sharing advice about the ups and downs of marriage and were able to pray for their future together. I just met this couple on Sunday, but I am very excited to be a part of their big day this weekend.

My thoughts for all of us as I close this post are focused on the content of the lesson given throughout the day. We shared Monday that God created the light. Today we were reminded that Jesus came to bring light into our world of darkness. What darkness do you live in? What keeps you from the God who created you, loves you, died for you, and conquered death for you? There is no darkness that God’s love cannot make light again. Jesus said in John 8:12; “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Our life in Jesus starts with confessing, it continues with seeking the light, and it is sustained by the only one who can; Jesus. My encouragement tonight is to seek His light and His plan for you. If you haven’t chosen to believe in Jesus or say you have more questions about all of this, let’s talk. We are providing earthly things to the people of the DR this week, but our main goal is to provide what will never go away. So whether you are here in the DR, the USA, or anywhere else around the world, I would love to talk to you about the light in my life that has changed my life.

For tonight,

-Pastor Josh


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