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


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


DR 18 – Day 4

Day 4 – February 27, 2018 By Mike Enslen

Hello CABC Family!  This has been quite a journey, and I am glad to be able to bring a blog update to you from the group.  Our Tuesday adventures began with packing the bus at Elza’s with food bags, clothing, and personal care items that we would be distributing at the Alta Gracia Batey.  Along the drive we came across a section of the road with sugar cane fields on both sides that were being actively harvested, with many men hard at work.  We stopped the bus and set up an area right there in the field to hand out clothing items to the men.  From what I am told, this is something that our groups have hoped to do but never had the right opportunity presented.  It was quite a sight to see, men leaving their work areas from all over the fields to come and see us.  We gave each of them a clothing item and a blessing and I saw many excited, thankful faces.  I believe this is what the ministry is all about – serving this population of people that work so hard for so little!

From there we went to Alta Gracia, and set up for clothing and food distribution inside their church.  There are some very sweet people that live in this Batey, and I had the opportunity to help some men find clothing and shoes that were desperately needed.  We also had many young kids come through and find clothes that suited them, as we had been blessed with so many donations of children’s clothing. (Thank you!)  As these families left they received a food package, and each individual was given a toothbrush and toothpaste.  Many connections were made here, and we prayed over the village as we returned back to Elza’s – this is something we do at the start and end of each day…sometimes it’s one of us, other times a translator or someone else working with the team, but always a blessing to see us all come before the Lord as one body!

Tuesday afternoon/evening was our beach excursion – a tradition for our groups that come to the DR, but a first for Me, Pastor Josh and Pastor Gusmane.  We enjoyed the water, had a meal, and saw a beautiful sunset.  The highlight of the evening was a birthday celebration for Polo, the administrator of our school at Batey 35.  It’s been an honor to meet and serve alongside Polo – he has such a heart for the kids, and works very hard on behalf of the mission.

I thank you for your continued prayers as we are getting close to the end of the week. (It’s Friday as I write this, as we have had WiFi issues and have been unable to make timely updates.)  It’s been a wonderful adventure so far, but we still have more to accomplish before we’re through!

-Mike Enslen


DR 18 – Day 2 & 3

It has been a whirlwind couple of days. Since I last wrote we have attended two worship services, packed hundreds of food bags, presented the message that “God Created Light” in our school, joined in two different parades, and had conversations with many, many brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a lot of good that can be said about the last two days, but I will just hit some highlights.
Yesterday was mostly spent in worship. We began our morning joining the small church of Las Cejas. This church is the witness of Jesus in a Batey (village) that desperately needs hope. Despite having very little, all involved had a deep love for their Savior and God. Pastor Gusmane was able to bring God’s word during the service in their own language of Creole. Despite not always knowing what was being said in word or song, it was clear they all had an excited hope that was contagious.
Last night we went to a truly unique service. (It is a service cherished by our returning team members, but definitely a first for me.) Our gracious host, Elza’s church was celebrating the conclusion of their yearly 40 days of prayer and teaching to prepare for God’s direction for the church in the coming year. We arrived in time to join the large parade that weaved all around the streets surrounding their church. Imagine being led through the streets by an 18-wheel trailer full of people and musical instruments worshiping God at a volume that no one could miss. Behind that were a lot of people of all ages joining in the song and dance as they went through their community. I have been told that they were doing this for 1-2 hours before we joined in for the last 30 minutes before the parade led us to the church. From there they took the service inside and continued with song, dance, prayer, and praise to God. I understood even less of this service than in Las Cejas, but it was clear here that they were committed as well.
Today our main task was to present the beginning of our Gospel message for the week at our school at Batey 35. CABC and many others have had a long-standing relationship with this school and it was such a joy to get to see it firsthand. We began at the beginning, in that God created light and created us. With the help of our great team of translators, we were able to lay the groundwork for Wednesday’s lesson on how we broke that light and connection to God and what Jesus did to restore it. Please pray for that important lesson to come in two days. After a downpour of water that necessitated our bus to help take some of the students home, we were blessed to be involved in an impromptu worship service on the bus. As a part of our lesson the students learned and sang “This Little Light of Mine” in Spanish. So, naturally the bus ride was a loud chorus of students singing that song and others along the way.
The time in worship yesterday, combined with the events of today is what I really want to share with you. After most of the students got off the bus we continued singing many song with our team of translators. Some in Spanish, some in English, and at times in both. It was through all these moments of worship that we all saw something profound. Mike Enslen said during this evening’s devotions that there is more that we have in common than we think. We didn’t always understand each other, but we were very aware that we are connected as brothers and sisters through Jesus.
The problems of the Dominican may not be the same as in our context in the United States. We are going to continue reaching out to some of those needs in the coming days. However the biggest problem is the same as anywhere else in our world; there are people who don’t know love of God. No program, no government, no person will be able to completely end the problems our world faces today. However, we do know and believe in the One who will one day return to make all things new. Again from our devos tonight, Mike reminded us we are one team. Not just the 8 of us on the DR mission team, not just those at CABC in the USA, but all of us as a body of Christ together in this world. There is much that divides us, but we are not and should not be alone. As I worship and serve Christ here this week my prayer is for you, my brother or sister reading this, as you serve alongside us where He has placed you this week.
Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)
“If you have nay encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
For tonight,
-Pastor Josh

(I will be updating tomorrow, provided the Wi-Fi holds up.)


DR 18 – Day 1

Day 1

We made it! We had a slight delay on boarding, lines getting off the plane, and a friendly exchange at customs, but otherwise a perfect flight. This was an experience to say the least, but we are officially here in Elza’s home in La Romana. Elza, for those who are not aware of our history here in the DR, is our gracious host and has had a long standing relationship with many individuals from our CABC family plus some. With some amazing, home cooked, food in our bellies we set straight to work unpacking and organizing for the busy week ahead of us.

My thoughts on the trip today come mostly from the journey here. This is my first overseas trip in over 10 years. I have forgotten the beauty that is God’s creation. Seeing the vast land and water while also flying up into the clouds is breathtaking. There is also the good reminder that we are such a small piece of our world. Not insignificant, but much smaller than that we make ourselves out to be sometimes. Our world is a vast place with many different cultures, customs, and languages. Just in the DR airport alone I heard Russian, French, Spanish, & English being spoken. (Or at least that’s what I thought I heard J).

Despite all those differences and the things that could and do keep us apart, I see hope in our world. I am a complete stranger to the people of La Romana but I have a connection with many here. Not because of my position, age, country of origin or anything else; but because of my relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am honored to have met a few of my brothers and sisters in Christ here today, and am even more excited to meet and serve alongside many more in the coming days. I will end my words tonight with a verse from our group devotional time. It’s a good reminder, whether in the DR, USA or anywhere else, that we need to do everything for God so that He gets the glory. We may be small, but His reach is global.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

-Pastor Josh

(And for the laugh of the night….yes, the Bible just said do, do!)


DR Mission Trip 18

Here it is. We have been planning this trip for months now and Saturday the plane takes off for the Dominican Republic. CABC has been involved with the DR and specifically with the School at Batey 35 for many years now, but this will my first time there and my first oversees mission trip.
So needless to say, there are nerves involved with going to an unknown place. Even in preparation to go, I am feeling the strain of leaving my family for 8 days (especially as my oldest is struggling with being without me for that long). Five out of our team of eight have been to the DR multiple times. I am one of the three newbies to the team this year and with that there is some trepidation, but also some excitement for the new experience.
My goal throughout this trip is to take pictures and write about our experience. For 8 days we will be in the mission field of the DR and I hope to give you a snapshot of the ministry we will be immersed in. Hopefully this will be informative, enjoyable, and inspiring as you continue to serve here at home. We all have a mission field right where God has placed us every day. Join us in letting Jesus’ light shine in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and in the DR.
Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Check back regularly for updates and feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested in following along with our journey.