Friday, October 14, 2011

Prayer Room

We now have our prayer room fully up and running.  Many people are spending time there and having encounters with the Lord- I want to share just one of those with you.

This story goes all the way back to the beginning of my time here last year.  I used to go weekly out to help in Cercadillo, a village outside of town.  I met a girl there named Ana, and we hit it off instantly.   I would look forward to seeing her and talking with her every week, and we had lots of good conversations about life and God.  My schedule changed and I no longer go to the village, so it had been around 4 months since I’d seen Ana.  I remembered that she is a student at the University near our Community Center, so I got her number and invited her to come by.  

A couple weeks ago she stopped by the Center for the first time.  I gave her a tour, and when we went in the prayer room she just stood there speechless for a while.  When she finally spoke, it was in a whisper, and she said she’d never felt that much peace anywhere on this earth before.  I could tell she was greatly impacted, and we spent a few moments there then she had to head to class.  The next week she stopped by again and we were just chatting in the main room.  After a few minutes, she asked me if we could go in the prayer room.  Note the fact that she invited me!  Once we got there she said her heart was pounding, and she felt God’s presence.  I asked her if I could pray for her, and she started opening up and shared a lot of things she needed prayer for, going pretty deep into some personal things.  I would pray, then after I was finished she would bring up something else and ask if I would mind praying for that too, and of course I didn’t mind!  After praying I asked if she was ready to accept the Lord into her life.  She hesitated, and said she’s been searching and is just about there, but not quite ready.  I’m not sure what she’s waiting for or what things are holding her back, but I’m praying God will continue to work on her heart.  Its obvious God is working!

This is just one of many stories that are taking place in the prayer room.  When people enter, even people who don’t know the Lord, they are awed and sense something there, a peace, God’s presence.   I know God is meeting with many people in that room, and it will continue to be a place where people connect with Him and get His heart for their campus, their country, and the world.

The interactive prayer room, with pics below of the walls

Thursday, September 1, 2011

English Class

     I just finished my first round of teaching English classes, and it was a success!  Back in June, Kirsten mentioned the idea of offering English classes at the Center, and asked me to head it up. It was a challenge and a little overwhelming starting out with nothing, but through prayer and God's leading I found a great curriculum, and now have a few months of experience under my belt.  Our students all want to take more classes, and have other people they want to bring as well!

Students role-playing a dialogue
     We offered a summer course for beginners, and had classes two nights a week. For this first sessions we had 8 students, and in the future are hoping to continue to grow. There was a lot of laughter and fun in each class as the students learned, and I felt so blessed to get to be part of it. I learned the trick of always ending with a game, and they really got into it.  One game we played was “Bingo” so they were practicing their English but having fun at the same time. The thought crossed my mind that in the states this game is stereotyped as more for the elderly crowd, but I didn't share that information with them:)

Students working
     One night after class I was talking with one of the students, who is juggling a family, a full time job, and classes. I could tell she was stressed and something was going on, so I asked her how she was doing. It turns out her 2 year old son was really sick, and she was feeling stressed, tired, and overwhelmed with everything. She began crying, and I asked if I could pray for her and for her son. We prayed and she was really grateful. The next week she came back with a smile and bright countenance, and told me the next day after I prayed things were so much better, and her son was better too! Moments like this are why we  are doing what we're doing. God can use even an English class to draw people to Him and show them He cares.
     At the end of September we are launching more classes and offering more levels. Two more people are going to teach as well, so its not just me, which is a blessing. I have a lot of work ahead of me the next few weeks as I train our new teachers, organize things, and as we try to advertise and register people. Its very normal here for people to skip the first week of classes then want to register late, which makes it very hard on us as we need to know what levels to offer at what times. If you could pray that all would go smoothly, God would bring who He wants, and work out all the scheduling, I would appreciate it!

Students pointing to the DR- so tiny!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Open Doors on Campus

We had a great thing happen yesterday here in the DR, and I wanted to share.  At the beginning of the week Rich was on campus and ran into a director for a kids' sports camp that is happening at the University here where we're doing ministry.  The man was talking about their camp, and randomly told Rich he should come preach one morning.  Keep in mind that this is NOT a church camp, and is taking place on a very secular university campus.  We have a YWAM team working with us right now, so Rich gave the time slot to them.  I also want to note that the gym we would be using is the same gym where we had a Repossess worship/prayer event at the beginning of this month.

Lots of kids, still waiting for more
I'm in the bright blue:)

There were around 60 or 70 kids, and several adult leaders present.  The YWAM team did some fun skits, songs, a dance, a Bible story, and a very impactful drama about how our sin seperates us from God, but He wins the battle and brings us back to Him.  At the end they asked if anyone had accepted Jesus into their hearts, and all the hands went up. Then they asked if there was anyone who wanted to accept Him, and all the hands went up again...this is pretty typical of kids!  So we prayed, then from there Rich got up and said that we'd like to pray for people if they had specific needs, so to please come forward if you wanted prayer.  Many kids came down, and several of the adult leaders!  We were gathererd in a big group, and just started praying.  Rich prayed with a couple people whose hearts were really open and were searching.  There was a woman who went off to the side and was just sobbing, so another girl and I went and just sat with her.  It ends up that her Dad is really sick, and she was just torn up over it all.  There were others, mostly adults,  with teary eyes, and you could tell God was really just touching people!

The director of the camp also appeared touched and teary-eyed, and was very appreciative of us coming. She asked us to come back next week, so Rich will probably get a team of our Dominican youth to come.
This is significant for a few reasons- I can't imagine it was coincidence that all this took place in the same gym where just a few weeks earlier many Christians came together and were crying out to God, worshipping Him, and asking for a move of His Spirit.  Its like this could happen because God had prepared the ground.  Also, this was in no way a religious camp or setting, and God totally opened the doors and opened people's hearts to be ready for it- He showed that He wants to meet people where they are.

We're giving God all the glory, and excited to be a part of what He is doing here in the DR!

Gym at UASD

Friday, June 10, 2011

Community Center!

A little over a month ago God provided a building right near campus for a community center!  This is something we've been praying about since I got here in September, so we are all very excited.  It happened in God's perfect timing, and is the perfect building and perfect location.  What a faithful God!

In the center we have a room set aside as our prayer room, which is by far my favorite room in the building.  We are working on getting it together with maps, scriptures, and other interactive ways for people to spend time in prayer there.  There is a large meeting room that will be used for fellowship, worship, small groups, etc, and also a large class room where a lot of learning will take place.  I will be teaching English classes there starting next month, and other Bible classes will eventually be taught.  There is also an office for Rich, a room that is being turned into a kitchen, and a bunk room.  I almost forgot the bathrooms- there are 3 including showers and everything!  God has blessed us far beyond what we were dreaming up, and has showed over and over His faithfulness in all this.

I hope to post a video soon so you all can see the center, but for now I have a few pictures that Mom took while she was here visiting.

Sweeping the main room

Painting the main room- looks so good!

Carlos and Mabel setting up bunk beds

In the main room set up perfectly for a small group!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

¿Tienes un minuto para Dios?

Last weekend I got to be a part of a neat outreach in a park here in the city.  Our youth group got t-shirts made that asked "Do you have a minute for God?" and "Can I pray for you?" (in Spanish of course).  We then went to a park, partnered up, and spent a couple hours just going around to different people asking if they had anything we could pray for.

It was amazing how people responded- they were very receptive, and the only ones who said no were because someone on our team had already gotten to them.  Even then some of them thought up other things we could pray for.  My partner and I got to pray with people for things ranging from financial need to arthritis and other health issues.

Near the end of the outreach one of the moms from church was there to pick up her daughter.  She is a neat woman and still pretty new in her faith.  I asked if she had prayed with anyone and she exclaimed that no, of course she hadn't!  She said she doesn't pray very well- I then told her I still have a hard time praying in Spanish and tried to encourage her that she could do it.  Right after that a man came up and wanted prayer, so I tried my best, but I had obviously missed some things so the woman from church jumped in and prayed up a storm!  I realized that if it takes me stumbling a little to enable someone else to step out, its worth it!

This outreach was a great experience for several reasons.  On our end, it opened our eyes to the fact that there are people all around who need a touch from the Lord, and we can easily be that if we are just willing and take the time.  For those we prayed for, it reminded them there is a God who loves them and at least directed their thoughts towards Him.  I'm praying that God would use all the seeds planted that day to draw people to Him.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

God has blessed me so much here in the DR, and I'm really enjoying life.  Each day I am reminded of His deep love for me and His presence with me wherever I go.  Here's a little update on a few of the things I've been doing:

The UASD (university)
We've had some good prayer times on campus with leaders from other Christian groups and are making more connections.  God is stirring up the Christian leaders there and bringing unity which is just what we've been praying for.
Each time I go to campus I am reminded of the thousands of students (literally over 100,000 students), and think of the verse in Matthew 9:37 when Jesus is talking to His disciples and says, "The harvest if plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers..."
My prayer is that God would raise up Dominican students to be missionaries on their own campus and that He would empower them through the Holy Spirit and give them boldness (Acts 4:29).  It is through them that the university can be effected for Christ, and in turn the country.

The village
Each week I get spend a couple days at Ina's house, a woman who has a ministry in one of the poorer villages outside the city.  I get to help her with projects and organization things around her house, and then we go spend the day in the village.  We do Bible study with the women and then they do sewing or other projects to earn an income.  They make neat bags, necklaces, rugs, etc.  I love going out there and being a part of what God is doing in the women and in the village.

Spanish Class
I'm enjoying my class much more than the last one, as I now have a professor who speaks clearly and who I can understand!  I have some fun Haitian friends in this class, and enjoy hanging out with them before/after class.  God has opened doors for some good conversations, and I'm praying that I can show them His love.  And of course I'm learning more Spanish each day.  Estoy aprendiendo mucho!

Since coming back after Christmas I have branched out in my means of transportation.  I now take the metro each week out to Ina's house (the village ministry).  I didn't know what to expect of a metro in this country, but was pleasantly surprised by its cleanliness and timely schedule.
Another change has been taking public cars home from school.  I was taking only taxis before as they are safer and easy, but am now saving lots of money and found an easy route home.  They pack up to 6 people in these little cars and it usually ends up being a very sweaty, somewhat exhausting ride.  Kirsten laughs at the thought of me packed in a car with a bunch of Dominicans, but I've decided its worth it, and keep my pepper spray on hand just in case!