So, I have not blogged very much on this site, but I wanted to chronicle some events and thoughts while I am in the Dominican Republic for the next couple of days. I am here with various people from various industries and ministries to do some visionary planning for how we can best take care of and equip the orphans in the DR and refugees from Haiti to be able to have the life skills they will need when they are no longer in the orphanage scenario (or no longer just a kid on the streets) and are forced to make it on their own. I have come to learn that the Dominican Republic is in the top 5 countries in the world for sex trafficking. With that being said, there is not much opportunity if they are not equipped not only with skills, but most importantly with the Gospel. I am working alongside Lifeline Children's Services with their ministry called (un)adopted. We are strategizing and vision casting for how God would have us to best serve this country and these people. While we are here, we are building relationships with local pastors and business people in order to have a ministry that is sustainable locally once we help to get it started and cast the vision.
Today we rode through one of the worst slums here, and you could just see the lack of hope on people's faces. When we came out of that slum, we visited a church service that was in progress just a half mile from there, and the difference in their faces was staggering! They were worshipping Jesus and their faces were full of hope. One of our group members, Siran Stacy, got up and proclaimed that we were here in the name of Jesus to proclaim hope to the hopeless. This was followed by resounding Halleleiugh's! These people really know what it means to have Jesus as your only hope. We, as Americans, have so many other things that we can place our hope in that takes the place of Jesus. It such a great reminder and foundational to see that He truly is all that we need to have great joy!
We must be very careful while we are here to not position ourselves as the hero. These people are used to having gringos come in and give them handouts and satisfy a temporary need and then leave. Our goal is to see internal transformation through the power of the Gospel so that their hope is in Him and not in Americans. The partnerships we are forming seek to make sure that happens.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day as we actually get out and mingle with some of the people in the slums and get to know them for the unique people that God created them to be. We want to help them to see the gifts God has given them and help to plant a vision in them to maximize that gift for His glory. We will seek to figure out how we can help them in doing that. I will keep you posted!
|Part of the slum we visited|