Thursday, July 11, 2013

Final Team Update from Youth Camp

Well, we are all stateside now and I'm pretty sure we are all missing the DR and our AYC family, but I know we are all thankful for the time God let us spend with our Dominican brothers and sisters in Christ! Here is a final update from our last three days at Campemento Juvenil Sin Limites 2013! (And for those who don't know Spanish, that's Youth Camp "No Limits" 2013.) :)

The last three days at Youth Camp were wonderful. We heard some amazing teaching during the days, and some outstanding preaching at night. A handful of us caught a bug of some kind and had to miss a few of the services (me included!) but what we were a part of was spectacular.

Thursday we arrived at camp in Maimon.  The very first meal served was fried ham & cheese empanada's, which was one of the best meals served the entire time in the DR.  Service started sometime around 8:30pm that evening with a bang.  The Dominican's were definitely ready to worship.  Our choir sang it's first song in Spanish.  We Give You Glory or Te Doy Gloria.  Bro. Justin Reinking opened the camp meeting with a tremendous message titled 'Taste & See!'  The entire congregation responded to the Word of God and we experienced a wonderful altar service that evening.

This was during worship on Friday night. There is some Creole influence on the island because of the Haitians that have migrated over, and that cultural influence shows up in the way they worship. This is a Creole song about smashing the devil. The people LOVE this song.

One of the things that struck me was something Bro. Shirley said to us at the beginning of the trip. Dominican worship is much more demonstrative than what we see in the States. That can be intimidating at times but what Bro. Shirley said was wonderful. He said, "If you think about it, we praise God in the flesh. We have to." And it's so true. Our worship to God is done through our flesh, and it's okay if our culture influences how we worship.

I'm not usually a "shouter" but there was such a freedom to worship in these services. It was a liberating feeling knowing I could praise God right alongside people whose language I couldn't speak. We were worshipping the same God, and that's it's own language.

Bro. Wilhelm did a fabulous job in all of the services and Saturday night was no different. He had previously visited the DR, and knew Bro. Juan Bautista. They had preached together before, and they were a dynamic duo!

God really poured out his spirit during the last three days at Camp. As much as our team was a blessing to the church people there, the Dominican people were a blessing to us.

I was talking with one of our team members the night before we left, and she was telling me how she had felt at a loss the entire trip because she couldn't communicate with the people. In this last service, during altar call, I snapped a picture of her praying with one of the church ladies. It was such a powerful moment. She later told me it was at that moment that she felt the connection happen. She didn't know what the Dominican woman was saying, and vice versa, but they were both interceding for each other in a heavenly language.

Sunday morning we had one final service before leaving the camp. This one was different because the Youth President, Bro. Samuel, was preaching, and he didn't have an interpreter. One of our team members was interpreting in a microphone for our group, but it was very hard to hear if you weren't right in front of the speaker. Every once in awhile I would catch snippets of things being said.

Altar call was given, and people began to pray. God's presence swept into the tabernacle, and even though I had only caught bits and pieces of the sermon, I knew exactly what had been conveyed. I felt a breeze, and when I looked out the door it was pouring rain outside. It made me smile because my pastor preaches to us a lot about how the natural reflects the spiritual, in all aspects of life. And in that moment, as God was raining down showers on the outside, his spirit was raining down peace on our hearts in the tabernacle. It was the perfect way to end our stay in the Dominican Republic.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Team Update

Finally some time to update!

Day 3 - Sunday
In the morning we traveled to a small Haitian village on the outskirts of Santo Domingo. When we arrived, some of the church ladies had prepared lunch for us. Rice with beans, chicken, fresh pineapple and avocado. It was so good! The food here is very flavorful and full of spices. It isn't spicy or hot at all, just very good.

After lunch we split into two groups and went to pass out tracts. As we visited the houses near the church we also gave out tickets. Each house got one ticket. If they came to church and stayed through the service, we gave them a bag with rice, beans and oil. We had wonderful services there in the village with the local people.

One of our team members praying for a local woman.

Passing out the rice and beans.

One of the church services.

Our drive to the village took three hours. However, on the drive home there was some sort of incident and we were stuck in traffic for a considerable amount of time. The driving situation here still shocks me. It seems like it would be so dangerous but we haven't seen any wrecks!

Because of the hold up with the traffic, we got dinner when we made it back to Santo Domingo and went back to the hotel for some sleep.

Day 4 - Monday
Monday morning we loaded up and started the journey from Santo Domingo to Santiago. Along the way we stopped at a market to shop for souvenirs, and also at Los Tres Ojos natural limestone cave. It was BEAUTIFUL! It's a 50 foot limestone cave with three fingers or small caves off to each side. It was ridiculously humid down there but so pretty. 

After our visit to the caves we continued on to Santiago and checked into our hotel. At the beginning of the trip Bro. Wilhelm told us about "The 5 Finger Rule." He said if we saw him put his hand up and wiggle his fingers remember "We're not in America anymore!" As we were checking each room in, Sis. Reinking came down and held her hand up and said "Just remember...." as she wiggled her fingers.

The rooms were actually not that bad, but we were spoiled from the first hotel we stayed in. Nonetheless, we had beds, showers, and cold air (once it got going) so I wasn't going to complain!

That evening we had pizza brought in. We ate out on the hotel lawn and started to play games. Bro. Wilhelm told us we were going to have a quick devotional and then we could get back to our games. 

One of our team members, Josias, gave a great devotional about not letting things of the moment affect your long term attitude.

After he was finished Bro. Wilhelm started to lead us in prayer. God's presence swept over the lawn and our entire team was saturated with his glory. We had a powerful prayer meeting right there outside our hotel. God brought our hearts and minds together and prepared us for the next few days.

Day 5 - Tuesday
Tuesday morning after breakfast Sis. Reinking gave a great devotion about our paths in life. It perfectly mirrored what Josias had said, and even what some of the team members had been discussing. God is allowing some beautiful friendships to form during this time and we are being blessed by each other's testimonies.

After devotion we set off for the village of Barrio Balaguer. We visited the local Iglesia Pentecostal Unida and then split into groups to evangelize the area and pass out tracts.

This was probably my favorite day so far. The people here are SO friendly and most of them will invite you into their homes. We have quite a few Spanish speaking team members, so they were translating and communicating for us. As we went house to house, many people asked us to pray for them. We would join hands and pray peace over their homes, safety, health and anything else they asked us to pray about. One family in particular really touched me. It was a mother and teenage daughter. She graciously asked us into her home and we began to talk to her. She said she was a Christian but she wanted to be a better Christian. We began to pray with her and her daughter, and God swept into that tiny little house with dirt floors. The mother began to weep and shake. God was moving so powerfully over her. We prayed with them for awhile before we said goodbye. I just know God is going to lead her into the full truth!

After we had visited quite a few homes we met back at the church. A group of local ministers was with us and they began to sing and play drums as we all came back in. We had a fun time listening to them singing and playing. It was so cool! Their music is so lively and upbeat. It automatically makes you feel the joy of The Lord.

That evening we had another youth rally  in Santiago. One of our team members, Nick, preached a powerful message about the name of Jesus. 

God moved again in a supernatural way. I just know he's preparing us for the days we will be at the youth camp.

Day 6 - Wednesday
Wednesday was another fun day. We started off by traveling the coast of Puerto Plata to visit a 2500 foot mountain. We rode cable cars all the way to the top to explore.

It was an absolutely beautiful site seeing all of Puerto Plata and the Atlantic Ocean. Truly breathtaking.

I was pretty terrified when I saw the cables swaying back and forth and the cable cars zooming past, but it really wasn't scary at all. The cars only traveled about 7mph.

That afternoon we visited Cofresi Beach. It had been a long day for our team and seeing even more of God's beauty was relaxing and just what we needed. We walked around collecting sea shells and splashing our feet in the water, then went to eat at a WONDERFUL Mexican restaurant right on the beach. The food was delicious and the owners were gracious hosts to our big group. 

This was our view from dinner.

Today our team is traveling to the camp site for Youth Camp! I know God is going to work miracles, provide strength and healing and show us his power.

I'm ready for it!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quick Update

We have had some wonderful experiences in the last couple of days, there just hasn't been much time to update!

Today we visited a small village in Santiago (a 3 hour drive from Santo Domingo) and evangelized in the area around the Iglesia Pentecostal Unida (United Pentecostal Church). We passed out tracts, told people about Jesus, and even had some people ask us to pray for them in their homes. It was amazing!

Tonight we are going to another youth rally here in Santiago. Hopefully this evening I will be able to give a full update of what we've been doing the last few days!

Thank you for ALL your prayers. God is working in the DR and in the lives of the team members. It's mind blowing how God works things out!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 2

Today was amazing. It's hard to even put into words what I feel.

We started the day with breakfast, then made a trip to the Bible School where we had orientation with the host missionary Bro. Steve Shirley. We also practiced as a choir for service later in the evening.

At lunch we visited a Dominican restaurant and had our first taste of delicious Dominican food. They served us some fabulous roasted chicken, potato salad, cooked yucca (which is a root vegetable similar to potato), avocado, and then came the beans and rice. And then came more beans and rice. And then they threw in a side of beans and rice with our beans and rice. ;-)

Bro. Shirley told us that typically a man will eat a pound of rice at lunchtime. They eat one large meal for lunch and not a big dinner like we would in the states. Needless to say, we had leftovers.

We made a pit stop at a supermarket and then came back to the hotel to relax before the youth rally.

We got to church (which was in an un-airconditioned gym) and we were the first ones there. After about an hour people started pouring in and the place was packed! And can I just say, Dominicans know how to have church! Oh man. Worship went on for about two hours before Bro. Wilhelm ever took the pulpit to preach. And altar call lasted until about 11:30. We danced. We shouted. And we tore part of the Devil's kingdom down! Bro. Wilhelm preached "It Ain't Over...Until It's Over!" Bro. Bautista, a local pastor, interpreted for him, and they both were flowing in the Holy Ghost. 

 Ever seen a conga line at church? I have. :)


Ever seen an Apostolic mosh pit? I have. :)

Ever been so overwhelmed with exhaustion but so thoroughly pumped at the same time? I have. :)
Pretty sure I'm going to be sore in the morning but we had a powerful move of God!

Tomorrow we are traveling to a Haitian village to pass out tracts and invite people to church. We will be holding a service there in the village, and everyone that comes and stays for church will get a gift of rice, beans and oil. Keep us in your prayers!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 1

We made it safe and sound to the Dominican Republic! We landed around 9:30pm and drove to a mall where we stopped for dinner. The traffic was pretty crazy at times, with cars just coming across traffic without even stopping, but we made it safe and sound!

It really surprised me that everything was still open so late into the night. But I was just thankful for food! :)

We are going to get some much needed sleep, and tomorrow we will have a full day. Orientation, practicing at the bible school, and service tomorrow night with Bro. Wilhelm preaching.

Keep us in your prayers!

Beautiful waters as we took off from Miami. The sky was so clear you could see straight down!

Santo Domingo airport. 

Loading up all our stuff onto the busses.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Welcome to the official AYC Dominican Republic blog!  We are just over 24 hours from meeting in Miami to get our trip started.  We have 51 total going on this trip and are so excited about what God is going to do both through us and in us.

Please pray for the following:

  • Safe travel & no luggage issues
  • That we can be a blessing to our host missionaries (Bro & Sis Shirley)
  • That we can be a blessing to the people of the Dominican Republic
  • For strength for our entire team (mentally, physically, spiritually)
  • That God would bless our evangelism efforts
  • For countless souls to repent, be baptized and/or be filled with the Holy Ghost
  • That our entire DR team would be forever changed by this experience
Thank you General Youth Division and the Apostolic Youth Corps team for making this possible!!

We will update this page daily, or as wifi & time allows.

Continue to follow us on this blog, and also on Twitter.  @AYCDominican

God bless!