Our day started at 8:00 this morning. After we ate, we changed and went to a Bible study at one of the missionary’s homes with other missionaries and the volleyball team from Wheaton College. We discussed Luke chapters 11 and 12. If you are interested in hearing some of the topics we talked about, you can check out the podcast “Gringlish Fellowship” on iTunes. After Bible study, we attended a local church service. We worshipped with the Dominicans to the tune of some pretty lively music, including “Oceans” in Spanish. We participated in communion and attempted to understand the sermon spoken in Spanish.
We returned for lunch and were able to rest up for the big day ahead of us. We headed to Go Ministries Leadership Development Complex, which is about 15 minutes away from where we are staying. While driving there, we were able to see the community surrounding it. We passed a cigar factory, and learned that this region produces 75% of the world’s cigars and employs most of the city. We were also treated to a beautiful view of God’s green Earth. We saw mountains, palm trees, and plenty of sunshine.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by about a hundred kids, eager to play with us. We took out the sports equipment that we brought along with us, and dove in. Everywhere we looked, the kids were engaged and having a really good time. We played football, volleyball, soccer, had relay races, and even had a water balloon fight. One of the biggest challenges for our group was a language barrier. Although most of the group does not speak Spanish, we were still able to communicate through our sports and keep the kids involved. Despite our differences, we all had fun just the same.
After the kids took the bus home, Kyle and Brett took us on a tour of the facility. Currently the Leadership Development Complex is located on a 24-acre plot of land, and contains basketball courts, a baseball field, batting cages, and an educational facility used for English and Bible classes. They shared with us their vision for the next five years, which includes building four more baseball fields, a volleyball complex, another education building, a multipurpose facility, a cafeteria, soccer fields, a seminary building, and a missionary building.
The educational facilities will also someday serve as dorms, and will be able to house up to 48 students each. Brett and Kyle shared with us that some of their biggest challenges include funding and staffing enough coaches and teachers for the growing programs, but they are already doing amazing work for the kids in the community.
One cool thing about our hosts is their desire to show us as much of the community and the culture as possible. They brought us to an empanada restaurant, where we were able to try various types of the delicious Dominican dish. After dinner, we returned to our dorm for a time of debriefing and reflection. We discussed ways that we saw God’s influence today and moments that opened our eyes and stretched us out of our comfort zones.
We learned a lot today about the culture of the Dominican Republic and observed similarities in the way that people praise God all over the world. We were able to witness His love for the people during the church service and through the way that Go Ministries has been blessed to make an impact on the community here. One prayer request for today is to ask that Go Ministries continues to find funding and loving people to join their team and serve God.
From the Dominican with love,
Keon, Sally, and Joey