Driven to Serve
THE question. You hear it all of the time. “Why do you go to the Dominican Republic? Last year, Jerry shared that he went because he had too. The writer of this week’s devotion, asked himself the question, “Why do I serve?” He wondered was because it made him look good? Because he would feel guilty if he didn’t? He then shared that one person told him God’s Spirit was compelling him to serve. Like Jerry. Compelled.
And then there is the example of service we have in Jesus. Read John 13:1-17. How does this example of service speak to you about your service on the mission trip? Are we compelled to follow this example? The writer asks us to consider the kind of tasks we might be asked to perform during the trip. Picking up trash around the camp. Cleaning up the bathrooms in the mission house. Little things. Not really what the trip is about. Or is it?
Pray for a spirit of servanthood. Pray that God prepare you to first see then act on whatever opportunities there are. Also, be in prayer this week for all of those people in the Dominican Republic whose lives have been so disrupted by the devastating storms in November ad December. Pray for David, William, Alberto and Jean Paulite as they minister to the churches and families there.
Welcome to the 2011 Onalaska Church of Christ Dominican Republic Missions Ministry web log. This site is to keep you informed about our mission, preparations for our trips and communications with the missionaries in the Dominican Republic.
viajar - Servir - madurar
to go - To Serve - to grow
Levante las Velas y Adelante al Horizonte (LLV y AAH)
Hoist the Sails and Onward to the Horizon
Blog updated March 5, 2011
The OCC - DR blog is being updated to provide information about the 2011 trip and the planned visit to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2012
Accounts from our activities on Thursday, February 17 are now posted.
This Welcome section and the Current News section that follow have their permanent homes here at the top of the blog. Starting with this update, posts will follow in order written immediately below the Current News. This means that all posts will be available in this window or through the archive list that can be accessed in the Blog Archive menu at the bottom of the right hand side bar.
What time is it in the DR?
The team for the 2011 visit occurred between February 16 and February 22. Reports are being provided in new posts, one post for each day of the trip. We will soon be making plans for our next visit to the Dominican Republic, tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2012.
Driven to Serve
The God of Peace
When you anticipate the trip to the Dominican Republic in March, would you say feel a peace about your decision to go? Your preparation? Do you have any anxieties about what might happen on the trip itself? Experience has certainly shown us that a mission trip will not be without its challenges. I can tell you that there have been difficult times for me in the last two trips.
Read Philippians 4:6, 7. Verse 6 suggests that we talk to God. Perhaps we bring to him things we are anxious about. Or perhaps we talk to him so that we will not become anxious about upcoming challenges. 1Peter 5:7 puts it this way, “Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” As a result, we are told in verse 7 that “The God of peace will guard your hearts and your minds.”
What will God do with our anxieties? He might let us know that he is in control, giving us a peace during a time of tension, that “peace that passes all understanding.” But he may also send a teammate to counsel or comfort us, so be ready! Some memorable “anxious” times that I have experienced provided others to step up and shoulder some of the burdens I felt at the time.
Let’s prepare our hearts now for the ways that God will use us to spread his peace during our time in the Dominican Republic.
Offer Hebrews 13:20, 21 as a prayer for yourself.
Pray for Gracesqui and Ramona. These servants radiate God’s peace as they minister to the people in the mountain community. They have little in the way of material goods, but never stop giving. Pray that their example continues to make a difference to the people they shepherd.
Read 1 Peter 1:17. What does it mean to live in “reverent fear” of God and in reverence for the mission of his kingdom? Can an attitude of reverence make a difference in our work for the mission in the Dominican Republic?
The lesson this week suggests this for understanding and practicing reverence: Be still and listen. Find a time when you can be alone with the word and read Psalm 23. This beautiful chapter tells us in several ways that God is in control in all circumstances. Prepare now for quiet times on the trip. Bring a devotional, develop a scripture reading plan, make a prayer list. Whatever will help you maintain that feeling of reverence.
Ask God to prepare our hearts for times on the trip when we will be still and wait and for those times that we will sit and listen to those who have something to teach us.
Pray for Karen and Sandi as they prepare the December 20 meeting. And pray for the March group as we listen and learn from their leading.
Be Strong in the Lord
Does our trip coming up in March seem like a daunting task? Is getting ready for it a challenge? Read the first chapter of Joshua. How many times is Joshua told to be strong? Joshua was being prepared to fight some pretty big battles. Can you imagine him saying to God, “You want me to do WHAT?”
Now, look back at Joshua 1:6-9. What does this say about being strong in the Lord? The answer: be grounded in the truth of his word. It doesn’t matter that we anticipate what specific obstacles we might encounter in our preparation or our trip. What matters is that we prepared, rigidly flexible if needs be.
The lesson writer for this devotion reminds us that being strong requires that we be well-dressed as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. Read these verses; what is the only offensive weapon in the outfit? What does it represent? How will this help us be strong during our trip.
Ask God to clothe us in his strength for the work ahead.
Pray for William and Jackeline and their work in Puerto Plata. Churches are being planted in communities where there had been none. William has stepped out in faith to use the experience he has gained through working with David. Pray that he continues to find strength in the Lord for building churches while he also fills the roll as preacher and mentor to the young congregations and pastors. This all while taking care of his family in their new home as well.
Submission to God
The lesson writer for this devotion described submit as one of the “dirtiest words in the English language.” He says “It has been known to offend, incite and anger.” Later, he tells of a question on an application for a short term mission team where people providing references for the applicant were asked about submissiveness. The response on one form was, “Your term submissive is misleading and inappropriate for a functional, capable individual.” What do you think of when you hear the word submit?
Read James 4:7-10, Hebrews 13:7, Romans 13:1-5 and Ephesians 5:21. What do these say about submission? Write down a list of ways in which we can DEMONSTRATE the various aspects of submission while we are preparing for the trip, while we are in the Dominican Republic and after we return.
Pray that we can be more like Jesus, who demonstrated submission. Pray that in difficult situations we would say “not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). And pray that we understand and accept our roles on the team as we support the work of the missionaries and pastors whom we will visit.
Pray for Juan de Leon and the Cienfuegos church. This is one of the strong local churches in Santiago and Juan and his sons have been instrumental in establishing other churches in the area.
Can you feel the anticipation? The March group is leaving in just 16 weeks. There are only three more meetings between now and our departure date. Are we ready? Not packed-ready, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready? Just as it takes time and effort to prepare logistically, we need to invest in ourselves individually and as a team to be ready for our time in the mission field.
This is the first of 15 weekly studies based loosely on a series in a booklet I found at the National Missionary Convention. I will email each study and post it the DR Team Blog. The purpose of these studies is to provide spiritual focus and to heighten our sense of anticipation for the work ahead.
#1 Solid Foundation
Most of us in the March group are veterans of short term trips. We know what to expect because we have been before. We have that foundation to build on. If you have gone several times, you might see that you have looked at each trip differently and that is probably a good thing.
Read Matthew 7:24-27. What is the rock? What are we to do?
With respect to our mission, God has called us to go, to serve and to grow. As he already has, he will continue to open doors, expose us to opportunities. We will not be able to plan specifically for many of these. We need to have a solid foundation so that when the time comes we do the right thing in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
Pray about God’s plans for you on this trip and ask him to help you put into practice the things he is teaching you.
This week, pray for David and Virginia. Their long service in the Dominican Republic has built a foundation for churches there and provided us a place to serve.