Llego La Luz

Frequent blackouts in the Dominican Republic plummet whole neighborhoods into darkness—blacker than a hundred midnights.* They light candles and continue their activities without a hiccup.  When the lights are suddenly restored, a joyous cry echoes from house to house. “Llego la luz!”  The light has come!

The Figueroa family represents a composite of many families in which the LIGHT has transformed their lives.  The three children attended a VBS class held by a mission team. They accepted Christ. A small candle of hope glimmered. A medical team met physical needs and counseled for spiritual needs. Mom glimpsed an answer to the darkness and chaos of their alcoholic family.

Other teams visited the Figueroa family and shared an evening meal and the love of Christ. Eventually, the children were sponsored through Samuel’s Fund. Teams shared groceries from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Mom accepted Christ. The LIGHT grew.

Dad continued to drink constantly. Teams and church members continue to visit. More discipleship. More VBS. The LIGHT could not be restrained. Hallelujah time! Dad accepts Christ. Mom and Dad’s marriage is restored.

Now the LIGHT is blazing out of that home and family into the entire neighborhood. “I want what you have,” neighbors and family declare. Eventually, other teams rebuild their home. Today, their family of five shares the LIGHT of the Gospel message into countless other homes.

How many teams invested in that family? How long did it take?  Possibly 8-9 teams, over a four-year period, plus the donations from many more, and the sponsors of the children. Is it worth it?  Wouldn’t the time be better spent sharing 500 tracts and testimonies door-to-door? Possibly. How much time and effort did Jesus invest during his short time on earth to disciple only 12?   They began a multiplication process that has extended throughout the world and continues into each of our lives.

This summer 22 churches and over 369 participants ministered in the Dominican Republic and in Costa Rica. 127 made a decision to open their hearts to the LIGHT! The teams also discipled, taught, and met many needs of children and families. With one heart they shared life-transforming LIGHT.

In Costa Rica, Kenedy/Kerrville teamed up to do maintenance at an orphanage in San Jose and then traveled into the interior to minister to Nicaraguan refugees trapped in desperate poverty.

In late June, Bear Creek team was joined by FBC San Antonio and FBC Kenedy. Their ministry activities included building on the Higuey orphanage, VBS, sports camp, a ladies Bible study, preaching and teaching.

University Baptist church flew into Santiago for the 5th year.  They built a playground for orphanage children and Trauma Competent Caregiving to the staff.

FBC Corpus Christi and Parkway Victoria joined together to bless the school at Guaricanos with bookshelves for the library and a VBS, in addition to a pastor’s conference, marriage seminar and youth activities.

WUBC-Crosspoint brought a record 60+ team members.  Construction on the orphanage and the home of a Samuel’s Fund child, sports camp, medical clinic and ESL and VBS classes kept them especially busy.

Crossroads Baptist teachers team held training workshops in La Romana, in addition to IBQ.  They overlapped with FBC Beeville, Emmanuel, and Bay City as they worked in Hatillo.

“Go into all the world,” commanded Jesus just before He returned to His Father.  Sharing the LIGHT of the Gospel is essential.  What about the rest of the commandment?  “Make disciples… teaching them to observe all things I have commanded.” Teams who return annually and continue to pour into Dominican and Costa Rican ministries can truly fulfill Jesus’ Kingdom-building commandment.

*James Weldon Johnson, poet