Ethan C., the mission’s pastor at Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands, TX, shares with us his insights from his most recent trip to the Dominican Republic.
Breathing life into the dead.
That was the thought I had last Saturday as I was pumping up basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs with air in the rural village of Cotui in the Dominican Republic. My efforts to help started off humbly with a desire to help inflate the two soccer balls our team brought from Texas for the kids of Cotui. But when I looked up three little boys were standing in front of me with old, tattered balls that needed air. I filled them both up. Within five minutes I was surrounded by about a dozen children who all had flat balls they wanted me to inflate for them!
As the kids took their newly resurrected balls to the basketball court I realized this was a great image for the work our Church has been involved with here in Cotui. Our Church (Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands, TX) has been in a partnership with VisionTrust Dominicana for around 15 years. We sent teams to Hererra for several years to help with Tia Tatiana’s School there, but in 2008 we began to send our teams to Cotui. There was a lady in Cotui who was working with 15 kids. She was teaching them to read and write under the tree by her home. Her name is Milagros. Today as I stand under the roof of the newly constructed Community Center and hear some of the stories of the 350 children who are now in Milagros’ program, I am reminded of how Jesus breathes life into places that are dead.
I first came to Cotui in 2012. When I asked one of the teachers in Cotui, named Lydia, to describe for me the differences she had seen in the community and in the children from 2008 to 2012, she was at a loss for words. Instead of describing each of the changes or some of the major changes, she simply said, “Es como del cielo a la tierra.” When literally translated this means, “It is the difference between heaven and earth.” Americans would be more familiar with the saying, “It is the difference between night and day!” It is truly a dramatic change.
Jesus brings life. Just as the pump I was using was breathing life into those flat soccer balls and basketballs, Jesus has been breathing His life into the community of Cotui through His Spirit. He is using Milagros and her team of teachers and staff; He is using VisionTrust Doninicana; and He is using Churches in the U.S. who partner with VisionTrust in communities like Cotui, Herrera, Altagracia, and Sabana Perdida.
All praise and glory to Him for what He is doing in these communities. It is truly humbling to think that He has allowed our Church family to play a small role in what He is doing. I pray your Church will prayerfully consider how God might use you to join Vision Trust Doninicana and bring the life of Jesus to a community here.