Dear members of the VisionTrust family,
I would like to start this report giving thanks to the Lord for those of you who read last month report and took a time to pray for us. Thank you, the word of the Lord declares in Isaiah 60: 1-3, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
One of the most important events that occurred this month was related to the situation we faced in March in Herrera. We had a very important meeting the last Friday before Easter week with all the staff of the school. We spent several hours exercising forgiveness and sincerity among the staff. One of the things done was to sit each one at the center of the group, then each person had a paper with a few questions that everybody needed to answer about him/her (360 degree idea). The questions were about things we admire of that person, things we dislike, advices we would give, and if there was any problem between that person and I. The answers were collected and everybody had to sit on the “hot/center seat.” It was funny and serious at the same time. At the end a guest speaker, pastor friend of mine from a difference city, came to minister to us and it was really good. We ended with a good time of worship and prayer and of course everybody then had their 40 copies of answers about them. Very soon, small groups of 2 were forming to ask for forgiveness, clear things up and love on each other. It was good.
During the Easter week a team of guys went to the school and mounted about 150 small signs with bible verses, phrases of encouragement—special messages of living for God and loving others and the rules of the school. Praise be to the Lord, all of this has given good results and we are enjoying a time of peace, and love. We will continue to work on this, more meetings like this will take place and we will see more and more of the presence of the Lord taking full control of the space. Thanks for praying.
A very good indicator of what the Lord is doing is that one of our former students from Herrera, part of the first graduating class 4 years ago, Edward Lara de Leon came as a guest speaker to the chapel, amazing. This man was in our school for years, learning about Jesus for years with us, His father was killed in a fight and we all thought he was going to get wild, BUT the Lord had other plans. A few weeks after his graduation, we heard he was preaching on the streets of Herrera and becoming an evangelist. On many of his preaching times, he mention how at the school of Tatiana he learned all he knows about the Bible. Well, he came to preach and 7 of the students came forward to receive Jesus in their heart. The teacher Ivelise from 8th grade was already teaching special Bible lessons to that class, so it was a perfect combination. We are so happy to see Edward today and what he has become. Praise God! Also it is remarkable how the teachers and principles are witnessing a great change on the behavior of the students around all the programs. GOD IS AT WORK!!
Three of our programs were involved in some kind of an outreach to their community, sharing the gospel with children and adults around the program. They all report that it was a great time. I think this is a great progress, not only the students are maturing in their faith, but they are also interested in helping others meet Jesus.
The School for the Deaf also has very good news, the government already made official the construction of the brand new school. It should be ready in about a year. This is an amazing miracle that our government is going to build such a nice place for a ministry that just a few years ago didn’t have a place to meet the students. God is faithful.
The water plant in Cotui is up and running—Milagros can’t hide her excitement! This is a HUGE answer to a prayer, and we are sure this is going to transform the health of the children in the program and the entire community.
I can’t end this report without mentioning the wonderful experience it was to have our friends of the medical team here in the Dominican again. The programs they’ve visited are very thankful for all their help and all the donations they brought. The teaching on hand washing and hygiene, plus the children assessments were really appreciated. Thank you for coming.
Many of you heard me share on my story about my first days working for VisionTrust when I met a man by the name of Ricardo, who was a bad gang member and how his life was changed first by being allow to play basketball in the school, then his children were coming to our school. I had the opportunity to be with Ricardo a few days ago in his final hours of life at the hospital. I reminded him the day he made his decision for Christ and how he will be ok with Jesus in heaven. A few minutes later he was gone. A short battle with cancer ended his life of 34 years, but we are content to know he is with the Lord. The man who led the memorial in his house was another man who came to know Christ during those first years. His name is Domingo, who we know by the name of Carisia, today he is a pastor of a small church. With Ricardo being in heaven today, Carisias being a pastor and Edward being an evangelist and their testimony of how their life had been changed by Jesus and at some point because of the work VisionTrust in that community, my heart is full of joy.
In a few weeks the summer teams will come. We are excited for all the projects that will be blessed and all the teams are coming to do for the good of our children, the programs, the community and the country as a whole.
God Bless you and thanks for your prayers for me and my family!
Pablo Paulino (nelson)
Director, VisionTrust Dominicana