In our most recent edition of VisionTrust’s Transformed magazine, we introduced part one of our threefold strategy in defining and reaching our objectives as an organization. Part one is to reach the children who suffer the most. Our President & CEO, Matt Storer, wrote about Matthew 25:35-36, 40, which in summary discusses how Jesus will separate his children from the masses, and how caring for children who are hungry, thirsty and in need lives out the principle, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sister of mine, you did for me.”
Part of our desire to reach children means being committed to help those in the poorest conditions feel safe and loved. I recently had the immense privilege of spending time with a team in an area of great need in the Dominican Republic, located close to the Haitian boarder. I could tell that the locals in this area probably don’t seen many short-term teams, or many Americans for that matter.
We spent one evening at a church that’s relationally connected to our Learning Center. (The center is a place where kids come for food, tutoring, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.) On our way to the church we passed by streets filled with trash, homes with tin roofs, and colorful doors painted with pops of color. Once inside the church, faces of people filled with hope and a faith that could only be explained by lives filled with Jesus Christ greeted us warmly. They came up with hugs and prayers and genuinely loved that we were there. “Brothers and sisters from a far away land with commonality in Jesus,” they would say (my paraphrase).
The next day after the church service, we met up again with the local pastor, principal and teachers at the Learning Center. Seeing the children come to their morning and afternoon classes with smiles on their faces and cute little backpacks with action figures on them was so great. The kids were eager to learn, get food, and see their friends again. One afternoon I heard that one of the little boys who attends the program prayed for one of our team members. In the midst of his physical poverty, he was praying for us. Such grace! He was living out “Live For God and Love Others” right there in our midst.
I got to spend some more time with that boy the next morning. I asked him what he was working on, and he recited a speech he was going to give his class that afternoon. He did such a great job! His mom is also a cook at the Learning Center, so in the mornings he just hangs out until its his time to come to class (young kids in the morning, older kids in the afternoon). It was easy to spot the smile on his face and the love he had for Jesus.
Being around these sweet children, who are daily learning about Jesus is so encouraging. The Learning Center truly is a light in the community. During that week, our team got to exercise and live out caring for the least of these, and reaching an area with great need. In turn, I was also cared for, reminded of the Gospel and God’s great love for us all. Even though we reach the children that suffer the most, their joy because of Jesus Christ is evident. To Him be all the glory and honor!