A group of second-year Charis Bible College students, including student teams from across the US, the UK, and Kenya spent the first week of December in the Dominican Republic. The group, led by CBC instructor, Dr. Delron Shirley, was hosted by full-time missionaries, Tim and Trena Johnson, at the Casa Grande Centro de Misiones Internacional mission compound in Santiago.
The schedule for the week was packed with hands-on ministry opportunities including a children’s crusade, a visit to a feeding center where the team helped serve lunch to the children in an impoverished community, and a pastors’ and leaders' conference. The students took the lead in each event performing puppet shows, original student-written dramas, sharing testimonies, preaching, and praying for those who responded to the end-of-service altar calls. Although none of the student-missionaries spoke Spanish and most of them had no previous experience working with an interpreter, they had no problem communicating the love of God and the almost-too-good-to-be-true-news of the gospel with the audiences.
The bond of love between the students and the people was clearly visible and was particularly noticeable at the kids' crusade where the children’s bright faces enthusiastically displayed their joy during the student performances. Their enthusiasm could also be seen as the CBC students prayed for the children and handed out candy as they left the meetings.
Each outreach was highlighted with salvations, and the manifest power of God through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even on the team's free day, when the students took a break to explore their surroundings, they made time to share the gospel with the local vendors leading at least one to Christ.
During one morning outreach, the team performed their skits and Tim Johnson preached a wonderful message to the people in the park. More than 20 people, mostly young men, received Jesus. At the conclusion of the morning's event, the Holy Spirit drew one CBC-Colorado student, Leesa Hamilton's, attention to a scantily clad young woman. Leesa noticed the young twenty-something as she stood off in the distance, scowling as she watched the ministry taking place. "I felt the compassion of Christ for this girl. I knew that prostitution was a great source of trade in that city, and that she was dressed like someone in that profession," recalled Leesa. With her heart and eyes set on the young woman, Leesa approached. She wrapped her arms around her and felt the woman stiffen up. Leesa maintained the embrace, and she could feel the love of God flowing out of her right into the young woman's heart. "I felt her body begin to relax and receive. When I finally let her go, I looked into her face and smiled at her, and she smiled back at me," said Leesa. Although she admitted she doesn’t know what God said to her through their embrace, Leesa knew for sure that God had touched the young woman. "I knew He was telling her just what she needed to hear, Leesa said confidently.
Clearly, based on Leesa's fond memory, the heart changes realized during this CBC second-year mission trip weren't limited to the Dominicans. Some of the team members testified that they had received divine directions for their future ministries and even the call to missionary work during this trip.