Whenever the topic of foreign missions came up when Wes Ray was just a boy, he would bristle and dismiss the conversation, declaring, "I'm not called to that." His comments would distance himself from the discussion, and he would go on about his business. This seemed to be an acceptable teenage declaration, as not everyone is called to serve in a foreign land. It remained acceptable until the Lord asked Wes one simple question... Why are you limiting me?
"When I was 15, I heard the Lord ask me, 'Wes, why are you limiting me?'" Stunned by the question, and the realization he was somehow hindering God, Wes apologized to the Lord, and rethought his position on missions. A short time later, he traded the comfort of his family's home in California for a taste of life on the mission field in the Dominican Republic—a place he has now been visiting for a decade.
Wes had only been involved in church a short time, but it was there that he was introduced to Andrew's teaching. When the Lord got a hold of Wes he began to have an unquenchable desire to know Him more. Wes' desire prompted him to ask his pastor if there were additional teachers he would recommend. His pastor told Wes about Andrew and gave him Andrew's teaching, Sovereignty of God.
The teaching made an impact in Wes' life and he continued to listen to Andrew's material through high school. During that time, Wes deepened his involvement in the Dominican by continuing to work with an organization called Grace Covenant and DR Missions. Each summer, Wes spent several weeks on the ground in San Cristobal.
As high school drew to a close, and Wes explored his college options, he knew in his heart he would flourish at Charis Bible College in Colorado. The time spent in preparation at CBC could only further his ministry to the people of the Dominican. So at 18, fresh out of high school, he enrolled in classes at CBC. His first summer out of high school was hectic. He had two weeks after his graduation to prepare for a six-week trip to the Dominican, and then he was home for three weeks before moving out on his own. Wes' transition to Colorado went smoothly, considering he moved to a new state, into an apartment he had never seen, to go to a school he had never visited. That summer was "a rollercoaster of excitement for sure," Wes shared.
After graduating from CBC, Wes' perspective on the Bible, the natural realm and his relationship with God had all matured, and he began to walk with a confidence that could only be attributed to the revelation he gained while at Bible college. "My time at CBC gave me a love for the Word. I now see it [the Bible] as a love letter to me. And I now know, without a doubt, that God desires to have a passionate relationship with me; this allows me to be more confident in what God says to me," Wes said. Through his time at CBC, Wes was further prepared to be the minister the Lord called him to be. "I am equipped through the knowledge of Him [Jesus] to encourage and build up others," said Wes.
After several years serving short-term stints with DR Missions, Wes knows the time has come for the adventure to become full-time. While the organization's primary focus is ministry to the disadvantaged children in San Cristobal, Wes' efforts have been put toward relationship building with local pastors. He plans to continue his outreach to church leadership upon his return to the Dominican. "Right now it's just about getting to know the pastors more personally. We have been sharing our hearts with them and fanning the flame that God has placed in their heart through the message of His love," said Wes.
Wes said he's just a young man, keenly aware of the call on his life, and he's stepping out in faith knowing God will be with him, enabling him to do all that is required on the mission field in the Dominican Republic. His time at CBC has helped prepare him for the work ahead as he encourages the growth of God's kingdom in a foreign land.
For more information about Wes's call to missions, or to find out more about his work in the Dominican Republic, readers are welcome to contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org .