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Entries in Dominican Republic (9)

Thursday
Jul102014

Heather Hunter's Hermanito

Heather Hunter from Charis Bible College in Colorado and her "hermanito" (Spanish for, little brother) Nicaraguan native, Jose Luis. (Click to enlarge)Heather Hunter is a recent graduate of Charis Bible College in Colorado. Shortly before she graduated, she took part in a CBC second-year mission trip to Nicaragua. Even before finding out she had been chosen to be part of a team headed to the Central American nation, Heather knew in her heart that she belonged in Nicaragua. As she prepared for her journey, people prayed for and spoke many encouraging words over her. Among the things people shared with Heather, were that God was going to show her a different aspect of His love on the trip, and that God had a specific, divine appointment waiting for her there, and that she would be aware of exactly when she had the encounter.

During Heather's first day in Nicaragua, her team ministered in a place called Las Maderas. There they worked closely with Andrew's good friends Darey and Karen Jolley and their ministry, Ambassadors to the Nations. While visiting a school, and preparing for her role in a team skit, the Lord brought a young man to Heather's attention. She immediately sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to her about him. Their initial encounter was only long enough to exchange greetings before they were interrupted by the performance.

In the skit titled, Set Me Free, Heather played a person far from God, tangled and entrapped in all sorts of sin. In the end, Jesus redeemed Heather's character, and she embraced Him. Jesus wrapped her in a white robe of righteousness, and the two danced, rejoicing in her deliverance. After the skit, Heather shared some of her personal testimony. Among other details, Heather shared that she used to cut herself.

Immediately following her testimony, the young man she had met before the skit, Jose Luis, came and grabbed her by the hands and asked (in Spanish) to speak to her alone. After the two went outside, Jose revealed lines and scars on his arms—he was a cutter also. Realizing that he was struggling, Heather explained to him that the change he was seeking would come effortlessly, as a by-product of a relationship with God. Heather could see relief flood Jose Luis' face when he realized freedom was not on his shoulders.

By the third day, Heather and Jose Luis had gotten better acquainted. Heather had learned a lot about Jose Luis' past and his current life at home. "He told me his dad never said he loved him, and I told him I had experienced the same in the past," Heather said. "I honestly don’t think anyone had ever told him that they genuinely love him, and I don’t think he had ever been able to say it to anyone," Heather continued.

On a ferry returning from team outreach efforts on the island of Ometepe, Heather felt it was time to tell Jose Luis how the Lord brought them together. Heather said, "I told him about knowing I belonged in Nicaragua, about the divine appointment that I was told I would have, and how I would know the appointment when it happened. Then I told him that he was the divine appointment."

Jose Luis and Heather (right) with other CBC-Colorado students.
(Click to enlarge)
As Heather continued to speak to Jose Luis, she told him of the deep sadness she sensed he had in his heart. She said, "You feel that no one knows, and that no one cares, and you feel alone. But you have to see how God sent me, someone from across the world, to intercede for you.”

Jose Luis acknowledged what Heather shared and said, “Yes, I felt that way, but after meeting you, I do not anymore because I know there is someone who does care.” Wanting to impress upon Jose Luis just how valuable he is to the Father, she replied, “Yes, but you have to see that it is not just me who cares, it is really God."

Heather began to see the Love of God opening up in Jose Luis, the way a flower opens to the sunlight. "The look on his face was unforgettable. I told him, 'You know what? God loves you, and the way God loves you, I love you also. God never wants His kids to hurt, and He loves you so much that He sent me from across the world, just to tell you.”

Jose Luis looked at Heather, and told her he loved her the same way.

Heather said that in those moments, the Lord showed her that Jose Luis was responding to more than her sisterly love; he was literally responding to God's love poured out through her.

For the rest of the trip, the two were inseparable, referring to each other as hermana (big sister) and hermanito (little brother). The Lord continued to use Heather to reveal Himself to Jose Luis, and through the experience, to reveal more of His love to Heather as well.

Understanding that the bond the Lord had forged between Heather and Jose Luis was meant to be maintained, Heather struggled with how to stay in touch with her little brother after the CBC team left Nicaragua. After all, Jose Luis didn't have the modern conveniences (e.g. cell phone and internet) we enjoy in more developed nations. Back in the United States, as Heather pondered the communication gap, she prayed and asked God to make a way for their friendship to flourish.

Heather's happy little brother, Jose Luis. (Click to enlarge)A few hours later, Heather received a message from Jose Luis on Facebook; he had just purchased a phone and downloaded the free app. Now the two can communicate any time, any place. In Heather's reply, she shared what she had prayed earlier in the day, and pointed out how God had faithfully answered her prayer. Nothing is impossible with God.

Second year mission trips provide real-life opportunities for CBC students to put what they've learned in the classroom, into action. For many, like Heather, these trips are life changing. To learn more about Charis Bible College and how you can change your life and your world, visit: charisbiblecollege.org.

Monday
Mar312014

Big Blessings in Small Packages 

CBC-Colorado sent a mission team to the DR in December 2013. Here, a young boy prays a prayer of thanksgiving before a meal served by the CBC students at a feeding facility for underprivileged children. The 23-person team fed about 50 children on the last day of their trip. (Click to enlarge)One of the greatest and most life-changing opportunities Charis Bible College offers its students is the hands-on ministry experience during their second-year mission trip to a foreign country. Over the years, we have posted many stories and videos sharing the impact that these trips have on the students and the people to whom they minister. Today's testimony provides a glimpse of just how the Lord uses these trips to spread His unconditional love and grace around the world, one small, Spirit-filled moment at a time.

The food ministry facility where the CBC team served lunch to approximately 50 children. (Click to enlarge)CBC-Colorado student John DeBoer visited the Dominican Republic late last year with a team, led by CBC Instructor Peggy Shirley, and third-year interns, Richard and Jen Kramer. On the last day of their excursion, John and his 21 other teammates served lunch at a small food ministry for underprivileged children. Just before the children were about to eat, the pastor of the local church that sponsored the daily meal asked a young boy to come forward to lead the group in a prayer of thanksgiving.

The little man of God prays for CBC student John DeBoer as Conrad (background) translates the boy's prayer.
(Click to enlarge)
Although John didn't understand the boy's words because he spoke in Spanish, John sensed he had prayed a heartfelt prayer. It was also clear that the boy was nervous, as he hesitated several times seeming to search for the right or acceptable words. John also noticed that some of the other children were laughing and making fun of the boy. After the child concluded his prayer he quickly sat down, away from the other kids, covered his face and began to cry. In that moment, Holy Spirit began prompted John to encourage the young man.

The small, but mighty man of God.
(Click to enlarge)
"I asked Conrad, our interpreter, to help me, and we took the boy outside. As we spoke with him the Holy Spirit had me tell him that Jesus was proud of him—that he had prayed a wonderful prayer, and that he was already a powerful young man of God. I also told him that God loved him so much and had a wonderful plan for his life," John said. Holy Spirit then urged John to have the boy pray a blessing over him. John said, "I asked him to pray for me, and he placed his hand on my head and prayed."

It was an awesome moment for both men of God. The younger walked away smiling and happy, and John walked away totally blessed. "The Holy Spirit blessed and encouraged that young man, and I was privileged to be the vessel He used to do it," John shared with joy in his heart.

This was just one small moment of many Spirit-filled moments that John and his team experienced during their week of ministry in the Dominican. The smallest moments can be packed with life-changing impact.

Thursday
Mar282013

Wes Ray: God's Simple Question 

Charis Bible College graduate, Wes Ray, making a difference in the Dominican Republic. (Click to enlarge)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 with friend and fellow CBC graduate Abbie during commencement ceremonies at CBC in 2009.
(Click to enlarge)
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 (Click to enlarge)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 Wes praying for a young woman in San Cristobal. (Click to enlarge)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.

From the look on his face... It may just be true that Wes was called to missions! (Click to enlarge)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 Wes receives prayer from a young boy on the mission field. (Click to enlarge)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: wesraymissions@yahoo.com .