How great has been God’s grace since we arrived in San Juan de La Maguana! All the fears and doubts we might have had before the trip, God, not only has dissipated but has also opened doors to new horizons. We came to serve 150 children and the number has increased to almost 500 which have absorbed from other churches. Instead of one shift, we now cover three. And the budget that we had has miraculously multiplied to accomplish this. What more can we ask? What better proof that for God nothing is impossible? The entire team feels blessed to be God’s instrument for His plan because we certainly never envisioned this.
The first day we arrived at San Juan we met with the director of the school to become familiar with the school curriculum, with the students, and to share the activities that we planned to carry out. Next day in the morning, we met the Pastor from the church next door and talked about their Sunday school program and about the needs of the neighborhood. That evening we attended their service and it was impressive to see that many people gather in such a small place, in spite of the heavy rain, and the strong faith that was evident. It was fabulous to feel so welcomed, to feel the presence of the Spirit and to feel the miracle of God that evening.
Our second day in San Juan was even more exciting and moving when we met Pastor Joel. Not only he is a living testimony of God’s grace, but he lives totally committed to reach extremely poor children in the most undesirable neighborhoods. We were so touched by what he described that the following day we decided to stop by unexpectedly at his VBS. What we saw was beyond what we had imagined. At that moment there was not a single doubt in any of us that we wanted to participate in his ministry. His tiny church consists of a bare floor, hot and humid 550 sq. ft. room. Under the most furious rainstorm, there were about 80 children there that afternoon, barefooted and dirty, singing and praising God, and immediately we joined into the songs. We had taken sandwiches and juice because we knew that most of these children would not have had anything to eat all day. One little boy held on to his sandwich and when we asked him why he wasn’t eating it, he said that he wanted it to take to his mother who did not have any food. Fortunately, there was enough not only for his mother but for everyone to have seconds as well. We left drenched in water and covered in mud but filled with joy.
The following days were hectic preparing activities, helping the VBS and coordinating everything, but we felt blessed to see how God’s grace was guiding us and sending Angels our way to help achieve His plan and to give us the strength we needed. We used to spend the mornings with the kids at the school that was co-sponsored by Alfalit, in the afternoons we helped the church and after that, we went to the suburbs where Pastor Joel gather “his kids”. Without any doubt, these kids were really in need. It was admirable how the Pastor was able to keep the order and the peace among all the kids that some days were more than 100.
The coordination and the willingness to help between the Pastors and the school for the good of the kids was remarkable, and at the wend of the week, even though we felt running out of energy and sadness because of our departure, we felt that God was planting seeds in each kid that will have its fruits.
Come to the Missions Celebration Dinner on September 11th to hear more stories!