February 1, 2016
A Vibrant Enthusiasm in the Dominican
From the Superintendent's DESK
In the past few days, the DeBusks, Debbie, and I have enjoyed several more church services in the Dominican Republic.
On Thursday, we were among the congregation at our Km 12, Las Americas church in Santo Domingo. The pastor, Jose Vidal, told how when he and his wife began to labor in this area many years ago there were just a few people. Since then, this group has grown in number reaching the count that we observed in attendance—approximately 175. The building, dedicated just a year ago, was filled to capacity with a few looking in the windows from the narrow, city sidewalk outside.
During the service, a group of six children entered with a big welcome banner. They stood in front of the pulpit and took turns expressing their greetings before presenting a bouquet of flowers to our wives, and mugs to Brother Tim and me. The mugs were imprinted with photos of the church. The service continued with the choir providing several song selections including, “Mansion Over the Hilltop” and “Peace in the Valley.” Their singing, along with that of the congregation, was vibrant with enthusiasm. It was a blessing to witness.
After three of our team testified, Brother Tim preached from Romans 1:16 on the power of God to change our hearts. He emphasized that a true convert has an experience and a life that leaves him unashamed. After a time of prayer, we retreated to a large room above the sanctuary where we were served an array of snacks and desserts. It was another great evening in the Lord with God’s people.
Friday evening, the service was in El Soco. There were nearly 300 present, and again the church was filled to capacity with many standing outside looking in through the windows. The meeting began with the congregation singing “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” Throughout the service, the choir sang a number of selections including an inspiring rendition of “The King Is Coming.”
The newer pastor, Mariano Castro, was publically introduced for our benefit. He succeeds Ernest Griffith who passed away suddenly just over a year ago. During the testimony portion of the service it was nice to see Brother Ernest’s widow, Felicia, testify. The two had visited the Portland camp meeting in the past. She told of the promises God has fulfilled in her life since her husband’s passing, giving her further determination to press forward in the faith. Three from our team also testified.
Brother Tim again brought the message, this time beginning with Psalm 18:30, which speaks of God’s way being perfect. He noted that God does have a way, and we find that way on our knees beginning with salvation. After the service, Brother Mariano’s wife and a number of the local sisters served light refreshments, providing an atmosphere for a great time of fellowship.
Our Sunday started with a visit to some of the Sunday school classes at our La Romana headquarters church. We also observed the closing exercises afterward.
The morning service began with familiar congregational songs, though they were sung in Spanish. Then the choir sang several selections beautifully. We learned during this service that one of our interpreters for this week, Rosa Wallace, is also a beautiful soloist. She sang “Peace in the Valley” with the choir accompanying, and later, “The Lord’s Prayer.” With all of the music, much of the congregation, which numbered nearly 400, spontaneously sang along.
The testimonies were carried by our team, and the preaching as well. After the prayer service, we were treated to a home-cooked lunch with a few dozen of the saints. Among other offerings, it included grilled chicken, Spanish rice, steamed vegetables, and pineapple cake for dessert. Everything was delicious.
Debbie and I are now headed home while the DeBusks continue on to St. Maarten for a week of meetings there. We pray for traveling mercies and the Lord’s continued blessings on the services.
(Mouse over the image to click through the album.)