Monday morning we arrived at the church complex and the rush began. Rooms were organized for each class; kitchen area was set up to meet our needs as well as the church set up for feeding supper to all the children following their classes. The water supply for the day was purified and bottles filled for each group in a room to take to the motel. This process was done each day.
Monday afternoon at 3 PM, Larry (Danks) pulled out his phone, checked the temperature and it was 109. At 5 PM it was 105 and at 8 PM it was 103. I asked him not to tell me the rest of the week what the temperature was! He did better than that, he texted to have people pray for us and the heat. The rest of the week, we had cloudy days, rain and breezes. God answered your prayers for us.
The children were usually there by 3:10 PM for the 4:00 PM start. Some even came in the mornings just to see what was going on. We put them to work helping prepare projects the children would work on during the week. Two girls, Carmen and Rebecca, lived in Dallas, and were spending time with their aunt and grandmother. They were very helpful with their English skills.
The church is located on a busy street with a lot of cars, bicycles, scooters, and walkers going by. Several stopped at the gate to see what all the activity was about. Two men accepted Christ as their Savious after Zeb and Saul shared the Godpel with them. (Zeb and Saul are from San Antonio and were with our team.) The two new believers were given Spanish Bibles.
It was a great inspiration to see the children excited as they learned Bible stories. Two storied of the Good Samaritan and Zaccheus seemed to be their favorites. As the children left, hugs were given freely and will you be here tomorrow was asked. “I will miss you” was heard over and over on the last day as they children were leaving. “Will you come next year” was a question asked many times.
Two mornings, some of our group went to Casa Bethesda orphanage and played games with those who could participate. Others watched, while others are confined to beds. The orphanage has a large new kitchen which is greatly needed as the number of persons is increasing in the home.
We were fed delicious meals at noon and enjoyed sandwiches and all the trimmings for our evening meal.
God has blessed all that was involved in the planning, preparation, teaching, and sharing that went into this week. Lives were changed and one day we will see results we are not even aware of now.
To God be the glory! Jean Ward
“I have so much, so much, so much” were followed by verses singing “I am grateful for my friends and family.” The most precious moments were not caught on camera…the dramatic costumed presentation of David and Goliath, boys competing for the shields and spears, King Saul, David with his sling, and Goliath up on a chair. Pastor’s wife Paula appeared and exhorted Goliath to really roar! The teenage girls came over from the youth class to present a puppet show about the Prodigal Son with Lucy Arellano from San Antonio narrating. You are seeing photos of the children proudly showing off their decorated envelopes that contained their scriptures for the week and their beautiful tissue flower bouquets topping toilet paper rolls glued to colorful paper plates. My partner Jerry Cangemi became the keeper of the water pitcher after we experienced 110 degrees the first day. Terri Pyle and I recovered quickly from heat exhaustion that day and were fully hydrated the rest of the week, thanks to reminders from Larry Danks. On the final day, Pastor John reviewed the class with David’s exhortation to Goliath: “You might have a sword and spear. My weapon is the name of the Lord, God Almighty.” While I finished writing out the “diplomas” he and Jerry had the children read the salvation message from a brochure that opened up as a cross. A special 11 year-old named Eric, who had come all the way from Georgia to visit relatives, helped write out the bottom of the diplomas while I wrote each child’s in calligraphy… a small thing, but they were so proud to have them that they wanted their full name inscribed, which usually meant a first name, a middle name and two last names. I am so grateful that I could do that after years of studying Spanish. I challenge you to learn a few phrases so that you can minister on one of these trips! Let me know when you want some classes!
¡Dios les bendiga!~God bless you all!
Monday everyone set up for their groups. The church Jesucristo El Poderosa de Israel now has three buildings. One is for church, another is kitchen and dining, and the third is being used to teach welding skills to the men in the area. Thomas Brown and helpers served us King Ranch Chicken for lunch. Then it was back to work. Conrad stayed busy purifying water for our drinking and also for making lemonade, tea, Gatorade, and punch. Larry was kept busy making all the drinks and handling the heavy containers. Some of us stayed busy keeping early children from devouring the drinks before VBS started! It was very hot so we kept cups handy for the water. VBS officially started at 4pm and ended at 6pm. Then Pastor Julio, Thomas and a church worker cooked and fed the children and mothers a hot meal. Our group of 20 then ate a sandwich and returned to the motel.
The children seemed eager to learn about Daniel, David, Zacchaeus, the Good Samaritan, and other Bible characters. Our own Bro. John played his guitar and taught songs and led Jody’s group in learning Bible scriptures. It was fun watching Tina and Loraine lead in songs and activities with the 3-6 year old children. Joanna Cangemi had prepared all the activities and lessons but was unable to go with us as she ministered to her sick mother.
We also visited the orphanage and colored pictures, worked on Bible lacing cards, and made caterpillars with the children who were physically able. Bro. John and Clint joined us on Wednesday morning right after they arrived in town. Bro. Paulino Esquela is a beautiful example of a man fully dedicated to God. He now works with 26 physically and mentally handicapped people in Piedras and he has answered God’s call to help open another orphanage near Saltillo.
We are really blessed to have the many women and men from San Antonio who faithfully share God’s love using their gifts and talents, especially their use of the Spanish language, and we thank Trinity Church for providing us the opportunity to go and spread His word. Our days were hot, hectic and seemed to be big messes but God works in and through our messes and problems to accomplish His will. Children, women, and two men passing by the church’s gate were led into God’s family. Smiles and hugs enhanced our days. Praise God!
While this was not my first mission trip by far and while it was my second into Mexico with Trinity Baptist Church, I was quickly to find out that every trip is different and every day is a new day!
Crossing the border is becoming increasingly difficult for groups who want to bring materials to be given away and who want to do ministry among children and adults. As with most of our trips and mission efforts, our ministry begins before we ever approach the church or mission point where we will be working. Even the inconvenience of unloading the entire equipment trailer at the border crossing became an opportunity to show the love of Christ and a gentle spirit to those who seemed to be our oppressors at that moment.
This year’s event began on a rather difficult note because of the oppressive heat we encountered early on. This took its toll in the extra effort required to do the ministry set before us and physically it caused some of our group to have some heat related difficulties. After asking many Facebook friends to pray for moderation to the heat we were blessed with the final 3 days being mostly cloudy and some light rain showers cooled the air even more. God truly blessed us with weather that was conducive to the type of “close quarters” Vacation Bible School we were to help conduct.
We were blessed to work alongside many wonderful, hardworking and dedicated people as we ministered to the children at VBS, helped to feed the children and adults who come each evening and to minister to the challenged adults at the orphanage during two of the days.
Finding a way to minister to those who truly need it really doesn’t require a person to fly halfway around the world. “The least of these” can be found within a half day’s drive from Kerrville. I was blessed to be a part of this great effort.
I was blessed to work beside the team preparing for Vacation Bible School the days I was there. Most of the time my
After a rocky beginning that had us leaving one of our team members behind, we made our way to the DR. And then we started a joyous trip. I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart — down in my heart — down in my heart to stay. Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above. These are tunes that perfectly describe the Dominicans we worked with and served with on this mission trip. We also have wonderful relations with the team that came from Kenedy. All this resulted in a trip full of joy and wonderful reunions with Dominican friends and Kennedy friends. Our tasks were not quite as challenging as past years, but we were still able to touch the lives of many young people through English camps (working with Dominicans to improve their English) and VBS. We were also fortunate enough to visit the orphanage in Monet Plata where we worked on construction of a transitions home, played with the kids and cooked and ate a meal with them. It was a great chance for us to show God’s love to these precious children. We were able to share with them some wonderful clothes that were made by our Trinity ladies. There was much joy in their faces. We had some lovely bonding during our session of cutting out sheep heads and legs for a craft project — lots of laughter and sore hands — and joy (that we finished). On the third floor where the sewing room is, we found some very accomplished ladies sewing costumes for a pageant that will be presented in July. They were sooooo grateful for the sewing supplies and kept telling us that it was an answer to prayer. The construction crew built some very fine bookshelves and some great playground equipment. Children were already joyously playing on them. It was a trip of joy, renewed relationships – beginning relationships, sad farewells, and looking forward to the next chance to minister to these joyous Dominicans.
- Loved renewing friendships from previous years in the DR
- Loved making new relationships with people at IBQ Church,
Kennedy Mission Team, and individuals at our own ministry sites
- Loved giving smiles, hugs, and kisses to Dominican children at VBS
- Loved seeing the girl we sponsor and seeing how much she has grown and to be able to encourage her in her school work
- Loved seeing progress of projects we have worked on in the past and how they are being used to glorify God
- Loved seeing active sewing classes. We began the sewing
ministry about 4 years ago.
- Loved seeing the faith of the Dominican people lived out even in very primitive and simple situations
- Loved that we are supported by Trinity-a mission minded church
- Loved seeing the pantry filled with foods purchased with World Hunger Funds for the school that we have worked with for 10 years.
- Loved that as we started to leave and asked to pray with the pastor and his wife )at 4am) and his prayer request was “that we would pray for God to give them (the church) another ministry site!
Praise God for the trip!
Travel was good except luggage for 2 of the Kenedy group did not arrive with us. Came a couple of days later
Construction crew got along well making bookshelves, counter tops, play ground equipment and train for the playground. Built above Tuesday & Wednesday-delivered & set up Thursday until after dark. Children & their parents showed up to play & take pictures. Many, many smiling faces
Wednesday night service was full of testimonies & prayer requests ending with couples praying together (American & Dominican together) each praying in their language.
Friday– Trip to orphanage to see new building & we got to move a few hundred cinder blocks from the ground to the second floor using an assembly line of Americans & orphans. I do not remember dropping any as we swung them to each other up a muddy, slippery set of very rough stairs which were hard to climb without a cinder block. Had lunch in separate orphanage homes & got to play with the children after lunch. Manuel is embedded in my mind.
Saturday Pastor John, Pastor Matthew & myself (we keep looking for Luke to make our set complete) taught about a dozen or so pastors, leaders, etc. from 8:30 to 3pm and had lunch with them & their wives. They seemed to appreciate our efforts.
Sunday worship was beyond words. The singing was marvelous and when the Pastor started a verse the majority of the congregation quoted it with him. It was a glorious representation of how the body, the local church, should look & act.
Sunday afternoon I got the privilege to speak to the leadership of the church and they received the word with gladness.
I pray He produces much more fruit.
Learning new ideas and teaching techniques
Loving and being loved by new friends
After going to Mexico on TBC mission trips for almost thirty years, I found the Dominican Republic mission trip VBS planners used some different approaches, such as having color-coded teams of boys and girls. I followed the Red team of girls ages 12+ who…led by our energetic Dominican young adult leader…won the last day competition with a lively chant, red hair bands and painted faces. As a ESL teacher of both middle school (now retired) and adult classes, I loved working with Tina from Kennedy who led the English Camp for the youth at the church. Even the shy ones practiced their English playing her inventive learning games.
The young Dominican adults’ commitment to their church and the schools which it and STCH (South Texas Children’s Home ministries) support, as well as their career aspirations were impressive. Harold and his wife Sara (both 26) will be heading up the Rosa Elena School as teacher/principal and counselor respectively. He wants to obtain a degree in school administration and finance. Valentina (32), the vivacious leader of the yellow team of 3-6 year olds, wears many hats as Assistant to Rebecca, the Director of the Samuel Fund through which young people and their families receive monthly support for education via sponsors such as our team leaders Rick and LaVerne Boles. Her goal is to become an attorney!
For me, the DR Mission Trip was filled with learning, love, and inspiration!!!
Blessings, Jody McCulley
God has blessed Trinity Baptist Church through the years of her continued support of Iglesia Bautista Quisquiana in Villa Mella, Santo Domingo. Once again it was encouraging to see our Dominican brothers and sisters as they continue to reach out through their church to share the gospel and make a difference. Those in leadership at the church are so hungry to serve the Lord. It has been a blessing over the last few years to plan for leadership development among their leaders and ministers. It was also a double blessing to see how far Rosa Elena’s school has come knowing that Trinity Baptist Church has had such a vital role in taking a small dwelling to an established school in the neighborhood. We are so blessed to have had the opportunity of seeing one of God’s humble servants share life with her community. Rosa Elena was one of God’s special people. We learned recently that she has gone on to her eternal glory. The words really ring true, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15 (ESV) Thank you Trinity for not only making a difference in a place but also among a people.
It’s hard to imagine walking through an airport doorway and immediately being transported to a time almost 60 years in the past but that is exactly what it felt like when The CenturyMen arrived in Havana, Cuba on Monday morning, April 4th. Sixty singers plus accompanists arrived with almost 3 tons of cargo being transported to the Cuban churches…cargo including a sound system donated by Trinity’s Worship Choir for use by a small church, 7th Baptist in Santa Clara, Cuba.
From the very first moment we were keenly aware that our very presence was a testimony to the faith and prayers of the Cuban pastors and their people. We were able to walk the streets of Havana freely and were able to minister to those we encountered with our words of faith and our pleasant presence.
We are a men’s choir…singing in places where the gospel hasn’t been sung in since the revolution in 1959. In the grand theater and the basilica in Havana we were not only able to sing to an audience of people made up primarily of non-churched Cubans but we were also filmed for television and were broadcast nationwide during the following days.
During the 10 days while we were actually on the island we traveled from the east to the west performing 17 different concerts. On two different occasions we were divided into three performing groups and were sent to minister to three different churches in three different cities. We sang to full houses at virtually every performance and were delighted to see people come to Christ when the invitation was extended in virtually every situation.
While we traveled under the banner of Global Missions Project and were led by Camp Kirkland from that organization we were also accompanied by members of the Cuban Baptist Association and other volunteers who interpreted for us and assisted in many ways.
I am blessed to be part of this organization and am also very blessed to be part of a church which supports and prays for missions in multiple locations across the world.
- It was the LONGEST bus ride I’ve experienced in a LONG time. I am guessing that “Scottie” was our bus mechanic that gave “warp speed” to our vehicle. That is to say with Pastor John at the wheel.
- We had 14 men going according to Frank. Caused a bit of delay.
- The men were involved in painting, mowing, cleaning mattresses and whatever else needed to get camp operational. I understand Dan Parr really enjoyed playing in the grease trap.
- We also helped Bro John’s brother get ready for a move to
- Colorado. We moved his furniture to a storage unit.
- An “uninvited” guest appeared in our room in the middle of the night. As I was sleeping I was awakened about 2AM. I thought I heard someone get up to get a drink. Next thing I knew something hairy and alive fell onto my face. I jumped out of bed and scrambled for my flashlight. Yes, a mouse was falling on me. I heard the next day this guest also paid a visit to Clint and Brad. I don’t think he made a face visit however.
- The food was good and the fellowship better. I do want to know what kind of vitamins Bro John takes. He has more energy than the “Energizer Bunny”. After supper he would drag those who had a little energy left to play some kind of game shooting arrows at one another.
- Bill Parr shared God’s word with us in the evenings. It was great encouragement. The men worked together in unity and we were blessed to be able to serve our Great God.
The working fellowship among the men was great. During periods after work we worshipped together with Mark Clemons on guitar and Bill Parr sharing God’s Word. We have managed to play some either by shooting arrows at each other in “Dodge Arrow” or playing games late into the night. Don, Ken, and I are prepped the primitive cabins for campers. This is perhaps one of the dirtiest jobs having to evict the critters who bedded down in the mattresses for the winter, but we probably had the best view while we worked.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the
inheritance as your reward. Your are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
Working on your specific group tasks, having discussion at night, and, also hearing/seeing the results of the other team’s labors gave a “ big picture “ perspective to the trip as a whole. The Bible Studies were very insightful and well presented. Overall the trip was very memorable and rewarding. I look forward to the next opportunity to serve.
“We encourage every believer to go on a mission trip at least once, giving an entire week or two weeks to the task of serving others and sharing Christ. It is life-changing.”