Tuesday, January 10, 2012

God's hand

Some of you may know that this trip originally started as a mission trip to Haiti. So why are we now going to the Dominican Republic? I wanted to share the 'back story' with you so you can see how God's hand has been on this trip from the beginning.

Initially, we were planning the trip through the BGR (Baptist Global Response). We were to stay at the Haitian Baptist Convention compound and work with international missionaries Sam and Delores York, on loan to the BGR. BGR was in Haiti in response to the earthquake of 2010, helping build - and re-build - homes destroyed in that quake. In early September, I received a phone call from the CFO of BGR telling me that with the retirement of Sam and Delores, they were closing the compound at the end of 2011. I was given a couple of options on places to stay in Haiti, but there would be no one to facilitate our work. No one on our team knows enough Haitian Creole to communicate well enough to take on that responsibility.

In all honesty, I thought the trip was going to be cancelled.

But God had other plans for our team. Delores York asked me to consider bringing the team to the Dominican Republic to minister to Haitians living there. Delores and Sam will be in the D.R. for a few months, and she would do what she could to help us. She put me in touch with a couple of local pastors, and they were very excited about the possibility of a team coming. It’s fairly easy to find those with dental needs, and the pastors also had a construction project they needed help with. The construction team will help begin the building of a chapel for the Haitians living in the D.R. to worship in. Right now, they are worshipping in what is basically a lean-to with a patched (leaky) tin roof and dirt floor.

If we had gone to Haiti, I knew that teams going under the BGR umbrella worked with supplies purchased through BGR funds. Teams going through IMB missionaries (as we will be) are expected to use their own funds to purchase supplies and materials. We were unaware of this in planning the trip, and as you can see it is an unexpected expense. With a little research, we found that it would cost about $5000 to build a chapel the size we were asked to build. Sometimes it’s hard to know when God is telling you not to do something, or if He is asking you to trust Him.

Our team met and decided to trust God would provide the funding for the chapel. Instead of staying in a hotel, we will bunk with the pastors and missionaries. The money we save on our hotel will help purchase supplies – and, with God's provision and generous donors, we now have enough to build a chapel with a concrete foundation.

The Lord also provided an oral surgeon for the dental team. Now instead of one dentist, we have two - which means we can treat twice the number of people! Dental supplies are expensive, but because of God's financial provision we have enough money to cover those costs too.

God has had His hand on this trip before we even knew we were going to the D.R. I cannot wait to see what He does while we're there!

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