PARTNERING WITH THE LOCAL CHURCH

Often times, the work our short-term teams participate in is intangible. They are building towards something that another planted, they are watering, and most likely, someone else will get to harvest. But these relational touchpoints have significant impact for the kingdom, as our teams submit both to the Holy Spirit, and to the local leadership and church who can shepherd their efforts throughout their time on the ground. 

For those who have gone on short-term trips and have not gotten to share in the joy of the harvest, here are a few stories from our site leadership in the Dominican Republic, and how short-term teams have impacted and facilitated the gospel going forward through the local church. 
 

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"Some of our afternoons are spent in the community where the team is serving by going out with the pastors and church leaders in groups of five to visit with people.  Sometimes in a few hours we visit two homes, sometimes it's ten homes.  We find things to connect and chat about, share testimonies of God's faithfulness in our lives, share the Gospel, share Bible verses, pray over them... Every house is different, but we are in prayer and listening for the Holy Spirit's prompting.  It's important to us that we allow the Dominican pastors and church members to lead the time because they will be the ones to follow-up most.  We cannot be in every community all the time, but our pastors are each amazing at loving their community and seeing that these visits and relationships continue.

This year we have had many people accept Christ during these visits to homes. During our biggest week of short-termer, we had about 140 people pray to receive Christ; many during the VBS and sports ministry, but also a large chunk of adults and families in their homes during prayer walks visits.  One day Brandon was visiting with two youth boys who recently lost both parents and were learning to live on their own.  He could sense their searching hearts and knew that day they were ready to accept Christ as their Savior.  They were fully engaged with every word he shared, and he was able to pray with them both.  There are other times when new doors are just cracked opened. Bethany was out with a group one day and they met a woman doing laundry outside.  She has six kids and a bed-ridden mother to take care of, and says she's always doing laundry.  They talked, encouraged, and prayed over her and her mother, but the pastor's wife was also able to share about the One Child Matters site at the church which could be a huge help with their children.  The church is within walking distance, but she didn't even know as she doesn't have a lot of time to get out walking.  She was so excited they'd want to invest in her kids...

We've also seen numerous people physically healed during and as a result of prayer walks.  It's incredible the way the Lord has even used this in our own lives to teach us more about Him and change the way we pray.  There was a woman who felt the chronic pain actually leave her shoulder as a pastor prayed over her one afternoon.  We had a mom show up to VBS one day, just beaming, because the day before the group had prayed about an infection in her foot which made it painful to even walk, and now it was gone.  She hasn't had problems since.  Last week, we received a text from a church leader in Santiago saying two people showed up at church on Sunday and gave testimonies of healing after the team visited their homes.  One had a problem where she had been bleeding which has stopped, and the other had debilitating pain throughout the body which is now gone.  We could tell you story after story of this happening.  While relief of pain and illness is an amazing thing, even better is that it gives an opportunity to share about the eternal healing that is waiting for them too.

Please pray for these new believers, that they would be welcomed lovingly into the local church, and pray for the others who weren't ready to take that step."