What I Learned in the Dominican Republic: Part 2

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By Rev. Christopher B. Cain

Pictured here are Rev. Christopher B. Cain and Translator Artista Gaby Ostin as they ask the crowd of boys if they would raise their hands if they had prayed to accept Christ as their Savior at Colegio Moriah, San Pedro De Marcois, Dominican Republic February 2020. Photo by Stacy Sherman.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8‭-‬9 (ESV) Lets face it, God can use the most unlikely of situations to accomplish the plans He has for us. God’s ways and His thoughts are different from ours. God declared through the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV) God has a definite plan for each of us, He allows us our free will, and the situations that happen in life to lead us to Him and to accomplish those plans. God is the Master of weaving our decisions, the situations we have control over and those we do not, even the mistakes we make into a guided trail to bring us to Him. 

While I was in the Dominican Republic in February on a short term mission trip, I saw this demonstrated before my eyes. I saw how God took the thing I least was expecting to have to do, and a thing I was even a little nervous about doing, and turned it into one of the most spiritually significant and fruitful moments of the trip. I had expected to be asked to share my testimony or lead a devotion, I had even been asked to prepare a sermon that I could deliver through a translator if asked to do so, which I was able to do praise God. However, I never expected to be giving a health and behavior talk. I was asked to teach the boys about personal hygiene and bodily cleanliness as they begin to enter puberty. I was also asked in addition to speak on personal discipline and proper behavior as well. I had absolutely no idea how this talk would go, but I prepared some remarks to deliver and started the talk. It was obviously an interesting experience to speak to young boys about this, especially considering that we did not speak each other’s language. 

As the translator, Gaby, and I began to work with one another to deliver this talk we opened it up to questions which were very good and even a few we had a laugh at. God took what I expected to be a nervous, even uncomfortable, situation and made it a great experience for all. I can only credit the Holy Spirit for how it worked out, but at His direction I tied physical hygiene and cleanliness along with the behavior talk into a talk about spiritual cleanliness and why we have a need to be cleaned spiritually. I explained that just as we have a need to clean our bodies, so too do we have a need to clean our souls. Just as our unwashed bodies can lead to foul odor and eventually infections, sometimes even life threatening conditions if left untreated, I explained that sin pollutes us more and more when left unchecked, eventually resulting in our death. I explained that unlike our bodies, we cannot clean our soul ourselves, only God can do this through Christ Jesus. Somehow God had taken me from hygiene to an altar call, and to my surprise, many accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior that day. After explaining the Gospel and leading them in prayer, as near as I could count about a dozen young boys raised their hands to say that this was the first time they had prayed a prayer like this asking Jesus to save them of their sins and come into their heart. This was exciting to see how God took what I thought would be just an ordinary, perhaps potentially uncomfortable, talk and made it the most fruitful and spiritually significant moment of my trip. God clearly demonstrated to me that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. 

After hearing more about the coronavirus and the need for cleanliness, I realized that God was not only focussed on the content of the talk, but also the timing as well, as there is an increased need for cleanliness now. The talk went so well I delivered two more. People began asking for soap and cleaning supplies which they had previously been too ashamed to ask for. This is why we must be willing to speak of even the “unclean parts” of our life, and why our testimony is so important. It liberates people and provides them hope and answers. I praise God that He taught me to leave the thinking up to Him.

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