Tag Archives: unity

Dominican Republic Mission Trip Recap

After much waiting and anticipation, I am finally blogging about my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. From here on out, I will most likely shorten Dominican Republic to DR. You with me so far? I hope so.

From July 2 until July 14th, I was on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic with 22 other young adults from my church. We are part of the Frontline Ministry at New Song Christian Fellowship. Our trip was unique in that we were all involved with Frontline and we are all very similar in age. Chalk one point up on the side of unity for that. We also stayed in the same house (on varying floors and in gender-specific rooms). We were together constantly. Make that two points in the unity category. And as a final and glue-like third point, we were all walking obediently in the Holy Spirit. Consequently, we were later told that we were the best mission team to come from our church in over 10 years. The unity that we experienced was phenomenal! The Holy Spirit gave us unity and we worked together to sustain it. That was one of our greatest team testimonies.

New Song is a network of churches all over the world. We have several campuses in the Nashville area (we’re hoping to have 9 in Nashville by the end of 2009). We also have congregations in Mexico, India, Nepal, Africa and of course the Dominican Republic. All of the congregations in our network have the same values and teachings. It’s very cohesive and very nice.

A few brief, interesting things about our trip…

We could not flush the toilets very often. The plumbing was not very good so we had a motto: If it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down. Simply put, if we peed, we didn’t flush. If we pooped, we did. Also, we didn’t flush the toilet paper also because of the plumbing. We used the toilet paper to wipe and then put it in a trash can “sunny side down.” In other words, we turned it over so no one could see the yellow or brown on the paper. Toilet paper was not provided in every bathroom, either. While we were traveling around, many bathrooms didn’t have toilet paper. So, we carried our own with us most of the time. Also, the water there is contaminated so we drank special purified water the whole time. We were not to ingest any of the tap water. Thirdly, we didn’t always have electricity. In fact, every day, the city of Santo Domingo cut the power in a grid form around the city. So, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day we lost power. They cycled the power cutoffs around the city.

While we were in the DR, we spent the majority of our time in the capital city of Santo Domingo. However, we did spend three days in Pedernales, which is a town on the border of Haiti. Pedernales is only six minutes from the Haitian border. Two United Nations officers were staying in the same hotel that we stayed while we were in Pedernales. They chose to stay in the DR because it’s safer than Haiti.

We arrived in Santo Domingo on time and very tired on July 2nd. Our call time that morning was 3:45. I can’t sleep effectively on an airplane so I was especially tired. After we landed in the DR, we made the hour-long trip to the house where we were staying. The owners of the house were the national directors of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). They were on furlough (a mandatory visit back to their home country to maintain proper missionary residency requirements). Basically, every missionary in a foreign country has to leave the country they are visiting (missioning in) for a specified amount of time.

We were supposed to stay on the YWAM base, but it was full of other mission groups. Instead, we were blessed to stay in the director’s house. It was three floors, had at least three bathrooms, numerous rooms, a glorious view and a nice patio. It was truly a gift from the Lord to be able to stay in La Casa de Norell.

The second, third and fourth day of our trip, we were in the city of Pedernales on the Haitian border. We made a six hour drive to get there. We drove from one coast of the DR to the other. On the way, we saw glorious beaches! While in Pedernales, we planted a church, which happens to be the first international church multiplication in the New Song network. We loved our time with the children in Pedernales. Many of the people on our team wanted to stay in Pedernales with all of the kids. The first night in Pedernales, we showed the movie ‘Facing the Giants’ in Spanish with English subtitles in a neighborhood where the church members lived. The second day there, we had a kids’ ministry day/construction day. Most of us worked with the kids and a few people went to build a patio roofesque wooden structure on the pastor’s house so vines could grow on it and create shade. The second night, the pastor spoke, we led worship and also presented two of our dramas. The third day was a Sunday. We went to the Pedernales church, which met in a meeting room of the local hospital. We led the service there and presented a dance. The girls of the Pedernales Bible School also presented a drama and dance for us.

One of my favorite things about the Pedernales section of the trip is my experience with a girl named Kenifer. I met her my fist day there and asked her every question in Spanish that I could think of. i.e. What’s your name? How old are you? Where do you live? Where are your parents? Do you have any brothers and sisters? After I ran out of questions, she moved on to talk to others.

As the weekend progressed, Kenifer kept approaching me. She introduced me to her mom, aunt and uncle. (Her aunt and uncle were the first people to convert to Christianity at the Pedernales church.) She came up to me and gave me a hug during one of our ministry times. During that particular moment, we were praying for people. As she stood there hugging me, I prayed for her and prophesied over her life. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to pray that she would know God as her Father and would find a husband that honored her and that she could stand alongside in ministry with. I also saw that she was a leader among her peers so I pray that she’d be an influencer for good and not for bad and also that she’d pursue God wholeheartedly.

After I’d prayed all those things, I felt led to tell her the things I prayed for. I was praying in English, so she didn’t understand me. I asked one of my Spanish speaking friends from the trip to translate for me. She gladly agreed. So, the last day in Pedernales my friend translated everything I’d prayed. Soon after that, I approached Kenifer’s mom to tell her everything I’d prayed for her daughter. Her mom said that Kenifer’s dad is gone a lot (I prayed that she’d know God as her Father…that turned out to be important since her earthly father was often gone.) Her mom also said she was one of the top students at Bible School. I’d prayed that she’d be an influencer for good and would grow in the knowledge of the Bible. It was great to see such an immediate clarity for the things I’d prayed for.

After Sunday church, we headed back to Santo Domingo. The next two days of the trip were work days. I worked on the house that the student interns would be staying/learning in. It was hard work. Lots of manual labor. I left the first work day with two blisters on my right hand. I was working with a crowbar and breaking up cement so we could put in underground plumbing. A combination of water, my leather work glove and the repetitive concrete breaking led to the blisters.

The fourth day of that week was a tourism day. We toured Santo Domingo and did a little barter shopping. I was very sick this day. I felt like sleeping the entire time and I had no appetite. Perhaps some of the bad water got into my system. I’m not sure. I started taking medicine that day to make me feel better. That night we hosted one a church service at one of the network churches.

The next day we relaxed a little/rehearsed/set up for the Alabaster Heart conference. Pastor Dale Evrist, the lead pastor for New Song Nashville was the key speaker for this event. He shared a series of messages about growing in deeper intimacy with Jesus. Writers from New Song wrote original songs for this for our original Alabaster Heart Conference in Nashville. The songs were translated to Spanish so we could sing them in the DR. We had four of the top singers from the country singing those songs and those of us that were not in the band or doing tech arts sang in the choir.

The Alabaster Heart Conference was very successful! Many people received prayer and were healed. Everyone was definitely ministered to. I learned new things from Pastor Dale’s message that I’d not learned while in America. He brought new perspective and a refreshing viewpoint on the series.

After the Alabaster Heart Conference, we made our way to a resort for a few days of relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. The majority of the trip, we didn’t have air conditioning, beds or even enough water for a full-length shower. It was also wonderful to share a bathroom with just one person and not five other people. The endless buffet was a real treat too. The beaches on the resort were beautiful. The water was very warm as well.

This is a lengthly blog, but there are so many things that I didn’t even mention. For example, what exactly I got out of the trip. I’ll post this as is and come back later with my personal thoughts on the trip and what it meant to me.

Off to the DR

So, it’s finally here!

Tomorrow at 3:45 a.m., I leave for the Dominican Republic! I’m excited! I know God will do a marvelous work in me and through me while I’m away. Please pray for me/our team while we’re gone. i.e. team unity, safety, protection, etc., etc.

Also, for updates while we’re in the DR, read our team blog at http://newsongdrteam.wordpress.com.

I’ll post when we get back with lots of pics, stories, testimonies…

Walk On Top Of The Walls, Not Through Them

Today my roommate Shay and I attended an event called “Crossing The Boro.” Basically, a few of the churches in town joined together to walk across our city in a display of unity and prayer for the schools that the children in our churches attend.

(That was a long sentence.) Anyway…

Although our church was not/currently is not officially affiliated with this event/ministry, Shay and I thought it would be a good expression of support and unity to join with those churches in this walk. Anyone who wanted to come was invited, so we accepted the invitation.

The church that I attend is very purposeful and progressive in its pursuit of citywide church unity. Our lead pastor is very vocal about God’s heart for unity so, not suprisingly, the satellite congregation that I attend values unity as well.

Sadly, many churches would rather drink dirty toilet water than partner with another church/other churches. Denominational ego, pride, attendance stats and territory become an issue.

So, when Shay told me about this event happening in town, I was ecstatic! I heart unity!

At the end of the walk, there was a rally in a local elementary school. The leaders of “Crossing The Boro” told the elementary students present to get together by school and pray for their teachers, faculty and classmates.

Since Shay and I are no longer in elementary school and don’t have children, we silently prayed in our seats.

As I was praying, I asked God to break down the walls between churches and schools. After I said that, I received a vision from Him.  Take note that I’m telling this story with just me in it, but when I say “I,” it also includes everyone in my church.  It was just easier to write this in first person. Here it is:

Standing before me was a very large wall that I could not get through. It was impenetrable. I was trying to kick through the wall and find a way to break it down. Instead, God picked me up and lifted me to the top of the wall. Upon arriving there, I realized that the wall was wide enough for me to walk on safely and comfortably. I began to walk on top of the wall. As I walked, I saw all of the divided segments of the city down below. Each had it’s own compartmentalized space, surrounded by walls. In some of the compartments, there were churches. Their influence only reached to the edge of their walls. In segments without churches, no one was able to get to them and show them Christ because of the walls. As I continued my wall trekking, I saw other churches being lifted up from their segmented areas below and beginning to walk the walls. I continued walking and I eventually encountered the other churches. We introduced ourselves and stopped together to pray for citywide church unity. After we finished praying, we walked together further along the wall. Eventually, we met more churches, stopped together to pray for unity and then kept walking together. This process was repeated until all of the churches had met and prayed. By this time, we came to a central, larger portion of the wall where we could all congregate together. We prayed prayers of thanksgiving, unity and praise to God one last time in our large group. When the final prayer was finished and we opened our eyes, we were surrounded by one fortified wall around the city instead of dividing walls inside the city.

That is an awesome vision, yeah? I think so! I love how God showed me a totally different perspective than what I asked Him for. He said, “Well, Lindsay, that’s a noble thing to pray for, but I have a better idea. C’mon, let’s go for a ride.”

Not only was it a prophetic picture, but it was also a keen reminder for me to be flexible and willing to do things God’s way. I could stand and try to kick down a wall by myself for years and have no success. But partnering with others in corporate community in humble submission to God’s command will bring exponential movement.

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Weakly Wednesdays

I am often in a bad mood on Wednesdays. I may have blogged about this before. I can’t remember.

Every Wednesday evening I meet with a group of people from my church. We eat a meal together, talk about what was taught in church the Sunday before and then pray together. It’s Christian fellowship and hangout time. It’s fun. It’s encouraging. It’s nice to connect with people from my area.

However, every week I find myself in a foul mood on Wednesdays. I believe it’s because Satan’s trying to get me down and convince me not to go to the gathering. He wants me to stay home and be alone, sulking about my bad day, eating and watching TV.

Satan’s aim for me is to be a sedentary sulker.

God’s will for me is to be a connected Christian.

The greatest dream God has is that His people be unified. It makes perfect sense that Satan would do his best to prevent that from happening.

I’ve often heard it said that opposition from Satan is a good thing. It means I’m doing something right. With these weakly, weekly Wednesdays, I’m convinced that I’m doing God’s will by going to these gatherings. So I’ll persevere through the tiredness, irritability and laziness in pursuit of God’s purpose.

Come, unication

I hearby announce that I am making up another new word.  Yes, a new one.  Yes, a new word.

I make up new words all the time.  Take pudgulous for example.  I’ll use it in a sentence, “Wow, the runway looks pudgulous after the rain.”

Or how about this one: dragic.  Means tragic, dramatic and drastic.  Clever, eh?

*looks down*  *finds the point of this word party*

Ok, so unity has been on my heart lately.  As well as on my mind.  As well as stirring in my spirit.  As well as on the paper that I write on whilst I’m at church cuz my pastor’s teaching us about unity.

I used to think unity was hard.  It appears to be a difficult concept to activate into functionality.  But…appearances can be deceiving.  And, the appearance of unity is one of those deceiving guises.

Here’s the truth: You cannot make unity, you must maintain it.  As my pastor has said, “Find the 1% you agree on and agree on it 100%.”  There ya go.  It’s unity.

Christians get all bent up and pent up over areas of disunion.  It’s like this super evil ugly monster that stomps around and smashes little unity bubbles.  It’s very scary. 

If we would all agree to agree on something and then build from that, it would be stellar.  Forget agreeing to disagree.  Let’s agree to agree what we agree on.  That, my friends, is unity.

Back to my new word: unication.  I was being silly when trying to think of a title for this.  There’s the word, communiation.  But, in my wordish mind, I thought, “Ha…that’s like direct address and saying, ‘Come, unication.'”

And now here we are.  If you’re feelin disunified, just say, “Come, unication.” 

You wonder, “What’s it mean when I say that?”

I answer, “It means that you’re acknowledging that unity is alive and there for the taking.  So take it.”

Unication is unity plus community plus communication.  Talk to people about what you agree on and build on it.

Don’t cease communicating with somebody just cuz you think (or you actually will) fight with them.

Find something common.  Agree on it.  That is unication.

*nods*

Say it with me now, “Come, unication.”