26 Jun 2014 | 12:59 pm
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
I've often said that thinking about my life before Christ feels like thinking about a crazy movie I saw about someone else's life. It's incredible to know that what scripture says is true "If anyone is a new believer in Christ, the old is gone, the new has come."
I had an opportunity a week ago to share the story God has known from the beginning with a group of 60 high schoolers from Texas one night during their mission trip. I always thank God for these opportunities to give him glory for the ways in which he works mysterious.
There are a few things that I hope my testimony sheds light on for you. You are never too far from God. You are never out of his reach. He has a plan (and it is good!) no matter what it feels like. You can never make a decision too terrible or wrong to put yourself outside of God's reach, grace, healing, love and forgiveness if you repent of your ways and seek the Lord.
One of my favorite verses comes from one of my favorite books in the Bible. James. This book is power.
James 4:8 says “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” or another version says "draw near to him and he will draw near to you." And that is what my story is all about.
I didn’t grow up a Christian. I grew up in Vegas. My parents were 19 & 20 when I was born. Young-ins. They were great parents and I had a good childhood, but by 6th grade they were divorced.
I had an intense hole that could not be filled and so I did what most would. I tried to fill it. Because in 6th grade at the age of 12 I lacked (and all pre-teens or is it tweens?) the basic emotional skills to cope with the loss of my dad in our home.
grade I starting stealing alcohol from my parents liquor cabinet and drinking at school.
grade, I started smoking pot.
grade, I had a reputation I was dying to shake, but couldn’t. I needed to feel loved and accepted and needed someone to acknowledge my pain.
grade I was introduced to Crystal Meth. And thus began a 2 year addiction. I was kicked out (my mom and I still debate this one :) of my house and slept wherever there was a free couch, and free drugs. Which meant I worked for them. Thankfully my grandparents took me in for a summer and I was on lockdown. That meant no access to drugs and I got better. Or, I should say I got off Crystal Meth. But the hole was still there. It wasn't about removing things from my life, it was about filling up that big empty space.
Having discovered the high of being high, I exchanged one addiction for another.
Cocaine, any hallucinogen I could find. Anything that would numb me from the world.
Graduation night was spent on a couch in a drug coma. Huge chunks of time gone from memory.
By time I was 19, and had spent 6 years or so on some form of drug, I found myself living in an apt. engaged to a drug dealer and we ran a pretty lucrative drug business, that is until we got raided. I’ve never been so scared. And the reality of the life I was succumbing too became all too clear.
I broke off the engagement and stopped selling drugs. But I had no peace. No answer to the hole in my chest that only grew with time. I was drinking heavily to cope. I decided it was time to end it all. I had hit rock bottom. I was only 20. This was about the time I learned my brother was going to be baptized.
And I made my first move towards God.
I didn't know I was making that move. But God did. So, I made my move and I attended his baptism and was asked to get in the water with him. It rocked me emotionally. My life continued on but there was an unrest about my life. I know longer wanted to end it, but I knew I needed something else.
God was moving towards me! As I inched closer and closer, he drew me in like a moth to a flame.
Several months later I made another move towards God. I called my little bro and attended church for the first time. And again. And again. I couldn't get enough of those weird, hand-raising-while-singing, wild-eyed Christians who were so passionate, and yet quite peaceful through difficulties and struggles. I remember hearing testimonies of a couple who had lost a baby after she was born and another who was ready to kill himself before being dragged to a cowboy church (say wha?). There was a common thread through their pain- peace. reliance, not on themselves, but on God. Admittance that life is hard but we have a God who is for us. Several months later I fell on my face and committed my life to him. Truly committed to living for him. It was hard. The letting go of all I knew and embracing a new culture of Jesus was difficult.
I came on my first mission to the DR several months later and began the journey as a believer. I was even asked to join the church staff. Wait, me? Former drug addict, abused, broken me? Yes, known and loved daughter of the King, me. I began as an admin for the youth pastor, then the children's ministry coordinator, then I sent off by the mother church as part of their first church planting team and then as a missionary working with GO.
Today, after seven years of serving and living in the DR, I am married to an incredible believer, Alan and we have 4 year old twinsy girls who are the light of my life.
I still struggle. The old is gone and the new has come, but the old has shaped me in many ways and learning to walk the new is a daily choice and path we navigate together as He leads me. Walking with Christ doesn’t mean we no longer struggle or that he will give us everything we want. He gives us what we need, according to His will for our lives.
I never thought that day I went to my brother’s baptism would be a game changer. I never thought I was moving towards God. But that is why he is God. He was calling me to him and as I moved, he so faithfully responded.
Do you need to move towards Him today? What needs to be turned off and over to Him? How is he moving in your life closer to you?
14 Jun 2014 | 5:38 pm
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
I love Father's Day! It is such a special day to stop and be grateful for the dad's in my life. I have a few!
I have learned some incredible life lessons and skills from this man. At the earliest of age he taught me the importance of being active and being healthy. Some of my fondest memories are of riding our bikes together on the weekend to Lorenzi Park. We would ride all around the trail stopping to do the pull-ups on the bar and the other excersizes they had available along the way. I am grateful for this as it has given me a foundation throughout my adulthood to live a healthy lifestyle.
I've also gained a sense of pride in my work. The Lord says it is good for us to work hard and to have work to do with our hands. I am grateful my dad and my dad's side of the family (through the family business) have instilled in me a strong desire to achieve and do well. To be proud of the work that is set before me and to do it well.
My dad is strong. I am strong too.
When I reflect on who I have become, I see a lot of my dad in me. I see a lot of my dad in the girls as well. I am grateful for this and for who he is in our lives!
Even though my mom and step dad got married when I turned 18, I have had the privilege of being welcomed into their home in my early 20's as I prepared for life as a missionary in the DR. Hank is strong and quiet. I admire that. He is slow to speak. I am admire that too! These aren't really qualities I possess but try to model because of the way in which Hank lives his life.
Hank is one of our biggest supporters in our work in the DR. We couldn't do what we do without his support. Each year, he and my mom welcome our family into their home for our 2 month extended stay. They take time off from work, cook extra meals, dote on my children because of their great love for us.
Words can't describe the sense of love and completeness that seems so completely overwhelming at times watching Alan dote on our girls. He is an absolute gentleman, caregiver, teacher, and role model to our girls. I watch him teach them about God, about grace, about love, about doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord, how to pray, how to give, how to listen, how to cultivate kindness, dreams, friendship.
We do things very differently culturally (Alan and I) and it has been a beautiful and sometimes brutal journey doing life with someone so completely different than myself who challenges me and is being used by God to shape me more into the image of Christ. (Isn't that what marriage is about? Not our happiness but instead holiness?)
There isn't a more perfect papi for Stella and Amelia, than Alan. I am humbled and overwhelmed at the good gifts he has given our family. Our journey, marked with difficulties and triumphs is one that I pray glorifies the Lord in all we do.
My God. The Father.
The Great I AM.
While there are many good (and bad) examples of earthly fathers, there is none to compare to our Heavenly Father. No matter what emotions may be stirred up today for you by remembering your own examples of an earthly father, we can rest in the arms of our glorious heavenly Father, clothed in righteousness and honor.
Let us rejoice then in thanksgiving for who HE is!
Thank you God for being my Father.
Thank you that you teach us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Thank you that you will speak through us. We are never alone.
Thank you that if two of us agree on something and ask you for it, if it is in your will, it will be done for us.
Thank you that if it is possible you will take away my suffering. If it is not, it is your will for me.
Thank you that I can put my trust and hope in you.
Thank you that as your child, I do not have to work for material possessions or food that spoils. You will meet all of my needs and I can concentrate on things that are eternal.
Thank you that if it is within your will, you will do whatever I ask in Jesus' name so that through me, Jesus will bring glory to you.
Thank you that you have sent the Holy Spirit who will teach me all things and will remind me of everything Jesus has said.
Thank you that if I sin you give me Jesus to speak to you in my defense.
Thank you that as one called by you, I am loved by you as my Father and kept by Jesus Christ.
Peace to you on Father's Day. No matter the memories we hold, may we REJOICE in our Heavenly Father who knows us and loves us so!
10 Jun 2014 | 6:33 am
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
Do you agree with this statement?
"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
Perseverance through trials seems to me to be an art. One I can be quite good at when necessary. I put on my game face, pull myself up by my bootstraps (did I even say that right?) and get to work to the task at hand. I have found I am particularly good at this. Put the nose to the grindstone (did I say that one right too?) and get the job done. But at what cost to my own soul? If it simply is about my good works and making the best of a situation simply to survive and move beyond it, have I missed the point of it all? Was there even something to be learned? Have I missed the glorious refinement, the tailored pruning? Have I missed it all?
We are called to persevere.
We are promised hardship.
We are promised heart break.
We are promised persecution.
The Lord has also promised that our character will be refined. We will actually become more like Him in this process if we allow him, which is actually the point of most trials!
We will love deeper.
We will extend grace more freely.
We will be emboldened by the truth to live as Christ lives in us!
We will truly "see" ourselves and others as His children, saved by the grace of redemption.
There are many blessed promises and many ways he will develop us through perseverance and through the trials.
So, why do we get stuck in a rut? I was recently experiencing a bout with burnout. You know what I am talking about. The weariness, the fatigue, the there's-not-enough-hours-in-the-day to complete my growing work load or enough-hours-in-the-night to rejuvenate during sleep. The days begin to run together, each one looking the same as the last. Nothing changes, the work continues, the sleep decreases. I work harder. I get more tired. I work even harder hoping I will magically reach some level of completion allowing for rest... it doesn't happen. The mind wanders, the soul questions "is this it?" I begin to question if someone or something has put me in the position to "have to" persevere instead of "get to" persevere to become more like Christ. I blame. I get angry. I am snappy with my family (and I don't mean snappy in a musical theatre sort of way...). I am a bear to be around. There is no joy. I am working a J.O.B. in every area- motherhood, ministry, wifery. (did i just make that word up?) My life becomes joyless.
Why do we, when "forced" to persevere grow weary, bitter, angered as if we've been treated wrongly and that is somehow "unjust?" As if we were promised a life of easy choices, light work, minimal responsibilities... my mind goes there. It's a battle. And then I remember, then I hear that small but mighty voice deep inside whispering over the raging of my soul... "take heart, you WILL have trouble in this world, but I have overcome the world." And I find a strengthening of heart. That small voice increases until the words are pounding in my heart, ringing through my ears, coursing through the blood stream. This is what we are made of. This is what we are made for. To love Him. To love others. To become more like him. Nothing.else.matters. Nothing.
It is not someone or something that has caused this trial set before me, that sucks the life from my bones. God almighty who has infinite knowledge and insight and the Lord Jesus who knows my heart inside and out who has put the trial before me. I know it. I've known it all along, but somewhere along the way the heart is turned towards blaming each other, our jobs, our spouses, our kids, our sicknesses and we begin to live in a world of "what if's" and "if only I had..."
Friends, speaking from personal experience, this comes at a grave price. Romans says we must REJOICE in our sufferings because when we rejoice and count our trial as a gift from the Lord, we have an expectation of hope, an expectation that our character will be refined. We can expect to become more like him. We are aware, throughout enduring, the need to seek and remain joyful in Him, because we know this thing, this really hard thing we are fighting through will be the thing Jesus uses to make us more like him. We will see him clearer. We will hear him in our souls. And this glorious rejoicing, produces H.O.P.E. Deep breath in... Hope. Yes, there it is.
Do you see it? HOPE! The exact opposite of what so many of us live in daily, despair. Hopelessness.
But the key to opening your heart up to hope is right there... REJOICE. Give Thanks.
The key is to change our heart's tune to thinking we've been given another awful situation from God almighty or worse, because I failed at something into realizing the beautiful gift God has given us. He sees something in you and wants to perfect you to be more like Him.
I have tasted and I have seen the glory of the Lord working in and through, pruning me SO THAT I may bear good fruit, more fruit. He doesn't prune us, to punish us. He doesn't prune us to keep us down. He doesn't prune us so that we may be shamed or feel unworthy. He prunes us (sometimes not so gently) so that we may be more fruitful.
A gift. From Him. To you. To me. If you choose to see it as such and receive it as such.
Today I am giving over to His will. His gifts. His joy and giving thanks to the Almighty God. "Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite." (Psalm 147:5) His understanding is infinite and my soul rests in knowing that our Great, Almighty God understands more than I could grasp or fathom. He knows my own soul, his spirit is within! He will wash over me like the ocean's tide.
What about you? How do you see trials? What must you give over to Him today?
3 Apr 2014 | 11:24 am
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
I am sitting on a plane, returning from, literally, a once in a lifetime experience. I had the privilege several days ago to celebrate Rob Partin Sr.’s life with his family, extended family, and hundred’s of dear friends. The outpouring of love and affection towards Rob and his family was humbling, encouraging, and as I sit here on the plane reflecting on my time in Louisville, I would add overwhelming to the emotions that surge through me in a sort of quiet peace and solemnness.
In 4 days, I have learned so much. I have gained so much, but I am grateful most that I think I have changed so much through friendship and through observing life behind the ugly curtain of cancer, which was only ever a sheer cloth barely tacked up over the Partin lives. There is little “normal” about the way in which this family does life, which is what made the special tribute in death so brutal and beautiful to bear witness to.
Though I knew Rob Partin Sr., only peripherally, I always knew I was in the presence of someone great. Someone, kind, gentle in spirit, someone who knew Jesus and exemplified him in every hug, embrace, thoughtful word, gesture and smile. In the Dominican he served with passion and fun. At his funeral, this was never more evident as person after person paid tribute and gave testimonies of Christ in Rob.
I believe, so much more now, in the importance of ingesting these beautiful experiences we are allowed to partake in, to learn from them, to carry on pieces of the legacies left behind by The Great’s… to be different. Rob Partin Sr. was one of The Great’s.
The most profound attribute of Rob’s that I am taking home to the DR with me, is this: Rob was a man who encouraged others. It appeared as if he never wasted an opportunity to admonish a brother or sister, in genuine love. He didn’t blow smoke, he observed and he encouraged. He did this with his family (almost each family member read a portion of a letter they had received from Rob encouraging and admonishing them and thanking them for what he had learned through their faith and their lives. I am sure it was hard for them to choose which letter to read, because he took time to do this throughout the years), and it didn’t stop with his family. He just embodied Jesus, and took opportunities to be with people. I think he knew what was important in life.
I never heard anyone from the family say “I wish
I could have… I wish we had said…” There were no regrets, because this man lived a life on purpose. He did not waste it or come to the end of life with a list of shoulda, coulda, woulda’s… Oh that we would all live a life on purpose in this way.
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”(NIV) The NLT puts it’s this way “Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
And the Message says it this way “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
Oh that our lives would be ones that seek first His glory and Righteousness.
Oh that our lives would be spent telling others the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Lives encouraging and spurring one another on towards Gospel Christ-like living.
Lives responding to God’s giving and not being so preoccupied on “getting.”
I want to not waste “it.” I want to live on purpose.
I want to take time to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.
I want no records of wrongs and no regrets at the end, whenever “the end” may come.
Jesus calls us to each and every one of these things- they are possible with his Spirit living inside of us.
As one man’s life, here on Earth has come to a close, I find myself invigorated and filled with a new passion and zest for living in the ever-present moment of today. For that, I am thankful. Thank you Jesus for the gift of these last four days. Thank you that your legacy lives on through one man’s life, through his family reaching and touching lives everyday.
Thank you God that you speak to us still, through the wind and the trees, in life and in death, in worship and plane rides, and every day life and friendship and your Holy, Spirit filled Word.
Thank you Partin Family, for pulling the curtain back and allowing us to see the beautiful and brutal moments and truths of living life to it’s fullest in spite of an ugly, life taking cancer.
Thank you Jennifer for your honesty, your tenderness, your humor, your humility, (and let’s be honest for sharing that Derby Pie at 11pm… my pants are a bit tighter on this airplane ride, thank you very much! J
). You are a beautiful woman whom I admire deeply and am always greatly encouraged no matter the length or depth of the conversation.
Will and Audrey, there are no words for the gratefulness our family feels to be able to “do life” with your family. We are spurred on and challenged in all the right ways by our friendship and closeness with you both.
Today I am solemnly thankful that we have each other to celebrate and mourn life’s moments with.
Here’s to living life on purpose.
28 Feb 2014 | 7:24 pm
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
Well hello there! Thanks for stopping by our blog. Yes, this post is about the Lent season approaching, my new hair cut and a confession! Stay with me!
I got my hair done a few days ago, and I had asked my hairdresser to give me a really good cut! She asked if she could give me a "box cut" and I said yes. As she was cutting, she said something to me that has really stuck with me… "Cortemos el que no tenga ninguna vida," translated means "let's cut off that which has no life." I know she meant it for my hair, but the larger implications have sat with me for several days.
Lent is approaching (Wednesday March 5) and I have been praying today over what needs to be cut off that has no life left so I may be closer to the One who gives life. How can I be emptied so He can fill me? What steals, robs, kills my time with the Lord, family, and kids? It didn't take long for the Lord to convict me of what it is that must go!
I know this will surprise some of you. I am a wife, mom, missionary and I work full-time. My kids are in ballet a couple days a week, I go to the gym several times, do all of the grocery shopping, most of the cooking and the list just goes on and on and it would appear as if the "free time" would be non-existent, and sometimes I even try to convince myself of exactly that!
But, it's true. And it's a confession I hate to admit. At night, I sit in front of the TV, not every night, but many, for 2-3 hours. 2-3 hours I could be spending:
- With my husband
- Soaking up truths from the Word
- Delving into my Bible Study (that I swear I never have time to do)
- Vision cast/dream with the Lord about the direction of the ministry he has chosen me to work within
- Pray for the thousands of Dominicans and Haitians our ministry is reaching yearly
- Pray for my own children's hearts to love the Lord and seek him first
- Working out and regarding my body as a Living Temple of the Holy Spirit
But I do none of this, because TV has sucked away my time every evening, convincing me that the way I need to "recharge" is to unplug from the very thing that gives life and instead fill my head with garbage, and when it's not the normal lineup of shows, it's anything- even Australia's next design star (seriously). Somehow "relaxing" and "recharging" in the evenings have left me exhausted, snappy, unfulfilled.
So, for 40 days, I am giving up night time TV (because it's the only time it's on!) and will be replace it with things that will draw me closer to the Lord and my family and not distract or take away from those things, by focusing first on the list above- things that bring new life to us!
What about you? What do you need to cut off that gives no life? What do you need to turn your face from so that you may fully face the One who will breathe life into our souls and fill us with Holy power?
Let's pray for one another!
Holding this sweet "new life," and you can check out my new hair cut! :)
14 Nov 2013 | 3:12 pm
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
In the last 2 weeks I’ve been reviewing the goals that I set for the discipleship classes in the beginning of this year. The theology of redemption classes that we taught during this year were a fundamental base to present who God is and what he is doing though his redemptive plan, to a group of young men and women. Most of the students could not tell me the name of 3 books in the Bible when we started.
The question that I kept asking myself during these 2 trimesters of 22 classes in 26 weeks, was what can I do better? And how can I present God and Jesus to these guys and their needs to have a personal relationship with them? After every week of class was over, I took time after to analyze if I presented through that week of teaching “God and his desire to established a relationship thought Jesus Christ” to each one of the guys and girls that were part of that class, for both, the basketball and baseball programs ages 13 and up. But I think that somehow I forgot about the work that God was doing “in me”. As I look back to this year, I can say that my goals were met in many different ways. After many hours of “praying, reading, writing about God and presenting him though the Bible, most of our guys had improve their knowledge about God and what he is doing. For me I have come to know God and experience him in ways that I never did before. Have I been very busy teaching about God this year? But more important he has taught me during this process, who he is and how he is inviting me and you to help him every day in his plan. I have definitely been learning too!
18 Sep 2013 | 8:54 am
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
Yesterday was such a special day. We had the privilege of bringing Yasmin to see Doctor Wendy who is here with a mission team. Wendy saw Yasmin last year at the medical clinic and provided us with a lot of insight into what the future may hold for sweet Yasmin.
When we first met her (you can read about that here
) we weren't sure how much longer she would live, being told a surgery to repair the hole in the roof of her mouth was absolutely necessary. Months later, after being evaluated for the surgery, it was determined she was a good candidate, however her body would not survive the surgery at the malnourished weight she was at. We began purchasing cases of Ensure and praying for her weight to go up. Ensure, here in the Dominican is $70 for a case of 24 and she is now up to drinking one and a half a day. Yasmin saw Wendy last year and her grandmother was concerned about how uneven her back was. Upon examination, we learned she also has Scoliosis and a swirling skin color pattern indicated some neurological defects as well. We were told she may never walk, or be able to take care of herself. We were heart broken. (you can read that post here
We prayed and prayed and with faith believed he could do the impossible. I was stunned the day I learned she was walking. (read about that post here
) This sweet spirited girl was WALKING! Her weight was greatly improving. The cloudiness in her eyes was disappearing. God was answering prayers.
A couple of weeks ago Yasmin was hospitalized for Pneumonia. Her immune system doesn't fight off sickness very well and often times a simple cold will turn into something worse and she needs to stay at the hospital while her body heals.
When we learned Wendy was coming back to the DR on a trip with GO, we knew we had to get Yasmin in to see her. Wendy thrilled with seeing her walk and her weight! We were in for another surprise though, there happened to be an Oral Surgeon on the team (THANK YOU GOD!). He was able to look into her mouth and determine that the way her mouth was growing, the gums and the bones where her cleft pallet was located are butting up against each other, naturally shutting off the hole. Yasmin's mom confirmed this by saying that very little liquid comes out of her nose anymore!
Dr. Anderson explained that it would be best at this stage, to not pursue the surgery since it is not impeding her ability to eat. In the future if it presents a problem we should move forward in having her evaluated. They are also researching the other medical issues they believe Yasmin may have so we can know how to best proceed with helping with her medical needs.
We are praising God for the way he answers prayers and performs miracles every day. We count Yasmin as a gift in our lives that we have been able to see God's handprint in who she is and how he is healing her miraculously each and every day and teaching us to have faith in the midst of it.
We are grateful for everyone who has continued to pray for Yasmin and given so generously to her medical needs!
Alan and Jackie
Here's a picture of when we met Yasmin when she was 16 months old:
and yesterday with Doctor Anderson and Doctor Wendy!
6 Sep 2013 | 10:42 am
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
As many of you know my role with GO changed during this year, and now I’m the coordinator of education for the sports outreach ministry. What does this mean? I’m responsible for developing the curriculums for the discipleship school and all the educational material (bible studies, devotional) for our basketball and baseball academies and also our bible study with our coaches. This week we stared our second trimester of class with 300 kids and young adults. This is a very exciting a challenging time in my life. I ask for your prayers, so we can influent though the scripture the life of all this kids and young adults in a way that will help them to develop a deep relationship with our savior. One of the things that make me most excited about this new journey is the challenge that God is giving me, to speak into the lives of 10 men (our coaches)… one of my closest spheres of influence. Would you please pray that God will help me to speak true into their life in a bold way. With the hopes that they will do the same with their sphere of influence the kids that they work with every day. Also will you pray that he (God) will transform me in the process, to be more like Jesus. I promise to keep you guys update though our blog about these exciting times.
12 Jul 2013 | 10:35 am
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword."
This passage has quickly grown to become one of my favorite pieces of scripture. I can still remember the first time I read it many years ago sitting in a coffee shop after an early morning hike at Red Rock Canyon amongst friends. It had a huge impact on my life early on, and even more so once I joined GO Ministries and again seeing this passage lived out spanning across cultures to advance the Kingdom of Christ on the Island!
A tremendous blessing was given to us to host our home church from Las Vegas, South Hills Church Community in June. From the beginning this team has been about partnership. They desired to be a blessing and serve alongside of a community to bring about redemption, renewal, and restoration... things we at GO are incredibly passionate about.
They sweated. a lot.
They left a piece of their hearts here in the DR working alongside of Pastor Elvis Batista and his beautiful wife Raysa and family.
Elvis, (btw, isn't it fitting that the LV Church would be working with a pastor named Elvis :) is a part of our Seminary of the Americas and pastors a large church in a community called Los Salados. An area overrun with drugs, prostitution and gambling. The church is a bright light in this community. Just weeks before we arrived, a man formerly involved with selling drugs was baptized in the name of Jesus!
The church is called to minister to the hurting, the sick, the lost and the poor, and that is exactly what this church does. In scripture we are reminded time and time again that we are called to look out for the orphans, widows, and the hurting and South Hills spent their week doing just this, repairing a single mom's house.
Juana receiving a scripture quilt created by the quilting ministry at South Hills Church
This is Jauna and she she is a single mom. She is a pillar in the church community. She lives in a very small house with no windows or doors installed, except for one. The walls are made of brick that have been laid but not finished and the flooring is dirt. She had one room with a poured floor and that was the only room in her house with a door. She slept and ate and kept all of her belongings in this room. She cooked in her backyard on an old fashioned can with some coals inside. The alleyway between her house and her neighbor's was infested with beehives. It had taken Juana almost 4 years to save enough money to purchase the land that her house stood on. The land had cost the equivalent of $400 US dollars and brick by brick, she built her house.
She didn't do this all by herself though. The men of the church had come and put a roof on her house one time and they had helped with the floor in her bedroom. She felt blessed by what she had and what she had worked hard for.
Elvis had a dream to bless this woman and change her life forever. South Hills had a dream of working alongside of a pastor in a community to give and do and bless just as God's word commands us. And GO? We are the leaders who bring these two cultures colliding together. We are the Aaron's and the Hur's, setting up rocks underneath the local leaders. We invite the North American Church to join us in lifting up the arms of the Dominican and Haitian men and women God has called to be salt and light amongst their cultures. God had brought South Hills and Elvis together through GO Ministries for such a time as this. To bring his child comfort, help in her time of need, and to restore dignity to her. For 2 days South Hills worked in tandem with the GO construction crew to pour a floor, rid her alley of the bees, smooth the walls of her home and be the hands and feet of Christ walking through the community and sharing his love and laughter to many.
Never has the verses in Exodus reminded me more of partnership in the Gospel and working together as a team with a common purpose than this past week!
(Church leaders, Brandon and Amy Gallup with Elvis and his family)
All for His glory!
Thank you South Hills for loving us, Elvis and Raysa, and the community in Los Salados so well!
3 May 2013 | 10:15 am
Posted by: Alan and Jackie
We walked on down the narrow alley for just a short time.
We were almost there.
I hadn’t seen her in months.
I heard she was walking. I heard she was defying what the doctors said she would never be able to do. I couldn’t wait to see this miracle child with my own eyes.
We turned the corner and ducked under shanty balconies and we continued our way to Yasmin’s home. In was quiet in this neighborhood, not the way you would typically describe where they live, but it was early in the morning and most were sleeping after partying until all hours of the night.
We winded up a spiral staircase and when I got to the top, there she was! Walking! Talking!
She even had a little belly on her! Her bone thin ankles and legs had a little more meat on them than they had before. She was getting stronger.
I also met the newest addition to their family. Yasmin has a baby sister, just a few months old at the time of my visit as well as a seven yr. old sister. The oldest took care of Yasmin, while Yasmin, now three and a half tried to carry her baby sister in her thin arms. I smile and think to my self how the bond of sisterly love truly transcends all cultures as I think sweetly of my own daughters who care for each other dearly.
Carina with her new baby
I snap a few pictures for Carina, holding her precious baby girl. We chat about life, Yasmin, being a mom and then they have something to show me. We head down stairs and out the door to the main street in the barrio and they give Yasmin 20 pesos and she begins her journey to the Colmado (corner store) to by her galleticas (little crackers). She walked quite a way as if she knew exactly where she was headed! Stopping all along the way to play with older kids and say hello to many as they begin to emerge from their houses as the morning wears on. I am told this is her game, and it builds strength in her legs as she walks this distance daily.
This little girl can walk!
This little girl is fierce warrior, fighting for her life and for a chance to live each and every day. Thanks to the many who have stood alongside of us and partnered with us to get Yasmin the help she needs, she will have that chance.
Pediatric Doctors, coming on a mission trip with G.O. Ministries this summer, will evaluate Yasmin. She continues her regiment of 1.5 bottles of ensure a day to gain weight and muscle mass.
Ensure in the D.R. is expensive. It costs $65 for a case of 24 and in one month, Yasmin needs 45 cans of Ensure, not to mention her medicine needs. Providing she is at an acceptable weight at the end of the summer, we will have her re-evaluated by Operation Smile in hopes that she will be able to have the surgery she needs to fix her cleft pallet. Once that is taken care of, we will begin the harder work of having her observed to determine what neurological condition she suffers from and how to get her necessary treatment.
I am thankful for sweet gifts like Yasmin who show me what it really means to fight for something worthwhile. I love this little girl and I find myself thankful for this tiny little girl who has already begun changing lives and showing God’s Sovereign power to heal and overcome adversity.
Carina with her three sweet daughters!
We need your help! Please join us in prayer for Yasmin and her family. If you would like to make a donation to help with her ongoing medical needs please make checks payable to G.O. Ministries, Inc. and send them to 11501 Plantside Dr. Suite 14, Louisville, KY 40299. In the memo line, be sure to write “Perez/Yasmin.”