4 Things We Learned on our SLI Mission Trip

1. Christ's church is the church, no matter where you are in the world

The band started playing, the other congregants were still trickling in through the back door of the church.  If we thought the myriad of conversations and the few babies crying from the back were loud, we were proven wrong when the worship team from Pastor Eleazar's church kicked it into gear.  We tried to engage in the Spanish worship, while some of us slipped tissues in our ears as discreetly as we could.  But as the band worked through therir set list, the Holy Spirit was speaking something to our hearts.  Christ had paid for these people with his blood and He had redeemed us as well, so why wouldn't we celebrate, and celebrate together?  On that very Sunday in nearly every city across the globe, men and women were gathered together to worship the same God.  Rather than simply a foreign experience, that night downtown became a wide angle lens with which to view the church around the world.  - Jonathan

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2. Diversity in the team only means that we are each gifted in different ways

Creating the kids program from scratch meant we all had to contribute (there are only 4 of us!)  Each person played an important part.  While practicing the program we discovered that we all prefered different age groups and we had to involve things that all ages would love.  It was fun to see each person more involved and animated in the program for the class that they better related to.  Through Issachar, our translator, our nerves calmed down and we each had a blast teaching the message "Jesus is with you; there is no need to be afraid".  The program turned out really well because each one contributed in their own way to make sure everyone was included. - Autumn

3. We can use our differences to our advantage

We put on the very first men's conference in Puerto Plata and the North coast - it had never been done before.  Not only that but a bunch of "rich white people", affectionately called "gringos" were speaking at it.  We were different, but that was part of what drew people's attention and attendance.  Another difference was in our definitions of poverty.  Ours was "you are poor and have little, so I will give you stuff/money so you won't be poor", while their definition of poverty is "I am hopeless and nothing can get me out of this situation".  Once we understood this, we could help them not by throwing them our leftover pesos, but by showing them the source of hope - JESUS.  When we encourage them to rely on Him for help, getting out of poverty can happen as a by product of knowing HOPE. - Ben

4. Emotional brokenness is cross-cultural

While the guys were at the men's conference, the ladies went to a womens' ministry to speak to single and pregnant ladies.  We worried that whatever we could say would be meaningless because their lives seem so much harder than ours.  We each shared personal testimonies and then we had a time of prayer.  It was amaizng to see how so many ladies related to what we said and asked for specific prayer.  God taught us two things here: first, no matter what situations we are in or where we live, we can struggle with the same issues.  Also we learned that God can use anyone who is willing.  He doesn't just use the confident speaker who blows people's minds with their words.  He uses the servants that are willing to be used by Him and He does the rest.  The results were more amazing than what we could ever imagine. - Evangeline

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