April 17, 2011

Repost Sunday: Could I Be Free

As I was reading through past blog entries it was incredible to read about the ministry that has occurred on the island through G.O. since I moved here to the D.R. almost 4 years ago! I thought for the next month or so, I would repost one of those entries each Sunday as a way to look back and praise God for the things he has done. We've recently evolved our vision at G.O. and I will be sharing about that in coming posts.

This post [Could I Be Free] was written July 27, 2007. I had been living in the DR for 2 months.

Let me tell you about the Bateys. There are approximately 14 Bateys, located in the Southwestern part of the Dominican Republic. This is where they harvest sugar cane. Most of these Bateys and sugarcane fields are owned by companies outside of the D.R. They have machines to harvest the sugarcane, but they refuse to bring them to the bateys because the cost of paying a Haitian to harvest the cane is far less.

Haitians are told that they could come to the Dominican and make up to $25 US a week. In Haiti the average Haitian makes $250 US a year. You can imagine how any Haitian would jump at the chance to make up to 4 times as much as they could living in Haiti. Once they arrive in the D.R. the guards tear up there papers, and many simply no longer "exist" to the world. With out any sort of birth certificate or official papers, they are nothing. They cannot leave. They make about $10 a week, and they suffer from extremely harsh conditions in the sugar cane fields. They cut the cane with machetes, and injuries are common. Boys may begin harvesting cane with their parents at early ages as well. They settled in these camps and many generations live here together. While the conditions here are better than that in Haiti, they are some of the worst in the Dominican Republic.

On this particular visit, we brought down a team of 18, which included 1 doctor, and two nurses. The team would provide medical care over the course of 2 days in Batey Cuchillo (pronounced coo-chee-yo). Many here have never seen a Doctor. We brought thousands and thousands of dollars in medications. Many of the people were patient and waited, understanding we were here to help. One woman, came in who believed she was pregnant, but she had bled for two months, and now here belly was no longer growing. Family is very important here, their kids are all they have. They were desperate to recieve care, knowing this may be there only chance to recieve help for their kids and family.

I met one man in his early twenties. He asked me for a Bible. I spoke to the Pastor, and it turns out he was a believer but did not have a Bible. I brought one to him and he was truly grateful. I continued on the day working alongside the team to meet the physical needs of our patients.

As the week drew to a close we had seen and treated almost 900 patients, held two VBS's, evangelized to Batey nueve and cuchillo, led 8 people to Christ, broke ground on the foundation of Pastor William's new church, and participated in the daily feeding of over 100 kids in the nutrition center.

So many things were accomplished that week for the LORD, and on the final night- we had a despidida (good bye party) for the Americans to say goodbye to the nationals they had worked alongside of all week long. There were over 100 people there, many had walked from Batey cuchillo, 30 minutes away, by foot. There are no street lights, just fields. Many stood up and thanked eachother, prayed for one another, and we worshipped as one body. Standing outside after the despidida, I caught sight of the boy who had asked me for a Bible. When he saw me, a huge smile came over his face, I saw a joy in him that was from our LORD. I walked up to him and said "Tu tienes la Biblia? Translated: do you have the Bible?" "Si, si" he replied and as he pulled out the Bible, he opened it to the back cover of the book, where the words had been written after I gave him the Bible "Dios te Bendiga" (God bless you) and his name! As I looked at his name poorly scribbled in his Bible, I thought how much the LORD knows each one of us by name, and I am reminded of this verse:

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7.

The LORD not only loves me & you, but each of our precious brothers and sisters in the Bateys, and all over the world, those who believe in the LORD, and those who do not yet, the LORD, has not forgotten one single person. He knew that that boy was to recieve a Bible from me that day in Batey Cuchillo. Please pray for him.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5: 3-10
Thank you all so much for going before the LORD on my behalf, and on the behalf of the many more who do not yet know Christ and those who need strength to keep fighting the fight.

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