South Hills Mission Team
I am humbled to think we have this fleeting moment here on earth to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My heart yearns to know Him more and more in intimate ways. My soul longs to spend unending time studying His word, talking about His life and the way he lived and did ministry on earth. I am beyond unworthy to spend all of eternity with him, but humbled by the good news of a great joy that is for all peoples. That is for me. That is for you.
It's most of why I am here in the Dominican Republic serving Him. I am learning countless lessons all the time through community with other missionaries and through ministering to Nationals on the Island.
We have the greatest joy when we are able to contextualize our love for Jesus and the love he has for the least of these when we can share and expose North American Believers and churches to what the Lord is doing amongst his people in Hispaniola. We have been so blessed by the many teams who have come and served as Jesus' hands and feet to the people here. It brings tears to my eyes to see lives being changed.
The teams who come and serve with us catch a glimpse of what is going on here and I am convinced sometimes all it takes is just that glimpse for a revolution in our own hearts, souls, and minds to take place. We call it mutual transformation. Teams come to the DR to serve and change lives and through their time serving, Jesus has changed their hearts and their lives. Forever.
I had the greatest priviledge to see this happen amongst a team of 11. A small, intimate team from Las Vegas, NV. My home church. South Hills.
November 6 of this year I celebrate 10 years of knowing Jesus. 10 years of Him penetrating my heart and changing me more and more into His image. 10 years of laying down my own pride, selfish ambitions and desires in my feeble attempts to become His image bearer. I haven't always (and mostly) done it well, but His grace covers me and I am humbled by that.
10 years ago, I walked into a church, fearful of my future and where I was headed and today I stand a changed person because of that church in Las Vegas and those who took great care in teaching and leading me.
10 years later, it was an honor for them to come to the DR to serve alongside Alan and me and the work we are doing through G.O. Ministries in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
It was an incredible week. From the beginning they were humble and patient. They arrived in the afternoon and we wasted no time in taking them to the mother of all projects for G.O. Ministries. The Leadership Development Complex (or LDC as we have termed it). The LDC will be a wellspring of life and knowledge for the many men and women who serve there. It is a facility that will have a sports complex with basketball courts, soccer fields,baseball fields and almost every other kind of sport you can think of. Teams will participate in sports camps year round and the Dominican & Haitian sports team (including Alan) will be the forefront of all the ministry that happens there. A seminary will also be on the grounds, termed, Seminary of the Americas and will train up teams of pastors and Christian leaders to plant churches in communities all over Latin America and finally, Kingdom Businesses will line the property- over 40 acres that will provide jobs and sustainable income for the ministry.
We stood on what now is just over grown land and dreamed about what this place could look like... someday. I love what one team member, Diana said "The Lord told me to take off my shoes, we were standing on Holy Ground." Yes, we are standing on Holy Ground.
Talking to the team about the future LDC
Throughout the week, wherever they served they served cheerfully, without complaint and always looking for a way to bless those around them. Brandon, began putting up the brick facade on the front of the Central Church. The Central Church project is huge for our ministry and must be complete before the LDC so we can begin the Seminary training at the church. The church is one of the first of it's kind in the DR- it has age appropriate classrooms for children's ministry, and a common meeting/eating area, along with a kitchen and dorms to house teams. The plan is for the church to meet up top on the 2nd level, but it's not finished, so everything happens on the first floor and we are packed every Sunday.
Brandon and Alan using a water level to measure up the side of the building
Mixing up some concrete
The team spent 3 days working on the Central Church project as well as two houses we are building for Rene and his family and Luis and his family. They both lead our construction crew, who work tirelessly to continue building churches, nutrition centers, and houses all over the island. They have each worked for the ministry for over 10 years. It's a great blessing to give these houses to them for their service in ministry.
The team works on the roof of Rene's house
South Hills helped us paint a few walls in our house and prepare the backyard for grass. The joke is that we outgrew out house the day I found out I was pregnant. Last year we moved to a bigger house, only to be broken into and we had to move back to our old house. We've been ready to move ever since, but learning that it's God's timing and not ours. In the meantime, we wanted to create a place where our girls could play and have more space. It was lovely being blessed by the team in this way.
The "before" shot! Thanks Bruce for working so hard to get that palm moved!
The "after" shot! Grass installed!
Jose painting the inside of our home
Towards the end of the week, we made a trek to Phaeton, Haiti. A rural community lost in the middle of nowhere setting along the coast. It is said that someday Haiti will be in the ocean. Until then, we are committed to the vision God has set upon this ministry to redeem people, renew communities, and restore Creation. Our total time in Haiti was a little over 4 hours. No matter how much time I spend in Haiti, my world is always rocked by what I see there. I am grateful that the Lord is using G.O. to restore dignity and hope to a long forgotten people... though the world may have lost sight of them, the Lord has not forgotten them.
A typical home in Phaeton
Molly feeding a sweet child in the nutrition center
Sandra loves on the kids in the nutrition center
Jared was so tall all the kids wanted a ride on his shoulders
We were so encouraged by the team. After long days they would go to Alan's English Class that he teaches to support him and the Bible study he is a part of.
Alan teaching English class
On the last night they were here, Jose, a team member came to me and asked me if I would be present when he talked to a girl about 13 years old who had been helping cook the meals for the team. With tears in my eyes, I listened as he shared about his own family and how he had a daughter about her age, pure and kind. He told her Jesus loved her, and someday soon boys would come if they hadn't already and try to sway her, but their promises could never match that of Jesus and His promises for us. He encouraged her to stay strong in her faith and to wait until marriage no matter what any boy said to her. I was overwhelmed at Jose's kindness to share with her fatherly love. To be Jesus and speak his words. Overwhelmed.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2nd Peter 3:18
We have been changed by our week with South Hills and we want you to know how incredibly thankful we are for your partnership, continued love and encouragement to us, and for pointing people to Jesus and His truth while serving with us! We are giving the Lord all the glory for the many amazing things done in His name and for His glory.
We are so thankful to Brandon and Amy! Thank you for who you are in our lives!
We love you South Hills and continue to pray for you all!
Alan and Jackie Perez