This morning we continue our series entitled, “Power of Fellowship.” In our last message I taught from Psalm 139. In that Psalm David beautifully highlighted how God knows everything. Today’s message will flow in that same vein. But I will do so by giving you a testimony.
Isabella and I spent the last five days in the Dominican Republic. Many of you know that we have a church and two schools there. But you may not know the story of how this came to be. I will share a brief portion of the story today and use it to drive home the message.
Isabella and I retired from the United States Army in 2015. We held a dual-retirement ceremony on May 22, 2015. We took a few months off and as part of it, we spent a month in the Dominican Republic (DR) that summer. As a child I visited the DR every year. But once I joined the Army, I only made one visit during my 25 year career. Needless to say, my family there was happy to see me. While we were there, in my family’s hometown of La Vega, the Holy Spirit moved on my heart to purchase a home there. I was not sure why. My plans for ‘after the military’ did not include anything in the DR, but the Holy Spirit was persistent. So, by faith, we agreed to purchase a home there while we were on vacation and as soon as we got home from vacation we sent the down payment to the DR.
My family thought I was making a mistake. They thought I was making an emotional decision. But this had nothing to do with emotion. This was all God. We were doing what God was leading us to do and we were honestly not sure why. One big shock was that I originally thought I would get a mortgage in the USA for the property in the DR. By the time I found out that no US lender would provide us the loan for a property overseas, I thought I was in a bind, because we had already obligated a large down payment. I took my concerns to God. The Holy Spirit made it clear that He was leading us and He would not let us down. He did not. By God’s grace we paid the property off in 12 months, no interest. God is a provider.
After the process for the our home was in motion, in September of 2015 the Lord moved on our hearts to minister to Haitian children in the DR. Isabella had already been on a missions trip to Haiti and she had a heart for Haitian children. After doing some research, we found out that over one million Haitians came over to the DR after the 2010 earthquake. The DR initially received them, but then required them to get documented. Many did not and the children they had, as undocumented aliens, were not being allowed in DR schools. This led a group of Haitian Pastors to attempt to start schools to educate children. Because children with no education are extremely disadvantaged and they have a strong propensity to wind up doing things that are not beneficial to them or society.
After doing some research, Isabella and I traveled to the Dominican Republic in October of 2015 to visit 10 (or so) Haitian schools in the La Vega area. We were praying about which one to sponsor. After visiting several, we were led of God to connect with Pastor Idovil. He was actually running two schools. One was meeting in a very small home. He had about 70 children in what was basically a shack with two rooms. In the larger of the two rooms, he had two classes going in one space, with 20 desks facing one direction and 30 another. This school met in the morning. He had another group of students that met in the afternoon, in what seemed to be an alleyway, under a tarp. They were basically outside.
He told us that he wanted to get a small refrigerator to be able to give the kids something cold to drink. He was also giving them cereal, when he could. The Lord told us to take over both schools and Pastor Idovil was open to what God was doing.
Over the years we moved the children into better facilities. We expanded from 120 children to 161 (so far). We provide every child and the teaching staff a hot meal every day. We have grown the teaching staff and we now go from Pre-K to sixth grade. And Pastor Idovil also submitted his church under our covering.
Three days ago RIPMINISTRIES purchased a plot of land and soon we will start construction on a two story school with 10 classrooms, two offices, a kitchen and a cafeteria. Next to that will be a church sanctuary that will hold 200 people. Next to that will be a playground with a basketball court and soccer goals. We will add 7th and 8th grades over the next couple of years and we will grow the student count to 200. We will still provide every student a hot meal every school day and a Christ-based education. We are extremely thankful for what God is doing.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. You are not always going to know what God is up to. God told us to purchase the land in JUL 2015 and He did not talk to us about the schools until OCT 2015. If God told you everything up front you would not require faith. Living by faith means that you won’t always have all the answers. You won’t always know why. But you still have to do what God is leading you to do.
2. God is a provider. God made a way for us to not only purchase our home in the DR, but to do so debt free. Furthermore, God made a way for us to purchase the land for the building project debt free. If it’s God’s will, then it is also His bill! Wherever God releases vision, it is because the provision has already been stored up!
3. Vision is incremental and progressive. God won’t give you the entire vision up front. But as you walk with Him, and you fellowship with Him as we have been learning about in this series, He will give you the vision you need to maximize the season you are in. Before this season is over He will give you vision for the next. This is what it means to “walk with God”. It’s a journey. Enjoy it!
4. God is going to see to it that the building project in the Dominican Republic gets completed. This is a blessed project. I want to give you an opportunity to be part of it. If by reading this story God touched your heart to be involved, then please make a donation. RIPMINISTRIES is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible in the United States. Please make your donations here: http://ripministries.org/donate.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for making plans for me before the world began. The book of my life has already been written. All the days of my life were mapped out before I ever took one breath. I enter this day knowing that I am destined. I open my heart to hear and receive what You already planned. You give me vision and I respond in faith. I launch out to do what You lead me to do, even when I don’t have any sense realm evidence to support it, and even when it does not make any sense to me. I am Your child and I live by faith. You give me vision and as I live by faith to bring it to pass, I receive the provision You already stored up for the vision. This is an amazing life. I am honored and privileged that I get to walk with You. I don’t just know You in a book. I experience You every day, in every way! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!