I had an opportunity to travel to Samana, which is a city located on a peninsula on the northern side of the island, to witness the consecration of an IED mission church. As we were driving to the church, we stopped at Rev. Cancu’s boyhood home to greet his 101 year old mother. She was a bump on the bed, yet took my hands so strongly and ever so quietly whispered that she is still on the earth to ‘eat a little and pray a lot’.
His sister served us a sweet, heavy cornbread with hot chocolate as we began on our way up the mountain to the mission church.
The Monte Rojo church has been a mission church for years and was consecrated as an official church that morning at 10:30. I was so surprised to see that the church was packed with people on a Tuesday morning. They sang many choruses and the church seemed to ‘rock’ with the movement and dancing. They even sang 2 songs in English, “Give me That Old Time Religion” and I have no idea what the second one was because I couldn’t understand the words. The sermon was on following God and while they were collecting the offering, a group of young girls spontaneously stood up, went to the front of the church and began dancing in a circle.
In the midst of the celebration I was greeted warmly.
After the service we had a huge lunch of fish, okra, rice and beans and sweet potato salad. No one left hungry.
We drove through the town of Samana on our way back to Santo Domingo and they took me past the first Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana church on the island, which is now 189 years old. The church was disassembled in England, shipped to the Dominican Republic and reassembled.
As we drove back to the city through the palm oil plantations, I sat in awe knowing I had witnessed the faith of many people.