Abraham Kim picked us up on Sunday morning, July 14th. It took us about an hour but we finally found Pastor Maria’s little church.
When we walked in the church, they were in the middle of Sunday School. There were two very small rooms alongside the sanctuary. One room was about seven feet by twelve feet in size and twenty little tiny kids were there in their tiny chairs. There were no desks and the teacher was using surplus materials from another church. Not every child received a copy of the materials and there were no teachers’ guides. This affected me deeply.
The other room was a smidgen larger and there were twenty five older children in that room facing the same lack of materials as the younger children. I just smiled at their teachers, two very young girls, I didn’t know what to say to encourage them. I am so thankful for their commitment.
This church was started eight years ago by a seminary student. The community is one of many struggles. It is where the Dominican Republic prisoners from the United States are released every year.
The church service started right at 11:00 am. There were about fifteen adults in the service, a mix of older folks, grandparents, and young adults along with ten children. There was one family of three generations with aunts, uncles and cousins, whom I met after the service. One teeny two year old – Francisca -had her little chair and was carrying it from one side of the center aisle to the other, depending on whom she wanted to sit by.
One young adult man got up to read the gospel and we realized we had met him before at the central office. His name is Omar. He walked to the front of the congregation and began reading. Francisca, picked up her chair and walked to the front following him and set her chair right beside him, right at his feet, facing him, and stared up at him as he read the gospel. I have never seen anything like it.
Rev Kim proceeded to share the sermon. He was very attentive to his audience and his sermon became more of a Bible Study as he included the adults. The most elderly woman was so engaged in the sermon with him, it was like they were having a private conversation together.
Then came communion. We all went to the front of the church to receive the sacraments, and so did the two year old, Francisca, and her older sister. As we were being served by Rev Kim, she followed him on the altar with her hands held out, saying, “Here! Here I am! I’m ready!” She just kept saying this. Her older sister was very quiet and respectful yet watched each one’s every move.
I was so touched by how God is so obviously working in these 2 little girls’ hearts. They were so engaged, so open, so expectant, and so eager.
Please God, work in my heart that I might be the same.