Today was a pastor’s dream Sunday, but it wasn’t Sunday, it was Friday December 22nd, the Friday before Christmas. Gordy and I rode to Monte Cristi, a 5 hour road trip from the capital to the far northwestern part of the country, with Rev. Cancu, who is the Executive Secretary (Bishop in United Methodist terms) of the Iglesia Evangélica Dominicana(IED). .
This is where Deisy and Lorenzo are now pastoring a new IED chapel church.
They were able to build a new sanctuary with the help of Kim Bland and Volunteers-in-Mission from the United Methodist churches in the southern U.S. The new sanctuary has a tin roof with open spaces between the roof and the walls. Lorenzo had fallen off the roof during construction and slit open his foot. He had to receive surgery and stitches in order to begin healing. There was a home-made wooden cross on the altar that Lorenzo made, and a smaller cross on the pulpit with words in English from Psalm 23 that a medical VIM team brought from Pierre, South Dakota.
Julio was painting the words:
IGLESIA E V A N G É L I C A DOMINICANA
on the front of the church as we drove up. There were about 50 second hand chairs set up and Loredi and Dairy, 2 of Deisy’s children had gone to find more plastic chairs. As the church filled with children and moms, many were standing outside.
Kim shared the sermon. Rev. Cancu dedicated the new sanctuary then blessed and dedicated 8 small children. He baptized 10 youth and then lectured them about the meaning of their baptism and his expectations for them. He welcomed 2 new members from other churches and accepted their transfers. We all shared communion and sang lots of choruses. Rev. Cancu then introduced the missionaries to the congregation and prayed for everyone.
As we left the service we received little packets of broken candy canes and crackers. Deisy and Lorenzo took all the children home in many trips in their little car because by the time the service finished it was dark and it wasn’t safe for them to walk.
We ate boiled bananas, boiled yucca and scrambled eggs together.
Pastor Deisy shared with Gordy and I that many of the children and youth who came are very poor, some live in houses with dirt floors, and some are orphaned. She shared that the group of 10 who were baptized are very committed to the church already. She has many dreams for a community library and a Solar Oven ministry.
Let’s be in prayer and solidarity with Rev. Deisy and Lorenzo.