The Gospel Lived Out.
Written by Plant With Purpose on March 30, 2012 in General
Ladies and gentlemen, today you are in for a treat.
Yesterday we shared the incredible story of Teodora Sánchez and her church in the village of Loma Verde in the Dominican Republic. We were so inspired by the idea of a church joining with Plant With Purpose to combat illiteracy that we decided to post about it again today.
Today Corbyn Small, Regional Representative shares his firsthand experience from his trip to the Dominican Republic just a couple weeks ago. He had the privilege of meeting Teodora, the incredible literacy trainers in her church, and the inspiring men and women who are learning to read.
Take it away, Corbyn!
There I was, riding in the very back of a 12-passenger van, without words. I was struck with awe, gratitude, and humility as I listened to the Director of our work in the Dominican Republic share his testimony with our group of seven visitors. My heart welled with inspiration at the amazing story that Carlos, our director of nine years, shared about how he came to know Christ and asked him into his heart.
Let me start by saying that Carlos is already one of the most humble, gracious, and caring men that I know, but hearing his story filled my heart until it overflowed with joy. First, Carlos described a separation from God, a time in his life where he did not know God or have any belief in Him. He was able to get a good job working for the government through the Ministry of the Environment after he received a U.S.-based education in Agriculture and Economics.
But he wasn’t fulfilled, he said.
Carlos knew there had to be more. He went on to describe how one afternoon something unexplainable came over him. He didn’t understand what he was feeling, but he picked up a Bible and started reading the New Testament. Immediately, waves of emotion flowed over him, and he explained that his tears were a mystery to him.
As Carlos vividly described rushing to the nearest church, I could picture him rapping on the door until a pastor opened it and asked him how he could help. Overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit, Carlos entered and told the pastor that he didn’t understand why he was there. The pastor replied that he knew why he was there, and that he was there in search of the Lord. The Lord had been working in Carlos’s heart and used His word to open his eyes and heart. Carlos accepted the Lord that afternoon and described it as the most important step he had ever taken. It was not without the grace of God.
Carlos’s story was enough to bring tears to my eyes and my heart to overflowing, but there’s more yet. Earlier in our trip, our group was blessed to sit in on a meeting organized through Plant With Purpose and one of the leaders of a local church in Loma Verde. Plant With Purpose had worked alongside the pastor, Teodora Sánchez, to identify the most critical issues faced by the members of her community. Near the top of that list was illiteracy amongst adults.
The group we visited focused on teaching adults how to read, and after sitting through a class we listened to testimony after testimony of individuals who were learning to read. They said things like learning to read allowed them “to walk confidently in the streets” and how they wouldn’t “have to fear embarrassment anymore.”
After many of the farmers shared, a man in his thirties stood up and said, “I want to learn how to read so that I can read the Bible for myself.”
It was a powerful statement at the time, and it left us encouraged at the great work that Teodora was doing in Loma Verde to share the love of Christ with those around her.
The weight of that man’s testimony didn’t hit me until later, when I was in the van, listening to Carlos as he said, “this literacy group means so much to me because this is how the Lord called my heart.” The young man wants to learn to read so that he can read the Word of God and come to know Him more.
And so it hit me, this is it—the gospel lived out in real ways by real people who love Jesus.
I’m overwhelmed and blessed by the opportunity to work with such a God-fearing and humble team that desires to see God’s kingdom lived out here on earth as we serve one another and share His good Word.