By: Mitzi Villegas Carmona
In the past weeks, we have been sharing about an impactful event that took place during Holy Week 2021. For many participants, Mission without Limits https://transformtheglobe.com/2021/04/09/stage-three-of-mission-without-limits-takes-place-in-mesoamerica/ has been an opportunity to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in a new way. clear. And that “glocal” https://transformtheglobe.com/2020/10/20/what-is-glocal/missionary opportunity also began to transform lives, both of the people who encountered God and his salvation, as well as the volunteer missionaries.
That transformation was witnessed by the team from Hatillo, San Lorenzo de Santiago, Dominican Republic. “The Lord’s plans are bigger than ours,” Eduardo Ramírez, the team leader, said. “We had prepared an agenda of activities to carry out in the community, but while we were distributing food rations to those in need, we came across a Haitian community. This neighborhood was thirsty to hear the Word of the Lord. They came to us, not only because of the food we were handing out but because they had a spiritual need. For a moment I felt helpless at not being able to communicate the good news to them in their language, but inside I heard a voice tell me: “You work with foreigners and you know what to do; speak, for I am directing you.” Soon after, God provided a willing man to help me translate Haitian Creole. Instantly I started talking about the greatness of the Lord, and the translator did and said everything that the Lord put in my mouth. When I invited those listening to make a decision, almost everyone bowed down and accepted the Lord Jesus. Hallelujah! When I finished sharing, they all ran like an avalanche to me, hugged me and thanked me for bringing Jesus into their lives.
The life lesson I learned was this: “People come not only out of physical hunger, but because they need God. And God is no respecter of persons; the Kingdom of God is for everyone. Get up and preach, this is your calling.”
Gabriela Pérez, from the Mission without Limits team in Rancho Arriba, Dominican Republic, shares that, as a teenager, she was confused by things she had seen on social media that questioned her faith. Gaby acknowledges that “because of His intense love, God shows that He is more than just a name; He is our protective Father.” Mission without Limits impacted her life as she saw how posters written with messages as simple as “God loves you” or “Follow Christ” could help people recognize their need for God and his eternal love. “I learned that the church is people,” says Gaby, “who show constant support out of love for God and for our neighbor, as the Bible says in Matthew 22:39.”
Even when the enemy’s forces show opposition, the Lord’s will for our lives remains. Charina Popa Rosario says that when she asked for permission from her job to serve at the Ciruelitos site in Santiago, Dominican Republic, they told her they would deduct a week of her salary. Yet she remained willing to do the Lord’s work. However, due to new outbreaks of COVID-19 in January, the mission trip was rescheduled. This time, when requesting leave from her work for the new date, they told her they would not deduct anything from her salary. Glory to God!
Still, upon arriving at the mission, she received a call from her boss requesting her presence at work. She politely refused when she recognized that her faith was being tested and that she needed to trust that God was in control. Everything ended up being resolved with her employer, and in Mission without Limits, a person met Christ through her. “Things were not easy, but I can say that he is always faithful to his promises and he expects great things from us,” says Charina.
Finally, the impact was not only felt in the Dominican Republic. Despite government and health restrictions, the Church of the Nazarene in Panama took up the challenge and decided to respond to God’s call to reach the Carrasquilla community. Ada Luz Alvarado, from Puente del Rey Church of the Nazarene, expresses appreciation for the opportunity to work with the Mission without Limits team. Her heart swelled with happiness because of the blessing of sharing with the children of the community and bringing the message of God to them. For Ada and her team, this was a new way of sharing the gospel, not only in person but also virtually. They lived out what is expressed in Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV): “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” God really is faithful and takes care of his Church!
After hearing these stories, again we must say: God is a God without limits, and he proves it every moment as we serve in his mission!