I received an update from one of our partners in Dominican Republic. Adrian and Sharon Thomas are working there, running a ministry called Everyday Ministries. They shared this story of a recent STM team, and I thought I'd pass it along here:
Minnesota Impact - Short-Term Team, Long-Term Difference
"We recently had a group of missionaries from the great State of Minnesota visit us from a combination of three churches: Full Gospel Church of Grand Rapids, Duluth Gospel Tabernacle and Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle. Our focus for the week was on a community called “Puerto Rico a Pie,” which literally means Puerto Rico by foot.
We helped with the new addition to Pastor Jaime’s church, held a health awareness clinic, children’s program in the public elementary school, children’s movie night, and a youth outreach service. The type of construction we completed on the church is called “panete”. It involves mixing cement, fine sand, and water until it is the
consistency of your favorite pudding. Then we use a pointed trowel and throw the pudding onto the wall and smooth. This mixture turns an ugly, block wall into a smooth, textured wall ready for paint. The team from Minnesota smooth coated all the outside walls of the new addition and existing church with “panete.” This was not a small task as the dimensions of the church are 60’x 30’x 15’. There is an art to panete and it takes time to develop this technique.
However, as the week unfolded they became experts. But it wasn’t their ability to smooth coat that struck me; it was how much the relationship between the team and the people of the community developed that really impacted me. They went from strangers to acquaintances to friends in only a week. What a difference a week can make. Pastor Jaime and his wife, Deysi, are very involved in children’s ministry. The children’s program in the public school marked the first time foreigners had ever visited. The team utilized puppets to put on a show with a meaningful message as they interacted with the children. Pastor Jaime followed with sharing the promise of our Savior Jesus Christ. Almost all of the children responded to receive Christ as their Savior!
The impact of the Minnesota team was life changing for many people involved. Don’t ever underestimate what God can do through you. Puerto Rico a Pie will never be the same. I believe the team from Minnesota will never be the same either."
For me, all I need to hear are stories like this one to keep me on the STM cheerleading squad. Can you get out there and have a story like this written about your team please? Go! Yeah, now would be good.