Sierra Leone | Dominican Republic | Haiti
Where to begin? There is much to give time to and praises for - far too much to be captured in a brief article. However, I will touch on a few highlights of recent weeks that I think you will find encouraging, enlightening, and perhaps even stir you to action.
The first is the Sierra Leone Alliance of Western New York that The Chapel has had the privilege to host and facilitate for over five years. In that time, the Alliance has worked individually and collectively to bring hope, love, and tangible help to the people who are still struggling to make it through the day. Progress at a national level is being made and continues to be made given the relative peace afforded to the people from a stable government since 2007. The President of Sierra Leone is not only a friend and supporter to what we are doing there, he is by all accounts a Christ-follower which is awesome! That said, the Alliance is in the midst of supporting unique projects from pineapple farms in 10 villages, to homes and schools for children, to new clean water wells, to repairing and maintaining existing wells, to equipping pastors, to planting new churches, and to building and staffing medical facilities. These are not all that is happening but represent tangible demonstrations of the gospel that enable the message of the gospel to be not only be heard but also received. More on these things is to come in the future as the Alliance launches its own website where you will be able to get more detailed information as to what is happening, what is needed, and what to pray for. In terms of prayer, please keep the country in your prayers as they deal with the Ebola situation—fear and the unknown are difficult to navigate when they get wrapped up in the heart. Also, pray for wisdom for those who comprise the Alliance (EduNations, Let Them LOL, World Hope, Houghton College, Global Outreach Mission, Jericho Road Community Health Center, and The Chapel). We are on the cusp of taking some stronger and more significant steps together as an Alliance both here and in-country to further the mission for the sake of every man, woman, and child.
Now let's travel a bit closer to home to an island in the Caribbean called Hispaniola. On this island are two countries that The Chapel is strategically engaged. The first I want to mention is the Dominican Republic. I imagine that many who are now reading this article have been there on a ministry trip. If you have, you can attest to the on-going activity of God in the place. If you have not, perhaps you should consider going. We have multiple trips each year—there is a place for you! If interested, please connect with me or keep your eyes open for upcoming trips on our webpage or in the worship folder on Sunday. In terms of a couple of highlights for the DR, I will mention two among the many incredible things happening there. First, is the new partnership we have forged with Water@Work. Water@Work is a Christ-centered ministry based out of Atlanta, GA, with an expertise to provide cleaning water systems through simple, yet highly effective, filtration technology. From funds given this past Easter, we will be helping them complete and install two systems in the DR for communities desperately in need. These water systems then become a focal point, an epicenter if you will, for evangelism and spiritual formation. We will continue to look for strategic places in the DR for future investment as the Lord provides given we understand the value and necessity of clean water to the body and how that can be an effective means to reach the soul. Second, is the work being done by the church in Juan Dolio, which is the town where many of our teams have stayed given it is where SCORE's main complex is located. SCORE is our primary on-the-ground partner in the DR. The church in Juan Dolio is taking tangible steps in that immediate geography as they have asked and have answered two key questions: "What does God want for Juan Dolio?" and then, "What would it look like if God did what He wanted?" As a result of wrestling with these questions, the church there is taking steps similar to the ones we have taken and continue to take here in WNY. They are researching the community asking these key questions. Who is here? What are they doing? What do they need? Who is doing ministry here? Who can we partner with? Where is the gospel not present? How can we demonstrate and declare the gospel best in this place as in every place for every person. The answers to these questions then birth a vision of geographic intentionality requiring mobilization, extension and expansion of the presence of God's people! It is exciting to see and to play a small role in the growth of the church. Please pray for them and Pastor Nate as they continue on this course for it will serve as a model for many in that country to follow in the future.
The last country I will mention in this article is the work that is happening in Haiti. As you may know, we have begun a strategic partnership with Mission of Hope, Haiti. In fact, we have sent several teams to Haiti over the past 18 months and will be doing so again this fall focusing on a couple of villages. Again, there is much to discuss just in terms of what is happening through our engagement there, but I want to mention something we have been working on and will continue to give energy towards in the days to come that will hopefully shape the spiritual history of that nation. We, with another ministry Florida (Summit Church), are working with MOH to develop and launch an intentional longer term environment for pastors from all over the nation where they can be envisioned to own the spiritual lostness of their nation to a greater degree, to be equipped theologically, challenged missiologically and developed from a leadership standpoint. All of these efforts are directed towards the eventual outcome of fully mobilizing Christ's people in that place so that every Haitian man, woman, boy, and girl can have immediate and culturally relevant access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. At this point we have a tentative plan developed and are in the process of finalizing how, where, and when to get started. Please pray for us as we finalize these plans. We definitely need God's wisdom and His favor given what we are attempting to tackle and facilitate. The ramifications of this effort, even though they are years away, are enormous given what we have seen in other nations when the church becomes galvanized around a mission to saturate every corner of their country with the gospel.