Updates From the 2015 DR Missions Trip – Bruce Acosta

Reflecting on the Missions Trip to the Dominican Republic …

“What did you learn?” has been the question asked most frequently since we returned. To be honest, it’s a difficult question to answer since I enjoyed the trip so much and learned a considerable amount. I learned about discipleship, fellowship, church health, marriage/dating, missions and evangelism. I took away so many things, that it is incredibly hard to single one thing out. It’s similar to the question, “What’s your favorite movie?” I hate that question, by the way. I’ve seen so many movies that picking one above the rest is borderline torturous. Okay, it’s not that bad, but not easy. Anyway, I’ll do my best to focus on one thing in this post.

One thing I learned that I think would help direct our prayers is that the church is the church is the church and is in need of help. Regardless of our culture, or location on the planet, the church has a fundamental problem. It’s us. We are the problem. The very stones that God decided to use to build his church (1 Peter 2:4-5) are cracked and really shouldn’t be used to build anything that is meant to last. Our thoughts are tainted and our desires are twisted by sin. When you think about our weaknesses, it’s amazing the church has lasted as long as it has. The fact that it has lasted is a testament to an unseen force preserving the church and pushing it forward toward an intended goal. We know this force is the Holy Spirit. The third and sometimes overlooked part of our triune God.

The Holy Spirit is the life blood of the church. I love it when Paul compares the church to the human body because, having studied the human body in college, I can appreciate all the nuances that Paul may or may not have had in mind when he wrote 1 Corinthians 12. Blood is the main way for all the body parts to connect and receive the nutrients they need to flourish. It is no different for the church body. The Holy Spirit supplies us with everything we need to function as members of the body of Christ. Including a new heart.

In Ezekiel 11:19 – 20, the Lord tells us how He overcomes our apparent weakness as building material. He gives us hearts that desire to repent, to forgive and seek forgiveness. He changes us from children of wrath to children of promise. It is an amazing and awe-inspiring truth. We become completely new people by the washing of the blood of Jesus Christ! But the Lord, in His wisdom, leaves us with a little bit of sinful residue. We still speak harshly, have prejudices, and have trouble forgiving others.

Circling back to our trip to the DR and the churches down there, I saw they have the same problems we have in the states. It is heartbreaking to be an objective viewer of these things, and sobering to remember that we are no different. As much as I love our specific church, it has its’ own problems. It isn’t perfect because we aren’t perfect.

We noticed that many of the problems in the churches in DR were problems associated with proper understanding and belief in the teachings of the Bible. Now, I think as a church we get a lot of biblical truths right but we struggle to fully embrace some truths and allow them to produce fruit. Either because we are too busy, too distracted, or too stubborn (name your excuse). Our only hope is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts through the word, our relationships and our prayers.

I said that I wanted to use this post to help direct us in prayer, and this is where I hope your prayers come. I hope you’d pray that the Spirit would give the churches in the DR a desire to live according to what the Bible teaches rather than traditions. I hope you’d pray for Noah Joyner and the Hispañola Institute of Theology (HIT), to continue to train up leaders who will disciple others who will disciple others, so that the Gospel will spread throughout the island. I hope you’d pray for us as well. That we would be united in this goal, and that during this time of transition in our church, we would not loose sight of why we (the church) exist.

Bruce Acosta

Posted on: June 25, 2015 - 3:58PM

Comments are closed.