So after many meetings with pastors, missionaries, and some of the potential trainees, the intent of this semester is beginning to take shape.
We are beginning the process of recruiting for what has been termed a “discipleship trade school.” Here is the goal: train young guys to love God, work hard, and become successful at a skill set that will hopefully become a blessing to their families, their churches, and their communities.
This island has very few opportunities in terms of continued education, and especially employment. Ninety-five percent of the boys here dedicate every waking minute to being successful at baseball. To sign with a pro team means you have a ticket out of hard work and off of the island. The problem is that only a fraction of a percent will make it into the major leagues. This means the majority of 16-20 year olds are stuck with a worthless talent in a sport that doesn’t want them. A few families can afford college, but the vast majority will wind up driving motorcycle taxis (“moto conchos”), vending items, or working on the streets as a day laborer. Its not very hopeful, and its a difficult cycle to break out of.
Sooo… What if education was free, hard work was rewarded, and opportunities became available that otherwise would never be an option?
I certainly hope something could change. Our goal isn’t to give anybody anything that they couldn’t get for themselves. Our goal is to help inspire the drive to become something more.
Ultimately I would love to see these Dominican men not just succeed at making more money than they otherwise would; that goal in and of itself is insufficient in bringing change and lacking in eternal significance. We don’t help anyone by increasing their paycheck. We love people by showing them the love of Christ, and showing them how to show others the love of Christ. Especially in more impoverished communities, it is essential that we enable others to become givers; givers of money, givers of time, and givers of themselves. God willing, this project will enable these boys to become mobilizers of a Gospel movement out of this country. I hope to enable a wave of “tentmaking” Dominican missionaries. What greater joy is there than giving others the gift of going; they themselves taking the Good News to all places?
So as I figure it out for myself, maybe they can help me figure it out with them!
I rarely feel like I am bringing much to these people. The believers love God greatly, love each other well, and have done everything for me. I am blessed to partner with them in accomplishing Matthew 28 in this small corner of the world.
This last week we have been working hard to clean up the four acre property where our project will begin. There is tons of potential with a natural spring, many mature fruit trees, an abandoned swimming pool, and a great workshop space. I have been doing lots of research regarding “aquaponics,” a highly productive process that combine fish farming and vegetable production. And our compost pile has been created; it’s a modest 20 cubic yards! The four guys I have been working with so far are catching on quickly.
I joined a gym to make more relationships outside of the churches here. The downside is that it’s over a mile run there, but it’s through a gorgeous village, so that’s fun as long as the dogs don’t attack! No A/C and no fans makes for an interesting experience in this weather. Already met Hosea and Jeffrey, hoping to get to know them better.
Was blessed with a very humbling opportunity to preach at my Dominican church last Thursday, where I spoke on God’s love for all people: He found us in our brokenness, He found us in our darkness, He found us running in circles trying our best to figure out this world, He found us in our worst moment, and He loved us. He gave his life for us. After I sat down a woman came forward and said she wanted to accept this love of Christ for her. It was overwhelming. I have been asked to continue preaching in surrounding area churches so I am trusting God for wisdom in that.