On June 22nd, several people from at least 5 churches will be heading to the Dominican Republic to help with a school of ministry or two. We (Jeff and I) met with them on Wednesday and Thursday. It was an amazing trip.
We met Fred Harris in Phoenix, and he went with us to Yuma. He is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Winslow, AZ. If I remember correctly, they stand on a corner...... Fred is an amazing guy, even if he says "Stink" a lot and talks about Jewish bears.
Jason (pastor) and Bob (youth group - the entire youth group) met with us. They are from Yuma Community Church. Jason started the church last Easter and this Easter Sunday, they had 100 attending services!!!! Sounds like he is doing an amazing job planting that church. Yuma Community is located less than a mile away from Stone Ridge Church.
Sam is the pastor of Stone Ridge Church.and they are the sponsoring church for this trip to the D.R. Sam and Jason are not in competition with each other, as a matter of fact, they pray for the success of the other church. Imagine that, churches of different beliefs cooperating rather than competing. Think this might be an idea that needs to spread to other places? I do.
Stone Ridge has a Missions Team that operates better than any team I have ever encountered. I used to teach teams how to operate, helped them begin, facilitated them when I was playing Engineer. This team taught me several things! And they call themselves the Three Stooges! Not Larry, Curly, and Moe, but Mark, José, and Ron.
Mark is the Team Leader. He is a relationship kind of guy. Likes to make sure people get to do what they need to be doing. Mark plays guitar professionally, and is self-employed to make a living. The lovely Lindsay is the one who makes sure the teams get to the D.R. and back. She loves the challenge of getting the best price for airline tickets. They are a good team, maybe that's why they are married......
José is an administrator / people person. Good combination of skills and passion. He was born in the States, lived in Mexico until he was 12, then came back to the States. He's been a beliver for a little over 5 years. Sounds like he is Sam's translater in the D.R. (does that make him a Designated Speaker?) Laura is an amazing cook. We hung out in their patio and ate, talked, and ate some more on Wednesday afternoon.
Didn't have an opportunity to meet Ron this trip. He is the administrator / fund-raiser. Heard part of his story, can't wait to meet him and look in his eyes to see the rest of it.
Their work has influenced many and will influence many more people before they are done. All three of these guys work full time jobs. Sam says they spend at least 20 hours a week in ministry for the church and the passion that God has given them. If you are around them for more than 5 minutes, their passion gives them away. Wouldn't surprise me if they bleed missions, reaching people, and serving Christ when they get cut.
That's all for now. My mind still hasn't gotten a handle on what happened. Not to mention what will happen as a result of this week. Good stuff.