INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 2020
I recently had the incredible privilege of taking a ministry trip to the Dominican Republic. While I had been on trips to other Latin American countries, this was my first trip to the DR. And I am certain it is one I will never forget.
I traveled with a team of thirteen people that represented several churches in two states. The unity we experienced was refreshing. We all just wanted to see Jesus lifted up and people come to Him. The trip was bathed in prayer and we made it a point to spend time together as a team, praying over each event and opportunity. And the Lord was faithful to answer the prayers! Our eight days of ministry were both intense and glorious.
One of the things that stuck out to me right away was the incredible hunger of the people. In the West, we are so surrounded with distractions and busyness, we often allow our hunger for the Lord to dissipate. The Dominican Christians had a way of making God the true focus of their services. Several times, the power went out during worship. Once, it was during a crusade and we lost sound and lighting and were left in the dark. But the people just continued to cry out to God. It was such a pure, raw desperation. I told someone that if we had 10% of their hunger in our American churches, we could see our whole nation changed. It was humbling to be able to worship alongside them, and their hunger was contagious.
We went out to a small village that is built on a huge trash dump that is called Trash Mountain. The people go out on the mountain every day and collect objects to recycle, so that they can sell them for a small amount of money. The conditions were very poor and it was overwhelming to think about what these precious people have to do just to barely survive. Our team brought candy and toys to hand out to the kids, and they were thrilled to receive them and spend time with us. We had the opportunity to pray with several people and share the love of Jesus with them. One very young baby that we prayed for had a fungus on her lips and tongue. Our team went back a couple days to check on her and she was completely healed! To God be the glory!
We had two main platforms for ministry on this trip. The first was crusade ministry in three cities. And the other was pastor’s conferences in five cities. I was a part of the ministry team for the crusades and also spoke during the pastor’s conferences.
The conferences that we held for the pastors were amazing. We were able to bus them in and feed them, in order to make it possible for them to attend. It was an honor to have an opportunity to pour into them. Many of them do not have access to the kind of resources that we have in the States. So, it was a rare privilege for them to have the opportunity to be taught, equipped and encouraged in their ministries. Many times, they made it a point to thank us for taking the time to come and share our hearts with them.
At one of the conferences, I shared my testimony and talked about the dangers of ministry. I spoke about the need for transparency and the danger of keeping sin in the dark. When I gave the altar call, most of them responded and came to the altar, crying out to the Lord. I love ministering to pastors because I know that they will go back to their churches with renewed vision and passion, and that will have a long-term affect on the country, long after we leave.
I also had the opportunity to preach at a church in Villa Mella. The pastor there is named Raphaella. She became the pastor when her husband passed away. She is a very precious sister in the Lord. I preached about the worthiness of Christ. At the end, we prayed for many people and the pastor asked me to pray for her. I was deeply humbled to lay hands on such a precious saint and pray the Lord’s strength and blessing over her life and church.
We held the crusades from Sunday through Friday evening. We did two nights in each city: Villa Mella, Altagracia and Guanuma. In each of these cities, we saw hundreds of people show up. The messages were preached by Pastor Chuck Sharp and Evangelist Mark Turner. When we had altar time, we saw so many people giving their lives to Jesus, being healed, delivered of demonic spirits and encountering God in a powerful way. The hunger of the people created an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to move and do what He does best. We had the great privilege of praying with so many people and seeing the Lord touch them.
The Thursday night crusade in the city of Guanuma was a night I will remember for the rest of my life. During the altar time, I was looking around and saw a girl behind me manifesting a demon. She had her hands around her throat and the demon was trying to choke her to death. We immediately got her hands off her neck and set her on the ground. I began to rebuke the demon in the name of Jesus. Her eyes were rolling in the back of her head and she could not look me in the eyes. As we prayed, she began to get quiet. We stood her up and I led her in a prayer of repentance to receive Christ through a translator. I asked him to ask her if she felt free. She simply shook her head, and I could tell that nothing had changed. We continued to pray for her, and again, she began to try to choke herself. We put her back on the ground and me and another person on our team again rebuked the demon. After a few moments, she began to cry. I could sense that something had changed. We got her up and she began to cry and worship the Lord. As I walked away, I looked back and her mother was holding her, and they were crying together.
The next night at the crusade, the translator came to me and said, “That girl you prayed for last night is here.” I had her come over, and I can tell you what I saw was a completely different person. This fourteen-year-old had a beautiful, beaming smile and her eyes were clear and focused. I asked her what Jesus did for her the night before and she said she felt completely different. I prayed with her again a prayer of thanksgiving for what the Lord had done in her life and I cannot express in words how grateful I felt to Jesus for His amazing work in this girl’s life. I was humbled and overjoyed to be a part of her freedom. 1 John 3:8 says that the Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil. I saw Him do that firsthand and I can testify that He is still in the same business today!
One of the things that really stood out to me on the trip was the prominent role that women played in their church culture. Many of the most powerful, anointed people we ministered with were the women. Some were pastors and others led worship, but when they prayed, they brought heaven down. The worship was intertwined with powerful prayer sessions. The atmosphere would become energized with the presence of God as they would call on heaven, asking Him to move in a powerful way in their city. These times of prayer and worship were unforgettable.
We met so many incredible people on the trip. It never gets old to meet believers in other countries and to experience the deep fellowship of siblings in Christ. Regardless of the culture, background, language and denominational affiliation, a true believer is a brother or sister and there is a heart-bond that cannot be described in words. This is always an incredible blessing to me no matter where I travel.
I am so grateful for all that the Lord accomplished in the Dominican Republic as well as in my own spiritual life. Thank you to each of you who contributed in prayer and in finances. You played an integral role in the harvest of souls that were won on this trip.
To watch my series of on-site Vlogs of the trip including videos of the worship and preaching, check it out on my YouTube channel.
If you want to make a financial investment in trips like this, go to our Donate page and choose the International Ministry Fund. Or checks can be made out to Make Way Ministries with “International Ministry” in the Memo field and mailed to:
Make Way Ministries
PO Box 292914
Kettering, OH 45429
DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.