two weeks ago a team of 25 others and i, from the inner city of LA’s eastside, went down to the dominican republic for about 9 days for a mission trip. we went in hopes of being used of God to bless others and see him at work in another country…and in turn, as it always turns out, we were blessed by the people we met there.
it was indeed an amazing time. the locals led us and we learned from them as we did various outreaches in neighborhoods in santiago. we dug some trenches, listened to life stories, prayed for people, participated in healings & exorcisms, and shared Jesus. we met some brothers and sisters of our heart, even though not of our blood, and made eternal friends in Jesus.
one experience in particular comes to the forefront of my mind, especially relevant in light of the tragedies and tensions of our nation in this past week. at the mission house where we were staying there is a little haitian man who only speaks creole, named luis, that takes care of the house (to give you some background, the domincan republic is not a wealthy country as it is but it shares a border with haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. even with centuries of conflict between the two countries, many haitians have come to the DR seeking work to send money back to their families. needless to say, there is much discrimination and oppression against this darker skinned marginalized people group). luis only knew some words in spanish but would greet us every day with smiles as he closed the doors behind us and cleaned up after us.
our last night we had an amazing time of receiving words of blessing and prayer from the DR team. as we were taking pictures with each other and saying our good-byes, luis hugged me…for a long time. but it didn’t feel awkward. then he moved into placing his hands on my chest and back and began praying for me in simple spanish….a language that is not native to either of us as i am a japanese-american man. he was the last person to pray from me in the DR. i who went to DR as the missionary, the pastor and literally the servant of the house we were staying at was praying for me. yet, in his simple prayers the Spirit of God was moving so powerfully. i felt in that moment that all else faded away, God was reminding me of the good that he is doing, and i felt like i was in the very loving arms of God as i was in the arms of this small haitian man that society thinks is worth nothing and no one would suspect would be a mighty vessel of God’s presence.
if i didn’t open up because this person was different than me, i would have completely missed what God had for me. any difference between us whether it was what language we spoke, what race we were, or what social class either of us were did not separate us but rather highlighted the power of God that could bring us together in understanding and peace at that moment. i sensed God telling me not to miss this moment as it is a piece of heaven happening right here on earth. only the Kingdom of God can break through ALL barriers of separation.
Father, may Your Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.