2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said:“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18:2-5
Today we kickstarted our time with Vision Celestial, whom we will be serving alongside with the majority of our time. This morning Pastor Ernesto and Pastor Alta Gracia shared with us, in depth, their vision and goals for their local church. We got to view each of their major initiatives - of which Sunday services is but a celebration for.
The floors above the worship area host an education center for the Compassion children. They enthusiastically waved and smiled in the midst of their lessons. In some rooms, children stopped their whimsical playing and playful smacking of the walls to give us welcome. It was another sort of sound of worship this beautiful Monday.
In the worship room, and in a couple smaller rooms in the back, resided Vision Celestial's water purification system. This small, vibrant local church, years back, prayerfully and humbly walked around their neighborhood to assess the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical needs. They quickly found that clean water was in lacking, and its lacking affected every aspect of healthy and wholly living. Now they are providing water to their neighborhoods, at nearly half the cost of the bigger local water companies.
With the profits from the water purification, Vision Celestial has also started a local bakery - with high quality bread at a fairer price. The bakery is able to take advantage of a government program to equip and certify local women (and men too) as bakers. There are great expectations for this fingerprint on their community.
After viewing these ministries in the middle of their day-to-day organic lives, in the midst of neighborhood children weaving in and out, we visited a Vision Celestial construction site. They are building a new two story, bigger, worship center. They long for more space to serve children, families, and the whole neighborhood. It would enable them to fully convert their current worship space into a space focused on the water purification ministry as well. This project we get to help construct throughout the week!
Construction today was sweaty but sweet. We are primarily helping mix and pour cement for the main pillars that will hold up the second floor.
There's something other-worldly about being immersed in the very community-engaged lives of a radical holistic church. It's hard not to be ecstatic. Yet, Jesus promised this very thing if we would pursue his kingdom first, like children. His kingdom is at-hand, and there is an in breaking when a body, no matter how big or small, moves forward with everything they have.
It seems to make your heart beat simply more rightly. It's as if we were made to live for this kingdom.
Abba Father, our hearts beat more in sync with yours when we are near your kingdom's in-breaking. You taught your disciples to pray: "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". You taught your disciples it is worthwhile to long for, and it is possible for there to be clear reflections of your kingdom here on earth. Give us eyes to see; give us ears to hear. Your kingdom come and your will be done in the Dominican Republic as it is in heaven. Your kingdom come and your will be done in Walnut Creek as it is in heaven. Thank you. Amen