Today we attended services at ICC in the historic district of Santo Domingo, known as the Colonial City. This church was the home church for Tom Yaccino and his family when he lived here. This church does enormous outreach with a small congregation. The ministries include shelter for disabled homeless who are now kept clean, safe and well fed, outreach to homeless men who are afflicted with drug addiction, and a school that has done what is nearly unthinkable in this culture, which is to provide education to children who are handicapped physically or with learning disabilities. Historically these children have been shunned by the community, including by educators as well as families and other children. In our culture it is expected to provide services for the handicapped. In this culture handicap is looked down upon and shamed. We will be spending more time with this church and sharing more later in the week.
This afternoon was chill time and a chance for members to visit the Colonial City. The Colonial City is the historic district, and location of the first government that was established by Christopher Columbus. His son was the governor for many years, and the port was used as a stopping off place for Spanish ships going to and from South America.
The evening was a high point as we visited Vision Celestial in Los Accarizos, and we participated in the dedication services at the new church building for Iglesias del Navareno that we have assisted with building. It is exciting to reconnect with the faithful and to see how God is also using this small church to reach out to so many people. It is amazing what a little faith in community can do, and for many of us there were tears of joy as we saw how God had given to a people of faith such a beautiful venue in which to worship and share the Evangel, the good news of Jesus Christ. We participated in a three-hour dedication and church service, and our own Sarah Ago preached to the congregation. One thing for certain is that this congregation knows how to do church by faith.
“What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
- “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
In our work with Vision Celestial, one thing that all of us take away is how faith is always forefront and foremost. Even in the downs we can see how God is working in this ministry and its leadership to bring about change in the community and share God’s love. Where we are often spurred by our flesh to promote change and use that as a source of ministry, this ministry understands that faith is the source of action, spurred by the Holy Spirit for the sharing of God’s love and compassion to humanity.