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James, the brother of Jesus, begins his letter, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” This is a huge step for this former skeptic to declare with all that he is that Jesus is Lord, and Jesus is Christ, and he (James) is a servant to both God and Christ. Our study while here in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic this week is from James’ letter. The theme emblazoned on our team t-shirts is “This Changes Everything” which comes straight from this letter, and the way that seeing the risen Christ changed everything for James.

It’s particularly noteworthy that with al of this in mind, and we flew into a city in the DR called Santiago (which in Spanish is “St. James), named after this man, James (Jesus’ half brother). Santiago quite literally is the place this week that “everything changes” for us. Leaving behind some of the comforts of home, this team of 19 is seeking to simply be the Lord’s servants this week in all that’s ahead.

Our travel from Indianapolis started before 5a on Tuesday morning and ended when we arrived at the Caribbean mountain Academy well into the night. We had a little bit of a scare that one of our adult leaders, Andy Goodwin, would miss our connecting flight into the DR from Miami, as his incoming flight was delayed from pulling into its gate because of a mechanical problem with a plane in front of it. The crew had actually sealed the door and began to remove the jetway from the plane the rest of the team was on, which was the last flight into the DR for the day. Hope seemed bleak as they sealed the door of our flight and the jetway began to roll back. Then finally Andy was able to exit his flight, and as he made his way to our gate, the gate agent ushered him down the jetway making a way for him to get aboard, and at the very last second, the jetway was reattached and the door unsealed and Andy was able to join us to the sound of our cheers and excitement. It may seem like a little thing, but even in a little bit of a stressful situation Andy said that he had a peace about it, and so did most of us as well. Just one of the many ways we’ve felt the Lord’s provision and protection over this team seeing us safely here for the work ahead.

This morning begins with breakfast and orientation here at CMA, and then it’s off to Majaguita, to possibly start in on some bridge work. We’re excited for the day ahead as we all seek to be the Lord’s servants in whatever capacity He leads.

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DR2015: Day One