Reformation with a CAPITAL "R"

InterCaribbean Airways gets my vote as the best way to get from Jamaica to the DR. It should always take an hour and 15 minutes to get between islands, sans stops! I left Kingston a few hours after the Harvey team and flew direct to the capital, then promptly Ubered to Ozama. Preparations for an outdoor Reformation celebration - Divine Service featuring two Baptisms and seven confirmations, book fair, and luncheon - were in full swing. I love my church in Santiago and was sad to miss out on confirmations, there, as a matter of fact, but it's a joy to support ministry in Santo Domingo from time to time, too. 

I pitched in with a few tasks until Johanna arrived via bus from Santiago and then Uber from the bus station. Our respective travel schedules meant we hadn't seen each other in nearly a month. It's disturbingly easy for that to happen, so we Ubered to the Colonial Zone for dinner and catching up.  

Our pre-dinner wanderings led us to some fun street art and a quaint art gallery featuring brightly painted reclaimed wood pieces. We tried to branch out but wound up at our "usual" plaza cafe for Venezuelan cachapas

But let's be honest, the real reason we came to the Colonial Zone was for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup paletas at Paletas Morelia

Happy 502 years of the Reformation! Sunday's festivities began by processing from the office to the park across the street. Earlier that morning, we had decked out the gazebo as a makeshift sanctuary, complete with handmade banners and balloon columns, even going so far as to sweep and mop. 

The service began with the Baptisms, both older boys who came to faith in part as a result of the after school activities led by a short-term team from Tampa, FL, in March

Later in the service, the 125 people or so on hand witnessed seven adults, including the boys' parents, become Ozama's first communicant members. Given that a typical crowd can probably be counted on both hands and maybe feet, the presence of so many brothers and sisters in Christ from the other congregation in the capital and from Santiago went a long way toward giving these new believers a glimpse of the body of Christ in action. 

Throughout the service - and especially during this epic conclusion - I was wondering what the walkers and joggers were thinking!

I ducked out during the congratulations and presentations that followed the service to help pick up box lunches and then jumped into book fair mode. I was right at home, although the idea wasn't sales but rather a) handing out FREE copies of Portals of Prayer (I gave some to the sound people!); and b) gauging interest in certain titles and topics. Some may be available for giveaway; others will simply help Pastor Maita make informed decisions about future Bible study and charla topics. I think the concept will take some getting used to. 

I let these two peruse A Child's Garden of Bible Stories until it was time to pack up. 

I had planned on taking the bus back to Santiago but wound up hitching a ride with fellow missionary Danelle. I was thankful our one stop (IKEA) was quick, since I was eager to sleep in my own bed for four nights before flying to Wisconsin for the Beautiful Feet student missions conference. 

Until next time, blessings!