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Enter Mission: Allen Lilly shares

                                                                       

We sent a mission’s team recently to the Dominican Republic and we couldn’t think of a better way to capture the experience then by asking one of the team to share his personal experience with you.    Our guest blogger is Allen Lilly.

Allen shares in his own words…

So here we are a week and a half later after the mission’s trip.  I am on the mend from the illness that I had problems with down there, and my shoulders are feeling a lot better now (muscles were sore from overworking). On this trip we had a specific goal to refinish a library and build shelves.  I am pleased to say that we as a team had not only accomplished this goal but we surpassed it.

Being that this was only my second missions trip it is hard not to compare it to the first but being that the first was in a Spanish culture and the Dominican Republic is as well, it’s next to impossible.  The cities (buildings and shops) and culture are almost identical, as well as the family core values.  It is not strange for second and third generations to live with each other.  The income is roughly the same (both are poverty-stricken countries), and their crime and gang both reflect the condition of the state (higher than normal).

Pastor Ron Brooks also told me while on the trip that of all the mission trips he has been on that this has been the roughest.  From my limited experiences I have to agree.  The day after we landed in the D.R. we were plagued with illnesses.  We were very intentional not to drink the water while we were down there, but that doesn’t mean the food we ate was not prepped with it.  That was my only guess as to what caused us all to get sick.

The weather was 90 degrees every day and humid.  Often it would rain down there and there would not be a dark cloud in the sky.  The rain at the most lasted for about a half an hour.  When we arrived and left the plane the heat almost took the breath out of me.  I was comfortable back in my 40 degree weather, and to go from one extreme to another was not the best feeling in the world.  It’s amazing though what we can adapt to quickly, by the end of the trip the heat wasn’t even an issue.

The resort that we stayed in was fairly decent, the air conditioning was nice to come home to after working a long hot day.  There were two problems with our room.  The first was that we had ants and roaches in there.  I would wake up each morning with red ant bites on my arms neck and face, and the second issue which was the biggest was that we had no hot water in our room!  The plumbing for hot water didn’t even work.  I was roommates with Bill Abbot and we would squeal like girls every time we would have to shower.  The first day we used the shower Bill broke off the faucet in the bath tub.  After 5 days of no hot showers I finally went to another person’s room.  The resort was nice, they had a pool, we were beach side and could swim, plus whatever you wanted to eat and drink and as much as you wanted it. 

 

We would do morning devotionals by the ocean each day and I would often go out there for prayer and meditation as well.  There was something about being by that ocean that made it so much easier to go and talk to God.  In my opinion it’s because when you’re out there away from your cell phones and computers and regular life — everything is stripped down to the bare minimum.  For me that says something about how we all complicate things more than they are.  There is wisdom to be had in simplification 🙂

 The school is about less than half the size classrooms in America and they seat roughly 30 children.  The size of the library is the same as their classrooms and will also act as their science and computer room.  I had to chuckle a little bit about the ingenuity of the people here for what looks to be a make shift Bunsen burner/grill they welded some legs to a car rim and fashioned a pilot light with gas attachment….none of which would ever be considered safe or in code back in the states.  Most of the walls were only bare mortar.  We had to prime and paint everything….ceilings and walls.  The Spanish culture has always fascinated me in that they always use bright colors and often things that don’t match (at least to me).  So their color scheme was a bit odd, but that what they wanted and we are there to oblige them ha ha ha.

 

Tuesday night we got to have service with them.  Now let me be the first to say that we have some very talented people on our worship team, but some of the singers there would have given us a run for our money!  The spirit of God was there and it was loud and proud!  Even with a bit of the language barrier there you can tell these things.  The service was powerful and Gary Josephson was speaking and did a wonderful job.  I befriended Matt and Carey Love’s assistant there Hannlexx.  He is a man of God and of the same age as me.  He showed me pictures of his wedding and of his wife, we talked every day while we were down there and hung out every chance we could.  He loved my motorcycle and I showed him one of my rifles I built back here and he had so many questions.  It was more than a pleasant bonding experience to have with him.

As the time progressed, more of us became sick, and if there was one thing that happened on this trip for me was that I had to depend on God more and more each day to give me the strength and will to keep going.  I often prayed by myself each day just to get help to make it through the day just so that I could pray again the same thing the next day.  The last day of work out of 12 people only 8 of us were able to work.  Yet we still got three times more work down than what was anticipated.  If that doesn’t show you that God’s hand was on our shoulders during our time down there I may have to ask for you to get your eyes checked!

We went to Christopher and Diego Columbus’s fort/city the day before we left to come back to America.  The inside of the fort is now a city that is more for tourists, but still there are a lot of museums down there that were just amazing as well as the Columbus home we visited.  One Church we went down to had armed guards down there because there were saints buried there.  Also there was a gift from Hitler to this Catholic Church that was there as well and I found it very interesting.  It was art that basically was a bunch of crosses, but upon further inspection the crosses were made from swastikas.  Hitler was very generous to the churches back then for support of his campaigns.  I know that brings up mixed emotions with everyone, but the fact is it happened and was a part of the church’s history.  I took so many pictures of everything in this city I was just so awestruck by the history that was there.  I found out so many interesting things down there like the average Spaniard’s size back then was only 4.5ft tall!  This was because of all the cooking utensils and goblets and plates were made of brass which is a poison and stunts our growth.  The average lifespan was also 35-40 years old back then.  That’s less than half of what we have today!

I could go on further but I am going to wrap this up.  This was a hard trip, but rewarding, I learned so much about myself and God and how He works through people.  We all at one point suffered while we were down there, but yet we accomplished so much in so little time.  That’s one thing I love about mission trips.  You have to be outside your comfort zone while you’re down there, and that’s where you can truly grow.  I urge everyone to try just one time in their life to be a missionary.  You get to see different cultures, praise God with your brothers and sisters in different countries, and also do some work that you may not do on your average day back here in the States (I work on computers for a living).  I look forward to the next trip and thank you dear reader for allowing me to share some of my journey with you.

stripes are back in style!

Thanks to everyone who contributed and continues to contribute to our Nehemiah Project…our parking lot got a much over due makeover!  Group Hug!

iconnect: Joy.

Joe & Pat Galvan

I love the joy that comes from being baptized.  Yup.

(iconnect: Tami Frailey)

Puppypalooza hits Connection!

(iconnect: Christie Martin)

ECL (experience connection lunch)

The last two Sundays we had a great ECL!    ECL is a great first step of connection for those checking out Connection Church.   Our guests meet Pastor Rocky, other staff and learn more about what Connection offers.  The next ECL will be on May 16 & 23! 

Pastor Rocky chattin' it up at ECL

The reason why we do anything at Connection is for one reason:  to make Jesus known.   ECL is an on ramp for that to happen.  

For those of you that partner with us in ministry,  take note that what you do matters.   Your serving others helps paint a picture of God’s love in a church called Connection!  

Some of the feedback we heard from our visitors:

  • Connection offers a variety of classes
  • Creativity in this church is what draws me
  • Positive vibes
  • The teaching on Sunday is something I can apply to my own life
  • Friendly church
  • Music
  • My child is cared for in a secured environment
  • MOPS program! (mothers of preschoolers)
  • PALS class (special needs for adults and children)
  • My first day I walked in here…I knew I was home
  • Music is rockin’
  • Youth Ministry — my teens love going to church
  • Family atmosphere
  • Women’s Bible Study program is awesome

Sunday Shot: Experiencing Connection Lunch

Pastor Rocky at Experiencing Connection Lunch (ECL)

Pastor Rocky at Experiencing Connection Lunch (ECL)

 Every six weeks or so we host ECL.  It’s a 2-wk class for those checking things out at Connection. It gives Pastor Rocky an opportunity to meet you (Rocky will remember your name the 2nd week — freaky but true) and learn an overview of our history.   We had a really good class today and I wanted to share with you some of the comments that people made about Connection.    We’re all in this together… THANK YOU for making Connection the place it is.   When people have these thoughts about Connection it makes it easier for all of us to point people to Jesus. 
And thats why we do what we do…

  • I love the music.
  • Love this church — it rocks!
  • I feel at home.
  • What I love about Connection?  EVERYTHING!
  • Everyone was so welcoming to me.
  • I love the childcare programs for my children.
  • There is a lot going on — and I can be a part of it every day if I want!
  • My kids wanted to come back — so we’re here.
  • Children’s programs rock!
  • Good sense of community at Connection.
  • Spiritually — its very active.
  • Teaching — I always learn something.
  • I needed something in my life, so today is the 1st time I visited.
  • Connection is a real place.
  • I feel very comfortable here.
  • This church will take you in — and you will be loved.

Leadership Summit 2009

Connection Church was a satellite host for the Leadership Summit last week (Aug 6 & 7).   Our volunteers did an amazing job before, during and after the Summit — hosting over 300 people from 39 different churches.  We are so proud of our church!