In July 2016 a team of seven traveled to the Dominican Republic to share the gospel with students on five college campuses in Santo Domingo, the country's capital city. We partnered with local campus ministry leaders who already have worship services and bible study on each campus.
This was a completely different experience from the church planting mission trips some of us have been a part of in the past. On a church plant mission, we usually partner with a local church and visit members of the surrounding community several times over the course of a week to establish relationships, share the gospel, and connect people with the local church. However, this trip was spread out over five college campuses, and we partnered with several different college campus ministry team leaders. Instead of having several days to make new friends outside of the ministry, we had to establish relationships with students, sometimes, over the course of a few minutes. Our goal, of course, was sharing the gospel with these students and connecting them with the college campus ministry.
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Hope Here International Ministries
Meeting college students was different from visiting people in residential communities in the way that most of the students are young and have the hope of a promising future in the career path for which they have chosen to prepare. So many of the students we met had not even thought about their eternal destination. Often, young people believe that they have plenty of time to think about God later, and an overwhelming amount of the students we met did not know how to have a relationship with God or how to be certain that they would be with Him in heaven.
As one would expect, some students were not open to our message at all, quickly dismissing us, but so many students made time to listen and ask questions. We saw God moving in hearts and drawing young people to a relationship with Him. We saw people accept God's gift of salvation and commit to following him.
Our team learned that it is not our job to bring people to salvation; we do not have this power or this burden. However, it is our job to be obedient to God. He has commanded us to tell others about Jesus. One of the easiest and most effective ways of doing this in a short amount of time is sharing what God has done in our own lives through the work of Christ and how He has changed us. There is the power of God in every testimony of salvation. When people see the certain and incorruptible hope we have, it is often easier for them to see that God loves them and has a plan for their future.
God is moving on the college campuses in Santo Domingo, bringing students to salvation through faith in Jesus, and we enjoyed the privilege of sharing in the work alongside college campus ministers. We continue to pray for these workers as they reach out to their fellow students and lead bible study and worship on campus. We are also praying about how God would have us to be a part of this college ministry in the future. Perhaps God is calling you to go to the Dominican Republic to share with college students. If so, will you go?