I still remember Dakota as the outgoing and silly freshman that walked onto the Arkansas Tech Campus nearly three years ago, probably because he is still so outgoing and silly. Always ready with a joke or a laugh, and always ready to lend a helping hand. He loves the Lord greatly and has become a natural leader within our ministry. This week I watched a metamorphosis take place in his life, culminating as he shared the gospel from a parking lot to an eager and diverse crowd. The following is a note he wrote for me yesterday
Before we ever drove to the church in Russellville to get on the charter bus that would take us to Memphis, I had only one expectation. My expectation was that I didn’t have any other expectations. Literally nothing in my life could have prepared me for what I’ve actually experienced in the last 5 days here. Not even the meetings we had as a team prior to leaving could lead me to have an idea of what we would see and do while we were here. The research could never compare to the experience.
As soon as we got on the plane I knew that the time had finally come. The moment I had been waiting on ever since I was a freshman in college and was called into the ministry. That moment when I knew that the next destination would be my dream achieved and God’s plan a reality. It was surreal and exciting simultaneously. Being able to wake up in Arkansas and go to sleep in the Dominican Republic still blows my mind.
After the reality had sunk in, it was time to finally go and do what God had told us to do: share His love and serve others. When we showed up at the church, I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant, but after I saw how excited the people were to see us, I couldn’t help but let my guard down.
The only mistake I have made on the trip, and it was the best and worst kind of mistake, is that I got attached to those kids and they completely turned my world upside down. The first real moment I had was with a kid named Alexi. We actually beat boxed and danced and both had a good laugh at each other. One of the highlights of my life: getting to make a stranger from a different country smile because of a connection you have with them.
I will say that humbling yourself in front of others and actually helping with their needs is one of the best ways to introduce them to the love of God. It opened doors where I thought there weren’t any doors to open. When we had a service in the actual church building, that again changed my life forever, and I’m just being overly dramatic because of my emotions. I know that God is omnipresent and and He is the same God to everyone everywhere, but once I saw it first hand, I truly believe I’ll never be the same. Without a doubt the most amazing moment I have ever experienced.
Getting the chance to hear the same worship songs in a different language and seeing the people worship the same God I’ve worshipped for years is the one thing I will never forget.
“God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I was different yesterday, I’ll be different today, and I pray that He will have forever changed me.