Dominican Youth Sold Out to Jesus

By Julie Stutler, serving in Dominican Republic

youth1About 280 teens and young adults from all over the Dominican Republic (DR), as well as a few from New York, attended the Dominican Alliance national youth camp at the end of August 2010. The event was held in a small country town and featured four days of fellowship, music, sports, fun, and spiritual challenge.

As an Alliance international worker in the DR for more than 22 years, I have had the privilege of participating in many youth camps over the years. They are always great times of high-energy fun and spiritual growth, but this year’s event saw a movement of God unlike any I have ever seen in all my years of ministry. It was a weekend of amazing miracles!

A Unique Ministry

The youth ministries in the Dominican Republic are unique. There are no paid youth workers or staff in our churches. The entire national youth ministry is led by young adults, the majority in their early 20s. Of those who formed part of the ministry teams at the camp, the number of people over 30 could be counted on one hand.

The Dominican Alliance youth leaders are young people totally sold out to Christ. They are humble and mature. Many attend university while working to help their families, yet they sacrifice their time and personal finances to be very involved with ministries in their churches and on a national level.  It is a great joy for me to work alongside these youth. I have known many of them since they were small children, and now I have the privilege of serving as part of their team under their leadership.

The young people began preparing for camp many months in advance. The most important elements in the preparation were dedicated sessions of prayer and fasting to ask for God’s direction and presence at the camp. And He answered, working in ways far beyond what we could have asked for or even dreamed.

No Holds Barred

This year’s theme-“Devotion”-emphasized a strong personal relationship with Jesus and encouraged the youth to make a whole-hearted commitment to Him. There were no holds barred as the messages and invitations lovingly challenged the young people to renounce sins like pornography, sexual activity, bitterness, rebellion, and lack of forgiveness. Broken and repentant, teens and young adults made public commitments to live for Christ and to turn away from sin. 

Young people would literally line up waiting to talk to leaders who would counsel and pray with them. Those of us who were counseling spent large amounts of time talking and praying with youth who were honest, open, and broken-desiring to be all that God wanted them to be. 

“Huge numbers of youth were transformed and confronted by the Lord concerning issues of importance in their lives,” said one leader. There were also at least eight youth who made first-time decisions to give their lives to Christ.

“Jesus Was Enough!”

youth2In past years, the camp tradition always included a talent show, concerts, and a bonfire. This year, the leaders made a controversial decision not to include those elements. On the final night of the camp, there was such an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit; hours after the message was over, young people continued to pour out their hearts to the Lord. A spirit of repentance later turned into a longing to be filled with the Holy Spirit in new and powerful ways. This time concluded with an incredibly joyous celebration of singing that lasted until after 1 a.m. At one point someone shouted, “This is the best concert ever!”

Larry Mayrina, one of the youth leaders, said, “It was a different camp; this year there was no talent show because we surrendered all our talents to the Lord. This year there was no concert with artists, because the concert was the voices of all the young people intensely worshiping the Lord. There was no physical fire, but the fire of the Holy Spirit was our spiritual bonfire that Saturday night. JESUS WAS ENOUGH!”

There were even financial miracles. Due to lower attendance than anticipated, the amount of money paid by the campers didn’t cover the expenses. The youth leaders were concerned. Someone suggested that they take an offering on Sunday morning, but most doubted that an offering could even come close to meeting the need. The majority of the youth are students with very limited income.

This was a real opportunity to trust God, and more evidence of His hand on the lives of these youth was seen on Sunday morning. Never in the history of the Dominican Alliance youth camps has an offering that large been received at the last day of camp with less than 300 campers. It was clear that total surrender to Christ even included these young people’s finances.

All for Jesus

On the last morning of camp, I had the opportunity to briefly address the youth. As I looked out at the group of young people, my heart exploded with joy. I wondered if this was what it was like in those tremendous gatherings in the early days of the C&MA more than 100 years ago. I joked with the youth that even though I was older than they were, I wasn’t around when A. B. Simpson and others had gathered to seek a deep and profound walk with Christ-but I was seeing in these young people what I imagine was experienced in the beginning days of this great movement called The Christian and Missionary Alliance.

This new generation of Dominican youth is living “all for Jesus.” Their heart’s desire is to be fully devoted to Christ and to take His message to the world. I think this may be the generation that brings back the King.

Thank you for praying! Continue to pray that God will help these youth to grow and to continue in this deep spirit of devotion to Christ.

What You Can Do

When you give to the Great Commission Fund, you partner with Alliance field workers, like Julie, in making fully devoted followers of Jesus.

Learn More

Check out our work in Dominican Republic.


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