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Meeting Pastor Diony Again // Sydney Spears

Are you ever amazed at how God orchestrates the details of your life? Do you ever wonder just how detailed God’s plan can be for your life? There are around 7,800,000,000 people living on this earth right now. So while we can expect God to have a general plan for our lives, is it wild to believe he cares about the intricate details of our lives? Absolutely not! Check out this story of how God showed up in the coolest of details for a recent mission trip participant, Sydney! 

The first time my foot landed on the soil of Mission of Hope’s campus, or of Haiti, or of any other country on a mission trip for that matter, was in the summer of 2016. The sun was radiating, but the smiles of the people I was about to encounter made it seem dim. Haitians love with an abundance of joy, an evident mark of the Holy Spirit’s presence in that country, and one of the main reasons I fell more deeply in love with God. 

The Lord led my feet back to Haiti every year after that summer until my trip got rerouted to the Dominican Republic in 2019. By the time we reached beach day at the end of the week, the sun had thoroughly kissed my skin and the Lord’s transforming work in Haiti had thoroughly kissed my heart. I stood on the sand and thought about my own personal story of transformation. 

I had grown up in a Christian home, where I accepted Jesus at the young age of seven, but I had never been baptized because I was waiting for the right people and the right moment to present itself. Staring out at the crystal water, I felt the Lord calling me to take the step of baptism right there in the DR. He had clearly shown me that my family extends to the whole body of believers, so I asked both my pastor from the US and one of the local Haitian pastors we had worked with that week, Pastor Diony, to baptize me right then and there. 

Fast forward about two years, and I’m sitting at the Mission of Hope Base in the Dominican Republic. Right after leaving the DR the last time, I applied and accepted a spot on a World Race Gap Year team. We were supposed to be in Cambodia, but COVID landed me back to more familiar waters. 

We landed and were settled late on a Saturday evening, so we got up bright and early the next day to attend one of the local church services. As my sleepy eyes adjusted, I began to realize that I recognized the place… the people… the pastor. He walked straight to me and said, “I’ve met you before.“ Eagerly embracing Pastor Diony, I explained that he had baptized me a couple of summers ago and we praised Jesus together for such an unexpected encounter. He was so excited and told everyone around him. For the two months I got to serve in the DR, I got to work alongside his church and ministry here. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to continue sweet relationships! Your plan is always so much better than mine! 

We serve an intentional God, with an intricately detailed plan and purpose for every single individual. A God who cares so deeply that he will reroute planes even if it only meant a set of familiar smiles on two people’s faces. But usually, it involves a whole lot more than that. Pastor Diony and Sydney both encountered Jesus on that sweet summer day in 2019 when God briefly intersected their lives, but a whole lot more people got to experience who Jesus is on a deeper level when He intersected their lives yet again in 2021. The blessings the Lord brings are already abundant, but to be blessed twofold?! Now that is undeserved grace and is quite an accurate representation of the God who created us to pour out his kindness.