“God used this place (HOPE Dominican Republic) to bring me to new levels of healing. He is doing a deep work in my life.” Casey Murray
I remember it as if it were yesterday. A team of almost fifty young adults were on their way to our property to serve with us for one month. We had recently moved onto the property and had no facilities. The team would have to sleep in tents, bathe in the river and share one toilet! To say the least, we were doubtful of their excitement about this situation. Yet, to our surprise, they were one of the best teams we hosted. They served with all of their hearts and embraced our family into their squad in a personal way.
Some of the members of that squad have returned from time to time to help. Casey Murray is one of them. He came back as a team leader for a group of high school students who were here on a month long mission’s trip last summer. He recently returned to help us with a current team of college students who have been here for two months and to work at our children centers.
Casey’s story helps to resonate our vision as a ministry. Helping Others Pursue Eternity is truly our heart and our dream.
Casey and I sat at our massive cement table a few days ago and talked about his story. My heart was touched. His story brought me HOPE and reminded me of why we do what we do. People’s lives are worth every bit of effort it takes to continue.
Casey began his journey with Christ as a college student. Though he loved the Lord and served Him, he could not overcome his struggle with depression and anxiety after graduation. He was accepted into Physical Therapy School, yet grew discontented as he could not hear God’s voice.
His desire to hear God led him to a conference that many young people attend in the states. At that conference, he began to experience God as he desired. There, God met him with a huge challenge; “Leave school and serve me in missions.” He doubted the word was for him, but God began to confirm His call through a series of events. He decided to obey and took a huge leap of faith by withdrawing from school and attending a squad of fifty on an eleven month mission journey around the world.
That trip opened his eyes to God’s heart for people all over the world. He began to realize that his obedience to God opened doors of blessings into his life. He took another step in obedience when he asked us if he could come to serve with us on HOPE Mountain.
“I saw Pastor Ruben’s and Vicki’s genuine and big hearts for the people and for the ministry here. I also saw the need for help within the ministry,” He said when we asked him why he wanted to serve here, “I wanted to partner with people who are doing great things for God and the ability to see the fruit of it.”
Casey experienced all of what our ministry has to offer. He taught classes at our centers and loved on the children. He led short term mission teams. He participated on prayer walks in our communities. He built relationships within our communities. He helped to maintain our grounds. He also participated in our church services.
He can now truly see missions as a long term career choice. He can see and appreciate the pastor’s heart that God has given him as he served here. He also believes that God is opening doors for him in worldwide missions.
He feels that serving in our ministry has enhanced his ability to accept the stretching of God in his life and it has enabled him to purposely pursue others to disciple!
God stretched our faith when we accepted that large team a few years ago. Casey’s life and the lives of so many would’ve missed out on what God had for them here had we declined. Perhaps God is speaking to you right now. Move with his guidance. He is doing great things, lets all join in on His activity!