Just because you turn seventy years old doesn’t mean that you are ready for a retirement home and a rocking chair. Having passed that mark myself, I know that there is still much that an individual with a few years under his belt can do for the kingdom of God. And – we proved this to be true with the Charis Bible College team that I recently took to the Dominican Republic. Half of the fourteen students were actually older than I am! Yes, it did take a little more work to get them “out of their comfort zones” than it does with younger students, but once they got up to share their testimonies, teach, or participate in a skit, they really came alive and acted like they were much younger than their birth certificates say.
For eight busy days, we traveled to a wide variety of venues where we shared the love of Jesus in many different ways – and saw the grace of God touch lives in amazing ways in each place! At an open-air crusade in a public park, one student shared her testimony of how she had endured extreme abuse but found God’s grace sufficient to forgive her abusers and move on to a full and productive life. Two women came up in tears saying that the first half of the testimony was the story of their lives. When the students prayed for them, both women were touched and said that they now felt that they could move on to make the second half of the testimony theirs as well. When ministering in a church service, one of the students had a word of knowledge that there were several people present who had migraines. Those who came forward were instantly healed. One afternoon, we were able to spend several hours at a drug rehab without being rushed to move on to the next assignment. Because we had plenty of time, we were free to allow the men time to open themselves and let the Holy Spirit touch their lives in a very deep way. As some of the students shared their testimonies of how God had delivered them from various addictions, we could see that the stories were penetrating deeply into the men’s hearts. We were told that one of the men had experienced a terrible trauma that had so severely affected him that he had not spoken the whole time he had been in the program. By the time that the Holy Spirit finished working on him, he left the meeting delivered and speaking. Another one of the men had been in a serious accident leaving him in severe pain in his leg and dependent upon crutches. But the pain disappeared and he was able to lay his crutches aside after our prayer!
When the Great Commission challenges us to go into all the world, it doesn’t make any distinction concerning our age. Because we all decided to obey the co-mission and work together with God, we saw lasting fruit in the Dominican Republic and blessings in our own lives.