Massive Response and Major Struggles in the Dominican Republic
Photos by John Andrus
“Okay… so I just talked to the festival organizer…” our young translator shifted uncomfortably but kept his eyes fixed on me, “and it looks like the schedule is set and you guys won’t be playing tonight.”
He glanced quickly out at the massive crowd – event organizers had closed off one of the main roads in the Dominican city of La Vega and many thousands of people had flooded the streets for the third night of our music festival. It had quickly become the biggest party in town, and it was still growing.
He turned back to me and didn’t cringe, exactly, but I knew that he couldn’t have been excited to share this news with me. I stared back at him for a moment, and then smiled, shook my head, and shrugged, embarrassingly aware of the guitar case that I was still holding in my hand.
“Okay, that obviously wasn’t what they originally told us, but I’m fine with it if that’s what they want to do. We’re here to serve the Gospel, man,” I smiled again, “I just need you to do one thing – can you go tell Reid what you just told me? We’re ready to skip playing tonight, but he’s in charge, and I just want to make sure he knows what’s going on…”
“Absolutely, my friend,” he turned and began climbing back up the stairs to the backstage area.
I shook my head again and turned back to continue watching the show, oddly, but genuinely at peace. It was out of my hands and I was ready to do whatever the bosses decided.
Moments later I heard my name over the pounding Latino pop music that was shaking the stage, “ZACH!!”
I looked up at our friend Reid Saunders – a powerful communicator and the man who had put this festival together and graciously invited us to be a part of it – he was staring at me with real intensity.
“Hey!” He was having to yell as loudly as he could to be heard over the music, “You guys are DEFINITELY going to play tonight!”
“OKAY!” I shouted back, “Do THEY know that?!?”
This was going to be interesting…
___________________________We’re getting ready to head out to Nairobi, Kenya, followed by Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines. CLICK HERE if you’d like to help us share the life-changing message of Jesus with the beautiful people of these nations!
“Come up here!” Reid gestured animatedly for me to join him, so I left my guitar with the group and pulled myself up the steel framework of the stage to reach him.
“What’s up? Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yeah – just because there’s a mixup, I don’t want you guys to skip playing. I’ll just have you go after my message.”
“Thank you SO much for fighting for us, but…” I glanced down, “but I really don’t know if that’s the right call – the reason we’re here is to help get the crowd ready for what you’re going to share. I feel like we’d lose that if we go after you, and we just won’t add to this whole thing – I’ll submit to whatever you want, but I think it would be better for us just to skip it tonight.”
In the back of my mind, I was wrestling with the thought that the LAST thing I wanted to do was to play if the festival promoters were thinking it would be simpler without us.
“Okay, I hear what you’re saying,” Reid paused and nodded, “I think you’re right.”
My shoulders slumped a little as I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I had been holding. It looked like I wouldn’t have to fight this battle tonight.
“We’ll just have you play BEFORE I speak. Lets do it.”
I glanced up quickly and started to respond, but Reid met my eyes, slapped a hand onto my shoulder, and said it again:
“Lets do it.”
“Alright,” I nodded my head and set my jaw for battle, “lets do this.”
And it WAS a battle. We fought through the language barrier and clawed out a five minute soundcheck while the MC was preparing to introduce us. We resorted to texting furiously back and forth with Pierre, our sound-man, who was standing at the sound tent hundreds of yards away in the thick of the unruly crowd, frantically trying to figure out which channels we were plugged into. Because no one had expected us to play, no one had planned for us, and behind the scenes, it felt like pure mayhem.
In the chaos, I found myself fighting hard to keep from feeling like an unwelcome guest – like we weren’t even supposed to be here tonight.
But the moment we stepped forward to begin, everything seemed to slow down, and I felt a strange, powerful calm.
While riding to the event earlier in the evening, we had felt a strong urgency to pray and ask God to meet us – to strengthen us for the battle we sensed we would face.
And now He was meeting us.
The crowd responded quickly and energetically, singing, clapping, and even dancing along with the set, and when it came time to introduce Reid, it felt as if they were right there with us.
Reid shared the incredible, life-changing message of Jesus with love and conviction, and when it was time to respond… thousands did.
Across the packed streets, hands went up – thousands said “yes” to the offer of forgiveness, freedom, and new life in Jesus. Right in front of us, multitudes of people experienced the life and love of Jesus and were changed.
And this is why we do what we do.
We love the way God prepares us, the way He strengthens us, and the way He keeps His word and draws people to Himself.
Jesus loves the people of the Dominican Republic, He loves you and I and He loves people all over the world. We’re beyond privileged to experience the grace of Jesus in times like these, and we’re SO grateful for your love and support in this incredible journey.
Our vision is to reach as many people as possible all over the world with the incredible message of freedom in Jesus, and we have been consistently amazed by God’s provision and grace to accomplish this when we have needed it the most. We just spent 10 days performing and sharing the love of Jesus daily in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, and we watched many thousands of people respond to the love of Jesus, in schools, churches, and large outdoor festivals.
Over the next few weeks, we’re scheduled to play and share Jesus in Kenya, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, and the USA. Please pray that God moves in amazing ways among the beautiful people of this island nation and beyond, friends!
THANK YOU for being part of the team – for helping us share the love of Jesus worldwide. Under the covering of On The Go Ministries, our vision is to follow God’s leading and help reach as many nations and people as we can with the message of Jesus, and your partnership helps us reach the world together. If you’d like to help, click HERE to partner financially and follow us on FACEBOOK for daily prayer updates from the field.
Zach and White Ribbon Day