Montana Pastor Holds Series in Dominican Republic

June 01, 2003 | Shirley Bilbro

John Bilbro, Jordan (Mont.) Church pastor, held a series of meetings in the Dominican Republic Feb. 14 through March 1. His was one of 41 simultaneous evangelistic series organized by Robert Folkenberg, Carolina Conference global evangelism director.

Five other Americans shared in this particular series, meeting with Bilbro in their hotel each morning for worship and going over problems any of them may have encountered, including communication difficulties. Very few people in the Dominican Republic speak any English, and Bilbro speaks no Spanish. Though he had an interpreter for most of the meetings, he was unable to communicate with people everywhere like he wanted.

Bilbro rode back and forth to the meetings with the pastor and his wife, each of whom spoke only a few words of English. The roads were all paved, but traffic was very heavy. Bilbro was surprised he did not see any accidents. The drivers all knew where the horn and throttle were and exactly how wide their cars were. If they could get their fenders in first, they had the right of way.

Bilbro preached at the Sion Church, capacity 200 people. During the week the church was about three-quarters full, but each weekend the church was full, and people were standing outside.

Many people came forward with each call to accept Jesus as their Savior. The goal to baptize 50 people during 2003 was met and surpassed when, by Feb. 28, they had baptized 55. Many more are studying and planning for baptism later.

The Dominican Union Mission consists of two conferences and three mission conferences. The Adventists are the largest Protestant denomination in the Dominican Republic. Each church has four series of meetings a year presented by the pastor, the women, the children and another group.

The island features steep, heavily forested mountains, and the islanders grow banana, coconut, pineapple and many other fruits we do not have. The only grain crop Bilbro saw growing was rice.

Bilbro enjoyed his time there, meeting both Dominicans and the other Americans who were there presenting evangelistic series in other towns. He felt the Lord’s presence as a constant companion. Bilbro was sponsored by the Montana Conference and the North Pacific Union Conference.