A Big Impact in Dorchester

This story written by Ben Corriette, Youth Director of the Beverly Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The morning of Saturday, September 17, was sunny yet brisk at the Gibson & Doherty playground in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The Southern New England Conference Youth Ministries trailer unloaded chairs and tables as the day’s activities were soon to begin. This day was no ordinary day, as Seventh-day Adventists from all across the Southern New England Conference and Northeastern Conference territories converged on Dorchester to participate in Compassion Boston’s annual “Impact” community service initiative.

Participants had signed up to take part in community service projects throughout the greater Dorchester and Roxbury communities from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There were groups volunteering at the Children’s Village, Franklin Zoo, Roxbury YMCA, Haynes School and other local venues. While the volunteers were out beautifying many of the area schools, libraries and public facilities, a community health fair was held at the Gibson & Doherty playground, where there were booths for massages, Adventist literature, eye exams, blood pressure checks, health food demonstrations, general consultation, health screening and more, all provided at no charge. Music at the event was provided by a live band, a mass choir of volunteers, and local Christian hip-hop group, Undivided 2.

If you have watched the news recently, it is no secret that the community of Dorchester could use a healthy serving of love and compassion. Candice Gartley, director of the Dorchester Athletic Sports League (DASL), commented at how grateful she was to have the grounds of the DASL offices receive a well-needed grooming by Impact Dorchester volunteers.

After the community service projects concluded and the volunteers returned to the Gibson & Doherty playground, there was a “March for Peace” led by a Pathfinder drum corps, and escorted by Adventist Community Service volunteers, which commenced from the playground, circled through the local neighborhood, and then concluded back at the playground. Unfortunately, Dorchester has been recently known for being plagued with gang violence, drug trafficking, and prostitution. The Impact Dorchester event helped to bring much needed hope to the community, demonstrating Jesus’ love to its residents.

Training at Boston Korean Church

On Saturday, August 13, the Compassion Boston Bible Work Team led a Bible Work training at the Boston Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Presenters were Jack Phillips and Keith LaRoy from It Is Written, along with the full-time Bible Workers. A few members of the team shared their experiences at the training.

Jeffrey Walker is the most recent addition to the Bible Work troupe. “As a fairly new Bible Worker,” Jeffrey said, “this was my first training Sabbath with the rest of the Compassion Boston team. It was great to see the excitement and high level of engagement by the members of this church. 

“One of the exercises that we did in the afternoon involved using Mark Finley’s notion of ‘perceptual patterns’ to reach different types of thinkers with the gospel. During one presentation a Bible Worker used the visual technique so well to illustrate Jesus’ passion on the Cross (‘see in your mind’s eye his nail-pierced hands and feet’) that one translator broke down in tears!” (This training was conducted in English and translated into Korean.)

Destinie Candis, another Bible Worker and the one presenting at the time, added more to the story. “I was charged with presenting how to give an effective appeal,” she explained. “That morning I had woken up extra early to make sure everything was in place, and right before it was my time to go up I decided to change my appeals a bit. After explaining what an appeal was, and how to use an appeal to gain decisions based upon the three different learning styles (auditory, sight, and kinetic), I gave examples of each. For my first example, I appealed to sight. The mental picture I painted was of Christ on the cross. I described the blood dripping down His face, the nails in His hands and emphasized the fact that it was all done for us. I then asked the audience to look in His eyes, and asked if there was anything more important than surrendering to Christ in that moment. For the next two appeals I had planned to use scenarios other than Jesus on the cross, but that morning as I was planning, I felt led to continue with that scene for the other examples. As I appealed to the audience to hear the sounds of Calvary, my translator suddenly paused. She was overcome by the example that I had given, and had begun to weep. We paused a few seconds, and she recovered, but then when I moved on to the kinetic example and appealed to the audience to feel the crown of thorns and the nails going into Jesus’ hands, the blood trickling down His face, and then to see Him telling us to touch the nail prints in His hands, she began to cry again. I have never witnessed an appeal have this effect on its hearers—especially not church members—because we have become so accustomed to hearing these things. But her reaction served to show how important appeals are, and how even though we sometimes become calloused to the ‘basic’ aspects of Christianity (Jesus on the cross), it can do us a great benefit to contemplate and be broken by the great sacrifice that was made on our behalf.”

Jack Phillips—It Is Written’s Program Director for the Compassion Boston Bible Work—had a similar story to share about another individual who was moved. “A young lady had volunteered to do the translation.” This was a different translator than in the story above. “It was her first time ever doing this. She was excellent. She was very into it and expressive. As the afternoon went on she kept up her hard work. Then, while translating for me, she began to cry. She turned from the audience and looked away. I looked over and she was crying and I didn’t know what to do. I lifted her up her for her hard work and all her help. Someone took her place and she went into the hall, where some of her friends and some of the Bible Workers comforted her.

“I came out afterward and thanked her for the good work, and told her I was sorry for the huge load that was placed on her. But then she told me that she wasn’t crying because she was overwhelmed, but that as she was translating what I was speaking—that ‘we all will be used by God if we are open to it’—she realized that she was being used by God right then. It really moved her.

“Later I was told that she had been praying for God to show her how she could be used by Him. Her answer to prayer was right there as she served in her church with us that day. I praise God that He can use us all and will use us when we are open to His guidance.”

These trainings are meant to equip church members to reach non-members, especially leading up to and during the Revelation Today evangelistic meetings coming up in October. But God might be hoping to reach some others as well, and those others just might be some of us.

To learn more about upcoming trainings that you can attend, click here.

Photo Credit: Ben Corriette

Photo Credit: Ben Corriette

Photo Credit: Ben Corriette

Photo Credit: Ben Corriette

Photo Credit: Ben Corriette

Photo Credit: Ben Corriette