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God’s Plans Are Much Better!
By Chris Phillips
Our journey of serving in full-time missions began in the mid-1990s. Dawn and I
were enjoying a fruitful Christian school ministry at Grace Baptist Church in West
Columbia, South Carolina. We were constantly encouraging the students to consider
surrendering their lives to full-time service, including missions. As we began to see the
Lord work in their lives, the Holy Spirit began to burden our hearts to go to the foreign
field in order to share the Gospel with those who had never had a chance to hear the
Good News. We had so many unanswered questions as we began this journey and, if we
had known all the obstacles, trials, and challenges that we were going to face, we would
have thought twice before taking that step. However, being able to look BACK now and
see how the Lord has opened doors, saved souls, and changed us along this journey, we
both agree that we would do it all again.
In May 1999, we landed in Costa Rica with our four children in order to study the
Spanish language. Costa Rica was a wonderful bridge from the American culture to
the Spanish culture, where we learned so much about ministering to the Hispanics and
we made some dear, life-long friends. It was there our children were able to gradually
become accustomed to the differences in culture.
After language school, the biggest challenge for us was that very seldom did things work
out based on our plans. God closed doors and opened others in order to accomplish
• We planned to find a way to live in Cuba full time and plant a church, but God chose
for us to live there for a short time and travel back to minister through basketball
camps, intensive leadership training, and providing resources.
• We planned to plant a church in a middle-class neighborhood in Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic, so that there would be financial resources to sustain a
ministry, but the Lord led us to a poor neighborhood where there is now a self-
12 Reseeding America – Spring 2020
sustaining, indigenous work
under the leadership of the
Mike Doering Family. The
“poor” believers there now
own their own property!
• We planned to stay in the
Dominican Republic for life,
Our Church in the Dominican Republic
but God allowed Dawn to
be diagnosed with Lupus. We moved back to the States for her medical treatment
in 2006. The Lord allowed us to keep our full-time missionary status and begin
another Hispanic church, Iglesia Bautista Victoria, in April 2006.
• We planned to establish the church and turn it over to a Hispanic pastor in 5–7
years, but God chose to double that time so that we could begin a Bible institute and
train future church leaders.
• We planned to rent a church building indefinitely because of the high cost of real
estate here in Charleston, South Carolina, but in October 2019, the Lord provided an
opportunity to purchase a building and property for a fraction of the appraised value.
As one can see, we are supposed to plan but always keep in mind that God’s plans are
much better! As the years progressed, my wife and I were tempted to be discouraged
because of the obstacles and the periods of waiting. Now our hearts are bursting
with praise to the Lord for His wisdom! Currently, we are transitioning the church to
Alex Millan, the new pastor. At his request, we are assisting in the transition and still
involved in teaching, preaching, administration duties, and presenting this incredible
opportunity of the property that has been offered exclusively to our ministry.
In October we were approached by a faithful local pastor who has come to the agonizing
decision to dissolve his church after 40 years of ministry. While this is heartbreaking
on many levels, he said that his church would like our mission church to purchase
the property well below the estimated value! The property is centrally located for our
congregation. The church building has an auditorium (with space for 150 people),
New property we are
trying to raise money