Dominican Republic Spring Break Update 2
Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Monday was a great day! We woke up to a great breakfast and then went right into the morning devotion time. Abby led the group in some devotional thoughts before we split off to have some quiet time on our own. After this, Fausto, pastor at El Circulo Church, came to the mission house to tell us more about the church and about DR. He shared with us how the church started nearly 20 years ago with a very missional vision to be a church that isn’t just about what happens inside the walls of their church building, but how they are involved in the community and being a light and an advocate to the vulnerable and oppressed in the name of Jesus. Then he shared more about the different mission and outreach partners that El Circulo is connected with and how we’ll be encouraging and serving with them this week.
Next we went to the IJM (International Justice Mission) office here in Santo Domingo and were able to hear a presentation from several of their staff about the work IJM is involved in here in DR. IJM’s big vision is to end modern day slavery—here in DR that slavery takes the form of human trafficking, specifically the exploitation of children. Our eyes were opened to this injustice, but we were encouraged by the change that has happened throughout the country since the IJM office has been open. After the presentation we joined in with all of the staff for their mid-day prayer and worship time. We sang and read scripture in Spanish, with several people from our team reading in Spanish. We had a few laughs as they tired to read all of the Spanish words, but we were super impressed with how well everyone did!
For lunch we went back to the mission house for some Dominican food—rice, meatballs, and fried plantains.
We had a little down time in the afternoon for rest. Some chose to take naps, others played cards. Around mid-afternoon we left to visit one of the outreach partners that El Circulo is connection to, a leprosy colony. It’s about 45 minutes outside of the city and it’s a care facility that’s been around for about 60-70 years. The number has dwindled through the years but today there are still around 20 people who live here. They’re given treatment so none of them are contagious but they’re still seen as outsiders to the community. Most never leave the facility. The team split into smaller groups and made rounds around to visit the patients. We enjoyed conversation with them and learned more about their families. From some we learned about their passions and the ways God has gifted them. Others enjoyed talking about baseball, the most popular sport here in DR. We closed out by praying with them. We left with full hearts, being encouraged by their sweet spirits and smiles.
Dinner was back at the mission house and then we circled up in the back courtyard to evening team time to debrief the day. Everyone shared things they learned from the day and how they saw God working. It’s fun to see people opening up and sharing about what they’re processing. In turn, it’s unifying this team as they’re building relationships with one another. We’re thankful for such a good day and seeing how the Spirit was at work in every moment.