International Ministries

My First Group

April 11, 2003 Journal
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Greetings and blessings from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic! It has been 6 months already since my arrival to this beautiful Island.Since, I have felt like at home! People are so warm and gentle…I've been traveling around the Island visiting some of our churches from Asociacion Bautista Vida Eterna and from the Haitian Baptist Association. Getting to know them, their needs and meet their people. I still have much more to visit!

One of my great experiences was when I had the opportunity to preach at the Iglesia Bautista Haitiana of Santo Domingo were Rev. Pierre H. Espady is the Pastor. He invited me to preach without meeting me in person. I called him to introduce myself and let him know that I was the new Missionary and what my job was going to be about, that I was there to serve them and that he can count with me…and literally he took advantage of these words and invited me to preach on that Sunday morning!!! I was surprised, but I accepted. Of course I told him that I will preach in Spanish and he will translate me into Creole. This church was full (more than 300 people). The service was all in Creole, and I enjoyed each minute. What an experience!!! These are the moments where you confirm that language does not have barriers when God is the center of it!! Of course, after this opportunity I started my Creole classes and I hope to preach in Creole soon!

The Haitian community here in Dominican Republic is big. More than 500,000 Haitians live here and less than 1% are Christians. The urge of attention to this is a #1 priority in the agenda of the Haitian Baptist Association.They are working with evangelization and caring closely to those first-time believers. The Iglesia Bautista Haitiana in Santo Domingo is currently working hard to purchase a lot of land to build a new church. Their current building is for 180 people and on Sundays you have between 250 and 300 and it has become difficult to do services there. This 1% is growing…but we still need your prayers. Please add to your prayers list the Haitian Community here in Dominican Republic. Remember that the majority of these people are illegal in the country and due to this they cannot work, their kids are not permitted to go to school, they are abused and marginalized.

MY FIRST GROUP
As you may know, I am the Coordinator of Volunteers and Groups from US and Puerto Rico to the Caribbean (Haiti, Cuba and Dom. Rep.). I had my first group from March 15 through 22. This group was from First Baptist Church of Manchester, Connecticut. They were 10 people (including their Pastor Bruce).They are supporting the community/church of Guananito and Sabana Piedra in Villa Altagracia were Lilian Medina is the Pastor. Meeting this group was wonderful and refreshing. I was nervous since it was my first group and I had the responsibility of doing it well.They arrived more or less at 3:00PM on that Saturday. Customs at the airport was kind of difficult, but what an amazing God we have! Kristy Engle, our Missionary at La Romana, was also receiving a group from Rhode Island on that same flight! Because of her experience she got access to Customs and included our group from Manchester with her group from Rhode Island and all went well in customs thanks to those angels that God has ready to help us. Once out of customs…we headed to Guananito. They all were very anxious to see their "friends" again. This group came last June 2002 for the first time so they had friends they wanted to see again! From the group 3 of them were new on this trip: Karen, Martha and Jim. The rest of the group: James Meek (Coordinator of the trip), Bruce (Pastor), Bettylou, Betsy, Joani, Walter and Jorge. What an experience that whole week!!! The men at the work site helping the workers with the construction of the church….the ladies with the children in the morning and in the evening singing, drawing, playing, learning bible lessons…you may ask, what about language? Well, we had a Karen and a James with a very good Spanish, a Bettylou with a good spanglish and a Betsy expert on sign language!! As you see…language is never a barrier when the heart is willing to do it! This group from Manchester, Connecticut was a good start for me. Now I am getting ready for my next group coming in May 12 from Montgomery Community Baptist Church, Cincinnati. While this happens…I go to La Romana with Kristy Engle to help her with the groups visiting there!

You can also be part of these opportunities and experiences. You just have to coordinate a group from your church and ask me for any opportunity/project here in Dominican Republic. I have a list of Projects from our Associations pending to be done. If you are interested in one please contact me and we can coordinate a trip. My email address is: madelinef11@yahoo.com

Well my friends, keep me in your prayers and hope to hear from many of you soon! God bless you all,

Madeline