The following journal was written by David and Susan Brown who were “extended short-term volunteers” in La Romana, Dominican Republic. From Jan. 27 – March 16, 2020, they had the honor of observing and working alongside Ketly and Vital Pierre.
The Community Center in Villa Hermosa
El Centro Comunitario is Vital’s “baby,” and just like a parent nurtures a child, Vital is busy nurturing the ministries and activities of this community center. There have been labor pains, and there is ongoing energy expended to bring about God’s kingdom through this vital ministry. Yet, we could see Vital’s joy as he ministered to Haitian immigrants who needed help with various documents but also needed words of encouragement. We also saw how responsible Vital feels for the maturing of his “children.” We are happy that this community center exists to be a gathering place for the Alliance of Baptist Churches, to provide a church home for people in the neighborhood, and to provide instruction in a variety of subjects.
We had the privilege of:
Setting Two: Hospital El Buen Samaritano
We had the privilege of:
Setting Three: Iglesia Cristo Para Las Naciones
This was one of our greatest joys as each Monday we traveled about 30 minutes west of La Romana to San Pedro de Marcoris. Christ for the Nations Church started years ago as a small church plant and its facilities now include a large church building, a thriving school for preschoolers through grade 12, a dormitory for mission teams, a bookstore, and a home for the pastor’s family. While in San Pedro, we worked with the enthusiastic church choir, taught piano/guitar, and held English classes for young adults wishing to be English teachers. Pastors Tanis and Ester made us feel so welcome, and we were blessed by the people of Iglesia Cristo Para Las Naciones.
Setting Four: Bateyes
(Sugar Cane “Plantations”)
We visited four different bateyes out of the hundreds located in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic. Most of the sugar cane workers and their families are Haitian or of Haitian descent, and each community is poor. At La Plumita, we observed a medical team at work and interacted with some of the children; and at La Cacata, El Salado, and Las Cejas, we worshipped at the batey churches. At these three locations, David preached and sang in English with Ketly interpreting to Haitain or Spanish or both! It was amazing to see how quickly and expressively Ketly interpreted, and once again we saw how dearly loved she is.
Setting Five: Churches in La Romana
What alive and active churches we encountered. AND WOW! The number of children and youth participating was inspiring! Services are louder and longer than what we are accustomed to, but the Spirit of God was evident and mighty. We were blessed by the friendliness of those we met and by how sincerely they live their faith.
Setting Six: At Home with Ketly and Vital
It was a joy to be welcomed as part of the Pierre family while in La Romana. We were grateful for all the words of wisdom shared with us and for all the warmth and love of Christ we felt throughout our daily interactions. We were inspired by their devotion to God and their love for the people of La Romana.
Setting Seven: Out and About
One weekend we traveled by bus with Ketly and fifteen leaders from churches in La Romana to the Manresa Loyola Retreat Center in Santo Domingo. There we met up with approximately thirty-five more Baptist church leaders from throughout the D. R. During their conference on Spiritual Formation, we observed how the group bonded and strengthened their faith. The facilitators for the conference were IM Global Servants Tim Long, Mercy Barnes, Mylinda Baits, and Peter McCurdy, and it was wonderful to be able to interact with them. We also thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful grounds surrounding the facility and the beautiful view of the Carribean from the rocky shoreline.
We thank God for the opportunity to see His light shine through so many people in the Dominican Republic, for the new friends we made, for interesting and fulfilling life experiences, and for the ongoing work of Christ through our dear friends, Ketly and Vital Pierre.