Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Following Christ... in the Dominican Republic

It's Ash Wednesday today.  And it's a rainy day in Augusta, Georgia.  I'm in a funky mood as I'm trying to get back into a routine AND trying to get into the mood for Lent.  Ready or not, here it is!

After our huge mission event I had a day to clean up for our celebration, a half day of regular church meetings to push forward in ministry, and then had to pack for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  I'd never been to the DR before, and was looking forward to touring the mission work of our partners John & Donna Bearden.  They are long term UMVIM missionaries from Waynesboro, GA, and my congregation has supported their efforts to transition from working in the DR on mission teams for a decade to more of a full time presence coordinating short term teams.  Our "vision team" was looking to see how we could be better partners to the Beardens & to think through the best resources our church could offer as well as the necessary contacts & logistics of our teams working in the DR.

Here's our veteran team of missioner scouts at the Batey 7 medical clinic outside of Barahona, DR.  A batey is a small village set in the middle of acres upon acres of sugar cane fields.  One description is that a batey is a "place of suffering."  The villagers don't own anything that belongs to the company & in comparison to our lives are in a very, very meager situation.  This location in southwestern DR had many Haitian families mixed in with Dominicans.  In many respects this place reminded me of west Africa.  Thanks to the work and ongoing support of mission teams and support churches & organizations they've made improvements in Batey 7 over the years, so that this is something of a model they hope to replicate in other bateys.      

We saw sugar cane in all stages of growth and harvesting.    

We met one of the local men who is often a crew leader for the Bearden's projects around Batey 7.  He was losing his home and had to quickly construct a new home.  He had limited funds, but lots of construction knowledge and drive, as he had to provide for his family.  This is the stick home he is building out of local material.   

Here are some of the children the oldest member of our team, who is a "young" 83 and fluent in Spanish, met in Bani, DR.

We have much to consider as we saw many needs and opportunities in the Dominican Republic to follow Christ, and to help our brothers and sisters in the DR. 


No comments: