Ministry in the New Rieles Church Addition

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Tomado del blog del misionero Mitch Martínez http://dominicanmissions.blogspot.com/
The Rieles Project (Iglesia Centro De Vida A/D / Center of Life Church), is moving forward.  The new addition is almost complete.  The floors are finished, the kitchen is only missing the doors for the floor counters.  The counter tops are tiled, and beautiful custom made cabinets are in place above them.  The bathrooms are finished, toilets and sinks, and showers are in place and functioning.  The shower and bathroom walls are tiled and look great.  The water holding tank is on the roof for when there is no water, or electricity.  The water system for the kitchen and the bathrooms is finished, and we even have a faucet for a hose outside.  All the windows, doors,  and protective bars are in place for this addition.  The four classrooms are finished and freshly painted.  Just in time as the pastor of the Haitian church group that uses this building, has decided to start a day school here for Haitian children.  Classes have already started and more than 40 children are attending. This is in addition to the 70 or so children that are part of the after-school remedial program that have also moved into the new addition.  Chairs and tables for the classrooms are desperately needed, but for now the floor will do.

No chairs, but that doesn;t stop ministry from happening in the new classrooms.

Last week, Pastor Enrique Santiago from Hollywood, Florida and his team conducted the first Vacation Bible School in the new facility.  Over two hundred children attended.  It was a five day program that 
ended Sunday morning with fruit punch and cake.   On the last day of the VBS celebration Debbie helped to hand out punch for more than 300 children and parents.

 Florida Team  ministering to the children in the new Dining area.















The Haitian children often receive no education in this country.  Sometimes it is because they are undocumented and the public schools cannot receive them without birth certificates.  Sometimes they don't go because of the language barrier and it is too difficult for the children to follow along in class in Spanish.  Sometimes they go to classrooms and are made fun of because of their accent and they drop out.  Sometimes the parents cannot afford the school uniforms and leather shoes that are mandatory in the public schools and so the children are not sent. Some children are not sent to public schools because the parents are afraid the immigration officials will visit. Last week, 1,100 Haitians were deported from the city of Santiago.  That weekend not very many Haitians came to the Rieles church.  Some estimates place the Haitian population as high as 1.5 million people in the Dominican Republic. See article http://www.oas.org/atip/regional%20reports/migrationinthecaribbean.pdf  (read page 8). The vast majority are illegal.  In recent years the massive earthquake in Haiti has pushed a large desperate group to cross the borders looking for a better quality of life.  Poverty levels in Haiti are the lowest in the western hemisphere.

This happy young lady is studying at the El Hatico Program


This is the second education program that we have been involved in with Haitian children this year.  We have helped provide funds for the first program near El Hatico, and now this second program will need financial help to pay for Haitian teachers.  There are educated Haitian teachers working in the rice fields    to provide income for their families back home in Haiti. For two hundred dollars ($200.00 US) a month, they would quickly switch back to a teaching career if the possibility existed for them.  Just today a Haitian pastor arrived at our home with news of a large community with many Haitian children (more than the first two places mentioned) also in need of a school.  The goal is to teach them subjects in French and Creole, and also to teach them Spanish, so that later they can enter the public school system.  Some will return to Haiti, but they will return with an education. What a difference in their life an education would make.

But we are just two missionaries, what can we do?  With God all things are possible!  We are not really alone, our thanks go out to the many that responded to the flooding in March and April, and provided the funds to feed, clothe, and refurbish many homes.  We also want to thank those that provided construction funds to finish the Rieles church addition. We are almost set and prepared for the next storm that comes our way, thanks to you!

If you would like to help with some of the funding for the Haitian school projects, please email Debbie at lavegaschool@gmail.com


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