DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Partnership in ministry is a real application for two Missouri churches, Beulah Baptist Church in Richland and Lighthouse in Brumley. The two churches sponsored four joint mission trips to the Dominican Republic in the last three years.
“Our churches formed a partnership with Pastor Jeorge,” Rick Morrow, Beulah pastor, said. “He pastors two churches in the Dominican Republic. One is for Haitian refugees and the other is a Dominican church.”
According to Morrow, the living conditions are not the best for the Haitian refugees. They live in small villages called bateys. These shanty homes are located around sugar cane fields with one-to-three families sharing about 500 square feet.
“Clean water is one of the biggest needs for the people,” Morrow continued. “When the large tanker trucks come around with water, it is not clean. We’ve supplied about 300-350 water filter systems to families.”
Brandi Kincaid, member of Lighthouse, coordinates the trips. “These filters solve a temporary physical need for the Haitians,” she said, “but, the real goal is to share Christ with them.”
Kincaid said that she worked with Praying Pelican Missions to organize the trip. “We thought we might go to Haiti,” she said, “but, when I talked with one of the representatives, she put us in touch with Pastor Jeorge. After the first trip, we developed a wonderful relationship with him and his ministry. We were so excited about the trip we went twice that first year.”
“Family” is the way Morrow expressed the relationship. “My heart is connected with Pastor Jeorge,” he said.
Praying Pelican Missions encourages churches to partner with local churches to minister to their communities. “We plan to go to the Dominican Republic once each year,” Kincaid said. “The Praying Pelican Missions group helps us arrange translators, in-country transportation and food and lodging. We stay in the church and Pastor Jeorge’s family cooks for us.”
Kincaid described ministry efforts in addition to the water filters. “We’ve painted and done demo work,” she said. “It seems like we are always doing plumbing work too. We have some of the men who go who are skilled with their hands. They can assess the need and fix it.”
Reaching men on the trip in November was a plan for the mission team. The men work from dawn to dusk in the sugar fields cutting the cane with machetes and many believe in voodoo.
“We’ve worked with the women and children in the past,” Kincaid said. “The Lord laid it on the heart of our group to reach out to the men. We planned a revival service in the evening outside and projected the sound with a PA system. It was exciting to see the men gather in the street and to sit by the windows and listen.”
According to Kincaid, Pastor Jeorge teaches English classes as a part of his ministry. “These Haitians are really a people without a home,” she said. “Four or five generations are not born in Haiti and they are not citizens of the Dominican Republic. They can’t get papers to get out of the cycle of poverty unless they learn English to get a better job.”
These mission trips have a major impact on everyone, according to Kincaid. “It is a humbling experience,” she continued. “Everyone who goes comes back home and knows that we have been just washing feet.”
“The pastors of Beulah (Rick Morrow) and Lighthouse (Eric Shaw) both do a great job of preparing us for the trip,” Kincaid said. “They share that we are there to support Pastor Jeorge. We are to hold up his arms like Moses’ arms were held up by Aaron and Hur. Our heart is to hold up and support his vision.”