Dearest Family and Friends –
As many of you know, last summer we took a trip to the Dominican Republic with a group from our church, Reunion Christian Church. We got to know two communities and one extraordinary family on this trip. In only a week’s time, we fell in love with all three.
During the first half of the trip, we worked on a construction site in Hato del Yaque, building a residence and dormitories for the local pastor and missionaries that manage the church and feeding center for the community. (More information on Hato del Yaque, and a brief video tour can be found here.) As we worked, swarms of kids from the community surrounded us insisting on “helping” by pushing wheelbarrows and shoveling dirt. When the work day was done, they stayed - to kick a soccer ball around, hop on our shoulders, or play with our hair (Emily’s not Brett’s :-)).
For the medically-inclined portion of our team, the first half of the trip was spent in an area known as “La Mosca.” La Mosca means “the fly” in English, and it is no exaggeration of what you experience there. Adjacent to an enormous trash dump, this community has grown by scavenging from the dump that sits across creek full of sewage/garbage run-off that flows behind the community. The medical team, composed of doctors and nurses from our church, held a free two-day clinic to address the many issues facing a community with such unsanitary surroundings and virtually no other access to medical care. The line at the clinic went all the way down the street, and in two days they were able to care for around 800 patients.
For the second half of the trip, our entire team spent a few days working in La Mosca. Members of the local church gave us a tour of the village, and introduced us to many of their family and friends. We also got to host the feeding center for the children of the community, and spend time playing with the kids, acting out a story and working with them to make a craft to take home. All that we were able to do with the people of La Mosca was made possible by one extraordinary family – the Vargas family. Our church started supporting Luis Vargas and his family a few years ago, and has maintained a very close relationship with him since. Luis, Reina, Yeison (Jason), and Dilson work tirelessly in La Mosca to provide the community with love, support, and whatever resources they can offer. Having seen them in action, we can tell you that love and support are provided in abundance, while the material resources they can offer are seriously limited. Because of Emily’s Spanish skills, we got to know them fairly well over the week we spent down there, and are committed to connecting with them via Skype on a borrowed computer on a regular basis. If you’d like to get to know the Vargas Family a little better, you can see some of these conversations on our blog as well. Through this time together, we’ve been able to share updates and prayer requests with one another, and we’ve been able to hear regularly about specific needs we can help provide for (like a more stable source of electricity). While our actual time in the Dominican Republic is minimal, we love knowing that the support and encouragement we provide to Luis and his family goes a long way all year round.
We’re going back to the DR this summer, to continue our support both in Hato del Yaque and La Mosca, and to see the Vargas family again! Supporting these communities has been a joy and a blessing to both of us this past year and one of the most meaningful things we’ve ever been part of. We wanted to give you the opportunity to share in our joy and take an interest in something we’re both very passionate about by supporting our trip, and bringing as many resources to these communities and to the Vargas’ as possible. Our trip will cost $1700 each. Yikes! We know that sounds like a lot for one week, but includes more than just our travel, room and board, we’ve listed what’s included on our support page. We’ve outlined some of the ways you can support us and/or the people in the communities we’re going to serve. We also encourage you to take a look around our website to get more background on the areas and on our reasons for going, and of course, if you have any questions, or would just like to hear more about the trip, please don’t hesitate to call or email!
Thank you for your support of all kinds!
Brett and Emily