Cancelled . . . This is a word we have seen all too often during the COVID-19 shutdown and crisis. Countless very special events and experiences have fallen victim to the need for us to socially distance and limit the spread of this virus - graduations, proms, weddings, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, vacations, and so much more.
Add to this list of cancellations the annual Dominican Republic Mission Team Experience event, which was originally to be held on April 4 and then was rescheduled out to May 30. Normally this event celebrates the work of hundreds of local volunteers in the DR with 400-500 supporters filling New Life Church and annually raises around $25,000.
In addition, the annual summer DR Mission Team trip, which began sending local volunteers to serve the poor in 1990, will not be able to take place this June and July. This means the 125-150 volunteers that normally descend on La Romana to work alongside our partners at El Buen Samaritano Hospital, Joe Hartman School, and Maranatha Mission will not be able to run daily medical clinics, distribute food to thousands, build new homes and schools, provide educational programs and interact with thousands of children, and share the love and hope of Christ. The US is just beginning a very gradual reopening while continuing to battle COVID-19, and the DR is a few weeks behind this schedule with most businesses still closed, borders and airports shut, and strict stay-at-home and social distancing orders in place.
BUT . . .
This is all extraordinarily disappointing, sad, and discouraging. But . . . the 2020 Summer DR Mission Team and supporters have been called to a new mission. Instead of being able to physically travel to La Romana this summer and work side by side with our Dominican and Haitian brothers and sisters, it our our calling to rise up and help support our friends in the DR who are suffering and facing severe economic hardships. Most are not working, food is in short supply for many families, and medicines (sometimes life-saving meds) are no longer affordable.
WHAT TO DO
This is our time to make a huge difference! Already, 40-foot containers of food and medicine have been sent and distributed to the most needy . . . and more are on the way. Hundreds of people have already donated generously to the DR Mission Team COVID-19 Fund to help the people of La Romana.
There are several important ways we can be part of this tremendous effort with the people of La Romana moving forward:
• keep our Dominican partners, friends, and family in your prayers during this very difficult crisis
• check out the DR Mission Team Facebook Live Event on Saturday, May 30, at 8pm!
• donate to the La Romana COVID-19 fund (matching funds are often available!). One hundred percent of every donation goes directly to help those struggling to survive in La Romana and the bateyes, focusing on three specific things:
- Medicine that is no longer affordable
- Lost Wages.
• be on the lookout for the next opportunities to travel down to La Romana with the DR Mission Team – Lord willing, in October 2020 or January 2021.
Questions? Send an email or call/text 203-626-2239