Celebrating Christ by Growing Up, Out, and Together
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The Dominican Republic Mission is an amazing example of God's work and the power of multiple organizations partnering together, focused on a common goal of establishing a Lutheran church body in the Dominican Republic (DR). It began in a small way with St. Michael Lutheran Church, a LCMS congregation in Fort Myers, FL, reaching out to its Dominican sister city, Santiago in the 1990's.
A formal partnership began in 2004 that included the LCMS, Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services, Inc., and the Central American Lutheran Mission Society (CALMS). One of the first two missionaries who arrived in 2005 was Danelle Putnam and she is still serving there. Early on she focused on improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities and ministry to their families. In 2010 Good Shepherd Lutheran Home opened as a dedicated care facility for these children in Palmar Arriba, outside of Santiago.
In 2010, the first Dominican Pastor, Willie Gaspar, was ordained in Santo Domingo, the capitol. The Dominican Republic (DR) is a great model for planting a church body through the coordinated efforts of several partners and it also serves as the regional hub for all the LCMS missionaries throughout Latin America, led by Pastor Ted Krey. Now there are several worship sites in the Dominican, a Concordia Lutheran School K - 7, a preschool and a new seminary to serve Latin America.
Redeemer construction team in the Dominican Republic
We were invited to a semi-annual partnership meeting in the DR in Octobr 2012 and 4 members from Redeemer (Karen Moser, Joanne Robinson, Steve & Kathy Holtman) were given an overview of the mission. All of them came back with a very positive report. There was an opportunity to support students at the Concordia Lutheran school in Palmar Arriba, where most children did not have an education of any kind due to low wages, no transportation, and little provision from the government. More than 30 families from Redeemer sponsored individual children at a cost of $35.00/ month on a continuing basis. In July 2014, we sent a Redeemer member (Ruth Godfrey) on an LCMS Medical Mission trip to conduct a health clinic in the DR in Santiago and Santo Domingo.
In October 2014, 3 members from Redeemer (Vicar Kevin Duff, Becky Lindholm & Camilla Roberts) partnered with members from Christ Lutheran in Peoria on a MOST construction trip to the DR, working on a cistern and landscaping at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home.
Currently there are more than 14 missionaries in the DR who serve the DR & Latin America in various roles such as pastor, vicar, deaconess, accounting, communication, building projects and starting micro businesses. Both Rev. Joel Fritsche (Nov. 2014) and Bill Lohmeyer (Nov. 2013) visited Redeemer before joining the missionary staff in the DR.
2014 Redeemer Dominican Republic Team
RSO of LCMS based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, trains and leads short term teams to about 50 different countries since 1989