Read More about the Dominican Republic

Ministry at a Glance

The CRCNA team in the Dominican Republic (DR) is made up of Stephen and Sandra Brauning, Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) missionaries, Betty and Robert Wood, representing both CRWM and World Renew, and several volunteer and partner missionaries. The missionaries often serve as consultants or in supporting roles with partner missions.

The Christian Reformed Church in the Dominican Republic (ICRRD) includes 186 congregations, 125 ordained pastors and over 12,000 people. The church has grown and matured with national leaders on the local, regional, and denominational levels. National level ministries include the Reformed Bible Institute; church planting; diaconal ministry; youth, women’s, and family ministries; the National Ministry Center; and church construction. All are 100% run by national leaders.

COCREF (Christian Reformed Schools) runs 16 schools, including five high schools, with a total student population over 4,000. COCREF employs over 200 national staff and is led and directed by a strong national governing board. The assocation's goal is to provide quality, affordable Christian education to children from the ICRRD and surrounding communities. An estimated 10,000 people are directly impacted by this ministry.

Community development organizations in our network serve in 32 communities, impacting about 2,000 people through programs supported by World Renew. The main community development programs are literacy, water projects, micro credit loans/businesses, diaconal outreach, social justice, and community savings.

The impact of long-term commitment and broad-ranging ministries is seen in lives, families, and communities that have been transformed by the Gospel. The church and leadership have also caught this Kingdom-vision and are seeking to carry it out.

Partner missionary teachers from the CRCNA play a vital role in reaching hundreds of children with English-language Christian education at Santiago Christian School.

 

Here is a snapshot of some recent ministry developments (2011):

  1. The Strategy for Transformation, one of the ministries of our CRWM team, has three groups of grassroots Christian leaders in the Dominican Republic and one in Haiti being trained to reach out to at-risk youth. Mario Matos, a CRC pastor, is the Caribbean director of this cutting-edge ministry.

  2. Church construction projects, involving teams and donations from North America, assisted in 11 projects in 2011, including six church buildings, four pastors’ homes, and one ministry center project. Local churches and pastoral ministries are strengthened through projects done in partnership.

  3. Church Planting: Support for strategic church planting has borne fruit in two areas: first, in Las Mercedes, Pedernales, a remote mountainous area near the Haitian border, where a new regional grouping of Christian Reformed Churches has developed. Second, in the tourist region of Bávaro/Punta Cana on the DR's extreme eastern end. A church-plant there is in its third year, has an ordained pastor, Martín Ovíl, and has now started a Christian school.

  4. Christian School psychologists in the Christian Reformed Schools of the DR have a significant impact on students. Many of the students come from homes suffering from various forms of disintegration, such as domestic violence, drug abuse, and divorce. Melba Hidalgo, the psychologist team leader, and the other psychologists have shared testimonies of children starving for affection and love, of students becoming strong Christian witnesses in their troubled homes, and of students being counseled during personal crises.

Mission History

The first contacts were with Haitian immigrants who worked in the sugarcane industry. The church grew rapidly from 11 congregations in 1981 to over 150 by 1990. Many of the members were Haitian immigrants living in rural plantations, small towns, and urban slums where they, and subsequent generations, held low economic level jobs and social status.

CRWM's approach from the very beginning was to build a holistic ministry that reflected the breadth of God's Kingdom. Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) came on board in 1982, placing staff and participating in a “Word and Deed” strategy to address the extreme needs in the communities to which the denomination was spreading. Church leaders, members, and communities began to see progress and build self-sufficiency through economic development and literacy programs.

Since many of the communities did not have access to schools, missionaries partnered with local pastors and teachers to start Christian schools in several of the churches. At first, missionaries organized and taugt classes in the chuches. Then, local teachers were identified and trained. By 1990, over 20 schools had begun. Today, COCREF, Colegios Cristianos Reformados (Christian Reformed Schools), educates over 4,500 students. Read more about Hope Rising: Lifting Students Up in the Dominican Republic, a COCREF program.