We were led to this church by Dianne O’Neal, a friend whom we consider a beloved sister. Dianne met us at the airport in La Paz, Bolivia on September 16, 1989 and we shared a small apartment in the Methodist hospitality house for the first three months of our budding mission life. Since then Dianne has shared her family of siblings with us and we have shared our family with her. She has also shared her church family with us supporting us in mission in Bolivia and now in the Dominican Republic.
What a delight it was to welcome the following volunteers: Gretchen Kaney and her father Rev. Rex Kaney; Dianne O’Neal, her brother Dr. Kelly O’Neal and sister-in-law Teresa O’Neal; Michael Harbin and Weny Worral and their daughter Joanna Harbin; Tasso Tasioudis; Paul Bolster; Mary and Ray Maynard; Tennielle Bailey; and Maira Lopez.
I cannot in this space do justice to this team but can offer a story that will give you a taste.
Paul Bolster has been a lawyer, history professor, Georgia state legislator, and remains a really smart guy who asks difficult questions. Rick is a 10 year Dominican orphan boy who helped us do the construction work in La Jagua, a former shantytown for sugarcane cutters and now home to a backwater pocket of impoverished Dominincans.
Paul and Rick became work mates building a wall with cement blocks. Apparently Rick was not familiar with Paul’s resume but soon became aware that laying block was probably not on the list of Paul’s professional skills. Rick did what any self-respecting 10 year old with a couple years of block laying experience would do. He took Paul on as his ‘ayudante’, his helper. And Paul did what any self-respecting 72 year old lawyer/historian/legislator would do. He stood his ground and gave Rick that look. Paul was not about to take orders from a 10 year old and told him so with body language and facial expressions. But Rick was not moved by his helper’s display of non-cooperation. Rick simply handed a bucket to Paul and said, “Pablo, go get me some mortar.” Paul smiled as if to say, ‘this is not over little dude’. Then he got up to do as he was told.
The Trinity team helped to open the door to La Jagua, a community that is in great need and that has much to give in return. On behalf of the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana we thank you for working together with your Dominican brethren to further the Kingdom of God in this country.