Julia Jones from First UMC of Pierre, South Dakota brought her third medical team to the DR in May 2017. Bishop Cancú of the Dominican Evangelical Church asked that we work in a town called Montecristi with Pastor Deisy and her husband Lorenzo. Montecristi is in the extreme northwest corner of the DR very near to the Haitian border. It is where Deisy and Lorenzo are planting a new church so hosting a medical team is a great way to demonstrate God’s love for this community.
We worked out of Deisy and Lorenzo’s parsonage which is also their provisional church building. In a crowded space we had three doctors seeing patients, a pharmacy, and a small set up for distributing reading glasses. Three fans saved us from the stifling heat. One afternoon the electricity went out and we had to move the clinic outside and worked under the shade of a tree and a tarp. Not ideal conditions but God’s grace made it all work like a fine tuned sewing machine.
The medical team provided medications, vitamins, new tooth brushes, and reading glasses all of which was received with gratitude. But above all the team was care giving, sharing smiles, hugs, and words of assurance and hope. In return the patients shared the very same things with their care givers. All of us were touched by the presence of Christ.
We took a day off to tour an incredible event. We drove to Dajabón, a nearby market town on the border of the DR and Haiti. Twice a week the border is opened to allow marketing back and forth between the two countries and it is wild! Deisy wisely made sure we were safe by sending a Dominican ‘body guard’ with each of us. There was a crush of humanity that we could not have navigated without our helpers. It was seemingly impossible to actually stop and shop and buy something and after about 15 minutes of being herded through the endless market we were all ready to leave or perhaps to flee. It was one of those experiences that we really appreciated but do not need to repeat.
On behalf of the Dominican Evangelical Church, Pastors Deisy and Lorenzo, a host of Dominicans from Montecristi, and two UMC missionaries we would like to thank Julia, Kathy, Ann, Tom, Cindi, Nelson, Deb, Dairy, Loriedy, Dan, Terry, Carissa, and Mario for sharing their lives and talents with us so graciously.