Dominican Republic (MNN) — It doesn’t seem like Styrofoam could hold up to a hurricane. But Stephanie Shermeta, Assistant VP of International Childcare for Orphan’s Heart, says that’s exactly what they’re using for a big project in the Dominican Republic: Styrofoam block construction.
“These homes actually are earthquake-resistant, too,” Shermeta adds. “They’re made of Styrofoam, but there are concrete columns every 16 inches, so it is a very strong house.
“Not only does it build a strong, safe, secure house, but it’s pretty user-friendly when it comes to construction.”
Orphan’s Heart is working with national churches to transform Azua, one of the DR’s poorest communities. Throughout the country, some 3.5 million people fall below the national poverty line.
“We want to see people’s lives transformed by the Gospel, and our desire was to help people on every single level that we possibly could,” says Shermeta.
That’s why Orphan’s Heart, working with the national government and Iglesia Fundamento Biblico in Santo Domingo, began the largest project in its five-year history: Villa Liberacion. It’s a transformation project that will eventually result in 100 new homes and a multipurpose community transformation center (CTC).
Short-term mission teams, organized and sent by Orphan’s Heart, are providing a large portion of the manpower for this project.
“We have teams that come down for a week and help us on the construction of the homes,” Shermeta shares. Teams of nationals also provide assistance when short-termers aren’t available.
“We have a lot of people helping to make the project possible.”
But there’s always room for one more. If you’re into building things, giving medical care, or working with kids, your help is needed on this project. Find a list of upcoming trips here.
“You not only have the opportunity to come down, work hard, and see that you’ve accomplished something significant that week, but you truly have the opportunity to minister and be the hands and feet of Christ,” says Shermeta.
“All the logistics are planned for teams, so they can come down and hit the ground running, and the ministry opportunities where we work are just so plentiful.”
You can also call the Orphan’s Heart office at (863) 687-8811 and ask for Shermeta or Trip Logistics Coordinator, Deana Steffy.
Pray that more people will participate so the project can be completed by the end of 2015. Pray that the holistic care provided by the Church–physical, medical, emotional–stands as a tangible witness for Christ’s all-encompassing love.