Changing a community from the inside out

By June 27, 2014

DR (MNN) — God is changing a community in Dominican Republic–one of the poorest–from the inside out.

Orphan's Heart has been working on transforming one of the poorest communities in the DR for about a year (photo courtesy of Orphan's Heart)

Orphan’s Heart has been working on transforming one of the poorest communities in the DR for about a year.
(Photo courtesy of Orphan’s Heart)

For a year now, Orphan’s Heart has worked to rebuild a community and share the love of Christ with them.

“We’re really excited about all that’s transpired over the last year,” says Stephanie Shermeta of Orphan’s Heart.

They have partnered with a Dominican construction crew to build houses for the community. They have seven completed, the construction of nine others started, and the foundations for 20 more houses poured.

They hope to have 21 houses complete by the end of July.

“We’re pleased with where we are and looking forward to what God has in store for the remainder of this project,” Shermeta says.

Along with these homes, Orphan’s heart is working on a community transformation center that will house a church plant, ministry work, and life skills classes among other community events and resources. They hope to have that finished by the end of the summer.

But more than building homes, this ministry and their national partners are building into peoples lives.

Shermeta says, “What we really hope to see is people’s lives radically transformed through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s our main goal is that this community will be a hope for family, it will be a light for Christ.

“We also wanted to help people out of that cycle of poverty. So that includes providing a safe place for them to live, helping with job training skills for dads to be able to provide for their families.”

They also hope to provide a Christian centered daycare for single moms so that they can work during the day.

And the team is seeing the fruits of their hard work already.

“We’re thankful for all the Lord is doing to work in the hearts and minds of the community members. Every week we’re doing ministry work with the kids; every week we’re doing Bibles studies. We are ministering to community members.”

Shermeta stresses that the ministry they do is all in conjunction with their national ministry partners because they know the people and the culture.

“We see a God at work in people’s lives,” she says. “We see Him answering prayers and showing up, and we’re very thankful for that. And I would add, if I may, that we covet people’s prayers in that.”

This summer, a bunch of teams from the United States are heading out of the country to work alongside Orphan’s Heart.

“If people are interested in traveling to the Dominican Republic and serving on one of these teams and having the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ, please check out our calendar of upcoming trips on our Web site, Shermeta says.

“If you want to go and minister, this is a wonderful community to minister. The people want to hear the Gospel; they’re intrigued, they’re listening, and so we need people to come and share.”

Wondering if this is for you? According to Shermeta, this trip could be life-changing: “This is a great opportunity for you to go to see how the rest of the world lives–to help, but also come back with a changed worldview and be able to share with your friends and families about what God is doing in other countries, the needs that are there, and how we might help.”

If you have questions about the work being done in the Dominican Republic, call Orphan’s Heart at 863-577-4488 or click here to visit their Web site.

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