Christian schools in Hispaniola broach reconciliation.

By February 2, 2006

Dominican Republic (MNN)–The island of Hispaniola is divided by the history of its creation.

What was once a thriving French possession inhabited by descendants of African slaves, is now one of the poorest countries in the world.

Poverty, corruption and instability strangles Haiti while an economic boom favors their neighbor. A former Spanish colony, the Dominican Republic made its initial fortune from sugar cane. However, it owes its recent prosperity to the tourist industry.

As the inequalities with Haiti are widening, violence and tension between the two peoples also increases proportionally.

Worldwide Christian Schools’ Steve Geurink was in the Dominican Republic for a conference on reconciliation. While there, an incident broke out in a nearby batey, or sugar cane village, resulting in one death and the retaliatory loss of 31 homes.

The message of the conference stood clearly even as WCS teams responded. “The schools in the Dominican Republic have been about reconciliation for years. The schools were being used for meeting places for these families that no longer had homes. They were meeting with some pastors and individuals that were trying to bring aid to them, to try and restore their great loss.”

Geurink says ministry action comes when: “The teachers are going to have to sit with the students and work through this process. ‘This is the fear, the guilt, the anger involved.’ It is a real opportunity for the Gospel of Christ to shine through as they deal with the forgiveness as well.”

In seeing the schools fulfill their purpose in the community, there are other needs they fulfill as well. This means economic and physical barriers need to be eliminated. Pray for the teams as they seek to deliver Christian education in new ways.

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