Noel grows to hurricane strength after slamming Caribbean

By November 5, 2007

Dominican Republic (MNN) — The Dominican Republic
has appealed for international help to cope with devastating floods from
Tropical Storm Noel's deadly strike last week. The country is not very big and
the damage reports seemed widespread. 

Worldwide Christian Schools' Steve Geurink.  "Our contact, Mario, has said there is a
lot of flooding.  There are people,
obviously, without their homes, there are those that have had their homes
damaged, there are lives that have been lost."

Mario Matos, Board President for Christian Reformed
schools (Colegios Cristianos Reformados) reports that, "Schools and
commercial activities are canceled in most places, the national electrical
power system is damaged in 45%."  As Noel
moved toward southeastern coast of the U.S., the Dominican Republic declared a
state of emergency.

Geurink notes a bright spot. "The good news for us
is that the initial reports are that our schools are intact, and that, for the
most part, everyone was safe." 

He goes on to say their reputation will open
ministry in the days ahead. "Pray for the families, and the teachers in
the schools that they can be this witness to the community. For those that have
lost family, and lost homes, dealing with the mud and the debris and the water
that happens with these floods, that the Lord will give them peace and patience
and provide resources to them."

One of the projects the COCREF team has been working
on is a 15-year plan: their goal is to increase their student numbers, improve
the quality and capacity of their school buildings, and become more
self-reliant. 

Despite the ruin left by the storm, the future of
the Dominican Republic
looks bright because of the children being touched by WCS and their partners. 
Says Julio Vilches, pastor and a supervisor of three COCREF schools,  "Our long-term vision is to reach the most
children we can so that future generations can be changed for the glory of
God."

He adds, "Our goal is to reach the most children we can to know Christ.  [We want
to] change the future generations – if we can help change the children we'll
have a better generation in every area of our country."

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