Her name was Diana, I learned. She lived nearby, somewhere in the Dominican village. The village, as I recall, was named “100 Fires” or something like that. It was a settlement at the base of a smoldering mountain of garbage. I forget the name of the village. I’ll never forget Diana’s name.
She looked at me as I shoveled cement and patted her stomach. I knew little Spanish; she little English. Despite the language barrier, her gesture translated clearly. She was hungry. I had no food to offer her. I wondered how many Dianas there were in that village. How many children like her were on this island? It was an overwhelming thought.
What could I do about it?
G.O. Ministries in the Dominican Republic has been doing something about it since its inception in 1996. Built on the passion of individual Christians to make disciples of all nations, the impact this organization has made on the island of Hispanola (which includes the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) is vast.
By 2010, G.O. was partnering with over 100 indigenous Christian pastors and leaders, feeding over 1,000 children a hot meal six days a week through one of nine nutrition centers, offering education to over 600 children through its primary school, partnering with over 30 churches in the Dominican and Haiti, facilitating 12 sports leagues with at risk youth, and offering medical aid to the poor through a daily medical clinic. The organization employs over 20 full-time missionaries and staff.
In addition to their work on the island, they also support work in Columbia, Mongolia, and in the city where they house their headquarters–Louisville, Kentucky.
I had the great privilege of working with G.O. in 2005. Then serving at First Christian Church of Moweaqua, Illinois, our team partnered with them on construction projects and saw first-hand the impact they are making in the DR. That’s when I met Diana. More recently, my wife has visited both the Dominican Republic and Haiti with teams from Current – A Christian Church. We both have been captivated by the people and moved to act in support of this outstanding organization.
Recently, the nutrition center in Los Perez lost it’s funding. Since the goal is to match nutrition centers with American churches to build partnerships, we are not seeking to take on this project indefinitely. Rather, we want to fund the nutrition center for one year. So, through The 25 Group, we are going to do just that. This will give G.O. the time it needs to find a partner church that will then take over this financial responsibility. This cost would be approximately $19,200. At Los Perez they are supplying a hot meal and vitamins six days each week for 80 children.
In addition, we want to purchase the vitamins shared at these nutrition centers–enough to meet the ministries needs at all the sites where they feed kids. This cost would be between $3,000-$5,000. Total, we want to provide $24,200 to G.O. Ministries and their work at feeding hungry kids.
I will never forget standing outside the nutrition center in Hoya de Bartola. Like 100 Fires, it was a settlement built among tons of aged waste, dozens of kids packed into a room where they were fed hot chicken on a bed or rice. Tragically, some kids weren’t allowed in–there just wasn’t enough to go around. I watched as a one kid gently lifted their vitamin off their plate and held it behind their back–through the railing that separated the nutrition center from the outside. A friend or relative or some other shabby looking kid was standing nearby, ready. He received the vitamin thankfully between his two dusty fingers. The exchange went largely unnoticed.
I wondered how many times before they had performed this ritual. Had they been coached to by a parent to do so? Had they determined to look out for each other on their own? Either way, I knew right then that the only thing stopping G.O. from performing this grace-filled service to more children was the financial backing to do so.
On January 1, we begin soliciting donations for this and one other project. You will be able to give on this page or on this page. A recurring gift of at least $25/month will allow us to continually fund causes similar to this one.
Imagine a world with no more kids patting their stomachs, and join us in leveraging the wealth of the American church to fund global Kingdom work.