Dominican Republic Trip Report
Greetings in the Wonderful Name that is above every name, the precious Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have just returned from a one-week trip to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
SUMMARY. Four of us arrived in the D.R. on Mon. and went directly to the national television station to tape a program to be aired in two weeks. On Tues. morning, we conducted the prison training seminar from 10am to 2:30pm. Then, we bought 347 full Bibles to distribute in the prisons. In the evening, we spoke at Trinidad Assemblies of God Church. On weds. we went to the women’s prison for a service. In the evening, we spoke at a small house church. On Thurs., we went to the Juvenile Jail for two services and then to the Men’s Jail for two more services and distribution of Bibles. The name of the prison was Najayo. On Thurs. evening, we spoke at Calvary church. On Fri., we returned to the U.S.
DETAILS. This trip was a whirlwind of intensity but the Lord put the details together at the last minute and it felt like it had been planned since the beginning of the foundations of the earth, which it was. We left on Aug 23 and returned Aug 27 but so many powerful and amazing things happened in the short four days of ministry that we had.
About a month and a half before his departure, one of our jail volunteers, Willie Ripple, called me to tell me that he was leaving for the D.R. will a team to do leadership training but that he wanted to know if I could arrange for him to do prison ministry instead so I gave him some contacts and that was all I did at that time. On Aug 10, with less than two weeks before departure, Willie called to tell me that an itinerary for a full week of prison ministry was arranged for but the Hispanic minister that was to accompany him could not obtain a passport so Willie would have to do the jail work alone. Another complication was that the leadership training team would be doing their work in Santiago and the prison ministry would be done in Santo Domingo. 92 miles and two mountain ranges separate the cities. Willie asked if I could go with him because he was going alone and he spoke no Spanish. I agreed and on Aug 20, brothers John Janks and Constantin Lupancu also decided to go. We needed the Lord’s help to gain approval at the last minute for these two brothers to go into the prisons. Even though brother John forgot to bring his passport to the government office on Tues. afternoon, but I had brought a photocopy of his passport with me and they accepted that. On Weds., we all went in for the women’s service at Najayo prison. As in other third world countries, the policy is for the women to keep their babies with them fulltime until 3-5 years of age so that the mother can raise their children in their early years but the children are raised in prison.
On Mon., we arrived and were whisked to a television station do be interviewed for a program to be aired in two weeks.
On Tues., we had our Prison Training Seminar from 10:00AM to 2:30PM. With less than one weeks notice, we had over 70 people come to the seminar. At the conclusion, eight came forward to be dedicated to fulltime Chaplain’s work in the prisons. Another 21 were dedicated to be jail volunteers and visitors. At the conclusion, one woman stood up with tears rolling down her checks and gave this testimony. She was a lawyer but her pastor had told her that the Lord had a prison ministry call on her life. A new president had just been elected to the D.R. and just yesterday, this woman had been offered the position of Attorney General for the Dominican Republic. She testified that she now decided that she would decline this position in favor of the one God was calling her to – a higher calling- in order to help organize the prison ministry in the D.R. based upon the training we had given. In the afternoon, we bought $1800 worth of complete Bibles (347 in total), the most anyone there could recall ever having been purchased to be given away in the prisons. In the evening, we preached to several hundred at the Trinidad A.G. church.
On Weds., we all went in for a service in the Women’s prison. In the evening, we spoke at a house church and met a Dominican man who grew up in New York. His background was similar to Willie’s, (one of long term drug abuse, prison and now dedicated to the work of the Lord) but Eric was now discouraged and not attending church. The team was able to encourage and help rebuild his trust in the Lord.
On Thurs., we had two services in the Juvenile prison and two services in the Men’s Prison. All four were very powerful and we were permitted to take photographs in the Juvenile prison. These will be posted at our website, www.chaplainsforchrist.org. In the evening, we spoke at Calvary A.G. church.
On Fri., we returned home.
In conclusion, please pray for us because we are receiving many invitations to conduct our training in many countries. Also, we are putting the training on videotape and DVD in order to equip and prepare trainers to go out and do the same training that I have been doing these past few years. We are also developing a training institute here in Chicago for this purpose. We have an office and an institute director. Please continue to pray with us about this ministry.