Members from Village become ‘missionaries’ to Dominican Republic

Linda Blackwood, Special to The Log
Village Baptist members in the Dominican Republic last year were Linda Blackwood, Nick Key, Marilyn Okonczak, Jeanette Metcalf, Gary Okonczak, Kali Cosmiano, Ray Blackwood, Hannah Oden, Marguerite Oden, Barry Blackwood, Steve Ingram, Dan Alvers and Jon Oden.

Village Baptist Church will send a team of 22 to Sosua, Dominican Republic, July 21-27.  This is the eighth visit to this area for the church and the team will work on various projects serving both Dominican nationals and Haitian refugees. The ministry they work alongside is called Cups of Cold Water,

One part of the team will focus on putting on two roofs.  One will be on a multi-purpose building that will serve as a community center/church and the other is on a house for the family of a deaf girl in a small village called Bella Vista which is on top of a hill.

People in the region often feel that a “church” building can only be used to have a church service, but a community center can be used for many purposes along with having church. Since resources are so limited there, Cups of Cold Water focuses on building Community Centers where they can have “church” and the building can be used for other ministry activities throughout the week.

The family of the deaf girl is very special to many in the area. It was through the mother’s search for help with her daughter several years ago that brought missionaries to her village where there is now a community center and many blessings have followed for the entire community since.

Other members of the Village team will hold a sports camp in the mornings for about 75 youth and will focus on basketball and baseball. Vacation Bible school will be held in the afternoon for about 75 students. Still others will work in two local pregnancy centers, do light maintenance and painting and other projects that are helpful to the full time missionaries who serve there. 

One of the most touching opportunities of the week will be serving hot soup and cold water to the Haitian refugees who live at the dump site. There are 125-150 men, women and children who live in the woods and eke out their survival from the trash that the garbage trucks bring in from hotels in the area. They have huts made in the woods from scraps they pull from the garbage; they scrounge for food scraps, clothing and shoes. Most found their way here after the terrible earthquake in Haiti in 2010, but since they aren’t Dominican they have no rights. Twice a week, Cups of Cold Water takes enough vitamin-enriched hot soup and fresh cold water for each person there to have their fill.   

The manager of Cups of Cold Water is Christian comedian Mike Williams. He and his family spend most of the year in the DR, but he travels back and forth to the US to do comedy shows at various events to raise his own support. The other full time missionaries who work for the ministry raise their own support also. All money donated goes directly to benefit the people they serve. 

If you would like to know more about Village Baptist Church, the summer mission trip or Cups of Cold Water, please visit the websites or call Linda Blackwood at the church office at 850-837-8107, ext. 108.