The Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has ten people adventuring to the Dominican Republic starting this Friday July 24th to help host a Vacation Bible School with our new partner congregation, Cristo Salvador.
Cristo Salvador Episcopal Church in Santiago offers hope amidst the drug use and poverty of their neighborhood, ever trying to reach out to those around them. Part of the reaching out involves running a pre-school for the neighborhood. Education in the Dominican Republic is underfunded, with over-crowded classrooms, under-prepared teachers, and high drop-out rates. For over a hundred years, the Diocese of the Dominican Republic has been involved in education, with congregations opening and running schools. But with the cost of paying teachers’ and assistants’ wages and managing a building, the churches often have difficulty funding the school; Cristo Salvador is no different. Additionally, families often struggle to afford the cost of attending the school, even if attendance offers their child the chance for better education and thus a better job.
Our assistance with the Vacation Bible School kicks off our relationship with Cristo Salvador. Rather than simply sending money and never meeting one another, folks from our diocese will work with the folks there, getting to know one another, learning from each other, and experiencing different ways of life. Additionally, the VBS will help Cristo Salvador proclaim the good news to the youth and adults of their neighborhood. We are going to support them, hoping that what we do furthers their ministry in that community. But the VBS is only a small aspect of the overall partnership with Cristo Salvador. The partnership focuses on helping Cristo Salvador maintain and operate their preschool. Education for young children is lacking in the DR, but the earlier children begin school and the earlier parents begin to value education, the more opportunities open up for that child and his/her family. By partnering with Cristo Salvador, we can assist them in changing the lives of countless children and their families. We have much to learn from their way of life and the incredible revival of the Spirit happening across the Dominican Republic.
Follow the Diocesan Mission Trip right here on the blog (July 24th thru August 1st). There will be regular posts from members on the trip about their experiences.