We were incorporated as a non-profit foundation in the Dominican Republic in spring of 2010. All our board members are Dominican Lutherans and two LCMS missionaries. Our Foundation represents the mercy arm of our Dominican Lutheran church in which we desire to minister to people with disabilities in both body and soul. As such, our desire is to show Christ’s mercy to families and their children with developmental disabilities. God-willing, this December, we will open our first group home in the Dominican Republic. This project is a commitment to change the care for people with disabilities through the Word of Christ and showing his love by receiving these first six orphans into our home.
On November 24th, we had a community meeting with neighbors and church members. We presented to them the concept of our group home and the plight of people with disabilities in our community. We explained to them the presence of these orphans in their midst and encouraged them to interact with them on a day by day basis. Dr. Marisol Martinez, the Director of Good Shepherd Lutheran Homes, in conjunction with Danelle Putnam, President of the Board, will hold an open house and invite all from our church and the community to see the house. We pray that these orphans will be integrated at all levels of our community in church, school, work and play. As such, the cooperation and awareness of our neighbors to advocate for these orphans is essential!
It is hoped to open our group home by the first part of December, however, we have run into some snags. Working with the government in any part of the world is always something of a challenge. Our request to CONANI, the branch of the government that works with children, is one which represents very forward thinking. We are working so that our group home will be a pilot project of integrating children with disabilities in all areas of community life. Unfortunately here in the Dominican, any child with disabilities is too often treated as one who is “crazy” and unable to develop of function as a human being. We, the church, knowing that all of God’s creation is good, are convinced that these children are His creatures, and that through baptism, these children have God-given potential just as much as any other child. We wish to hold this belief before our Dominican churches and communities, knowing that mercy is of Christ and his love. However, receiving the necessary children who would live in our group home is providing to be a challenge. Please pray that we could come to a mutually pleasing agreement with CONANI in order to open this group home in December. Prayer for missionaries and government officials alike is desired.