The ministry needs in the Dominican Republic are great but so are the resources of Georgia Baptists.
“I can’t get the Dominican Republic off my mind. I see these people all the time. I wake up seeing them. They are really on my heart,” says State Missionary Frank Nuckolls.
Christopher Columbus is said to have fallen in love with the island of Hispaniola, just two hours from what one day would become Miami. The island’s north side is bordered by the Atlanta Ocean while the waves of the Caribbean wash up against is sandy white beaches of its southern shores.
In 1492 the island became a springboard for his Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. Today the eastern 5/8ths are occupied by the nation of the Dominican Republic, while the remaining 3/8ths is occupied by Haiti. The first inhabitants, the Caribes, arrived about 10,000 years ago and thrived before nearly 100,000 were decimated by the Spanish rule. Historians agree it was not the best introduction to Western European values.
But today the Dominican Republic is a popular tourist destination just east of Cuba and west of Puerto Rico. Nuckolls is praying it will become a popular mission destination for Georgia Baptists of all ages, ready to share their ministry expertise with their Caribbean brothers and sisters.
Nuckolls is responsible for overseeing the initial exploratory talks between Georgia and the Caribbean nation. He and David Chancey, pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville, recently returned from a vision trip to the island, which it shares with Haiti.
Nuckolls has now begun building a list of ways in which Georgia Baptist associations and churches can play an important role. Among those on the list are:
- Conduct Pastors’ Schools focusing on topics such as Christian Doctrine including Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Spiritual Disciplines, Evangelism, Educational Ministries, Spiritual Renewal, and Church Planting.
- Adopt seminary students enrolled in the Dominican Republic Theological Seminary by assisting with the purchase of books. The average cost would be $100 per student per year. Currently 125 students are enrolled in a diploma or degree program.
- Send mission teams to provideVacation Bible Schools, Sports Camps for Children and Youth, Evangelism ministry, and to assist in the rural/poverty areas with the construction of churches. This construction would be simple structures.
Construction help, such as Iglesia Bautista Adhoreb in San Cristobal who is in need of teams to complete construction on its second floor. The church also needs assistance with the purchase of 50 chairs for educational classes, as well as a projector, keyboard, and sound system.
- The Dominican Baptist Convention needs assistance in the organization of its mission and ministry, in the creation of a missional strategy that is inclusive of cooperative giving, and in the development of regional or associational networks.
- There is a great need for medical care in the poverty areas. Teams of doctors, dentists, nurses, and optometrists could meet both physical and spiritual needs. These medical professionals could connect with local professionals in the Dominican Republic to provide this care.
- Georgia Baptist associations and churches could assist churches with the training church leaders in evangelism, church health, and disciple-making strategies.
- Assist in projects related to revival, church revitalization, discipleship, missions, and evangelism.
- A need for teams to help their churches reach out and do community ministry and evangelism.
- Assist with Vacation Bible School and other children’s or youth ministriessuch as sports camps.