Story of Transformation: Before and After

Jovany and Dominga

After


Before

Jovany used to be a motor scooter taxi driver. He was also an alcoholic. Jovany, his wife, Dominga Marie, and their three children lived in a shack with a dirt floor. Going hungry every day was normal for them. It didn’t matter how much money Jovany made each day because he drank all of his earnings. Seldom did any of his money go to feed his family.

Dominga shared her story with us:

“Being married to an alcoholic was beyond difficult. My husband would leave the house to go to work but then stay out all night drinking. One day he didn’t come back until 3:00 a.m. When I heard his motorcycle, I felt that something terrible was about happen. I didn’t know the Lord then but I used to pray, ‘Jesus, protect me. I know that your power is bigger than alcohol.’

“That night he brought home some chicken. He told me to wake the kids to have dinner. I said no because it was too late. But he woke my six-year-old daughter up and shoved some chicken in her mouth. It had a bone in it so I quickly took it out of her mouth because she was too young to eat it. He got so angry that he destroyed the table and chairs. Then he got some gasoline from the motorcycle and tried to burn down the house with all of us in it. I struggled to take the matches from his hand and shouted to my neighbor for help. She knew him and was used to these kinds of situations. She came to help, and we managed to keep him from burning the house down.

“Jovany continued to destroy things in the house. He forced the kids and me outside, and we slept on the dirt in the backyard. The next day he was still drinking and finished destroying everything in the house, even the curtains.

“It was a horrible life. I didn’t know how I could go on. We were together fourteen years before we met Christ. Looking back now, I believe God allowed everything to happen to me so I could help other women and couples in the same situation with my testimony. I thank God that He gave me the strength to never give up.

“My daughter Yoeli was involved in the children’s program at a church. She asked us to go with her to church many, many times. After this incident with my husband we finally went. The men of the church would come to our house and spend time with my husband so he wouldn’t go back to his alcoholic friends. They made our house a regular meeting place to play dominoes, hold prayer and worship services, and host dinners, and they introduced him to a baseball team. Eventually we gave our lives to Jesus. I know that I have a family in the church. They have remained with us through every problem.

“After we came to Christ, we wanted to officially get married, but we didn’t have money for a wedding. But the Lord supplied unexpectedly through the church. It was the wedding of my dreams! Every chance I get, I tell others about Jesus so they too will experience the faithfulness of God and be set free.” Dominga Marie

THE IMPACT OF THE CHURCH REACHING OUT: Jovany now has a good job, and he and Dominga live in a decent home with their family. Jovany has become an outreach leader at his church and was key in planting two more daughter churches. Dominga is the leader of the food ministry. Their son graduated from high school and is enrolled in college, and their older daughter is a senior in high school and leads the drama team in worship.

Jovany and Dominga are living proof that Jesus is the only answer to all of our problems. He is the only way to transform our spiritual, physical, and emotional pain into joy.           

We are grateful for your part in building God’s Kingdom.   

Coach Jose Luciano

Cibao Sur Region

Revival in Constanza

Constanza is one of the most beautiful locations in the Dominican Republic. This majestic valley, nestled in the Central Cordillera Mountains, is home to stunning terrain and a climate for agricultural production. The richness of this city contrasts sharply with the extreme poverty in which much of the population resides. At a glance only the beauty of the crops and the green of its mountains are visible but internally in the numerous alleys and slums, inequality readily becomes evident.

Rubelina Candelario is a young woman living in Constanza. She cares for her three children in a battered house on a small street. With her ailing husband unable to provide financially for the family, Rubelina’s situation becomes even more extreme. In a community where 75% of production activity is related to agriculture, employment opportunities for women with low education are minimal.

The Pentecostal Church of God has been in Constanza for more than a decade, currently led by Pastor Isaiah Tellerías and his wife Maria. They have worked hard trying to impact the community with the Gospel. After three years, disappointment began to gain ground on faith. (The apathy of the mountain people to traditional preaching is highly known in our country). When they were invited to join a network for training in Integral Missions for AVI/LSI, their prayers seemed to find answers. Like most pastors who are involved in the training, their hearts began to overflow with the idea of an open church to the community that would serve the most pressing needs. One of these needs was inaccessibility for women to gain income. The church began a community development literacy ministry that taught reading and writing to adults with an additional course being added to teach women how to produce and sell home goods such as quilts, bedding, bathroom accessories, recycling material, and clothing repair.

To Rubelina this was a hopeful opportunity. These community development courses have equipped her with valuable tools to improve the condition of her family. Her first job, with what she learned in the course of recycling allowed her to earn enough to buy a sewing machine from her earnings. She began a small business from home, making alterations, school bags, and other items. It is not much that she earns; nevertheless she is still able to provide while her husband recovers. These community development ministries not only empowers people financially but emotionally and spiritually. Today her eyes sparkle with hope, her dreams continue to grow, but much more important than that, so does her hope in Christ. Four other women have experienced the same victories like Rubelina, while another large group is being trained and equipped to do so. Since AVI / LSI began training churches in the South Cibao region, we have been eager for results like these. Pastor Isaiah his wife Mary tell us that if we have faith, like the beautiful fields of the mountains, God will prosper and flourish the hearts in Constanza as well.

Coach Eddy De Leon

Higuamo Region                                     

The Good Samaritan also teaches!

In the annual memoir of 2012 we gathered the testimony of Church of God M.I. from Batey, Jolonga. During that time, we shared about the ministry of peace and how through this, the church was contributing to the eradication of the violence in the community. What we did not report in that memoir was the extraordinary transformation in the community over the past few years. In 2012, everything was in a gestational phase but now it is a beautiful reality!

It all started with a project of literacy for adults, the sole purpose being to bring education for the members of the church, enabling them to read their bibles. More people from the community became interested in learning to read and write as well. And so the church decided to open their services to create a community development ministry. Church leaders worked every Sunday with over a 100 people who signed up for the community development program. Soon, the church was bursting with people from the community coming to learn. Since space was limited, another congregation offered their space and the program continued prospering. What had started as a vision for only reading grew into elementary education in only a few years. So helpful was the education that members began asking if their children could join as well. This is when the Good Samaritan Educational Center was born! They continued with weekly classes for the adults and in a demonstration of faith they began to enroll young children up to high school.

Without resources or an adequate location; only the conviction that God had called them to work with the families of Jalonga, they began to make a change in the community. Jalonga did not have a middle school and because of this the children had to travel several miles to the nearest school. It is not easy to summarize a story like this, but it is sufficient to say that the church founded a middle school based on volunteer personnel from Pastor Mendoza’s church and other congregations. Before long, the students from the Good Samaritan reached the highest education level in that zone, attracting the attention of the authorities. The personnel continued laboring as volunteers, until by a miracle and against all odds, they became included in payroll through the department of education of the country. Even so, the space still presented a problem. However, the church kept firm in the education program and saw the first public school built by the State.

The Good Samaritan is now the number one school in the whole province. It is a model in academic level and resources. All the classrooms are equipped with a/c, a projector and screen, along with bookshelves. Everything provided for with government resources and parent contributions. Over 90% of the teachers and staff of the school are believers, all thanks to the work and faithfulness of the church, which still plays an active role in the formation of the spiritual life of students.