Facebook enabled us in Canada to see the great need as we saw mattresses, chairs, and appliances lining the street of Isabela. Bags of garbage were also part of the picture. From another source we saw pictures of Imbert and learned that Monte Cristi and Castañuelas were also flooded. Castañuelas is a low lying area where much rice is grown and a FM church plant is located there. We have visited there doing puppet ministry and street evangelism in the past. Monte Cristi is on the coast and there are three FM churches in the city. The Dominican church mobilized to deliver support first to Isabela and Betel and then a week later to go to Castañuela and Monte Cristi. Churches in the Dominican responded well and a committee was established to organize relief efforts. One church in Hatillo Palma sent out truckloads of bananas to help feed people. (Bananas are a staple and are eaten boiled with various condiments as well as eaten sweet like we do in Canada.)
Here questions came from a variety of people who have served in the Dominican on mission trips and who know the economic conditions there. Hearts broke for loss of life, loss of the Betel Church, for damage to homes and for hungry people. I became like a funnel receiving information from the Dominican through the church, pastors like Gabriel, Superintendent Fredi and Bishop Cecilio. I forwarded their videos and prayer requests to interested people and church authorities in Canada. I received questions concerning safety and health and loss of people that Canadians have worked with together. I translated letters and connected people with others who had answers about process for helping. Fifteen provinces, or more correctly states, of the Dominican have been declared as in a state of emergency. It was wonderful to see videos of the many pastors from communities less impacted by the floods arriving and unloading clothing and food. It was a wonderful gesture of love and unity.
Part of my role in funneling information as to been to share what people have sent, to encourage prayer, to ask and answer questions both from the Dominicans and Canadians. Messages have been translated and a formal process for Canada and other countries to help is opening. Great news! The Canadian Free Methodist Church will be sending significant support and churches and individuals can also help through the Bishop’s relief Fund.