Torre’s Update from the Bateys
Two weeks ago I spent a week in the Bateys, Dominican Republic, which is a series of small villages on the border of Haiti. Thank you for all of your much-needed prayers! That week was spent leading a group of 42 first year medical students from University of Pikeville, KY, and facilitating mobile medical clinics for some of the villages around the GO churches in that area.
Pastor William Decena is the Pastor in Batey Nueve and one of GO’s local leaders in the Dominican Republic. His church hosted our team and he utilized his knowledge of the communities to strategically plan where the mobile clinics were most needed.
We opened six temporary mobile clinic over a three-day period in Batey Nueve, Batey Cuchillo, Batey Cinco, Batey Seis, and facilitated a house call program in Batey Nueve and Batey Cuatro in which we went house to house providing medical care, medications and pray for individuals and their families who were unable to leave their houses. In total we were able to care for about 1,000 people medically and were able to share the love of Christ with them.
We saw a very large number of amebic cases, which is an intestinal infection, likely due to consuming dirty sources of water because of the drought they’ve been having this year. The drought is so significant that our dormitories ran out of water the first night we were there. We were fortunate enough to have access to a small well though, previously dug by GO Teams who have come to serve in this area, and we were able to use this well water to flush toilets and for bucket bathing. This well water is not drinkable. All of the water and other supplies needed for the team was brought with us from Santiago.
There was one specific day when I facilitated a team in Batey Cinco that your prayers were especially appreciated. Batey Cinco is one of the rougher Bateys as it has a very high prevalence of Voodoo still. That day the people who came for medical care were rowdy, arguing and fighting over getting into the clinic. When we first arrived I had to part the crowd to create a path to allow us to get into the building to set the clinic up. The morning went pretty well but the afternoon became more dangerous. At one point I asked the medical students to wait in another part of the building for their safety while myself and the local physician there attempted to quite the crowd down while bringing in the elderly and pregnant patients so they wouldn’t get lost in the crowd. The local doctor and the local church in the area were helping with crowd control but they wouldn’t even listen to them. There was a moment in which I decided to shut down the clinic, at least temporarily, and took time to pray as a group with the students and the Pastor’s wife from Batey Nueve. After a short while we finished distributing the tickets to get into the clinic and re-opened. (We have a ticket system that helps us keep track of the number of patients we can see based on the supplies available.) The afternoon improved even though there were still some rowdy individuals in the crowd. We finished the clinic that afternoon having seen record numbers for that day.
The heart and vision of GO ministries is ‘to empower passionate, Local Leaders serving inside their cultures to REDEEM people, RENEW communities and RESTORE creation by developing dynamic international partnerships in ministry that result in mutual transformation’, and this was one of those experiences! While a good amount of the medical students this year identified themselves as Christians, there were students of other faiths represented as well, like Mormon and Middle Eastern religions. One student was quoted as saying, ‘I have learned a lot about the Bible on this trip‘. Another medical student who identified himself as a Christian said, ‘The first thing I am going to do when I get back home is to find a church to be a part of‘.
It was a tiring week but in the end we accomplished what we set out to do, provide a transformational experience for the medical students while providing medical care in the name of Christ to the poorest of the poor in the Bateys.
REDEEM. RENEW. RESTORE.
Through GO’s partnership with Pastor William and the Bateys, more than 80 children are fed a hot meal each day who may otherwise starve, 1,000 people received medical care in three days who otherwise would have to suffer and many more have the opportunity to hear about Jesus and have a relationship with Him through the care and equipping of the local church. Learn more about partnering with a Local Leader and the work God is doing in the Dominican Republic here.
Empower 1. Changing Many. GO Ministries.