FamilyLife’s 2018 Love Like You Mean It® cruise included an unusual opportunity in the Dominican Republic. When the ship docked in Puerto Plata, instead of engaging in the usual tourism and sightseeing activities, sixty cruise guests chose to invest their time and money differently.
The cruise guests engaged in two ministry activities that helped open doors for FamilyLife Latin America in Puerto Plata. Fifteen cruise couples took part in a HomeBuilders® Facilitator Training by sponsoring fifteen pastoral couples to attend the training. Each pastoral couple received HomeBuilders books to launch HomeBuilders ministries in their churches.
Another fifteen cruise couples gathered at a local church that had identified one hundred needy families from the community. The team prayed with each family, gave them a “love basket” with a Bible and much-needed supplies, and shared the gospel with them.
Local police officers, not used to seeing cruise guests in non-tourist areas, started questioning the Dominican leaders: “Why are these people here? What are they doing? Who are they with?”
Mili Dorrejo, who with her husband Juan provides leadership to FamilyLife in the Dominican Republic, told them, “We work with an international ministry called FamilyLife. And these tourists, rather than going to the beach or going shopping, have given their day and spent their own money to provide food boxes for one hundred needy families in the community. What do you think about that?”
The police officers called for backup officers to protect the tourists, for a total of six officers at each location. At both events, the police officers came in and had lunch with the teams. It had been a concern that when word got out that the volunteers were giving out boxes of food at a church, there would be chaos. The six officers lined up at the entrance, and the families had to walk right past them to receive their boxes. No chaos at all!
Because of the efforts of the FamilyLife team and volunteers in the Dominican Republic, many families were able to experience a tangible expression of the love of God. And thanks to the HomeBuilders Facilitators Training event, the country now has four cities with a FamilyLife presence to help churches minister to marriages and families, and fifteen pastoral couples were renewed with hope for their city and help for their ministry.
The FamilyLife team and volunteers in the Dominican Republic most certainly accomplished more than anyone had hoped for, and they are not nearly finished! In fact, the work in Puerto Plata has just begun.