The children were bringing up buckets of water from the stream at the bottom of the ravine - a stream in which a pig and cow were standing and where the women were washing their clothes. “This is their drinking water” I was told by community leaders. They went on to say that there were few outhouses, so excrement just washed downhill into the stream. And because of the inadequacy of the water - and other causes - infant mortality was close to 50%.
This was Los Flores, Dominican Republic - known locally as (expletive deleted) City. Starting in 2004 and for the next seven years, Northminster teams worked closely with the community leaders on the community’s priorities.
Outhouses were built. A well was installed and a cistern was dug to hold the clean water supply. By the next year, the community members had run pipe from two original spigots into seven different locations. The children no longer had to walk a mile uphill to get clean water. Northminster’s efforts, coordinated through Food for the Hungry, literally saved lives as infant mortality fell.
Northminster’s care for Los Flores went beyond short-term mission trips. Many at Northminster, who would never go to Los Flores, sponsored children in the community, enabling them to stay in school. Education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. The children sent letters to their sponsors, and sponsors prayed for - and sent letters in return.
Our family sponsored Erisol, a child I had first met at the vacation Bible school provided by Northminster. When I returned to Los Flores, Erisol invited me to visit his home, a 16-foot x 20-foot house in which his grandparents lived and cared for Erisol and other children. Tears came to my eyes as I realized that I had helped build this humble home. We had a wonderful visit and prayed together as an extended family. Our lives were changed - Erisol’s, his family’s, and mine - by the work of God through Northminster’s helping hands and hearts.
Beginning in 2022, we are excited to be working again through Food for the Hungry with Amalia Toc, our Guatemalan point person in the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala. Amalia was a sponsored child and says, “Sponsorship was life-changing. It was like bringing light and hope into my heart.”
As we launch this new mission, please pray for the health and safety of the teams that will meet with the community leaders this fall and for God’s guidance of each of us at Northminster.