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Update on Haiti


The January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti has long since evaporated from headline news in the states and rebuilding continues at a slow pace.  In the aftermath of the worst earthquake to hit the island in over 200 years, one missionary family continues to bring the healing message of Christ’s love to an island that desperately needs hope.

 

Michael and Anna Doering have been serving as Missionaries for over 10 years in various countries and currently reside in the Dominican Republic (DR). Michael explains what compelled them to choose to serve the Lord as missionaries in the Dominican Republic and shares humor along with some of the difficult aspects of living a life dedicated to serving the Lord.

Doering Family

HISTORY:

I am so glad to have this opportunity to tell your readers about our mission in the Dominican Republic (DR).  Haiti has received the bulk of the press coverage due to the 2010 earthquake and people tend to forget about the 'other side' of the island, which is where we live and serve.

I met my wife, Anna, while serving in the same local church in the states.  We both realized that we had a passion to serve as missionaries and the Lord clearly confirmed our decision soon after we were married.  I am grateful to my paternal Grandfather for his faith and Godly example.  All it took was one mission trip for God to open my eyes to the harvest and I was hooked.  10 years in missions and three kids later, we wouldn't have it any other way.  Our three children are Emily (now 12), Andrew (8) and Brett (6)

I think people realize that being a missionary in the Caribbean sounds wonderful and idyllic.  I admit, it is beautiful in the DR, but there are many risks as well and at times can actually be quite dangerous.  The main industries that support the island are Tourism and Agriculture.  Unfortunately, drug trafficking is on the rise, which makes traveling unpredictable and at times dangerous.  I’ve had a few close calls at night and am thankful that the Lord protects my steps making sure I arrive home in one piece.


CHALLENGES:

Anna and I have been called to be church plantersI lead a group of church planters and we are active in hundreds of new churches springing up in the DR, Haiti, Cuba and other neighboring islands.  Each new church needs leadership and support until they are firmly established so they can learn to sustain their own congregations. 

One of our biggest challenges is teaching new believers that scripture always trumps culture and tradition. New believers are coming from a superstitious belief system.  We teach that it’s vital to have a good foundation in God's word so people can stand on an unwavering faith in times of trials, (which pretty much is the ‘normal’ here).

Also, the earthquake in 2010 challenged the infrastructure of the island’s ability to rebound from a disaster of this size.  The government is not equipped for what is needed to rebuild. Corruption waters down efforts, resources and supplies do not always get where they need to be.  It’s very unfortunate and our mission has been limited to helping in only a few areas. EarthQuake

Even though we felt the earthquake in the DR, the devastation was centered on the Haitian side.  Our buildings were virtually untouched, but it was heart breaking to see what happened in Haiti. A group from our mission drove to Haiti as soon as we heard how bad the damage was and we helped where we could.  A local children’s hospital collapsed, trapping the children and workers inside.  By the fifth day of trying to reach them, there were no more calls for help.  All of the children and workers perished.  The silence was horrible as we watched the bodies being removed by heavy equipment to a mass grave.  These images will haunt my memory for the rest of my life.  It is a constant reminder that we need to be out doing God’s work and reaching the lost around us.


TURNING THE TIDE:

Offering hope and the love that comes from knowing Christ as Savior is the best thing next to physically helping people who are struggling to cope with the fallout from a natural disaster.  It takes time to establish trust and that comes from  building a meaningful relationship, day in and day out, with neighbors.  This is the first step to sharing the gospel, because if you meet the physical needs of a neighbor first, then the door to their spiritual heart will be softened.

We are also helping rebuild the pediatric hospital that was destroyed in the earthquake. Our mission provided over 60 containers of aid and we continue to raise aid for projects like the new children’s hospital, but government red tape holds up any significant progress.  We are in the beginning phase of contacting a trustworthy organization in Port au Prince so we can send funding directly to where it is needed.  There’s still so much to be done in Haiti that it would take pages to detail.  In a few words, we are recovering.  We will always need financial support and people who are willing to come down and volunteer. 

             

We welcome your prayers for those who work along side of us in our mission in the DR.  We are able to partner with local Christian men and women to bring the gospel to other neighboring islands.  There is more danger on those islands than in the DR, and these partners willingly put their lives on the line to bring the gospel to hostile areas.  The prayers from your readers for safety and opportunities to bring the gospel to these places is much appreciated.

 

LOST IN TRANSLATION:

To end this article on a lighter note, I have one funny story to share.  Even though the islanders tell me my Spanish is as good as a native now, in my early days I made a few big mistakes.  I had one epic translation error in the first sermon I ever preached in Spanish. I titled the message, "Seven Important Mile Markers on the Christian Journey."  After translating everything meticulously and preaching the message with much conviction, I sensed that the small congregation wasn’t touched as deeply as I had hoped.  A dear man hesitantly came up to me afterwards.  He asked, very politely, why I had just passionately asked them to consider “The seven most important 'TURDS' on the Christian journey!”  Once we figured out where I went wrong, we laughed and he graciously offered to explain to the congregation that I translated the words 'mile markers' incorrectly. All was forgiven, but I still get razzed once in a while about my blunder.  (Ahhh, humility - at least it keeps us laughing!)

Thanks again for letting me update your readers on what is happening on 'our' island.  Please keep us in prayer.


 

CONTACT:

If you would like to reach out to Michael and Anna, letters and donations earmarked for the Doering's can be mailed to:

Michael & Anna Doering
c/o Kings Way Baptist Church
7550 Ruben Linker Road
Concord, NC 28027

Or you can send funds directly through PayPal noting that it is to support their mission in the Dominican Republic.  PayPal donations can be sent to this email address:     the.doerings@gmail.com

 

Please continue to keep the Doering’s and like minded missionaries in your prayers. 


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Suzanne Rahn is the Editor in Chief of InnerVoice magazine. Suzanne is a freelance writer by day and a mother of 4 great kids. Suzanne lives in Somerset County and attends Liquid Church, Morristown campus.
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