How to be a construction missionary in Latin America

What is the criteria to be a missionary? Specifically a construction missionary to a Latin American country? Criteria for team members: you need to be in good, well decent, physical condition; got to enjoy nine hours a day of manual labor for no pay; got to love being hot and sweaty and covered in fine mahogany dust; don't mind limited shower options; got to be okay with no (or very limited) phone access and won’t get scary mean without constant internet access; oh yeah and you have to have a passport and pay our own way. (Speaking Spanish is not a necessity and you DO NOT need to have any construction experience)

Sound like a dream Caribbean trip? Expect to be changed by the experience ...forever.

There is actually a lot more that goes into the planning and execution of a mission trip. Funds need to raised for tools and supplies, coordinating travel between 15-20 folks from different towns, arranging accommodations, finding a local organization or church to partner with...the list is long. But the most important preparation is to go with an open mind and open heart: open to learning from the people you will meet, open to listening to them.

While our building efforts are helping in a long-term visible manner that positively affects the lives of many, many people, it is important to worship together. Being open to understanding them and how they interpret the Gospel in light of their history and reality, reflecting together on the differences and similarities in our countries and our lives in light of Jesus’ example and message. Besides the Sunday service, we begin and end our daily work in shared prayer.

It is also important to include a day of tourism that also can serve for group processing and reflection. In this way, over time, people in both communities have a chance to share perspectives and get to know one another.

March 10-19 will be building pews & other church furniture (for a mission church of the bishop's choosing) at Sato Tomas in Gautier, a village composed mostly of refugees from Haiti. Santo Tomas is pastored by Padre Sandino Sanchez.Gautier is about 15 miles from Boca Chica, 35 miles from Santo Domingo. It is in an area whose main employers were sugar cane processing plants. All of these plants closed a few years ago and Gautier and it’s surrounding area have a high rate of unemployment. Recently, a cement factory has opened in the area and that has helped with some jobs, but many of the locals still cannot find work. ’

Remember that on our mission, we are missionaries and, as such, emissaries of Christ. Our work objective is to give our Christian brothers and sisters who are members of the Episcopal Church in the DR a pleasant and more comfortable place to worship our Lord. But our prime, real objective is to help spread the love of Christ by example. Please help support us financially, if possible, and definitely with daily prayers for our mission ministry.

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