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Dominican Republic Trip, January 2006

I had a short but full and enjoyable time (that's still an
understatement) with some new friends in Dominican Republic in early
January. It was great to get to know Dee and Tom Yaccino and meet
their lively and intelligent daughters. They are doing a tremendous
job, not only of encouraging and linking leaders in DR, but all across
Latin America through La Red del Camino, which is linking up with the
new amahoro network (amahoro.info).

La Red del Camino is linking Latin American leaders engaging in
"mision integral" - mission that integrates evangelism and social
action, concerns for compassion and justice ... in short, mission done
with a "kingdom of God" mindset. I saw some beautiful examples of
churches doing work among the poor - some of the best examples I've
seen anywhere.

High points:
-- Getting to hang out with Robert Guerrero, pastor of Iglesia
Comunitaria Cristiana in Santo Domingo - doing wonderful work both
building an innovative church and through a health clinic, school, and
other forms of outreach.

-- Walking the streets of Manganagua with Domingo Mendez, pastor of
Iglesia Comunitaria Altos de Sion in Manganagua, and Daniel King of
Iglesia Comunitaria de Herrera. We saw the job training, health
clinic, and education facilities that are being developed to help poor
people who live in "the gulley." In Santo Domingo, perhaps 30% are
employed, 30% are semi-employed, and the rest unemployed, so projects
like theirs are so important.

-- Visiting pastor Raquel Albuquerque and her son Robert Mateo. They
have built a beautiful ministry through Iglesa Comunitaria Nueva Vida
in barrio Luperon. I heard so many stories of God at work - including
the story of how their church has reached out to street kids (many of
whom are addicted to sniffing glue) in some beautiful ways.

-- We also went out into the mountains, where we met Francisco Roso
who pastors a church in Peralta that is doing amazing things. They
have a sewing center where they are teaching people a marketable
skill, and even more impressive, they have developed a health care
system that serves 18,000 people. For people who are disillusioned
about the church, I wish they could see what Francisco and his friends
are doing.

When people think of emerging churches, I hope that more and more
they'll think about churches that are emerging from their four walls
to make a difference in the community, like these beautiful examples
in Dominican Republic. Thanks again to my hosts, Dee and Tom!