On the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean, located directly next to Haiti, sits the Dominican Republic. Twice the size of the state of New Jersey, the Dominican Republic is a Spanish-speaking, predominantly Roman Catholic nation that is generally open to the Gospel.
In November 2018, a team of Gideons and Auxiliary gathered in Santo Domingo, for a Scripture event. Dominican Gideons worked intentionally to connect church congregations, pastors, and Gideons, with the end goal being to reach the people of Santo Domingo for Christ.
Striving Side by Side with Churches
There is great respect for God’s Word and the ministry of The Gideons in Santo Domingo. When you invite a pastor to join you for a meal, it is normal to converse about what God is doing in and through the ministry. Such conversations help pastors better understand the mission of winning people for Christ, which strengthens relationships between church congregations and Gideons. Carlos, a Gideon for ten years, emphasized the importance of these relationships:
We have a burden to build relationships, have church presentations, and explain the different aspects of the Association. The ministry needs churches—after all, we are the Church. We go to churches, recruit new members, and this helps expand Kingdom work. The more people we meet, the more we meet potential members who help fulfill the Great Commission. As a ministry, we have an incredible mission to engage a lost culture with the Gospel and God’s Word. Gideons reach people where they are, in their world, and this is what makes the ministry effective.
Pedro, also a Gideon for ten years, knows about the work that goes into building relationships with pastors. “We call and visit pastors to inform them about how God is at work in the community.”
Cindy, an Auxiliary, knows her calling is to complement her Gideon husband in ministry. “We get close to the pastors’ wives of the churches and build relationships with them to see if there are any candidates who would want to be a part of the ministry.”
Dedicated and Devoted to the Ministry of The Gideons
Cal Lucas, a Gideon from Mississippi, was blessed to be the team leader. “This was an outstanding event, well-organized and executed by the Gideons in the Dominican Republic. The international team was dedicated and devoted to the work of The Gideons—each man had experiences that will be with them for the rest of their lives giving them new insight into the Association.”
The Scripture distributions began on Monday and continued throughout the week. Each day began in prayer and ended with praise for what God had done. The team was amazed at the openness and almost universal acceptance they experienced while distributing Scriptures. For several of the team members, it was the first time they were able to participate in classroom Scripture distributions, which included opportunities to share with the students how they could receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Praise the Lord by the end of the event, 195 institutions were visited and over 131,000 people received a Scripture.
Community Engagement in Santo Domingo
A significant part of The Gideons International is community engagement—this is no different during Scripture events. The team was able to visit not only schools and universities, but also hospitals, jails, hotels, and fire and police stations.
Steve Newton, a Gideon from South Carolina, had impactful experiences at hospitals. “On Monday, we visited hospitals and found the openness to the Gospel refreshing—prayers with patients and their families were welcomed. A young lady prayed to receive Christ at the first hospital we visited, and a hospital worker prayed to receive Christ at the second hospital. After lunch, we went to a large hospital where we had the opportunity to pray with a family of around 10 people to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” Steve was moved by the warmth of the local Gideons and their families. Even though there was a language barrier, the obvious recognition that we are all a part of the family of God made the experience together meaningful.
“As a ministry, we have an incredible mission to engage a lost culture with the Gospel and God’s Word. Gideons reach people where they are, in their world, and this is what makes the ministry effective.” -Carlos, a Gideon from the Dominican Republic
Lindsay Brown, a Gideon from Australia, recalled his experience at a fire station, “On Monday, the local fire chief had eight officers’ line up and receive Testaments, along with hearing the Gospel from the ‘Australian missionary.’” Lindsay said it was a joy to see the Gospel shared through an interpreter and have the Dominican Gideons pray for them.
The Impact on Schools and Universities
Capitalizing on the open doors at schools and universities, the Lord provided opportunities for over 121,000 Scriptures to be received by students.
Jimmy Fitch, a Gideon from Mississippi, had impactful experiences in how the schools received The Gideons. “We were welcomed and escorted to the classes by principals or their assistants. The teachers seemed glad to see The Gideons visiting their schools, and students were attentive and graciously received their Scriptures. As we walked from classroom to classroom, you could see students reading their new gift,” says Jimmy.
Howard Copeland, a Gideon from Colorado, had the incredible opportunity to speak with a school principal about her love for the Lord and for educating the next generation. The principal originally wanted to be a doctor or a nurse in the medical field. As she was sharing this with Howard, she began to tear up, remembering the time her pastor asked her to be a Sunday School teacher. “It was through this experience the Lord showed me the need for educators in my country,” said the principal. Today, she allows religious classes to be taught in her schools and welcomes the Gideons to distribute Scriptures to students and staff members. She has seen firsthand the excellent relationships the local Gideons have with the schools.
Drew Mock, a Gideon from Florida, was blessed by a distribution at one of the universities in Santo Domingo—over 55,000 Testaments were distributed among two universities during the event. “I was truly blessed by the staggering number of New Testaments we all had a hand in distributing throughout the week, but especially at the University in Santo Domingo. I thought about the untold number of lives that will be eternally impacted by those thousands and thousands of Scriptures going home to friends and families,” says Drew.
“Working with such a committed group of local Gideons and Auxiliary, seeing their boldness in presenting God’s Word, and sharing about Jesus, made for an impactful experience.” -Drew Mock, a Gideon from Florida
Praise the Lord for memorable Kingdom work accomplished in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. “Working with such a committed group of local Gideons and Auxiliary, seeing their boldness in presenting God’s Word, and sharing about Jesus, made for an impactful experience,” says Drew.