Friday, January 26, 2024

Dominican Republic

Thank you for your prayers for our trip to the Dominican Republic.

Here are some highlights:


We had 35 individuals participate in the Healing Group portion of our training representing 14 different ministries (in attendance were pastors, ministry leaders, psychologists, psychiatrists, and teachers). We certified 16 people as healing group facilitators after a weeklong training. 

Participants shared about how impactful this training was and how they now feel equipped and empowered to help lead many more people in their church (or ministry area) through this Bible focused healing process. Many also mentioned how they received personal healing. 

We started the training at a ministry center in the poorest community of La Vega.

One of the teachers made this sign for the training (above). 

There were so many tiers to this trip. On one level, it was an opportunity for our family to go on a mission trip together. We have been on the mission field in Los Angeles for so long and visited Mexico so many times for ministry and family, but never been on a trip focused on mission like this. It was wonderful to see each one of our kids take risks, be part of the team and lean into their gifts and strengths. 

On another level, this was also a time for 5 others from our church to experience the mission field for the first time. Living in tight quarters, 10 of us sharing a bathroom, being pushed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually created a lot of great opportunities for discipleship and relationship building. We definitely came back closer and stronger!  

Karen was in the very first healing group that I (Chad) led in Los Angeles (at our church) and has been helping lead dozens of groups online and in Los Angeles since. She helped co-facilitate the healing groups with me for the first 3 days.

Some of our youth helped with various things like dramas, taking pictures, admin tasks and babysitting the attendees’ children (and a kitten) during the training. 

We were 4-hours off our normal time and had a busy schedule. You have to take a nap whenever there is an opportunity.  

For the last half of the training, one of the pastors attending the group invited us to all meet at his church building as there was more space.

A couple of the participants sharing after one of the activities.

It was hilarious and powerful getting the attendees involved in some skits.

The testimony time during our "taking our pain to the cross" time was deeply moving. 

After spending time writing down some of our pain we burnt the papers.

It was a special treat to be able to connect with one of the ladies I had trained a couple years ago online from Santiago (DR). She leads healing groups along with her husband and is her ministries representative for the entire Caribbean region. We connected her with all the newly trained facilitators with the hopes there can be an even bigger growth and support network on the island. 


We were invited to share at two of the churches represented at the training. On Sunday, Pastor Wanderson invited us to minister at Nueva Vida. 

One lady came up to us after the ministry time and shared how glad she had come – the message was just what she needed. She then told us the reason she almost didn’t come to church was it was so cold in the morning. This struck us as we all woke up too hot in the 85 degree and 90% humidity…but it is their winter, so it was ‘cold’ (for them) compared to other times of the year. 

Pastor Fausto, a one-time player for the Dominican Republic volleyball team, and his wife Lourdes graciously hosted our team and allowed us to share a Word for their church on Wednesday night. 


One of the leaders we were able to spend time with is somebody our host, Travis, has been a spiritual father to for many years. Jose is a young man who is mentoring dozens of youth in the barrio. Our team loaded up on a school bus full of teens that Jose gathered and took a trip to a jungle mountain area in another province, Hermanas Mirabel, for a day youth outing at Travis’ camp/farm. 

The bus drove about 2 hours to this spot and then everyone had to get out and hike the last mile since the roads are not passable for vehicles like a bus. 

We enjoyed a day exploring a cave, hiking, and swimming in the river. Our youth had some great conversations with their youth, and we ended with a meal and a short devotional before a couple hours back to La Vega on the bus. 

Beniah was one of the first people to jump in the refreshing water.

We also participated in their youth group Bible study that Jose leads a few days later back at the ministry center. 

It was fun for us as parents seeing our son Justice wander off (within eyeshot) from time to time and hang out with locals on the street. 


One of our team’s biggest highlights was spending the day at a public elementary school. This is one of several places we shared a drama about emotions (that tied in with our trauma training, but at a children’s level). It illustrated how God knows us and wants to be with us to help us through hard feelings and bring us to a better place. 

Each one of our team members shared a personal story about how God helped them through difficult emotions. 

Justice really enjoyed using his Spanish and being a mentor-friend that the elementary kids looked up to. 

Beniah was essentially ministering to his peers as an elementary aged student himself. His story about not being nice to other kids and then learning how to share may have been the most relatable for this audience. 

Stephanie shared about making the faith she learned at church growing up her own when she went to college. 

Margarita brought a sweet motherly feel and perspective to our time when she shared. 

We played games, did crafts to reenforce the lesson, and taught them a Bible verse. 

Everyone showing off their craft. This was the younger group. (We did a different activity with the older children.)

Above: Teaching the memory verse (in English below)

This girl (below) was the first to come up and share the verse by memory. Well done!

We also gave each one of them a copy of a book our missionary friend in the Philippines wrote about how to take care of our heart and allow it to be changed by God’s word. Each one of the 120 children were encouraged to take the book home and read it and share it with family members. Our hope is that this will provide deeper conversations for Travis and his team as they continue to sow into that school. 

Before we left, we had a special time praying for the principal of the school, encouraging her, and leaving donations of school supplies. 


Travis and his ministry Luchando por una Esperanza has an after school education program where we shared our drama and led a devotional time for all the teachers and volunteers. 

Although our team is all from Los Angeles, it was fun to share that our origins are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and the US. 

The mission of Luchando por una Esperanza is breaking down walls and creating bridges – it was wonderful to be able to meet so many different people from such diverse backgrounds. 


Our youth enjoyed helping out with the English class. Practicing conversation (above) and a game of telephone (below). 


One of our team meals in between events. 


While it is common to see dozens of scooters and motorcycles swarming the streets, we traveled by truck (called guagua) most of the time, with half of us in the bed and the rest in the cab. That was fun for most of the team and the natural air conditioning was nice. Sometimes we traveled through sketchy, bumpy, muddy, dirt roads or passed close to oncoming traffic and even drove through a herd of cattle.  

We did use a large van and a school bus several times as well.


Another ministry in the DR that our church supports is T.E.A.R.S. with the founder Rod Davis (pictured below in yellow shirt). Our team was able to tour their K-12 school and sports facilities, see their tilapia ponds, rabbits, and vegetable farm where they raise funds for their ministry and supply the community with affordable food. We also heard of their water purification ministry for the community and got an update on their church planting and leadership development efforts. 


In the six months of preparation leading up to this trip we were able to raise the money and receive donations to allow us to take 9 suitcases at near full weight limit full of donations to bless the ministries there in the Dominican Republic. Thank you to all who contributed!


On the night of the first full day we drove up to a hill overlooking the city and looked down at the lights. Travis shared some background of the different needs, victories and struggles of the city and we then spent time interceding for the city. May God continue to change lives in La Vega, throughout the Dominican Republic and beyond!

Pictures of the area where we spent a lot of our week. (above and below

Beniah didn't mind picking up some of the bugs we saw...although he wasn't a fan of the spiders that were crawling around (bigger than his whole hand).


On the last day of our trip, we took a trip to Puerta Plata with Travis, his family and their key leadership team to enjoy the beach.

Justice really enjoyed his time hanging out and talking with Travis. Here they spent some time playing in the ocean with Travis' daughter, Naomi. 


Everyone on our team bonded with Travis and Tatiana and their two kids Naomi and Nehemiah and our friend James. Rebecca gets her last hug in with Nehemiah before heading into the airport in Santiago. We were able to celebrate his 1st birthday with him during our trip. 

Fabiola, Karen, and Margarita take a picture with their new friend James (below). 


Our team was greeted at the airport around midnight by a few people from our church. Then the next morning we were able to share testimonies and highlights with the church. 

Thank you for praying and giving towards this trip as we look for ways to disciple, empower and encourage the church here in Los Angeles and throughout the world. 

We appreciate your continued prayers for our family, our church, the work we are doing with World Impact and for all the wonderful people we met in the Dominican Republic. 

God bless,

Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca, Justice and Beniah Wolyn