Dominican Republic - First Year Missionaries
Radical discipleship for college students wanting to follow Jesus'
Cost: $6,000 + airfare
Airfare and travel:
One round-trip ticket to the Dominican Republic per
semester, estimated at $400–650, depending on your departure
Team Size: 6-10 participants
Questions? Contact us by email
or phone, 1-800-881-2461.
a small group of college-age students in the Dominican
Just a few hours away from the capital of Santo Domingo, San Juan de la Maguana is a small city surrounded by mountains and two small rivers. The city is a great place to live and, like any other Dominican city, it always is alive and vibrant. Dominicans are a passionate people who are for the most part extroverted, extremely warm and inviting. Relationships are key, and it is not uncommon to be invited into a stranger’s house for dinner. The streets are always bustling, and at all hours of the day you can hear the motorcycles, friendly yells, and tons of kids.
First Year Missionaries will be deeply involved in the community around them and will be focusing on building relationships and sharing the love of Christ with those they encounter. FYMs will know the city well and will learn to live in and love the culture. They will spend time with Dominican families, know all the kids on their street, minister to neighbors, work in churches, encourage believers, and share with those who have not heard.
Discipleship, internships with local ministries, and fellowship in the body of Christ are some basic components of the FYM program. There is always room for variety as the Lord speaks. Our desire is to be led by Him in every aspect of life, and as a team we will be daily seeking His direction and His heart and allowing Him to set our schedule and direct our steps.
The team will work hard and dig deep but will also play hard and enjoy the wonderful people and the beautiful island. We will take family trips to the river and the mountains and travel to surrounding cities for outreaches and church planting trips.
This is the heart of the FYM program. We are not here to fill you with information, but are committed to walking with you as you follow Christ’s leading in your life. Our goal is transformation into the image of the Son. We desire not to just learn how to do things, but how to really live like Christ. It is hard in our time to find someone dedicated to fanning the flame in our hearts, to loving with the unconditional love of Jesus, to setting an example of a true disciple of the King, and to speaking the truth when it hurts. We are not perfect, but we seek with all that we are to be just like the Teacher who is. We pray and desire to be true disciple makers who count the cost and do not walk away when the going gets tough.
Discipleship isn’t a classroom, it’s the street. It is taking the word received in your heart and living it out, loving and blessing those around you. Discipleship is replicating that which you have learned. As Jesus made disciples, they in turn went out and preached the Kingdom. We are committed to showing you what it means to follow after the Lord, thrive in the body of Christ, and pour yourself out according to the gifts God gives you. Not to be all that you can be, but to be all that Christ is, not for your personal benefit, but that His love may flow into the world through a willing vessel.
Both in a group setting and through a personal mentor you will be spurred on to chase after Him. Together we seek complete abandon and full obedience to the Father. We live so that His glory shines to the fullest through our lives and that His Kingdom come whatever the cost.
As each team member is poured into and discipled, they then will be pouring into people in the community. Many Dominicans have heard the gospel, but few have ever seen it lived out or experienced the true love and fellowship found in the body of Christ. We have the opportunity to walk along side, to teach, to pray with, to love, and to model the abundant life found in Christ to those around us.
Our Vision for
The average Dominican lives with the mentality that life is a struggle. They believe that the only way to get by is to have a good education and a good job, but most have little motivation to actually complete this. Many dream of a life in the United States. Even though the average family possesses very little, it is a fairly materialistic culture due to so much influence from Europe and the US. Money is highly coveted and many Dominicans, even Christians, see themselves as receivers rather than givers.
Our heart is to raise up and disciple a generation that believe they have much to give in the Kingdom of God. The Dominican Republic has been receiving missionaries for years. We believe it is time for them to be senders.
Over the next several years, we plan to be active in the raising up of Dominican Missionaries. FYMs will be a part of this as they minister and walk along side the youth, discipling and training them to live radically for Jesus.
Ministry in the Dominican Republic:
Some of your time as an FYM will be spent volunteering with a local ministry or organization. Your internship will enable you to become more involved in the community around you and will allow you to use your gifts and talents to bless and reach the people of San Juan. Some ministry opportunities may include...
Teaching English in the high schools
Interning at a medical clinic
Working at the rehabilitation center
Ministering at an orphanage
Helping with the feeding programs
Teaching music and art
Teaching nutrition and gardening for a wellness lifestyle
Planting Churches and cell groups
Working with Compassion
After School Programs
We will be preparing our own food and will take turns cooking. Dominicans eat a healthy diet, with a variety of fruit including bananas, pineapple, and mango. La bandera, a local staple food eaten at lunch every day, is made of rice, beans, and chicken.
FYMs will live in a community-type setting with girls in one apartment and guys in the other. There will be an RA in each house and the team leaders will live close. FYM housing is walking distance from pretty much everything in the city.
San Juan de la Maguana has a semitropical climate, tempered by mountain breezes. Average summer highs are in the 90s, and average winter highs in the 60s. Annual precipitation averages about 60 inches, with high humidity. The wet season is from June to September.
Team members fly to Santo Domingo, a three-hour drive from San Juan de la Maguana. Plan to do a good deal of walking—the locals walk an average of two hours a day. Motorcycle taxis are the other mode of city transportation. Just get on the back and hang on!
The Dominican Republic is part of the West Indies island chain. It comprises the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti occupying the western one-third. The Dominican Republic is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean; on the east by the Mona Passage, which separates it from Puerto Rico; and on the south by the Caribbean Sea. Its area is slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire. Santo Domingo is the capital, as well as the largest city.
San Juan de a Maguana is even older than Santo Domingo having been home to the indigenous Indian population. San Juan as we know it was founded between 1496 and 1498 by the brother of Christopher Columbus. A city of 130,000 it lies between two mountain ranges. One of the peaks reaches close to 10,000 feet, the highest in the Caribbean islands.
Taino Indians, the original inhabitants of Hispaniola, engaged principally in farming and fishing. They were exploited and literally worked to death by Spanish colonists in the 1500s. Later, the Spanish migrated from Hispaniola to South America, and for about a century the island was sparsely populated. In the 1700s, black slaves were imported from Africa and Spain to take the place of the Taino laborers on the sugar plantations.
In 1697, Spain ceded to France the western third of Hispaniola occupied by French adventurers, now called Haiti. The remaining Spanish portion became the Dominican Republic.
Today, the Dominican Republic is governed under a 1966 constitution, with a popularly-elected president, Leonel Fernandez, serving a four-year term. The president appoints a cabinet, and may also introduce bills in congress. There are two main political parties.
The economy was traditionally based on agriculture, and 25% of the workforce is still employed in farming or raising livestock. But today, 46% of the working population is employed in the service industry. The country also has an important mining sector.
At the time of Columbus’ arrival in 1492, five Taino tribes occupied the island of Hispaniola, each led by a principal chieftain. At that time, they were friendly toward one another. Later, a prince from one tribe married a princess from another, creating two dominant tribes. They made San Juan de la Maguana their home, and built the “White House” of Indian nations. Remnants of the ancient civilization are still standing even though the city was burned to the ground three times during revolts.
The descendents are mostly mestizo, of mixed Taino Indian, Spanish, and African ancestry. Spanish is the official language, although English is spoken by some. A French dialect can be heard along the Haitian frontier. Art, music, and literature developed from both European and African influences. African heritage is most noticeable in the folk culture, particularly through music.
The population is about 90% Roman Catholic, two-thirds nominal and blended with African animistic religion. Voodoo, the predominant religion of Haiti, has a strong influence on the western Dominican provinces of San Juan, Pedernales, and Dajabon along its border. The Mennonites have ministered in San Juan de la Maguana for 65 years. Along with the Assemblies of God Church, they have the greatest Evangelical presence.
The people are passionate, loving, hospitable, kind, and genuine. Dominicans are known by outsiders to be gifted at the art of indirect communication to deflect disagreements. It is highly important that people not embarrass each other or act with malice. As such, it is very important to be open, warm, and friendly. Foreigners can be surprised at the ease with which rural people will offer them food or coffee, as well as how social people are in public spaces. It’s good to be willing to converse with anyone, and good form to inquire about the health of their family.
The favorite sport is baseball, and in 2005, 92 Dominicans will play in the American major leagues. Other popular sports are basketball and volleyball, and dominos for game time.
trip reports & see pictures from current and previous trips
to the Dominican Republic
Click on a date for more information:
If you have any questions contact us by email
or phone, 1-800-881-2461.