When we started working in Villa de Dios, Dominican Republic in 2010, Pastor Marino Mendez, whose legal name is Cesar Agustus, explained that the government calls the place Mata Gorda. It is a very poor rural community where most people live in squalor, surrounded by incredibly beautiful vistas. Marino envisioned a beautiful community of homes and a church befitting a true Village of God (Villa de Dios).
We began work in this community at Marino’s request in 2010 by putting in a well that provides water to wash floors and laundry. Several faucets stem from the well from which people draw water, and then carry their buckets home, sometimes up to 1.5 miles away. This well became reality through many hands, but started with the first donation from a school teacher that collected and sold scrap metal to raise money for missions, Dan Flickinger.
The second thing we
did was to take down a zinc church structure with a badly broken concrete floor and replace it with a beautiful church building, a large cistern, and a workshop and patio for teaching welding.
Afterwards, the mother church, Adonai I, laid pipes so that more than 20 families could have water piped directly to their places from the well.
After the church was completed, ASON sent a team of primarily college students, to put concrete floors and latrines in 9 homes. One father of an infant came to us during this mission and asked if we could add his home to our list. We explained that we had already overstretched ourselves financially by adding 2 homes more than we had planned and that normally, ASON focuses on large projects that benefit the entire community. I explained to this Dad who was living in a home without a latrine and with mud floors that the next project would be a water purification project that would provide purified water to drink for the entire community. He took a step back as if to withdraw his request and gave his huge blessing to the water purification project.
We set our sites on a water purification project that would cost more than $50k USD. One year after the conversation with the father, that water project is nearly complete and scheduled to open in Sep 2016.
One other exciting development for Villa de Dios, perhaps a capstone to the vision, occurred in May 2016, when a team was working to build the water purification project building. A homeless couple was brought to our attention. Reynaldo and his wife are members at Adonai II, church plant of Adonai in Los Guaricanos. The couple and their daughter were left homeless when their landlord evicted them. They had moved to Mata Gorda and purchased land for very little money, a small piece of land that has a retaining wall that is failing. Below the land they purchased is a road that is a river of muddy sewer. Pastor Gisela wanted us to help them build their home on that spot. Marino and part of the May team went to visit the makeshift home they had built from charred timbers and rusty roofing sheets that they had scrounged around from fields. The floor was mud. It would cost $2,000 USD just to put in a concrete floor without rebar (that would break up very quickly), new wood, tin panels, 2 windows and doors. I could not see fit to put $2k into that horrible piece of land in a horribly ugly and unsanitary location. We looked for alternatives and found a good one.
A single man, Rafael, moved out of his home to allow Reynaldo and his family to take over his home while they waited for their new place.
We discovered that we could purchase land for less than what this couple paid for their horrible land. Reynaldo had not purchased a better piece because the landowners do not want to sell small pieces. So the land that is available is financially out of reach for most of the people in Mata Gorda. We found out that we could purchase a piece for $2k USD, including legal fees, that would be large enough for 4 families; land that overlooks a magnificent valley that God has created with great beauty! Each family plot would be the same price as the ugly piece this family purchased, but TWICE the size; room for a small and simple 3 bedroom home with a bathroom, a garden with trees and a view provided by a grand Creator!
The idea was proposed to purchase the land in the name of Mano a Mano con Adonai and to subdivide the land, then sell it to the families over time, providing a beautiful place for them to construct family homes. The money the families would be paying would enable us to purchase 4 more plots and assist 4 more families; a never ending blessing in theory!
Money from Kathy Rodelius’ workplace and EFC of Buffalo made the first purchase possible. The money was sent to the Dominican Republic for the purchase on June 13, 2016. By July, the property was legally purchased by Mano a Mano con Adonai and subdivided.
Ellen Abramson and Megan Ask went for ASON’s Dominican summer camp in July, where we were told that the land now belongs to Mano a Mano con Adonai legally, and that contracts with 4 families were signed; obligating them to pay approximately $8 monthly for the next 5 years in order to purchase the land for themselves.
Megan and Ellen met with all 4 families who now have land under contract and who are waiting for homes. Lots were drawn and the plots were assigned to each family. Lots were again drawn to determine the order in which homes would be built for these 4 families.
The Village of God is about to become a reality!
We need strong men and women to sign up for construction teams to help with the construction of these four, three bedroom homes as soon as possible! If you can recruit a group of 8-10 people, call us and we will put you on the calendar. Feb is a great month for it if you are looking for cooler weather! 321-757-7252 or 321-431-7201