July 2012 was full of activity for La Mano of Hope as two separate teams traveled to the Dominican Republic to work in two separate communities in the capital city of Santo Domingo.
Two members of the board of directors were in a community on the west side of the city beginning July 18 to partner with the international relief organization Convoy of Hope.Together with over 30 U.S. volunteers and hundreds of volunteers from Santo Domingo, they worked diligently for five days preparing for the first ever Convoy of Hope Day of Compassion in the community of Villa Alta Gracia. 6 thousand bags of groceries were prepared to be distributed in the community thanks to the donated supplies from Convoy of Hope. Although the island rains that dump buckets of water in that part of the city daily were in full force, the crowd was not deterred as thousands of people attended to receive free hair cuts, free groceries, a free hot meal, participate in a kids zone filled with scores of activities and games, and enjoy the entertainment, all of which was presented by volunteers in the local community. Over 60 churches in Villa Alta Gracia came together to work in unity and serve their surrounding neighborhoods in this Day of Compassion, which was held on Saturday, July 21, 2012. It was a privilege for Curt Snyder and Melissa Linn from La Mano of Hope to be a part of this compassion initiative and serve alongside of such wonderful volunteers and workers. A special thanks to Convoy of Hope for the invitation to La Mano of Hope to serve as partners in the outreach.
All of the missionaries, the majority of them being teenagers, left part of their heart in Ecuador and returned with a memory that can only be experienced by the hand of God as they shared with the Ecuadorian adults and children these moments of love, faith and hope. These were the kinds of moments that can only be experienced when one gives all from their heart, expecting nothing in return.
On July 28, 2012 the second La Mano of Hope team departed for Santo Domingo. On this trip, their destination was the community Brisas del Este on the east side of the city, to work with long time friends and partners, Junior and Merary Perez, who are the lead pastors of the church Casa de Vida. Six missionary volunteers from Hagerstown’s Lifehouse Church Bethel, led by La Mano of Hope’s construction director, Cris Snyder, joined efforts to spend the week working on construction projects at Casa de Vida.
Their housing was the dormitory at Casa de Vida and their provisions were graciously prepared by the generous and skilled women of the church who fed the team delicious Dominican meals three times a day to keep them strong and energized to continue the work. The church houses a school on the third floor for children in this very needy community of a city with a population of over 2 million people. Insomuch as many of the young people in Brisas del Este do not have the opportunity to attend public school and receive education, Casa de Vida offers free education for school age students. The entrance and stair case to this third floor level was quite hazardous as it was an unfinished staircase with no security wall around the side of the building. The team was able to finish the entrance and build a security wall to ensure that the children will be safe and protected within the property of the church and school. It was a privilege to serve with Junior and Merary and the wonderful people of their church and community. Thanks to the volunteers team of Cris Snyder, Malea Snyder, Mckinsey Souders, Beth Smith, Willie Conner and Henry Ryder for all of your efforts and sacrifices to be a part of this global impact team!