Attending to Special Needs
in the Dominican Republic
The Saviour’s work was not restricted to any time or place. His compassion knew no limit.” Ministry of Healing, 17.
What a privilege it is to collaborate in the saving of humanity in whatever capacity the Lord sees fit, for the needs and woes of humanity are varied. In Isaiah 55:8, our Heavenly Father says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” God’s ways can, at times, not only be challenging, but also take us on a totally different path along His vineyard than when we started out.
By His grace, the Lord has been leading us, step by step, toward the establishment of a small baking ministry to reach the needs of the poor in our community in a unique way. For the past three years, this small missionary project has been expressing Jesus’ loving care to souls through personal efforts such as aiding the sick, helping to add a tin roof and a cement floor to a shack, helping to feed the hungry, presenting health lectures to a women’s group, and constructing an outhouse for a widow, among other things.
Almost two-and-a-half years ago, a small evangelical school invited us to do a two-hour presentation on nutrition. Although we touched on all the eight laws of health, our focus was nutrition. The principal of this school had become interested in healthy eating because of a contact made by one of our church members. After the nutrition class the principal and I kept in touch, and we accepted a second invitation to return to the school to do a four-hour educational workshop for the school personnel. The topic was “Identifying the Special Needs Child” and how to fulfill their specific educational needs. Deuteronomy 32:10 was our foundational verse and we included quotes from the book Education. The Lord worked everything out in a harmonious way. We also provided a simple vegan breakfast, featuring our whole wheat bread from our bakery.
During a short break in the workshop, we socialized with the school personnel and discovered how desperately they needed the information being shared. We could tell that the Holy Spirit was talking to their hearts as they expressed genuine desire to make changes in their educational practices. They also realized that parents needed instruction on child-rearing and discipline. We’ve accepted the call. By God’s grace, we will go back to work with the parents. And not only this, but the principal informed me that she and the school cook have decided to buy our bread so that the children will start eating whole wheat bread at the school! The school principal is aware of the fact that good nutrition is an essential need for the developmental growth of children. To the glory of God, she stated that the staff and faculty are implementing in their classrooms much of what they learned in our workshop. Please keep this little school, its personnel, and student body, in your prayers so that God will open their minds to the influence of the Holy Spirit.
This Christian school principal has been used by the Lord to make contact with a public school principal who has requested that the “Special Needs” workshop to be brought to her school. Praise God!
There is an alarming lack of correct preparation on the part of teachers in this country on how to effectively work with children with special needs. This lack is sometimes greater with parents. Please pray that Jesus will continue to use this ministry to make a difference in this type of work in the Lord’s vineyard.
Calls of different needs, such as mothers wanting their children to be taught how to read and write properly, come to our doors. Just recently, our ministry conducted a weekend lecture series on true education for a Seventh-day Adventist group. We were able to go more in-depth on the topic of identifying the special needs child, as well as other topics such as principles on how to set up homeschooling and how to network with homeschooling parents and students. Wellington, one of the young men that works in the bakery, led out in the Friday evening youth meeting. He touched on Moses’ education. Our weekend visit ended with a Sunday morning short devotional from the book Ministry of Healing. We have been asked to return to do another educational presentation.
“Having received the faith of the gospel, the next work of the believer is to add to his character virtue, and thus cleanse the heart and prepare the mind for the reception of the knowledge of God. This knowledge is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation; and it is this alone that can make one like God in character. Through the knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, are given to the believer ‘all things that pertain unto life and godliness.’ No good gift is withheld from him who sincerely desires to obtain the righteousness of God.” Acts of the Apostles, 530.
A Haitian mother in our community had approached me with the request of teaching her 9-year-old daughter how to read and write. Francesca, the daughter, comes to my house twice a week. By the grace of God, she is an eager and quick learner. Francesca also attends church with us every Sabbath and comes home with us afterwards to eat lunch. May God give me wisdom so that we can continue working with her.
Another young mother, this time a Dominican, has also come to me asking if I could tutor her son. Although he’s in the village public school, his reading and writing skills need some help. This mother had at one time been receiving Bible studies and she’s hoping to start them again.
While we are aware that we are not able to meet all the needs that come to our doorstep, we do want to help reach souls in practical ways, and then bid them follow Jesus.
We not only want to thank our Lord Jesus for using us in a small, though different, way to reach souls, but also you, our co-laborers, for your prayers and support.
“In placing among them the helpless and the poor, to be dependent upon their care, Christ tests His professed followers. By our love and service for His needy children we prove the genuineness of our love for Him. To neglect them is to declare ourselves false disciples, strangers to Christ and His love.” Ministry of Healing, 205.
Keep close to Him.
By Nelly Severino of Nutrition, Education, & Salvation Ministry (NES). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailing: NES Ministry, PO Box 582, Antlers, OK 74523.