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Christian Reformed World Ministries in the Dominican Republic

Updated March 24, 2009: new photos down at the bottom of the page.

Since 1976, the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA) has been involved in mission work in the Caribbean island nation of the Dominican Republic.

For travel and other information in English, see and the US Consular page.

The Dominican Republic, or "DR" for short, is located in the Caribbean region, sharing the Island of Hispaniola with Haiti, between Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Christian Reformed World Ministries's vision and mission in the Dominican Republic are:


We envision a healthy, Spirit-transformed Christian Reformed family of ministries in the Dominican Republic, that are used by God to transform lives and communities, resulting in a transformed society characterized by justice, reconciliation, compassion, freedom, economic growth, and stewardship of Godís creation.


Our mission is to transform lives and communities region-wide via ministry networks and partnerships that express the good news of Christís full-orbed kingdom.

That's a tall order. But this is done in many ways, including church development and expansion, Christian education, and community development.

At this time our mission team in the DR consists of three long term missionary families and three partner missionaries.

The Christian Reformed teams of the DR & Haiti together, fall 2007

Take a few moments to look at the Mission Photos.

With so few people, how can we hope to have such a large impact? The key is that we work with national partners. Our main national partner since the mid 1970's has been the national Christian Reformed Church in the Dominican Republic (La Iglesia Cristiana Reformada en la Republica Dominicana ICRRD), which is historically a mainly Haitian immigrant church. It consists of about 180 congregations, with about 115 ordained pastors and over 8,000 participants, throughout the country. The Christian Reformed Church in Haiti consists of about 30 congregations in Haiti, where we have another mission team, and maintain close relations.

The ICRRD's national leadership serves in all the churches and church ministries, and we missionaries work in support of these leaders and ministries. This support has two main aspects: Church Development and Leadership Training, which involve many aspects of the church.

Missionaries serve along side the national pastors in supporting roles.

We are working in a dual culture situation, in a Spanish speaking country but with people that are of Haitian culture and language. This community numbers over a million people, including second and third generation Haitian-Dominicans. Many live in poverty and isolation, on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Cultural, historical, language and racial differences between Dominicans and Haitians, as well as the illegal immigration status of many, all contibutes to marginalization by the society in general. Haitians form the backbone of the agricultural and construction labor market. Many are connected to the sugar cane industry, and live in isolated bateys(sugar cane plantation villages); many more in poor urban barrios(slum and squatter areas). The life style is very poor,

yet the people of God are joyful in their worship and service to Him.

It is also a joy to see how the Lord has blessed the ministry and we that work here are blessed by the privilege of serving in this way.

The work of Church Development involves helping churches grow in maturity, unity, ministry, outreach and size. We do this by initiating and supporting local, regional and national church ministries, helping pastors and churches work together, providing resources for ministry, and helping churches generate, develop and utilize their own resources. Some specific areas are organizational development(a fancy euphemism for "getting people to work together"), evangelism, preaching, discipling, deaconal training, youth ministry, and construction projects.

The 2005 ICRRD National Assembly, where reports and testimonies are shared and decisions made in unity and mutual support.

The national leaders, such as pastors Ramon Alfonso, Domingo Rodriguez, and Manuel Feliz, along with evangelist Martin Ovil, serve through preaching, teaching and leading as an example to others...

Leadership Training focuses on helping people to grow in grace, knowledge, faith and service. This is done formally through the Reformed Bible Institute, in which pastors and leaders receive academic theological, Biblical and practical training. Also, through evangelism training, Sunday School teacher preparation, as well as the preparation of most of the training and teaching materials, the missionaries are reaching many current and future leaders of the church, most of whom have no other opportunities to study in this way. Leadership training is also done informally, through personal discipling, ministry opportunities, and counseling.

In addition to the main focus on the church, we are also involved in many other activities and ministries. COCREF (Colegios Cristianos Reformados)or Christian Reformed Schools, is the Christian school connected with our ministry. The program operates 21 schools in poor bateys (rural villages) and in barrios (poor urban communities) around the country. It fills an important need for the church and for the general community, as well as for the future of the national, by providing a solid Christian based education for around 5,000 children that otherwise may not have had the opportunity to study. That has been one of the goals of this ministry since the beginning: to offer education in places where little or no other schooling opportunities are available. COCREF is teaching children about God, His creation and their part in it. Another big element is the training of more than 200 teachers, supervisors, and other staff that are the backbone of the school program. They are given intensive teacher training as well as supported in their formal (university) education.

Partnership with various other agencies helps extend the work even farther. Community development is carried out through partners such as "Living Waters", "Casa Caribena", and DESCO. Other partner ministries include university education, bi-lingual Christian school education, Evangelism Explosion Int'l., the Bible League, Liderazgo Juvenil, and the Center for Transforming Mission.

There are many Mission Opportunities available to those interested in supporting or getting involved in this mission. First, everyone can pray for the Lord's work and His workers.

Second, the work is supported wholly by donations. If the Lord so leads you to donate towards this ministry, please follow his lead and contact us directly. Also take a look at our Project Giving Guide, which lists all kinds of projects that can be supported financially.

Thirdly, you can actually participate in the work by visiting us and serving on a mission work team or as a short term volunteer. For more information on any of these areas, click here: Mission Opportunities

One of the best ways to participate with this mission work is through a Service and Learning Team(testimonies). Click for more info. Service and Learning Team Pre-Field Information Guide.

One huge project is the Christian Reformed Ministry Center which is under construction, creating an important ministry focus.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. The Haitians have a saying: "Chita, wap tande. Mache, wap we." It means, "Sitting, you'll hear. Walking, you'll see." The meaning is that if you really want to know what's going on you have to go see for yourself. If you can't come to visit the mission work here right now, at least you can look at some Mission Photos.

Our Missionary Family in the Dominican Republic

Click here(pg. 1) and here (pg. 2) for more info on our mission team. (from December 2005)

Stephen & Sandra Brauning - Evangelism and Church development; CRWM E-mail

Joel & Patti Zwier - Relief and community Development E -mail

Joel & Alison Renkema - Church Education, Bible Institute and Seminary E -mail

Duane and Shelley Postma are short-term team and construction volunteers. E -mail

Three partner missionaries at Santiago Christian School.(information forthcoming)

Missionary Family Focus: The Brauning family (updated May 2008)

We worked and lived in the city of La Romana from 1991 through 1999, doing church development and leadership training in two zones of La Romana and San Pedro, with a total of about 55 congregacions. We also worked with interdenominational groups, in youth ministry, inter-church ministry, evangelism and missions. In 1999 we were able to leave La Romana and the two zones completely in the hands of the national leadership, as a "missionary free zone". That is a sign of the Lord's work in bringing about growth and maturity in the church and leadership. We moved to Santo Domingo in order to work in other zones from a more central location.

Since then we have been involved in assisting the Christian Reformed Church particularly in the areas of evangelism and church growth, by training and mobilizing local churches in other areas to evangelize and disciple people in their communities. The Lord has blessed this work and between August 2000 and May 2008, we have had the following results:

<p>Churches involved: about 325

<p>Evangelists/disciplers trained: about 1,200

<p>Gospel presented to: about 12,000 persons

<p>Praying to receive Christ: about 3,800

People that have participated in Cell Groups: about 4,800

<p>New churches planted: 17

In these evangelistic efforts, we cooperate with Evangelism Explosion International, The Bible League, many local churches and other denominations. The highest results have come throughChurch Partnership Evangelism and Discipleship(CPED), and interdenominational and international church growth ministry. Long term evangelism training is done through Evangelism Explosion Int'l; cell groups and church planting through Bible League and local programs.

Check out ourfamily web pagewith lots more info.

Keep up on the latest news! Read our most recent missionary prayer letter from October, 2008.

Past prayer letters and updates:

April, 2008

December, 2007.

January, 2007.

June, 2006.

March 2006

NEW!!!! We have a short video on line: click HERE

to download.

Take a look at this fascinating book about the Haitian workers in the sugar cane villages in the Dominican Republic where we serve:

XLIBRIS Bookstore page, "The Tragic Journey of the Sugar Cane Cutters"

It was written by a friend and former collaborator in the mission work here.

More family info: Sandra teaches at the International School of Santo Domingo. Hannah (16), and Mark (13) are students there so she can keep an eye on them! Also they are able to provide a Christian witness in that place. Jesse, (21) is now a senior at Dordt College in Iowa. Rebecca (19) is a sophomore at Jacksonville University in Florida.

Steve continues to work along side pastors in church growth. Adult believer baptisms with multiple churches are common events around the country in the Christian Reformed Church. 19 persons from 4 different congregations were baptized in the Haina river in February 2009.

As of December 2008, Steve picked up the assignment of consultant for the CRC-DR's Reformed Bible Institute. In March of 2009, 39 students graduated from the third level program.

- the students present plaques to the professors and academic committee.

The advanced level curriculum of the Spanish on-line Reformed Bible Institute is available on-line here:

El Instituto Biblico Reformado Electronico (estudiar en linea)

LINKS: World Wide Christian Schools a partner in school development with COCREF

Mission DocumentsAlso still under construction

Last Updated on March 24, 2009 by Stephen & Sandra Brauning

Thanks for coming by!