On a Sunday afternoon in July, Rosa opened her door in the Dominican Republic to a group of teachers from Texas she met at dinner the night before. The ladies carried bags of groceries on their arms, and tears rolled down Rosa’s cheeks as she welcomed the team into her home. “Can I tell you my story?” she asked.
Since Rosa surrendered to God’s leadership and joined Iglesia Bautista Quisequayana (IBQ), He repeatedly proved Himself faithful to meet her needs. God often uses STCH Ministries International and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering to move people from poverty to success. The two organizations combine forces to make a difference in the lives of families on the island nation of the Dominican Republic.
Rosa married her childhood sweetheart, and though they struggled with finances, life was good for them. They joyfully welcomed two children into their family, Rafael and Heidi.
Although higher education in the Dominican Republic is an expensive undertaking, Rosa began college studies to become a teacher. Navigating the bureaucracy involved in registration presented as much of a challenge as the classes themselves.
However, after her husband died, Rosa laid aside her dreams of becoming a teacher to provide shelter and food for her children. She found a factory job, but the wages did not meet her needs.
Moved by Rosa’s grief, a co-worker befriended her and spoke with her about faith in Jesus. Rosa recognized something was missing and attended services at IBQ with her friend. As a result of new friendships and biblical understanding, Rosa gave her life to Jesus as her Savior.
During her daily Bible study, Rosa read Psalm 37:4-5. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” These verses reminded her that when she trusts in God, He will provide for her every need. God met Rosa every day in every circumstance.
IBQ brought stability, friendship and renewed purpose into her life. Through her involvement at church, Rosa learned about STCH Ministries Samuel’s Fund sponsorship program, which pairs orphans and at-risk children, in the Dominican Republic with sponsors from the United States. These sponsorships allow the children to develop spiritually, mentally and socially, empowering them to become Christian leaders in their communities.
When Rosa learned church members tutor Samuel’s Fund recipients so they can be successful in schoolwork, she volunteered. Both Rafael and Heidi’s sponsorships paid the children’s school expenses, while Rosa paid for rent and groceries from her earnings. Knowing her children had the opportunity to attend school and become self-sufficient, she returned to her college studies.
Life continued and Rosa remarried and welcomed a new son, Ezequiel, into her family. Tragedy struck again when young Heidi fell ill. Again, Rosa halted her studies to take care of her daughter. Despite ongoing treatment, Heidi’s health deteriorated over two years, and the young girl passed away. Broken-hearted, Rosa moved forward for the sake of her other children.
Through it all, Rosa gave glory to God for His faithfulness to keep His promises to supply her needs. She finished her teaching degree and has worked as an elementary teacher for two years.
Rosa still struggled with finances. That Sunday in July, she debated all the way down the aisle to the offering plate. If she obeyed God and gave her tithe, she would not have any money to buy food. She remembered the promise God had fulfilled so many times in the past, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him.” She set her mind to trust again and cheerfully gave her tithe.
Later that afternoon, volunteers received shopping lists, money and instructions. They excitedly purchased the groceries and set out on their adventure. Rosa’s was just one of the homes visited that day. God showed up and kept His promise once again. The teachers from Texas marveled, recognizing God orchestrated them to meet needs they knew nothing about.
Rosa’s story is one example of the difference God makes through Texas Baptists as He meets the physical needs of Dominican families. The partnership between STCH Ministries International and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering provides groceries for struggling families and partner orphanages across the Dominican Republic. Last summer, 26 families received a month’s worth of groceries delivered by volunteers. Additionally, each Christmas, four partner orphanages receive a substantial gift toward their needs. Working together, Texas Baptists can satisfy God’s mandate to care for “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
Information on the Hunger Offering can be found at hungeroffering.org. To learn more about STCH Ministries visit stchm.org.