I first met Sr. Roselyn and Dr. Angel way back in the fall of 2006. I was so intrigued and inspired by this duo that had begun so many life changing projects. Little did I know that this was the Lord sowing the seeds of a lay missionary vocation.
This first trip was on behalf of Aquinas College as they began a partnership with Fundacion Mariana San Isidro Labrador (FUMSIL).
These short term mission programs continued all throughout my college years, culminating in 3 trips per year. As you can imagine, over the course of those 4 years I developed strong relationships with local people and gained a unique perspective of life on the border.
Right: One of the first short term mission team!
Below left: Aquinas College volunteer spending time with children in El Llano
Below middle: Weighing children as part of the Nutrition Program run by FUMSIL
Below right: Dr. Angel and I caring for a patient at a mobile medical clinic
Adam and I met in 2010 and his first trip to the Dominican was in 2011. He fell in love with the mission (and me!), making a commitment to the projects and the people of Elias Pina.
Over the years we have continued the short term missions programs, starting programs at new universities and schools such as Benedictine University, St. Catherine of Sienna Academy, Rockhurt University and St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan.
We have also taken on special side projects based on the needs of the local community. For example, we facilitated the donation of an ambulance to the municipality of El Llano from North Adams Ambulance Service, Inc. We have also organized 3 sea containers (2011, 2013, 2015) of donations for various organizations throughout the province of Elias Pina!
Perhaps one of the crazier things that we have ever done was take severely malnourished children into our home (the mission house where all volunteers stay). This was an emergency solution that lasted just shy of 2 years. Each of the children that lived with us temporarily were in the custody of local nonprofit, FUMSIL. We oversaw their recuperation and once healthy again, they returned home to their families.
As all of these projects continued to grow, we discerned the formalization of what is now Building Bridges of Hope (BBOH) in 2014. BBOH is an American nonprofit that strives to lift up the people of the Dominican Republic through volunteer programs, fundraising and awareness. We are the on-the-ground directors and we report to the larger Board of Directors, comprised of professionals throughout the Midwest. The Board of Directors is responsible for guiding the mission by providing legal, financial and prayerful oversight.
Since 2014 we have continued to support FUMSIL and the above initiatives, adding more projects like a preschool and public health research. But - I'll save the details about those new projects for another day....we have to keep you coming back for more ;)
I hope that this brief photo background helps to clarify any confusion about who we are, the work we do and our connection to both FUMSIL and BBOH. Please stay tuned for more blog updates!
We are Catholic lay missionaries serving along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
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|Serving the Border||