Category: Children

“Joining Jesus” in the Doulos Sponsorship Program

One Family’s Experience in Relationship Building

We began sponsoring Doulos students in 2013 when we moved to a church in Minnesota where there was a partnership with Doulos. I was first drawn to this partnership with a school in the DR simply because my second language is Spanish. Then, as I learned more about Doulos Discovery School, especially the mission, and met people who were directly involved in the school/ministry, I knew I wanted to “join Jesus” in what He was doing in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic.

There are so many ways we can join Jesus on His mission to restore all people to a right relationship with God. One way, of course, is being a good steward of the finances He has given us. In the U.S., we often find ourselves easily giving money to help feed and clothe the world. And we are called to do that. But we can’t stop there! Those are the basics – the ones that tug at our hearts because we don’t want to see anyone live without food, water, clothes, and shelter. It makes us feel good when we give in this way. But joining Jesus on His mission is more than that. It includes developing relationships and, within those relationships, encouraging one another in the Spirit.

Busch Family Sponsor Student, Andry (wearing red)

When we first started sponsoring Doulos students, I was not thinking about “developing relationships.” I simply loved the mission of the school—and that this was a long-term commitment to helping not only individuals, but, ultimately, an entire nation (one person at a time!). The school values of Christian discipleship, expeditionary learning, and mixed economic student body (along with the amazing dedication and passion of the school staff!) plant “seeds” in these Doulos kids – and their families – that God waters. The Doulos graduates that I know (and I have developed a relationship with) are rich in the fruit of the Spirit! They are blessings to the Dominican Republic and will continue to positively impact their country. (I should mention that we as a family – my husband, 2 kids, and I – decided to not only be sponsors of Doulos kids, but also to be missionaries working for a year on the Doulos campus. This gave us a great opportunity to really develop relationships with some of these kids and their families and to experience, first hand, the dedicated staff.)

So, though developing relationships was not my initial intention when we started sponsoring students, I have come to see the great value in them. We can encourage each other and build each other up as we join Jesus in His mission to restore this broken world. Sponsoring Doulos students is a part of this great mission!

Love from Minnesota!

Michelle, Randy, Benjamin, and Caroline Busch

An Impact that Redeems

Businesses, churches, and organizations of all kinds want you to know the reasons why they exist, and what they are committed to doing. We call these declarations, “Mission Statements.”
These short paragraphs attempt to distill a pure essence describing the key purposes and functions of an organization. In creating such a statement, one would want to avoid inclusion of “buzz words” that can sound disingenuous. Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip, Dilbert, has made a stock-in-trade of lampooning that kind of “corporate speak.”

There is actually a “Mission Statement Generator” online that hilariously exploits such cliché jargon.
After randomly choosing from a list of phrases including Opener + Adverb + Verb + Adjective + Noun + Conjunctive + Closer, we were able to produce this little gem:

“It is our mission to holisticly leverage existing functionalized paradigms in order that we may continue to exceed customer expectations.”

Inspiring, isn’t it?

In all seriousness, it will likely not surprise you to learn that we too have a Mission Statement. Ours states that we are involved in…

“Educating and equipping servant leaders through Christian discipleship and expeditionary learning to impact the Dominican Republic”

Our website unpacks the words and phrases we used in our Mission Statement. We define what is meant by “Educating and Equipping.” We define a “Servant Leader” and “Christian Discipleship.” Finally, we explain what is meant when we say that we intend “to impact the Dominican Republic.”

“Impact” is a useful word. However, the dictionary’s first definition is: “to come into forcible contact with another object.” Uh,… no. We like the second definition: “to have a strong effect on someone or something.” Specifically, our website explains that our intended impact is to “empower students to become the future revolutionary leaders of the Dominican Republic.”

Another way of putting it is that we want to see the Dominican Republic changed from the inside out. We don’t seek change for it’s own sake. We seek a specific kind of change—a specific kind of revolutionary. In a word, we are seeking redemptive transformation.

The story throughout all the Bible is one of Redemption. Paradise lost. Paradise regained. Redeemed. The well-known story of “The Prodigal Son” depicts a tragic waste of a life and a fortune, only to be redeemed in the end by a generous and forgiving father. Hebrew Law made provision for a dead man’s estate to be bought by a relative, redeeming his name and his household. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, came to redeem fallen humanity, purchasing her at the expense of his own blood, to restore what was lost—to redeem it. The Servant Leaders we would see raised up through Doulos Discovery School can only be revolutionary insofar as they themselves have been revolutionized by Jesus! They cannot hope to effect redemptive change in their country without themselves being redemptively changed!

The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country, rich in resources, and full of still greater potential. The impediments to realizing her promise lie not in outward threats but in matters of her heart. The political, social, and spiritual forces that waste, corrupt, exploit, marginalize, and oppress, spring from individual hearts in need of a redemptive work. The restorative work of God makes a person courageously love, bless, invest, build, benefit, share, and include. Such revolutionaries in positions of influence will effect redemptive changes. This kind of change is only wrought by God through the transformative work of His own power. This kind of change has a real impact—a Redemptive Impact.

Redemptive Impact

Intervening for a

Redemptive Impact

Doulos was blessed to receive a visit from Denise Weiss-Salinas, an Occupational Therapist who was able to observe and consult for the benefit of several of our developmentally delayed students. She spent time in the classroom and in a family home, shedding light on remedial strategies for improving our intervention understanding and efforts.

Much of what love means, is the willingness to intercede for the benefit of others. Helpless people can sometimes be hopeless people who need an advocate. In accordance with the mission statement of Doulos Discovery School, the ultimate purpose of our work here is “to impact the Dominican Republic”.

“Educating and equipping servant leaders through
Christian discipleship and expeditionary learning to
impact the Dominican Republic

But just what is the nature of that intended impact? It’s suggested by our desire to see Servant Leaders raised up. It’s explained in our desire to inculcate Christian values, teachings, and a Biblical worldview. But what is our desired outcome? What kind of impact do we hope and pray for? In a word: Redemptive. Change isn’t good merely for it’s own sake. Redemptive change is our goal! Just as, in Christ, God redemptively impacted a fallen world, we seek to intervene to improve what already works, to restore what was broken, to rebuild what’s been damaged, to give hope for despair.

Accordingly, we seek to lovingly intervene in dysfunctional systems and people. As the Redeemer did, we “put skin in the game” and interpose solely for the benefit of the loved one, and for the glory of God.

Low test scores, speech pathologies, and other perceptual impediments, can appear to be a permanent condition. But they are not always so! At times we can help parents discover that their child is only suffering from a learning delay that may be treated and resolved. Often the help that’s provided is as much for the benefit of giving hope to disappointed parents, as for the child. Families can be made aware of resources that hold the promise of redeeming a situation with their child that had appeared to be an insurmountable challenge.

We are grateful to Denise, who came in the company of her carpenter son, Hezekiah, whose energetic help was a redemptive work of it’s own on our campus!

Doulos Welcomes Our First Campus Brand Ambassador

Doulos Welcomes Our First Campus Brand Ambassador

Last semester at Doulos, we initiated our Brand Ambassador Program. The goal of this program is to have representatives on college campuses who believe in the mission of Doulos and who want to share what we are doing here with their peers in hopes that they, too, might capture our vision.

Michelle Howard, our very first brand ambassador, is a junior at Furman University. Michelle spent last summer with us as an intern during our summer camps. Michelle had the opportunity to support work teams, interact with Doulos students, and work closely with a mountain community we partner with called, Angosto. Michelle jumped on the opportunity to become our first brand ambassador because she believes in our mission. “I love Doulos, the kids and the staff there, and everything that Doulos stands for, and is about.”

As our brand ambassador, Michelle is responsible for being our voice on her campus. She speaks at various campus ministries, builds relationships, meets up with students to share more in-depth about what we are doing, and ultimately aids in our recruiting process on her campus. “I care about Doulos and believe in the school, and my desire is to take opportunities to share about what I care about.”

We are thankful for Michelle and her voice on Furman’s campus. We are excited about the opportunity to have Brand Ambassadors on other campuses across the country. What better way to hear about Doulos than from a peer who understands so well who we are? “I always go through the statistics about education in the DR because Doulos desires to create leaders who are smart, ambitious, and who love the Lord. I think that is really important.” Michelle has built enduring friendships with our Doulos students and staff, and has already made her way back to visit since last summer.

Are you a college student who has been impacted by what we are doing here at Doulos? If you are interested in more information about being a part of our Brand Ambassador team, please contact our Communications Director at kylie.dever@doulosdiscovery.org.

 

Who’s your BUDDY?

Pal.
 
Companion.
 
Partner.
 
Friend.
You don’t have to look very hard or very far to find the buddy system in play at Doulos. From the amphitheater, to the playground, to the classroom, buddies are EVERYWHERE. There are official buddies: older grades matched up with younger grades that sit together in the mornings during flag
read together in the classrooms
 
play together at recess on certain days
 
​The concept of “buddy” is thriving in the relational, academic community that is collectively focused on Jesus, which is Doulos. ​On the campus itself, there are buddy examples, but let’s not forget about Doulos’ other buddies who may not be seen as close-up but who play a vital role in developing this facet of Doulos further.
There are our amazing sponsors, whose generosity and heart to give the gift of an excellent education is only surpassed by their genuine love for Doulos students. There are our mission partners, some of whom have been with Doulos since the beginning. There are our service learning teams, many of whom return to invest in relationship year after year. The Doulos community near and far thrives because of a simple concept lived out to its very core: Buddies are important because relationships play a crucial role in the character, development and life of all of us!

Doulos is Revolutionary!

Revolution is one of our favorite events at Doulos because we get to celebrate our students for leading by example. We want to remind them that their courageous or perseverant acts do not go unnoticed. Tomorrow we celebrate the close of our focus on the character of Relational and move into Revolutionary. The next six weeks we “Seek first God’s kingdom and are transformed in how we think and act.” We challenge you to discover how the gospel transforms the way you think and act in your own life!

Cross-Cultural Relationship Building

Cross-Cultural Relationship Building

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) has had reciprocal study abroad program with Doulos Discovery School since 2012, when Doulos Founder Krista Wallace invited us into a relationship with them. My daughter, Anginette Fullerton, was the first CVCA student to take her up on her offer. Anginette came immediately after High School graduation as an intern in Doulos’ Kindergarten class. Her time here dynamically changed her, and in turn, changed me too. I became a member of Doulos’ Board three years ago after falling in love with the ministry here through Anginette’s experience.

CVCA has also sent three work teams to Doulos in that time. Our goal for our team trip this year has been relationship building in a cross-cultural context. Some work teams at Doulos focus exclusively on building up the physical structures. Our focus has been building relationships between the students at CVCA and Doulos, between Americans and Dominicans, and between brothers and sisters in Christ. By focusing our hearts and minds intentionally on attitudes of openness, acceptance, trust, learning, and understanding, we hope to serve EACH OTHER both now and in the future.

Our team of included 6 girls (one of whom will stay as a study abroad student at Doulos this semester) and two adults. The girls started each day with students their own age, being welcomed into the community and learning in classrooms that are both very different and very similar to their own at CVCA. Then we focused on building relationships with the rest of the student community by volunteering in classrooms.

As a result, the buzz of conversations and bursts of laughter have increased exponentially as the days have passed. As leaders, Anginette, and I have enjoyed watching the relationships blossom before our eyes. The girls are sharing this cross-cultural experience and that has bonded them in friendships that would not have formed otherwise. God is here and I know that He has given us this Divine appointment to join Him in relationship-building at Doulos.

One of those Divine appointments was with a member of our team, Sha’Nautica Lott, and a little boy in Kindergarten, named Caleb. Sha’Nautica comes from a very difficult background herself. But her intelligence and promise captured the notice of one of CVCA’s board members. Through scholarships and that board member’s sponsorship, Sha’Nautica started attending CVCA this year. That same sponsor encouraged her to come to the Dominican Republic on our team. From the moment that Sha’Nautica noticed Caleb, she recognized a boy full of energy who just needed someone to come alongside him and encourage him to focus and obey. An instant friendship was formed. All week, Sha’Nautica and Caleb could be seen together, working in the classroom, playing on the playground, walking to lunch, meeting his parents. This precious little boy gave Sha’Nautica an opportunity to give back some of what she had been given through God’s grace.

Lives were changed on both sides, and because of her time with Caleb, Sha’Nautica now feels called to become a teacher. Education is a powerful thing, but the relationships formed across cultures, and generations, and countries, and miles, are what change us at our deepest core. Sha’Nautica’s relationship with Caleb will spark many more like it as she is now determined to go to college and prepare for what God is calling her to.

Doulos is a place where all of us can serve, and develop the promise of leadership here in the Dominican Republic and around the world.

Mindy Fullerton

Doulos Board Member and Director of Admissions at CVCA

Catalyst for Connection

Catalyst for Connection

Tomorrow I will turn 45 and it will be a good day, but do you know what would make it EVEN better?

Wait. This is a little awkward. We don’t know each other that well perhaps or maybe even not at all so it would be forward and quite presumptuous of me to make a gift suggestion or request. Don’t worry, I wasn’t thinking of putting a link to Amazon on here – que rudo! Honestly, I really don’t want to call attention to my birthday, but will you humor me for just a minute more? 

I have the privilege of being the Sponsorship Director at Doulos which means that I am a catalyst for connection, fitting students who need sponsors with a willing person who can provide the monthly tuition in all ($150 per month) or in part ($75 per month) for them to attend Doulos. Then, I get to witness impactful relationships unfold over the ocean and sometimes even here on the Doulos campus between students and their sponsors. It really is very exciting because our God is a god of connection. He is the ultimate CONNECTOR!

So . . . do you know what would make my birthday EVEN better tomorrow? Well, since you asked *wink*wink* . . . .

Last fall we did a sponsorship campaign, and many new sponsors came forward. However, there are still three students who need their first sponsor, and 24 students who need a shared sponsor ($75 a month). I would LOVE to see the number of students that need sponsors go down (and incidentally, my work load go up – Happy Birthday to me!) because that many new sponsors came forward 🙂 Sponsoring a student is as much a gift to the sponsor as it is to the student and their family, so this really isn’t about me at all, it’s about YOU.

Join in on the gift of relationship + an excellent education for someone who would otherwise not have this opportunity!

Student Sponsorship
Per Month
$75
100% Giving Model
Personal communication with child & family
High-quality Christian education
School materials
Sponsor A Student
Class Sponsorship
Per Month
$50
100% Giving Model
Monthly updates from Doulos
Letters & videos from class
Provides materials for entire class
Visit class
Sponsor A Class