The primary reason we exist is to lead people to Jesus and know him as their Lord and Savior. In Matthew 28, Jesus commissions us to go and make disciples among all nations. Together, we’re equipping and empowering people to become Christ-like influences in their communities so that they can share the gospel and make disciples.
Over 30% of the Dominican population lives below the poverty line. For most people living in poverty, it’s rarely believed that having more money or possessions would better their lives. What’s felt is a lack of hope and dignity from not having an education, opportunities, or a relationship with Jesus. This creates a cycle that prevents people from thriving.
Together, we're restoring hope and dignity by providing resources and opportunities for people to thrive, and most importantly, revealing to them that their true hope and value is found in Jesus.
why family empowerment?
why group ministry?
why makarios school?
This is the core of who we are. Together, we are loving students and their families as Christ would love them, educating them so that they have opportunities for a better future, and empowering them so they feel equipped to be Christ-like influences
in their communities.
We accomplish this through four different ministries: Family Empowerment, Group Ministry, The Makarios School, and Sponsorship. Together, through these ministries we’re able to develop relationships, share the gospel, and change lives.
134 families | 7 staff members
The Family Empowerment Program is the newest addition to the Makarios ministries. It was created in 2016 to meet the physical, intellectual, and spiritual needs of families. Several different classes and trainings are offered to parents of our students. Not only are parents given the opportunity to attend trainings and classes, they’re also being discipled by local church leaders and Makarios staff.
367 team members | 9 staff members
Group Ministry started in 2005, only a year after the Makarios School was founded. Teams from the US travel to the DR to serve alongside Makarios in person, see the impact of their partnership, and develop relationships with locals. During their trip, teams hold sports camps and VBS as a way to share the gospel with locals in the surrounding communities.
THE MAKARIOS SCHOOL
200 students | Grades PreK-11th | 40 staff members
The Makarios School was the first of our four ministries. It’s where students receive a faith-based education, meals, and medical care. Our staff is made up of local Haitians, Dominicans, and American missionaries who work alongside each other to educate and disciple our students. This provides our students with an opportunity for a better future.
Sponsorship is how the Makarios School operates. Whether you sponsor a student, class, or local staff member, sponsors like you fund the school and enable it to function. Sponsors are able to form relationships with their students by sending letters and packages, and communicating with them on a regular basis. You can do this online, by mail, or in person! Sponsors who attend Group Ministry trips are usually able to visit with their sponsor student and their family.
Located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, we serve three communities within the town of Montellano: Tamarindo, Pancho Mateo, and Chichigua.
Many families have lived here their entire lives, including generations before them. Each community is unique in its own way. Tamarindo is made up of connected homes that can be accessed through walking down windy paths. This is where the Makarios School is located. Pancho Mateo is where Makarios originally started and resembles a small neighborhood. It’s home to many Makarios staff. Chichigua is a small Haitian community filled with colorful wooden and tin homes. You'll always find precious kiddos running around Chichigua.
There is so much character, charm, and potential for growth within these communities. We love them deeply and pray that, together, God uses us to impact them for generations to come.
DAN AND ROSEMARY KALLEMYN
We would like to introduce you to Dan and Rosemary Kallemyn. They are regular fixtures in the clinic at the Makarios School. They've served for many years in this capacity, either filling in for staff on furlough, or serving on medical mission trips. Both are registered nurses by profession, and their servant's hearts and willingness to jump in with a moment's notice have made them valuable Makarios partners in our mission to Love, Educate and Empower communities in the Dominican Republic. They spent this summer organizing and preparing the medical clinic for a brand new school year, and it's impeccable! We had a chance to sit down with them and chat about their experience with Makarios.
How many times have you been to Makarios in the Dominican Republic?
This was our sixth trip so far, and we have another one scheduled in October of this year. Most of those trips have been serving in the clinic, but the first couple were on medical mission teams.
How did you originally come to know about Makarios?
We were visiting our son's church, Faircreek Church in Ohio, and the pastor shared about a medical mission trip to Makarios. We had always wanted to do missions work, but could never manage it while we were still working. Now that we were retired, we jumped at the chance to find out more and talked to the pastor after service. A couple of conversations later and we were on the trip!
You've served with us regularly over the years...any thoughts on the growth you've seen?
Makarios is in a huge season of growth right now. When we first started coming down, Makarios was like that quaint little church in a small town. Everybody knew each other and it really felt like a family. Recently, there's been tremendous growth with the school expansion and the Family Empowerment ministry growing its programs and staff. It's comforting to know that it still feels like a family. The momentum really has traction and you can see the impact deepening in the communities we serve. That's allowing students and their families to become productive, followers of Christ...and that's been neat to watch.
Do you have any impactful stories you'd like to share?
So many really special things have happened, but recently a little boy from the community came in with some burns on his leg from a moto. He was probably six or seven years old and had a "Dominican Tattoo" (what they call leg burns from riding motos here) that had occurred a couple of days earlier. We examined his leg and by the looks of it, they were 2nd degree burns if not 3rd degree. It was a pretty nasty burn that hadn't been treated, so we washed it and bandaged him up. We had some antibiotics on hand and gave them to his mother with instructions for aftercare at home. That evening we were having dinner with one of our summer mission teams and we all prayed for him. A few days later, his leg was much better than we expected...much better! We can't say that God healed him for sure, but we also can't say that He didn't! We are thankful that we got play a part in helping this family.
What's one thing you miss about the DR when you head back home after trips here?
Relationships with the people. Since we've been down regularly over the last several years, we've been able to foster some really deep relationships with staff, students and their families. We've cherished watching them grow and develop over the years. It's hard to say goodbye each time, but we know we'll be back.
What would you say to another person, or couple, who is considering serving with Makarios in a similar fashion as you?
It's an excellent, rewarding opportunity to practice your skills and use your gifts. You get to see so many tangible results...and you get to see them quickly. Serving in a medical capacity, we have gotten to see progress happen over years. We love seeing the students and staff grow and change. Serving in any capacity with Makarios is such a rewarding experience and there are so many incredible things happening now, it just keeps getting better. It's really fun to see the entire organization working together so well and achieving so much. All you have to do is come down here one time to see firsthand why it's such a great opportunity. That's what we did, and we plan to keep it up as long as we can!
Dan and Rosemary have been such an incredible blessing to Makarios. We cherish their partnership and service over the years. They truly are part of what makes Makarios feel like a family. Please join us in praying for them; that their time at home would be restful and filling, and that they would feel our appreciation in so many ways.
Our Family Empowerment team has launched a Literacy Program that seeks to teach Makarios parents how to read and write. We are striving always to help our parents be both transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and become ethical leaders in their communities. We caught up with Adrianne Christian who co-leads this program with Andrea Guerrero and this is what she had to say.
The Literacy Program will have completed 3 weeks this Thursday. We started Cycle I on March 5th and are meeting Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-7:00 and will last through mid-June. Cycle II will begin this September. The first half hour of each class is a devotional time. Over half of the ladies who are participating are not believers. It is our hope that by participating in the program they will come to know the Lord and be able to read their Bibles one day, in addition to the practical day-to-day advantages that reading will give them.
We have a support team which is made up of people from the communities, moms who can read, and teachers from Makarios as well as local church members. The ladies are extremely excited to finally be learning to read and write and we have seen so much progress in just these first couple of weeks. The program is meant to help each person learn at their own pace. Now in the third week, we are already seeing some who learn quickly and others who need more individual help and even a different approach.
The Literacy Program is one of many pilot programs the Family Empowerment Ministry is hoping will become permanent programs offered to parents who need help. What that means is that we are adjusting the program and saving everything as we go so that it can be a sustainable program used over and over again. Other pilot programs in the works are geared towards Leadership, Discipleship, and Adult Education classes that focus on vocational skills, health, stewardship, and citizenship.
Please join us in prayer that God would continue to draw people in need to our ministries. Pray also that He would raise up leaders within these communities that would capture the vision of Makarios, and partner with us to impact everyone we can. Thank you for supporting the mission of Makarios and covering our efforts in prayer.
Over the next year we are incredibly excited about what God has in store for Makarios. In 2017 we celebrated the Makarios School’s 10 year anniversary, and broke ground on the new school building that will bring additional classrooms to expand our efforts to Educate in the Dominican Republic. Stories like Hayley’s are reminders of the power of partnerships and relationships. After hearing about the impactful experiences of our partners over the years, we’ve added two new strategic positions in the US that will help us continue to establish partnerships that will fuel our anticipated growth.
We are proud to introduce you to Scott Denton and Brian Black, who have joined Makarios staff to build and maintain relationships through partnerships and development. Both Brian and Scott were introduced to Makarios as pastors of churches who partnered with us. They have seen the work we do on the ground in the DR through Ministry Trips, and they have been personally impacted by our staff and students. That experience led them to accept roles on the Makarios staff that will enable us to sustainably grow the ministry.
Scott Denton is joining the Makarios team as the new Director of Partnerships and Development. He and his family live in Missouri City, Texas and will be working to support Makarios from there, cultivating relationships in Texas and beyond. Scott has been to Makarios four times in the past 3 years, leading church groups and facilitating a teacher’s conference this past October to provide training for the Makarios staff. Scott has spent the last 20 years leading in both educational and ministry environments. As a public school teacher and administrator, he worked to improve educational systems and knows the value of empowering students and teachers to be their best. In ministry, Scott invested in relationships and provided the framework for spiritual growth, while leading hundreds of volunteers to engage in God’s mission locally and globally. Most recently, Scott stepped aside as a campus pastor for a large multi-campus church in Houston to begin his journey with Makarios full time. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University and will complete his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2018. He is married to his best friend, Amy, and they have 4 kids: Jacob, Emma Grace, Scottie and Zoey.
Brian Black is joining Makarios as the Regional Director of Partnerships and Development. Brian and his wife of 15 years, Sumitra, live in Round Rock, TX with their two daughters; Mackenzie and Sidney. Most recently, Brian was the Student Associate Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock and had also served in several different capacities including Campus Pastor, and Connections Pastor during his four years there. Brian spent almost 20 years in the business world with most of that in Logistics in the Dallas area before moving to Round Rock in 2009. Brian grew up in the Dallas area as the son of a full-time Young Life staffer. Most of his childhood was set at a YL summer camp or ski trip in Colorado or at YL Club in many cities around the DFW area.
That foundation of faith is what matters most to Brian, and it’s propelled him from the business world into vocational ministry. Being uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between business and ministry, Brian hopes to continue establishing relationships that will allow God’s vision of Makarios to unfold. He looks forward to forging relationships with all of the Makarios staff and renewing those established on his first trip to the DR in the summer of 2017. Brian believes that God has great things in store for Makarios, and knows that as we all draw closer to Him, His favor will go before us into the next season.