By Aaron Keller
In March of 2020, the MOVE leadership team was preparing to head to the Dominican Republic for a scouting trip. We had heard about a Christian school at the church in Bancos De Arena that was being pressured by the government to expand their amenities or be shut down. For this reason, they wanted to add on a basketball court. But then, as things started shutting down because of Covid-19, we canceled the trip.
Fast forward to July of 2021. We were able to reschedule our scouting trip and develop a plan for how we could help the school. Once in the Dominican Republic, we met Raul Escalante, pastor of First Spanish Open Bible Church in Sunrise, Florida, and he began to show us the building itself. Pastor Raul’s church has been supporting this church since its inception.
As we were inspecting the lot and the building, Pastor Raul explained that the church building was previously a bar. After the church purchased it, the bar owner was converted to Christ. Shortly after purchasing the building, the church built an addition onto it. The back half of the building, which was constructed ten years ago, was starting to develop significant structural cracks in the columns and beams. It was clear that even though the church leaders wanted a basketball court, our attention needed to turn to the building.
It was determined that the two-story building was beyond repair. It had the same structural issues as the building that collapsed in Surfside, Florida, on June 24, 2021, so we had it demolished in September. As much as it grieved us to tear down the space the church used for their school, it was the right decision for the safety of everyone in the building.
Pastor Adán, the pastor of the school, and Pastor Marta, the church’s lead pastor, quickly got to work and adapted, converting the space in their sanctuary to teach the children. Pastor Marta uses her own home kitchen to prepare lunches for all the students. Clearly, she and Adán have a heart and vision for the community. They won’t let a demolished building deter them from this important ministry.
Our team of 18 men headed down on October 15 with a week’s time to waterproof the roof of the building’s remaining structure, form and pour a basketball court, and add bleachers for observers. It was hot, but we all agreed you couldn’t beat the view. Because of the heat, we would start our workday at 6 a.m., take a two-hour midday break, and then wrap up early evening right before the sun went down.
As we worked, completing our project, I couldn’t help but stare at the building’s remaining structure, the remaining slabs of the building we had torn down, and to feel burdened by the need to rebuild the school. It is the only source of primary education for the village in which it is located. The need there is great, and church leaders are using it to bring people to Christ. Even though we didn’t have the time on this trip to build the new school, we are committed to going back and giving the church a structure they can be proud of. We will soon be announcing a trip back to the Dominican Republic to construct the school.
As much as MOVE does construction everywhere we travel, we are first and foremost a men’s ministry. Our mission statement is Men Building Men, Men Building Churches. Men from all over the nation have been a part of our projects. They are sent home challenged to be better leaders for their homes, workplaces, and churches. It is our desire that men of any age or skill level would consider joining MOVE ministries on one of our upcoming projects.
About the Author
Aaron Keller is the National Director for MOVE Ministries and the lead pastor of Sunshine Open Bible Church in Des Moines, Iowa. MOVE Ministries started in 1981 and has completed 45 projects around the world. Go to www.moveministries.org for information on upcoming projects.