In 1981, I became involved with the Dominican Republic through the 20th anniversary celebration of Mansfield Christian School. I was responsible for planning and coordinating the anniversary project, to celebrate God’s provision through those 20 year.
The Lord used a car wash to raise $60,000. This money facilitated taking a team of 30 students and 20 adults to the D.R to work in Caballona with Haitian immigrants. Since that time, I have made at least one trip per year. Many years, I have made multiple trips.
In March of 1985, I was contacted by the Bible Church of Jesus Christ (IBSJ) in Santo Domingo to help them establish a Christian School. They held their first classes in September of 1985. This was the beginning of Logos Christian School and my work with the Christian school movement on the island. Today there are many Christian schools, including Fountain of Life Christian school in Juan Tomas. There is also an ACSI office, which offers annual teachers and administrators national conventions. The convention in June of 2009 had an attendance of 640 teachers and administrators.
My wife and I moved to Santo Domingo, in September of 1987. I became the Director of Logos Christian school for two years. It was during this time I mentored Lester Flaquer, who now directs the school. I remain a lifetime consultant to the school and Christian schooling on the island. Through Partners In Christ, I continue to facilitate short-term teams to the D.R. Both of my sons and their wives and children have been involved and have visited the island.
One of my and my wife’s fondest memories was having our entire family visit our “beloved island” in 2007 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Only God could make this happen. I praise Him for this opportunity.
I was raised in a loving Christian family in a very world missions minded church (Tabernacle Church of Norfolk). I began a personal relationship with Jesus in fifth grade. My parents saw a great need in the 1950's for a Christ-centered education and were among the founding families (my mother was one of the founding teachers) at Norfolk Christian Schools from which I graduated in 1971. The church and school also founded a summer camp, The Triple-R Ranch in 1960 which became a place of great spiritual growth for me and which enabled me to put "feet" to my Christian education and thus become a responsible young adult. My wife Melody and I met there as teenagers while we were both working on staff as teenagers. We also later went to James Madison University together as a married couple where she earned a Bachelors of Music Education and I earned a Bachelors of Business Administration.
We have four adult children which have all been to the Dominican Republic at one time or another on missions trips. My relationship with Partners in Christ began when Ethan (our youngest) was 5 weeks old in 1988. With Melodys blessings and encouragement I left her home with Noel, Nathanael, Esther, and infant Ethan in July of 1988 and came to the Dominican to the "Farm" in Juan Tomás to meet Paul and Linda McMillan and family to help them finish their house and "fence in" the compound. Carl and Pat Key and many others have become lifelong friends and brothers and sisters in the work of Christ that I have been privileged to be involved since that trip.
God has given me a heart of compassion and brotherhood for Paul and Linda, Carl and Pat, and many Dominican brothers and sisters and the youth whom I have been with on numerous trips since then. I look forward with anticipated joy to being involved in what Christ is going to do in the future there in the Dominican Republic and in peoples hearts all over the United States and the world as a result of partnering in Christ and the Partners In Christ organization........ That the world will UNDERSTAND the Love of Christ for them through the completed unity of those of us who are partnering in Christ (John 17:20- 23)
I graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a degree in nursing. Nursing is an excellent field to encourage people to turn to the Lord for salvation and strength in difficult times of life and using these opportunities to share this is one way of following God’s calling on all of us to be a missionary. I continued my studies at Ohio State University and became an advanced practice nursing working the cardiology for the next several years and then started teaching at Ashland University in 2010. Teaching nursing students was my new mission field. I have great freedom to share God’s truth about life and death with these students. It was at this time that I started taking students on medical mission trips, believing this would be a time I could have time with nursing students away from the university to share more about God and His way of salvation. It was also at this time I returned to college to get my Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Duquesne University.
I took my first trip to Juan Thomas in 2013 and fell in love with the heart of the people and the service they provide to their community. Paul and Linda demonstrate God’s love to the people. They minister to the people spiritually, but do not ignore the physical, social and psychological needs of the people. Medicine is a wonderful avenue to encourage people to come and hear the Gospel. The needs in this area are great both spiritually and medically. It is a privilege to be able to minister in this area on a routine basis and to serve the Lord in Juan Thomas with medical mission trips.
In late August of 2004 the youth group from my church (Southview Grace Brethren) in Ashland OH boarded a plane bound for the Dominican Republic. As I look back now God was preparing my heart for a path of ministry. Little did I know at the time (in 2004) that I would be involved with such a wonderful ministry. During our stay in the Dominican there was one young man in our youth group that recommitted his life to God. And now today he is in College and seeking God's will for his life in some type of ministry. (He's a great speaker.... and will make a great pastor some day). After I came back from that trip I knew that I wanted to sponsor a child, so that he could have a good Christian education and help him break the third world poverty cycle. Every fall I would contact Carl Key about sending school supplies to the children in the school. By contacting many in our congregation I would have a suitcase full of supplies for Carl to send down.
Our church was not able to return the following year as we had hoped to. In fact it would be 3 years later before I would get the chance to go back to the DR. But God was gracious and in September of 2007 I was able to travel with Gene Geraci to set up the first computer lab at the school. I can not tell you how wonderful this has been to the school. Since September of 2007 I have been able to go back several times teaching CPR and First Aid to the teachers and students at the school. God has opened a door and a ministry for me to be able to help the Dominicans in an emergency. We have held community classes as well, with many of the people from Juan Tomás attending.
Please pray with me that we can get every student sponsored in the school and as this ministry of First Aid continues on that we can reach many for the Lord.
I was asked to join the board, and count it a privilege to serve with these other men and women, with each having the same goals in mind for the Dominican. Pray for each of us as we serve on the board and minister to the Dominicans.
My full time job is with the Ashland Co Sheriff's Office in Ashland Ohio as a 911 Dispatcher. We have 402 sq miles of County, 10 Fire Dept's, City Police, County Sheriff, and 3 village Police Dept's to manage.
I was blessed to go on the first trip taken with Dad (Carl Key) to the DR during the summer of 1981 which was in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Mansfield Christian School. After that trip I was very moved by the country. Over the next six years God allowed me to go on numerous trips including the first trip to the Village of Juan Tomás when the school grounds were an empty field. That first team helped construct the first dormitory on the grounds to allow people on future trips to be housed on site with the McMillans.
I also met my wife Sharon on a trip to the DR during the summer of 1986. Sharon was on a trip with Dayton Christian School.
After my graduation from Taylor University in 1986 with a degree in accounting and my marriage to my wife in 1987 the time for trips was not available. I was then employed with a public accounting firm. I have been preparing the form 990 to file with the IRS for Partners In Christ for many years now and have also been a member of the board. Since then my children Lauren and Aaron have been blessed with the opportunity to go on missions trips to the DR. Benjamin my youngest child was also able to return with all of us to the DR for the first time during the summer of 2008 to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary and 27 years of their ministry in the DR.
Paul and Linda McMillan were two of the first full-time missionaries that I ever met. As a member of Berean Baptist Church in Mansfield since 1988, I would hear reports from Paul about what the Lord was doing in Juan Tomas. Our Sunday School class would get periodic updates from Roger Clay, one of the Partners in Christ board members, after his trips to the D.R. Our hearts were touched by Roger’s reports of the many needs that he saw in the people of this village. My husband Mark and I began supporting Paul and Linda’s work.
In 2010, I was asked to help with the sponsorship program at Fountain of Life Christian School. The past 28 years I had spent raising our children and caring for our family. Our children were now in college, and my previous training and experience had been in office administration, so I was interested in helping with the administration of sponsorship for the students at Fountain of Life. I see now that God’s perfect timing was at work here. After one year of my becoming familiar with the sponsorship process, the previous sponsorship chairperson was diagnosed with cancer and I was able to continue the work without interruption. Since 2010, I have traveled to the D.R. several times and fallen in love with the precious students and staff at the school. I have led groups of sponsors to the school, including attending graduation with one sponsor when both of our students were graduating.
It is a blessing to visit Fountain of Life and see the love and gratitude of the students as they greet me with smiles and hugs. But I have to say that just as important to me as the children, is my relationship with the sponsors who give with generosity, love, commitment, and sacrifice. It is my desire to provide continuous communication with sponsors that will enable them to know how important they are to their students and to always know that they are making a difference in the spiritual and academic lives of the children in Juan Tomas.
How did I get started in the work of the Dominican Republic? It began with Hurricane David which did great damage to the DR. Carl Key was on staff at Mansfield Christian School and I was MCS Board Treasurer when he organized the school’s 20th Anniversary Celebration with a car wash in the Spring of 1981. The kids washed 3517 cars and raised $60,000 for a relief project in the DR with Food for the Hungry at the Haitian village of Caballona. What followed was the formation and incorporation of Partners in Christ on October 17, 1985.
1985 was the early beginnings of a Christian school and I.B.S.J Church in Santo Domingo, Carl Key was the director and now Lester Flaquer directs the school Colegio Cristiano Logos. Lester calls me Carl’s Shadow. As Logos developed there was a need for teacher housing which led to the purchase of 4 housing shells that were jointly finished by Logos and Partners.
My wife, Barb has had the opportunity to teach Calligraphy at Logos and Juan Tomás, Fountain of Life.
We have enjoyed having many Dominicans in our home and being with them on our visits to the DR.
I first met Paul and Linda and the girls at I.B.S.J Church in Santo Domingo and then on the farm. My first Awareness of the McMillan family was in 1964 as a student at Le Tourneau College when my college friend Steve Carper’s dad went into the Congo to rescue the family. The story is told in the book by Homer Dowdy, Out of the Jaws of the Lion.
I have worked in the logistics of the original 2 goats, school bus, van, computers, sponsorship, teachers to the U.S. etc.
In the Spring of 1991 I took my niece Shelly to Juan Tomás and on her return in the summer as a college Spanish major she set up the child sponsorship program with 35 students, Nael, a 7 year old boy, was our first child to sponsor, he is now 22 yrs. old. We now have the joy and privilege of sponsoring four girls.
On July 1, 1998 Jeff Morris introduced us to the U.S. Housing project opportunity which became PIC Housing on Feb.12, 1999 which resulted in two $300,000 grants from the State of Ohio for the development and building of the 180 apartments known as Cedar Wood and Oak Wood. Jeff and I worked together on this project for Partners in Christ with Miller Valentine.
I have served as Partners Vice president and President from 1985 to 2007 and Trustee since inception.
Most of my time has been in vision, organization, development, strategy, finances and friendship.
I retired from 40 years of Manufacturing , the first half as a Vice President with Therm-O-Disc, Emerson Electric and then as Owner and President of Voisard Manufacturing.
It is a joy to serve with Partners in Christ in the U.S. and the DR.
Eric D. Abel, M.A. has served on the Partners in Christ Foundation Board since 2010. His passion is to honor Jesus Christ in every aspect of life. His professional experience includes being a Career Counselor and Resume Preparer at Quality Skills Inc. located in Mansfield, Ohio, and working in Christian School Administration at various schools.
Serving the Lord by serving people is one of the driving forces in Eric's life. Eric trusted Jesus Christ as a child, and this relationship is growing and powerful. His parents, Doug and Becky Abel, who were both teachers in the local public school, were compelled to send him to Mansfield Christian School where he received sound Biblical teaching and strong academic instruction.
It is Eric's passion to see others know Jesus Christ, love Him, and to be educated from a Christ centered perspective.
Eric, his wife Christy, and their three children all attend the Bethel Baptist Church located in Savannah, Ohio. Eric finds great satisfaction serving and being a part of Bethel. He serves on the Deacon board, is involved with the Men's Ministry, leads worship, and teaches a Sunday school class.
The Lord has shown both mercy and grace towards me and for that I am eternally thankful. He provided me with the initial opportunities to visit Haiti in 2010 and the Dominican Republic in 2014. Though my family had sponsored a child at the Fountain of Life school for many years, we did not appreciate the need and love that existed in Juan Tomas until we went there ourselves. Now we see the amazing hand of God at work, coordinating the body of Christ from across the Americas to rise up a people to exalt his name and expand his kingdom.
I have an Electrical Engineering degree from the Ohio State University, with further education at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin and Liberty University. Much of my vocational experience has been in business development and strategy development. My wife, Stephanie, has a Journalism degree from the Ohio State University and became a certified English Teacher through Ashland University. We have been married since 1999 and have three children: Melina, Celia, and Will. Our ministry experience includes outreach to the poor, bible study leadership, teaching children, and other board membership.
He was called to salvation by the grace of God at the age of 29 years through the testimony of his wife and ministry of the Bible Church of Jesus Christ. Lester is an industrial engineer, a profession he practiced at the time of his conversion. Then he began his training for ministry in the Spurgeon Pastoral School, where he graduated in 1988. Since 1989 Lester is the Managing Director of Logos Christian College, a division of Logos Educational Foundation-sponsored Bible Church of Jesus Christ. In 1990 he became part of the board of pastors at IBSJ where he teaches Sunday School and preaches. He is also the Director for the Dominican Republic and the Spanish Speaking Caribbean Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), based in Colorado Springs, CO. Lester was elected to the board of Partners In Christ in 2010.
Pastor Flaquer is married to Laura Gómez and they have three children: Laura, Gabriela and William.
In December 2014 I graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a Bachelors of Science Degree of Christian Ministry. Also, in December I married my beautiful wife Melinda. Currently I am serving at Grace Church Bath Campus in Akron, Ohio working in Student Ministries specifically with the worship teams, but also doing teaching and developing as well. I am also attending Trinity to obtain my Masters Degree in Theological Studies. My wife also recently graduated from college with a Physical Therapist Assistant degree.
In high school I made my first trip to the Dominican Republic and have since made several trips back, and many great relationships with people I met during my time there. I am constantly amazed at the work the Lord is doing in the DR, and look forward to any way I can play a part in His work there.
As an educator my main interest is in preparing teachers and students to enter our world with a Christian world view. This is my goal whether in the US or in the DR. It was exciting for me to be one of the speakers at the teacher training session in the winter of 2008 at Jarabacoa.
My wife, Carol, was a co-leader of our youth group's trip, Ashland Grace Brethren Church, in the summer of 2007. We are sponsors of several of the students of Fountain of Life Christian School.
Carol and I are both teachers. She teaches 2nd grade and I teach high school Bible. I am a graduate of Grace College, Grace Theological Seminary, Andersonville Baptist Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Nineteen eighty seven was my first trip to the Dominican Republic to lay block and pour cement to erect a school in San Jose de Ocoa via Partners In Christ. I traveled with a group from Dayton Christian School that year to help with the Food for the Hungry project. The t-shirt from that trip is faded and hanging in the closet. I am a little faded too but still active in Dominican Republic ministries. This coming year will be my 4th year of participation with Summer English Camp in Juan Tomás. My church, Grace Presbyterian in Columbus, has really taken an interest in this ministry as youth and adults have established friendships and significant interest in the country just as I have.
God uses many gifts of His people and it has been a joy for me to serve in the Dominican. Through the late 80's and 90's I used my agricultural background to help Linda McMillan establish and sustain her goat project. I am most remembered for helping to transport a re-conditioned old school bus with 2 grown kids from Mansfield to Miami destined for Santo Domingo. The grown kids are a.k.a. Nelson and Douglas, Nubian goats from a Morrow County farm. The bus made it to Logos Christian School and Nelson and Douglas arrived from a long journey to the McMillan Farm. The bus has served for several years getting Dominican kids to and from Logos while the grown kids helped to sire a prize-winning dairy for Linda.
The rewards of working in the Dominican Republic are obviously many for me. Firstly, to witness those things that only God could do and second, to introduce me to my life partner. In 2002 I married a beautiful Dominican Christian, Estelita Rivas. Presently she and I live in Johnstown, OH. I am a Hydrology Technician for the US Department of Agriculture in Columbus and Estelita is the High School Spanish Teacher at Madison Christian School in Groveport.
As of 2007 I have been honored to be elected Vice President of Partners board. The founding member of Partners are still serving diligently and their shoes are extra large. Please pray with me and other board members for all God's guidance and direction to continue the legacy of this many faceted ministry. To work as a slave for Christ doing the will of God from my heart. Paraphrase from Ephesians 6:6.
I was "born into missions" in the jungles of Congo, Africa, where my parents were living and working. With my 5 brothers, I grew up actively participating in our parent's ministry, and knowing first hand how to live in a tropical environment where much of what we needed, material wise, had to be self made or adapted from what we could find or buy. I attribute my interest and love for missionary work to my parent's positive attitudes in the work they did for the Lord in Congo. Our family went through the Congo Rebellion in 1964, where many missionaries and national believers were martyred, including my father. God spared my mother and brothers and me because He had work for each of us to do for Him.
We returned to the States where I finished high school, 3 years and Moody Bible Institute, 2 years at Letourneau College and 3 years at Grace Theological Seminary. Linda and I were married following our graduation, me from the Seminary and Linda from Grace College. Each of us had sensed God calling us into missions, independently, before marriage, so we knew that God had a place for us to serve Him.
Although we thought it was in Congo, God closed that door and opened the door for us to come to the Dominican Republic in July, 1978, primarily to serve Him in a Bible Institute that had recently been closed due to lack of personnel. With the Bible training that Linda and I had received, and God working through us, we saw the Quisqueyano Bible Institute reopened and functioning for the six or so years that we ministered there.
Several of our former students are presently ministering in churches and schools here in the DR, including the Bible Church of Jesus Christ, where Logos Christian School is located.
After leaving the Bible Institute ministry, God allowed me to serve as one of the pastors of the Bible Church of Jesus Christ, and acquire good experience in that position.
In 1986, with our three daughters, Kathryn, Sandra and Carol, born here, our family was able to purchase property in Juan Tomas where we could have our little farm and raise our children. It was at that time that Carl Key came into the picture and the property that we had bought to have a family inheritance here, began, with Carl’s vision and work, to develop into a camp, then a small school, and now, some 25 years later, a full blown mission complex, with a large school and church, as well as our farm.
Our immediate family has expanded now to 6 grandchildren, four with Kathryn and David, here with us in the DR and 2 of Sandra’s, living with Carol in Charlotte, NC.
I am thankful for Partners in Christ and for all that God has done through them in the ministry here and with our family, as well as the privilege of being a part of the Partners in Christ board.
As long as God gives Linda and me the strength and breath, we will continue to serve Him here or where ever He might take us. May His name be praised!
My involvement with the Dominican people began with a parent/teacher volleyball game. Our son and daughter were attending Mansfield Christian. They both came home very excited because the school was planning their first mission trip to the D. R. in celebration of the school's 20th year. We wanted to go along as parents. Because Carl Key was in charge of the trip, I talked with him to find out if it were possible for us to go. He said when he and a small group of men from Mansfield had gone to check out the project in the D. R., they had prayed for certain people they knew might be able to use their occupational skills in the D.R. I was one of those people for which they prayed. My wife, daughter and I went on the first trip. As our son became old enough, he also went with us.
The Lord has blessed me using my electrical and maintenance hands on teaching skills on my 30 plus trips to the D. R. When I was a young boy, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and I want to continue to serve Him during the years He gives me. This mission work has brought me closer to Him in my service to others. I am looking forward to continue to work closely with the Dominican people through Partners In Christ.
My first experience in Dominican Republic came in May of 2013. I had been on several medical trips to South Africa and wanted to expand my experiences. The Lord opened my eyes to a great need in the DR. So many avenues to not only share medicine and help people, but to show Christ’s love. Since that trip, my desire to make a difference in DR has only grown.
II attended Tennessee Temple University for my undergraduate education and graduated from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2010. I began working at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio as a hospitalist for the intensive care unit.
My wife and I have been married for 12 years, and we have 3 beautiful children, Holland, Addi Kae, and Asher. My wife, Hillary, attended Tennessee Temple University as well with a Bachelor of Science in English. She continued her education and received a Master of Teaching from Liberty University in 2011.
We hope and pray the Lord will use us to make a tremendous difference in the Dominican Republic.