benerito, Dominican Republic
When you combine people from two different countries on a building project, you have to iron out a few differences in the process.
A group of South Dakota business people on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic isn't letting language and cultural barriers stand in the way.
In this community outside La Romana in the Dominican Republic live people with Haitian background. So you'll hear Spanish, some Creole and French too. The South Dakotans helping build a church here don't speak any of those.
"You know, it's been going great. There's a cooperative spirit amongst everybody and I've enjoyed working alongside them," Dave Rozenboom said.
Rozenboom is a banker from Sioux Falls. Rafael Javier a pastor in this city of Benerito.
"For us, it's a very big honor. We're very appreciative of their support and their work. Because of this, we're able to move forward," Javier said.
A northwest Iowa farmer volunteers in the Dominican during his off season and he's translating for the team members along with coordinating their trip. But with nine team members, one of him and a lot of work to get done, the people need to do what they can to get by.
"Hand signals or you might find a common word and build on that. But we're working construction so we can kind of find some common language," Rozenboom said.
But it isn't the different languages anyone on this project is even thinking about. It's the work that's getting done.
This church will house a growing congregation of people.
"It's important to us because right now, we are renting a house and also in the night, evening when we have another service and more people attend, it's like we're packed into a can," Javier said.
The team members from South Dakota are happy this new building will meet that need through block laid and cement poured by a Spanish tongue, English or any other too.
"I've just been amazed at the interest of the people and the ownership they have in building their church. And it's just wonderful to come along side them and give them a boost in the arm," Rozenboom said.
Team and congregation members hope they have a building close enough to finished to dedicate together as well by the end of the week.
If a difference of opinion comes up during construction, congregation members will have the final say since it's their church.