More than anything in recent years, COVID-19 has highlighted the strength and dedication of our residential ministries in the Dominican Republic, as our three projects in close collaboration are adapting well to minister effectively during these difficult times. In mid-March, to keep children and caregivers safe, our campuses were closed, with children and parents safely sequestered, along with adequate food supply in anticipation of possible shortages. To ensure children’s safety, entry to the residential homes was restricted to essential caregivers while older youth took on the responsibilities of cleaning and other chores. Directors and parents at the residential sites created “summer camp type” schedules integrating academics, devotions, recreation, and other special activities such as a movie night, picnics, and a dress-up gala to keep children’s spirits high. We are now planning a special summer vacation for our house parents to give them a two-week break from shouldering the much heavier responsibilities due to the pandemic.

Sheltered together in close proximity with limited support and no interaction with others outside the walls, families have bonded more closely and the youth have embraced additional responsibilities, and many have grown spiritually. All are grateful for the protection and provision they have received during this unique time.