Pastor Mariana of the Dominican Republic. She is helping build the church that she leads!
It may be surprising to hear, but the Dominican Republic is the 4th worst country in the world for sex trafficking, and has the highest rates for femicide and domestic violence against women in the Caribbean; it is in this setting that Sharon Thomas is working to see the women and girls of the Dominican Republic realize their God-given potential. Women of Destiny, a ministry started by Sharon, is an outreach to female leaders of all evangelical denominations. Through this ministry women are being trained and empowered to lead in their communities and bring the life-changing message of Jesus. This is remarkable in a setting where women are seen as "second class citizens". Sharon reports that women used to come to her and ask her to pray for a sick person in their church. She would tell them that God wants to use them; this encouragement, backed with training has raised up bright, capable passionate female leaders in a country in need.
One of these leaders isPastor Mariana. When Sharon first met Pastor Mariana she was working with her husband and three small children, holding services for a congregation of twenty under a tree and a piece of tin next to her house. Her neighbours were complaining about the services and they were being threatened with being kicked out by their landlord.
A small piece of land was given to the church to build, but with a small congregation who barely have enough food to feed themselves each day, the dream of building a church was just that –a dream. Just one year later, with the help of Every Day Ministries Canada and the PAOC, she was not only in her own beautiful church building, but attending Bible School, discipling 40 new members in her church, and holding outreaches and crusades for her community and the surrounding areas. God saw and heard the prayers of this faithful woman, and He answered them.
Pastor Mariana's story is just one out of hundreds of women and girls in the Dominican Republic. ZOE Projects is thrilled to be coming along side Sharon and the women of the DR to strengthen the leadership training of these women. We believe that when you invest in the lives of women and girls, the impact of the investment expands exponentially. This next Spring, ZOE Projects will be helping provide sponsorships to the Women of Destiny Retreat as well as resources to give these women the tools that they need to succeed! Consider donating to ZOE Projects to support this awesome work!
Pastor Mariana at the new church building dedication!