JEFFERSON CITY — Teams from First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, have ministered through medical expertise in the Dominican Republic for nearly three years. But in January, an FBC construction team got to help build an honor for the partnership’s leader.
First Baptist is in the last year of a three-year partnership with White Fields Missions, a medical mission organization, to work in the Caribbean nation. Members work with Phil and Donna Williams, a Canadian couple who established a medical outreach called Servant’s Heart Ministry five years ago.
Each June for two years, First Baptist has sent a medical team to work in established clinics and conduct mobile clinics. The church sent a team Jan. 22-30 to begin construction of a permanent clinic in Liberation.
The pastor of the church there had a vision for the village to have a clinic one day, noted Melissa Hatfield, First Baptist’s associate pastor of youth and missions. The Jefferson City congregation sent money for building supplies, and the team provided labor.
By the end of the week, they had a foundation and all the exterior walls erected.
“There was a community outpouring” of help, Hatfield added, that came as a surprise to the pastor and the Williams. “They were pleased by that…. The clinic will be a huge investment in the community.”
The team, including Dominican Republic partnership coordinator Dr. Lory Feeler, also received a surprise — community leaders named the clinic in Feeler’s honor at a groundbreaking and naming ceremony.
The Jefferson City-based family physician admitted the honor left her “speechless” and pointed to the ministry as a team effort.
“The Servant's Heart ministry and First Baptist involvement are truly a networked team. The money and team provided by FBC; the vision, labor and prayers of the church at Liberation; and the coordination expertise and wisdom of Phil and Donna Williams of Servant's Heart are where the credit belongs,” Feeler said by e-mail. “It is a special honor to be thanked for using the gifts God has given me. To God be the glory!”
In addition to the construction project, the First Baptist team carried funds and supplies for relief efforts in Haiti, devastated by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12. The church will send another medical team to the Dominican Republic in June.
This year the church also will minister at House of Hope for orphans in Naivasha, Kenya, as part of a partnership through national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
The Jefferson City congregation also has an ongoing relationship with a church in Lithuania and will begin a partnership on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with Wings as Eagles Ministries in June.