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The Toothbrush and the Electrician: Caminante Works

Before and After Moments

We all have had before and after moments, particularly after tragedies like the Oklahoma City bombing, church shootings or tragic accidents. And when we were close to people affected by these tragedies, nothing was the same in the “after”.

That’s how people who visited Caminante feel. You go to a homework room where 20 children, who have been denied education, are now being given a second chance. You sit beside little children and help them with their coloring. Afterwards, they give you a hug and say “Gracias amigos”. And later you realize, that a few of these children, without Caminante, would have fallen into sexual exploitation or sexual trafficking. Closeness changes you and changes how you see this mission.

Your group gave me a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

More importantly, hope for a better future.
Thank you Oklahoma!

The Toothbrush and The Electrician

In my 2019 visit to Caminante, a young man sat down beside me at dinner. He said through a translator, “You probably don’t recognize me. I was 10 years old when your group gave me a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste and more importantly hope for a better future. Because of Caminante, I completed my education. Now, eleven years later, I am an electrician at the large cement plant on this island.” (In the factory world, electricians are often the most skilled and highly paid workers and they have the utmost job security.) “I came here to shake your hand and say thank you Oklahoma. You gave me and my family a good future.” His story is why people, who saw how Caminante makes a difference, ask for your help.

Providing Education and More

COVID-19 continues to devastate jobs in the tourist business in the seaside town of Boca Chica where Caminante is located. In addition to education and social services, Caminante is now also providing food, medical and personal hygiene supplies to families they serve. COVID has made the work of Caminante more difficult, more expensive and more urgent.

We’ll Double Your Donation

People who have seen the before-and-after as a result of Caminante, have put up $5000 in matching money for contributions in 2021. As a result, the difference you make with your donation is doubled.

As an individual, will you donate to our ministry in Caminante?
Would your church like to donate to our ministry in Caminante?

Make your check payable to 
Christian Church in Oklahoma – Caminante

Send it to:
Christian Church in Oklahoma
301 N.W. 36th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Would you like to learn more? We are pleased to speak about Caminante at your Sunday School, in worship or at a Fellowship dinner.

Thank you for your continued generosity. Your generosity changes lives.

Rev. Don Johnson
580-402-2612

2021-03-04T15:26:30-06:00Mar 4, 2021|Mission|0 Comments

February Prayer with Global Ministry Partners Maria and Nishan Bakalian

Nishan and Maria Bakalian, serving in Lebanon with the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, are two of our Global Ministries co-mission workers.  In the summer of 2019, they were back in the U.S. attending Disciples summer camps sharing their stories, faith, and lives.  Our Region hosted Maria and Nishan for a week of summer camp.  Maria at Chi Rho/CYF at Texoma Camp and Nishan at CYF Camp at Central Camp.

For Christmas this year, the Region received two gifts related to Global Ministries. The first was our insurance company, the UCC Insurance Board, who made a contribution to Global Ministries in honor of the Oklahoma Region. The second was from Global Ministries who created a collection of business cards, each with a mission co-worker’s or home-based staff’s photo, name, place of service, favorite scripture, and website to read about their mission, and who also published Nothing Can Separate Us, a book of prayers written by each mission co-worker and home-based staff. As a way to connect with our siblings around the world, we will be highlighting our mission co-workers and home-based staff and joining them in prayer.


God, our rock, our refuge, our hope,

As we wander through this wilderness, doubting we will ever emerge into a place of promise and joy, the voice of fear wells up within us, overpowering your strengthening presence.  We cling to you as we seek that voice resounding in our hearts and reflecting in our actions.  Remind us anew that this earthly reality is one that you faced in Christ Jesus.  From birth, to the cross, and through the resurrection from the dead you showed us that even death cannot stand in the way of your victory.  Help us to live in your victory, as we take care to protect others from disease, some of us risking our lives to do so.  Inspire us to extend a hand to those whose greatest burden may be one of affording daily bread, or paying tuition, or finding and keeping employment, or caring for someone very old or very young.  May your self-giving love be perfected within us, casting out all fear. May the coverings we wear never cover the radiant beauty of Jesus emanating from hearts filled with the grace and truth of your spirit.

Amen.

Nothing Can Separate Us, Global Ministries 2020.

2021-02-08T08:32:38-06:00Feb 8, 2021|Mission|0 Comments

Congregations Foster Feet

Foster Feet, a ministry of Central Christian Church in  Enid, recently donated 63 pairs shoes and socks  to First Christian Church Midwest City to support  their “Christmas for Others” program. Every Christmas, for the past 50 years, “Christmas for Others” has provided clothing, shoes and other necessities to families in the Midwest City area. This year, they will serve 60 families with over 200 family members. In 2020, Foster Feet will have provided over 900 new pair of shoes primarily to children ages 4 to 17 in Garfield as well as several other counties in Oklahoma.

In 2020, the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation provided grants to both of these churches for these ministries. This is a good example of how Disciples of Christ churches in Oklahoma, with the help of the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation and the Christian Church in Oklahoma, make a difference by working together.

2020-12-07T14:09:16-06:00Dec 7, 2020|Congregations, Mission|1 Comment

Friends of Caminante

May 12, 2020

Dear Friends of Caminante,

We always thank you for your support of the Oklahoma Region’s ministry to Caminante in the Dominican Republic, both with your prayers and your contributions. We also want to let you know how this ministry has been changing because of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.

For obvious reasons, the Region cancelled both the Spring Break and July 2020 mission trips to Caminante. However, this mission needs the financial support of the Oklahoma Region more than ever. The remainder of this letter will outline Caminante’s current situation, Oklahoma’s continued financial support, future mission trips, and matching gifts.

Caminante’s Current Situation

The Oklahoma Region joined with Global Ministries in walking alongside Caminante in the Dominican Republic more than ten years ago through People-to-People Pilgrimages and through annual, ongoing financial support. Through the Global Ministries People-to-People Pilgrimage program, Caminante graciously has hosted individuals from the Oklahoma Region in order to help gain a better understanding of the current realities faced by families in Boca Chica. Caminante has created ways for participants to learn how Caminante is working to protect the rights of children and the displaced, and providing a space for creativity and learning. Through reflections from adults of all ages who have gone on a pilgrimage to the Dominican Republic, it is clear Caminante has had a positive influence on the understanding of God’s global mission for church leaders and members from the Oklahoma region.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire globe, the effects in the Dominican Republic, as in other places, will be lasting and even more challenging. Amid this unprecedented time, the work of Caminante will be more relevant and more critical for their community. The support from the Oklahoma Region for sisters and brothers in Christ at Caminante in the Dominican Republic will be a symbolic and tangible gesture of continued solidarity and partnership with Caminante in this new reality.

Oklahoma Region’s Financial Support of Caminante

Since 2008, the Oklahoma Region has provided $7,200 annual support to Caminante. In 2019, this annual support was increased to $9,000 to help meet Sister Denisse’s #1 priority.

In 2020, The Oklahoma Region will send $9,000 to Caminante to continue our support in the ministry and partnership we share.

We are only able to do this by your continued support, alongside the Region, the Commission on Faith & Action, Central Christian Church in Enid, and the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation grant.

Future Mission Trips

We celebrate that 2019 mission trips to Caminante continues to engage the lives of the participants as they hear God’s call to serve: two trip participants made the decision to go into overseas missionary work; one participant became a youth minister and is an active fundraiser for Caminante; one participant became an active fundraiser for Caminante; a retired ordained minister is exploring more calls to active ministry.

While mission trips are engaging and life-changing, due to the world health crisis, we do not know when we will be able to travel again.  Thus, we will need to reimagine our ministry and mission partnership with Caminante in this new reality.

Matching Gifts

As the Oklahoma Region continues its support of Caminante in 2020 and 2021, we need your help.  We are asking you for a monetary gift to continue to support this mission to help the children of Caminante.  We are excited to let you know that your contribution will be matched by a generous donor who has offered to match all gifts, up to a total of $2,000.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give!

Thank you for your support of the Oklahoma Region’s mission to Caminante.  Please send your contribution to Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma, 301 NW 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73118 or electronically at okdisciples.org.  Either way, please make the designation “Caminante.”

In addition to your donation, please continue to keep Caminante in your prayers.

Additional Questions

If you have any questions about Caminante and how it is dealing with the coronavirus, you may contact Don Johnson at donj@centralenid.org or Madison Rubino at madison.rubino@gmail.com.  Madison (shown in picture above) visited Caminante on the 2019 Spring and Summer mission trips.  Because she is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about this ministry, she has recently talked with Sister Denisse and other Caminante staff.

Peace & God’s Grace,

Rev. Don Johnson                              Rev. Tom Stanley                   Rev. Pamela G. Holt
Caminante Leader                              Moderator                          Regional Minister

2020-05-20T11:47:42-05:00May 5, 2020|Mission|Comments Off on Friends of Caminante

July 2020 Caminante Mission Trip!

The March 2020 Caminante mission trip to the Dominican Republic has been cancelled. However, the summer mission trip will take place July 19 – 25, 2020. If you feel led to travel with this ministry, please call the Regional Office at 405-528-3577. There are scholarships available.

Those traveling to the Dominican Republic for the Caminante mission trip will help with the fair that serves around 300 children and teenagers over a three day period. While in the Dominican Republic you would participate in the following activities, including making coconut jewelry with Haitian teenagers, visiting a sugar cane plantation community, visiting the Caminante vocational school for hair braiding and haircuts, going to church Sunday evening in Boca Chica, and visiting Santo Domingo to tour the cathedral, the fort, and Christopher Columbus’ home.

You would also help take food to “street kids”, spend time with Sister Denisse, visit homework rooms, visit a major league baseball development camp, and play with the local children on the beach. As always the group will bring dental supplies for 300 children, baseball equipment, clothing, and school supplies.

The trip is for recent high school graduates through people in their early 80’s. The total cost is about $1,800 per person and partial scholarships are available.

If you feel led to join this ministry, call Rev. Don Johnson 580-402-2612 or the Regional Office 405-528-3577 for more details.

2020-02-10T10:40:06-06:00Dec 10, 2019|Mission|Comments Off on July 2020 Caminante Mission Trip!

Caminante Mission Complete!

The recent Caminante mission trip to Boca Chica, Dominican Republic was a safe and blessed journey. A special thank you to Bret Carter, Molly Carter, Madison Rubino, and Cecelia Tolley for traveling to serve others in the Dominican Republic. They worked with the children in the Caminante homework rooms and brought much needed resources to them. Most importantly, they showed them the love of Jesus with their kindness and sharing their time.

Madison Rubino, a Spanish teacher, blessed the trip by sharing her gift of language. Her gift quickly removes the language barrier, and provides an instant connection with the children. We give thanks for Bret, Molly, Madison, and Cecelia, choosing to share their individual gifts and talents with the Oklahoma Region, as well as with the children of Caminante.

We would also like to thank Rev. Don Johnson, Shauna Becker, and Beverly Rubino for their tireless fundraising work to fund this trip. We are so thankful for all of those that supported this Caminante mission trip, both in prayer and financially.

We thank the Lord for providing the resources to continue this worthy ministry. Oklahoma Disciples Foundation, Faith in Action Commission, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma provided generous grants and scholarships. Caminante also received many gifts from churches and individuals, which provided scholarships and money for teacher supplies. Without sharing the gifts, talents and money of those in our congregations and community, these trips would not be possible.

Click HERE, if you would like to make an online donation to Caminante to provide resources or scholarships.

2019-08-08T13:33:22-05:00Aug 7, 2019|Mission|Comments Off on Caminante Mission Complete!

Join Us in Prayer for the Upcoming Caminante Mission Trip

Please join us in prayer for Bret Carter, Molly Carter, Madison Rubino, and Cecelia Tolley, as they prepare to depart on July 21 for the Dominican Republic to bless the Caminante Ministry. We pray for their safe travels to and from Boca Chica and a blessed summer community fair for the children in Boca Chica.

This summer community fair serves around 300 children and teenagers over a three day period. While in the Dominican Republic the group will also help make coconut jewelry with Haitian teenagers, visit a sugar cane plantation community, visit the Caminante vocational school for hair braiding and haircuts, go to church Sunday evening in Boca Chica, and visit Santo Domingo to tour the cathedral, the fort, and Christopher Columbus’ home.

2019-07-24T10:24:35-05:00Jun 6, 2019|Mission|Comments Off on Join Us in Prayer for the Upcoming Caminante Mission Trip

Space Available to Join the Upcoming Caminante Mission Trip in July!

The next Caminante mission trip to the Dominican Republic will take place July 21-July 27. There is space available if you would like to work with the Caminante staff in the summer community fair.

This fair serves around 300 children and teenagers over a three day period. While in the Dominican Republic you would participate in the following activities, including making coconut jewelry with Haitian teenagers, visiting a sugar cane plantation community, visiting the Caminante vocational school for hair braiding and haircuts, going to church Sunday evening in Boca Chica, and visiting Santo Domingo to tour the cathedral, the fort, and Christopher Columbus’ home.

You would also help take food to “street kids”, spend time with Sister Denisse, visit homework rooms, visit a major league baseball development camp, and play with the local children on the beach. As always the group will bring dental supplies for 300 children, baseball equipment, clothing, and school supplies.

This is a very safe trip. The trip is for recent high school graduates through people in their early 80’s. The total cost is about $1,800 per person and partial scholarships are available.

If you feel led to join this ministry, call Shauna Becker 405-820-3178, Don Johnson 580-402-2612 or the Regional Office 405-528-3577 for more details.

2019-04-30T11:15:39-05:00Apr 30, 2019|Mission|Comments Off on Space Available to Join the Upcoming Caminante Mission Trip in July!

Caminante Mission Trip Update: March 2019

The group of Disciples of Christ volunteers have returned safely from the Caminante Mission Trip to Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Thank you to Shauna Becker, Blake Becker, Brian Becker, Rev. Donald Johnson, Esilla Regaldo, Beverly Rubino, Madison Rubino, and Shelby Rubino for giving of your time, money, and talents to serve others in this ministry.

In March 2019, eight people from three Oklahoma Disciples of Christ churches (Central Christian Church Enid, First Christian Church Edmond, First Christian Church Midwest City) went on a mission trip to Caminante in the Dominican Republic. The Oklahoma Disciples Foundation, the Oklahoma Region, and local churches provided partial scholarships to help the participants with their trip expenses.

The group took ten suitcases of clothing, baseball equipment, and dental supplies for the local children. They made crafts with the children in the homework rooms and made coconut jewelry with Haitian teenage orphans. They visited the sugar cane plantations and walked the streets of Boca Chica at night to deliver supper to orphans “street children”.

They visited the vocational school where young adults learn job skills that provide them with job opportunities for living wages. They worshiped in a church in the capital city of Santo Domingo and had devotion time every evening. The group talked about how they saw the face of Jesus in the work of Caminante.

The group of Disciples saw first-hand how Sister Denise, volunteers, and her staff change the lives of children, teenagers, and young adults. They were told that when people from the United States come and support Caminante, “we bring them the love of Jesus Christ and we give them hope”.

  • Are you interested in going on a mission trip to Caminante in late July 2019 or March of 2020? Call the Regional Office for more information. 405-528-3577
  • Would you like a speaker to come to your church and share about the Caminante Ministry? Call the Regional Office to arrange a visit. 405-528-3577

Do you want to help support Caminante? Here is how:

DONATE: Support Caminante by giving a monetary donation. Click HERE to give online. (Use the “Other” Category and note “Caminante”). You may also mail a donation to the Oklahoma Regional Office at 301 NW 36th, Oklahoma City, OK 73118

PRAY: Pray for the ministry, for the people planning to travel in July, and the children of the Dominican Republic.

TRAVEL: Consider traveling for the next mission trip in July 2019.

2019-04-08T10:21:51-05:00Apr 8, 2019|Mission|Comments Off on Caminante Mission Trip Update: March 2019

2019 Caminante Mission Trips to the Dominican Republic

The Oklahoma Region is planning two mission trips to Caminante in the Dominican Republic in 2019:

  •       March 16 – 23, 2019 (This trip is now full. Contact the Regional Office to be put on a waiting list)
  •       July 21 – 30, 2019

These mission trips not only change the lives of the participants, but they also change the lives of the children we minister to through Caminante.

The first trip will take place around March 16-23, 2019. Those traveling will spend 7 or 8 days visiting the different ministries of Caminante. This trip is educational in nature. You will have the opportunity to observe the different programs at the vocational school and visit Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic. You will work with local children in the homework rooms and have the opportunity to help the local teenagers make coconut jewelry.

The second trip will take place around July 21-30, 2019. You would spend 8 or 9 days working with the Sister Denisse and the Caminante staff as they minister to children in their summer community fair. This fair is similar to our Vacation Bible Schools. You would help the children play games, make crafts, help with lessons and serve snacks and lunch. The fair reaches about 250 children each day. What a blessing!

You will assist in taking this fair to one or two villages where Haitian immigrants live and have the opportunity to observe the different programs at the vocational school. You will visit and experience Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic.

These trips are safe and secure. The lodging is in a nice, clean hotel. There are age appropriate activities for recent high school graduates as well as older adults.

The total cost per participant for these trips will be between out $1700 to $1850 per person. This includes airfare, lodging, all meals, trip and medical insurance and sight-seeing expenses.

Partial scholarships are available for all participants. If you feel led to join this ministry please call the Regional Office 405-528-3577 or Don Johnson 580-402-2612 for more information.

2019-01-08T11:31:29-06:00Dec 18, 2018|Mission|Comments Off on 2019 Caminante Mission Trips to the Dominican Republic