Diverse Bonds: from East LA to Dominican Republic, and Beyond
A partnership through prayer and diverse leadership enables national transformation
“He was the man from my vision!” Chris Rattay exclaimed, remembering when he met Stanley. Chris is the pastor of New Life Community Church (the SP Lincoln Heights partner church), and was praying about where to send a ministry team from his church when he saw an image of a man beckoning him, “Come to the Dominican Republic.” And at his church association conference, he met this man: Stanley Philippe.
Stanley is the pastor of Iglesia Comunidad Multicultural in the Dominican Republic, a church made up of Haitian immigrants and Dominicans–likely, the only one of its kind in a country suffering with racism and xenophobia. When they met, Chris explained his vision and asked Stanley if he might bring some members of New Life on a missions trip.
“When Stanley learned that our church members spoke Spanish and came mostly from Latin American backgrounds, he was excited,” he said. “Stanley’s church had previously hosted teams from all-white churches who lacked cross-cultural experience, so he had been asking God to send a more diverse group of leaders.” Immediately upon traveling to the Dominican Republic, the East Los Angeles natives of New Life Community Church bonded with the people of Iglesia Comunidad Multicultural.
“For many of our folks, the trip there was their first time outside of Los Angeles.” Chris reflected. “It’s easy to get consumed with the unending needs of our own community, but we’re always supposed to love outside of our community–that brings great perspective, hope, and healing to the ministry at home.”
While there, the New Life members were trained in evangelism, discipleship, and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Stanley expressed that his people felt empowered seeing people that looked like them and affected by poverty raising money to follow Jesus to another country–so they did the same, sending their own people to Cuba! Stanley and Chris began an international friendship and partnership, as members from their respective churches learned from another and Stanley’s church multiplied to 13 different locations throughout the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
“The movement in the Dominican Republic is so effective because they understand the experience of global poverty in ways that we simply don’t–and on the flipside, they’ve sought people from North America to partner with them to open doors, give resources, and advocate,” Chris said. “Stanley is clear about how white Christian mission agencies have harmed his own island and community–but he’s also clear that he needs white people who trust his leadership and will walk alongside the movement of God in the Dominican Republic. As a white North American living under his authority, I’ve learned that this is the right way to minister when we cross borders. We need to be led by these leaders.”
“It’s easy to get consumed with the unending needs of our own community, but we’re always supposed to love outside of our community–that brings great perspective, hope, and healing to the ministry at home.”
This international partnership is formalized under Servant Partners’ National Movements Initiative–an effort to connect locally led movements addressing urban poverty. Through this partnership–and others in Asia and Africa–Servant Partners hopes to expand church-planting and community transformation efforts throughout urban communities through prayer, capacity-building, coaching, and more. In the Dominican Republic, this partnership is enabling church-planting throughout the Caribbean, capacity-building through a revolving loan program, and training of new missions teams. You can learn more and support the National Movements Initiative at www.servantpartners.org/vision2030.