This letter is written by Nelson, VisionTrust Director in the Dominican Republic.
It was December 2000 and we were a few blocks away from the Market in the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo. My friend and Founder of VisionTrust, Dr. Ernie Taylor, was in the Dominican Republic to celebrate a special Christmas time with the children at the Tia Tatiana School in Herrera, but that day he took an extra few minutes to sit with me and make the final arrangements for my new job. Our good conversation ended with words of prayer, a shake of hands, and—if I remember correctly—a soft hug. A few weeks later, after the Christmas holidays were over and the children were back in school, I went to Herrera. However this time I wasn’t a visitor as I’d been many times before, but part of the staff. Monday, January 15, 2001 was my first day with VisionTrust.
I invite you to read this brochure Ernie made in those early days:
I have not changed a bit in 15 years!
As I read this and look back all these years, my heart is full of gratitude to my Lord Jesus because He first gave Ernie such a clear vision for the future. He called many people in the USA and in the DR to participate in this idea and gave me the wonderful opportunity to enjoy this journey and the ability to celebrate the fruits.
Grace School will be the base of operation. For 12 years, one of the classrooms at Grace School was the office for Visiontrust Dominicana and from there 12 other programs were incorporated into the ministry, all while Grace School was also being expanded.
It will reach out to address the many needs in the community of Herrera. The transformation over the years of Grace school—from pre-school to primary level and the addition of the high school; adding the water purification plant, a local church, and basketball teams; providing house repairs, food, medicine, and much more—are a constant reminder of God’s work in this community. The same has also been projected to the other locations where VisionTrust is today in the DR.
Programs for children, teens, and adults, including Bible studies, discipleship, arts, music, computer classes, sports, and after school tutorials. This is exactly what VisionTrust Dominicana is today, not only in Herrera but in the many communities we are serving around the country.
To my dear friend Ernie and his wife Carol, along with all the donors, church partners, friends, mission team members, and all the precious Dominican people that the Lord brought together to accomplish His vision: I want to say from the deepest part of my heart, THANK YOU!! It has been a great honor and a wonderful pleasure to be part of this team!
I waited for the new year in a prayer retreat with my pastor and many church members. One of the speakers brought a sermon based on John 5, The healing of the Paralytic of Bethesda. The Lord took me back to that passage many times in the first days of 2016 to ask me a similar question he asked the man. After 38 years being a paralytic, His question was, “Do you want to be healed?” And in my heart the Lord was asking me, “After 15 years of intense work, with so many highs and also lows, seeing progress in so many children but also not so much in some, after so many goals accomplished and others that are still pending, do you still want? Do you still want to see the children being transformed? Do you still dream big? Do you still have the passion for the lost?” I was for many days confronted by the Lord in my prayers until I replied with great conviction, “YES LORD! I still want!”
As I take a look to the past, it’s with great joy I see the path we’ve been and I can share so many stories of God’s faithfulness. I see my team, from being the first person employed to now leading a team of 13 in my office and over 250 staff across all programs indirectly. The number of teams that come every year have grown; the size of our budget has grown; a lot more children are being transformed; improvements are being made to the facilities, tools, equipment, technology, and so much more. I see it all as the preparation for the future. I am so much looking forward to the next 15 years and all the times we will see God at work and pouring his blessings on us.
I praise the Lord because he has blessed me with my family. I married Sobeyda one year after I joined VisionTrust. She’s been with me in good and bad times—we’ve been here together and God is with us. Our children Nelson Oscar, Hector Paul, and Sonely are my treasure. If you ask me, I don’t have material things I can show I own, nor have I accumulated wealth over the years, but I do have peace and joy in my heart to know I am where God’s purpose is for me and He will take care of me and my family every day! I was thinking about this a few days ago and the Lord blessed me with this devotional by Rick Warren. It will only take you a minute to read.
Thanks for being my friend, my partner, my supporter, my host, my guest and much more! It’s been wonderful to serve the Lord with you.
Pablo Paulino (Nelson), Visiontrust Dominicana