Attack in Mucha Agua Dominican Republic June 2014


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a report from Gary Klein about the attack on ministry property in Mucha Agua Dominican Republic

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Attack in Mucha Agua Dominican Republic June 2014

  1. 1. JUNE 7TH 2014 REPORT ON CONDITIONS IN DOM. REP. FOLLOWING ATTACK ON OUR MISSION CENTER in MUCHA AGUA A SMALL COMMUNITY IN CAMBITA, IN THE SAN CRISTOBAL PROVINCE. As many of you that are following world missions are aware there are many attacks on the development of Evangelical Churches all over the world. In a seemingly safe and stable country with a democratic government like the Dominican Republic with solid ties to the United States one would expect there to be no problem with church persecution. This is a small country on an island in the heart of the Caribbean where thousands of tourists come to enjoy our pristine beaches and rich colorful culture, one would expect religious and racial tolerance to be the norm, and it is most of the time. This is a country that allows foreigners to buy and own land, and encourages offshore investment in their thriving economy. There are so many government institutions dedicated to all kinds of agricultural and industrial development one would quickly determine that this is a safe country for a foreign national to invest in. There are many “Industrial free zones” where well known American and European companies have manufacturing plants and thousands of local citizens are employed at earning what we in America would consider to be “Sweat-shop wages” these are some of the best paid and sought after jobs on the island here. The better jobs are all those related to tourism, having to learn second languages, and go to college to learn how to keep these tourists happy and coming back is a big industry in itself here. Over 10% of our the Dominican GNP is directly related to tourism, taxes related to travel and tour and hotel related consumption, it is a big industry here mostly enjoyed in and around the country’s beaches, and the major city of Santo Domingo. Of all the tourist sites on the island the beach and it’s water sport related activities bring in the most money. Communities that don’t have beaches or tourists, try desperately to get one of these “Tax Free Zones” so their citizens have access to a job with enough income to earn a living. There are in this country thousands of foreign missionaries working and living in every community. The most popular communities for a mission family to choose to live are in the major cities, and tourist towns where there are a lot of things to do, and better infrastructure, electric, water, shopping, phone and internet service, and safety in police presence. Most missionaries live a very sheltered life under almost “Normal American “ conditions here in the Dominican Republic. For these people they live in and around a culture in which they mostly just “Blend-in” and are in no way all that notable. They come and go and do their “Mission Work” in complete peace and harmony with the surrounding culture. For some of us missionaries we are called to work (by the Lord) in less desirable areas. Places where there is little or no work available, people are poor, and there are very few foreign nationals of any kind. We have found our selves to be called to work in just such a location here in the countryside of the town of Cambita. This town is located just 30 miles away from the capital city of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. While Santo Domingo has almost 3 million inhabitants, the town of Cambita has less than 15,000 including all of it’s smaller neighborhoods scattered all over the mountains in the area. Here the roads are bad, the electric system is underdeveloped, and most people don’t have running water of any kind. Most are “self-employed” and do all kinds of “Agricultural” work of provide some kind of free-lance service that they offer to their neighbors for a meager price. Money is very hard to generate, there are no tourists, no
  2. 2. manufacturing companies, no government jobs that pay well, no college, and no future. Their homes are made of local palms (which are actually illegal to cut), a few bags of cement, and imported tin for their roofing. They collect water from rain off of their roofs, and collect it in storage tanks (which is a big mosquito producing problem), walk long distances with 5 gallon jugs of water from all kinds of marginal sources in the area. This consumes most of their time, as they never have enough water to keep their homes and clothes clean. A missionary called to work in this type of environment is instantly one of the wealthiest residents in the area, and hence a subject of great envy. To have water, electric when you need it (even if from a generator), and some reliable form of communication is readily noted. Having food every day to eat, and having transportation (especially a car) is instantly an issue that everyone spends time talking about. Talk is the only affordable form of recreation here, and they spend most of their free time (which they have a lot of for lack of a job). Talk is cheap as the saying goes, and surely it is the only thing most of our neighbors have available to them. Here we have been called to “present the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. Because they have so little to talk about and our life seems so much more interesting than their own they spend a lot of time talking about us, watching us, and desiring what we have. For years now I have been known as “The American” for miles around. Not my wife Cindy, nor any of our now adult children. Just me Gary Klein “The American.” We offer free medical, Dental, and Eye Clinics. We offer free church services, movies with refreshments, birthday parties, weddings, Holiday parties, and a wide variety of other “Social Services” that the mission all pays for. Because this area is mostly with a “Welfare mentality” they expect free health care from the state, free food on occasion, free electric, and all kinds of other “Public Assistance programs” because there is no “Source-of-income” in this area that is sustainable. So many of them have come to expect more from the church and the mission than we have ever intended to provide, nor can we afford to offer on a regular basis. Many of them have decided that our purpose here in the Dominican Republic is to provide for their needs, in face when there is less available from the Dominican government they expect the mission to make-up the difference. In a period of time when there is no impending election like we have right now there are no political people giving away anything and they feel poorer than usual. This combined with the fact that this has been one of the worst droughts in recent times and crops are doing poorly. Food is scarce and there is nothing to sell right now to produce an income. The idea we have always had of “Earning-the-right-to-share-the-Gospel” has become an expectation of providing welfare, food, and a living for the entire village of Mucha Agua. Many have been going on the mission farm and taking whatever they can find to eat, and sell without hesitation. They have decided that it is a right, and that this is what we are here to do. The fact that they know people in other places that work in the tourist industry, or at one of the “Tax Free Zone” industries all over the island, or even the big city all have it better than they do right now makes them unhappy. They all have some kind of a television now and spend most of their time watching it (because they have nothing else to do with their time), they can see how well everyone else is doing on TV and they don’t have a way to improve their lot in life, they are frustrated, and discouraged. Most have children and are wanting more for their kids future. Many are just jealous, and are willing to do anything they can to get what they “Have coming” their share of what is right for them to have. Just like the struggle in the states with
  3. 3. “Redistribution of income” they look to the “Rich people” to pay for everything. To most people we are the Richest people around, it is all relative here. We have worked hard to get our farm in good condition, planted with marketable produce, our fences in good repair, and our buildings in well-kept condition. In fact some people have decided that CDMM’s facilities and farm are worth millions of pesos now and they decided they want to take these from us and make us leave all our possessions to them to divide amongst themselves. This situation is what led up to the attack on the mission center on the 14th of April. Many of the villagers in Mucha Agua decided that they would rather have the mission farm, the visitor’s center, and all of our supplies and equipment than all the myriad of services that we offer them for free all of the time. We give food to those in need often, we provide transportation to the hospital when there is a life-threatening medical crisis, we suture wounds all the time and offer day and night medical care, and of course all of the clinics we offer them. They decided that their condition right now is so bad that they are willing to destroy the mission center in order to create a condition in which they could justify looting all our beds, dishes, supplies, and equipment by creating a “Public Outcry” against us. Using the local Mayor as the catalyst they fabricated stories about some farm conditions, tree damage, and water contamination issues in order to justify their common theft, using group violence as a means to accomplish this. Because of how this was done, and that there is an elected official involved that is protected by the judicial system this has become a difficult situation to resolve. This Mayor has offered to the Mucha Agua villagers to take our property away and help the village turn the visitor’s center into an income-producing Hotel. Actually he proposed a Brothel where they can rent-out rooms that come with a local girl for the night. This was said on television by the Mayor as a political promise to these poor people. They were told that everyone would get something out of it. Some were claiming the mission truck, others, the mission bus, others the front-loader, and others one of our 4x4 vehicles as their plunder. They have decided that they don’t need the church or the mission, what they need is money, income, or planted producing property that they can earn a living with. This is the basis for the attack on the mission center. This is precisely why we must patiently fight this attack in court. If they are able to successfully accomplish this hostile take-over of mission property, this practice will become known in rural areas a proven means to successfully acquire wealth from foreign mission groups. The Mayor has another motive in mind, he plans to claim our house across the lake for himself, and our personal properties as well. This is a well thought-out plan to run us off with terrorism, and death threats in order to take our investments, properties, and plantations here in this area. This has been done before in the Dominican Republic by other Mayors, and Governor’s on the island. In fact when we took the case to the National Intelligence Agency they quickly recognized what this guy was trying to do. We have filed in court and have a good Christian trial Lawyer to present this case. The Provincial Prosecution office has also filed suit as this is a dangerous precedent to be allowed to happen. The case has been to trial two weeks in a row now and we are being put off to another week apparently in hopes of somehow keeping the office of the elected Mayor of Cambita from being vacated by the incarceration of an elected official which would be an embarrassment to the Dominican government here. The Town of Cambita also has elected “Town Council” members most of which do not support the Mayor. The mayor has run this situation as if it were a political campaign he can win with public
  4. 4. opinion, he attacks us in the press daily with a lot of fabricated lies, attacks the history of the mission saying that we have done nothing to help the Dominican People (we have provided hundreds of free medical, Dental, and Eye clinics over the past 23 years all free of charge), and accuses us of being a menace to the Dominican society, and a threat to the environment here in Mucha Agua. This is the same fellow that is extracting and selling sand and gravel out of the rivers by the thousands of square meters (which is completely illegal here) day and night. In court yesterday we had a large group from several of our affiliate churches here in the area there to show support for the mission what a blessing to have their support. In an interview with the news channel the Mayor proclaimed that he was not just going to get rid of the ”American” he was going to get rid of these “Protestant churches” as well. The Spiritual battle is upon us and we intend to stay the course for the good of all concerned. God is going to show Himself strong in all of this. He will win this battle in His way, in His time! Yahwey, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who dwells in the heavens? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations Such power and might are in your hands that no one can resist you…Should calamity befall us, or war, punishment, pestilence, or famine, then we shall stand before this Temple and before you, for your name is in this Temple. From the depths of our distress we shall cry to you, and you will hear and save us…This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s Tomorrow march down against them…you will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions: stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…do not be afraid: do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you!...As they began to sing their joy and praise, Yahweh laid an ambush…they only helped each other to their own undoing. (From 2 Chronicles 20) We continue to stand firm, and wait on the Lord to bring the results! Blessings! Gary V. Klein Director CDMM