Our relationship with Colegio Moriah and with Pastor Tanis Dérolus goes back nearly a decade. Tanis came from Haiti to the Dominican Republic in 1994 to serve as assistant pastor at the Haitian Missionary Baptist Church in La Romana. Among other ministries, Tanis worked with churches in the bateys, the villages of Haitian sugar cane workers and their families.
Many of us met Tanis during our short-term mission trips to provide medical care to the poor in the bateys and to help build the Good Samaritan Hospital in La Romana (see related website).
Since his work in La Romana, Tanis has become pastor of his own church, Iglesia Bautista Cristo para las Naciones in nearby San Pedro de Macorís.
Tanis and his wife Esther founded Colegio Moriah as an outreach of the church, using their own home and the adjacent garage that also serves as church sanctuary. With the increasing enrollment of students, classrooms were set up beneath plastic tarpaulins that stretch between the building and the chain-link fence surrounding it.
There are now more than 225 students--grades kindergarten through 8th grade--in two shifts, morning and afternoon.
Students come from neighboring families, whether Dominican or Haitian, Catholic or Protestant, or of no faith commitment. Parents don't mind that their children are taught the Bible and Christian values as long as they become educated and in a safe environment.
According to Vital Pierre, a fellow pastor and colleague of Tanis, "God is breaking walls" to bring people together that local Dominicans now see Haitians as more than cane-cutters--now as educated people. He says that we need to teach children not to hate; even so that a Haitian could become president, pastor, teacher, doctor, lawyer. "The government will not do this," he says, "The church must do this."
In the summer of 2002, work was begun on preliminary buildings for the school, and in February 2003 ground broken for the main buildings. Work crews progress with donated money, using volunteer labor from the USA and Europe, and local Dominican and Haitian workers on a paid or volunteer basis.
We have been very impressed with Tanis and Esther over the years and are enthusiastic in supporting them in this ministry. Their commitment to God and to the people they serve is demonstrated in their work. Their prayers, patience and humility bear fruit in Colegio Moriah.
Ted Spurling, Jr. -- for the Hispaniola Mission Advisory Council --