Changing Lives One Word at a Time

Written by Becky Rosaler on September 10, 2013 in General

Under the shade of a giant mango tree stood Yoreiby with her mother and sister. The three women had been working all morning to prepare a meal of chicken, rice, and pigeon peas over an open flame. Upon returning from the hillside above where 1,000 Caribbean Pines had just been planted, lunch was a served.


I overheard Yoreiby speaking some English, which was better than my broken Spanish so I struck up a conversation. This college graduate is hoping to find a job in marketing. We commiserated over the job market. Later I asked if we would see her at the church, to which she replied, “Yes.”

Community members started taking their seats, arranged around a chalkboard in Pastor Juan Lara’s church. To my surprise, Yoreiby began to address the group with a lesson on social responsibility followed by a writing exercise. These adults—including the mayor of the town—are learning to read and write for the first time in their lives!

Thirty-nine adult literacy groups are currently meeting in churches throughout the Dominican Republic as a result of Plant With Purpose’s “Church, Community, and Change” program. Plant With Purpose Dominican Republic joined the efforts of President Danilo Medina to increase the national literacy rate. Pastor Juan Lara shared the importance of the literacy group, “Jesus was in the community living, eating, teaching, participating, and being involved as much as possible. If the Lord Jesus was doing this, then the church should also walk with the community.”

As we were leaving, I commented to Yoreiby, “You said we would see you at the church but you didn’t tell me you were the teacher.” A timid smile spread across her face and she said, “I hope to see you again.”

I hope to see this sweet new friend with a heart that shines Jesus again too. Yoreiby is making a difference in her community in tangible ways, as letters form words and these words are changing the world.

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