As Covid-19 cases diminish in the Dominican Republic, the aftereffects send shock waves through the entire social, economic, and educational systems. The newly elected government threads their way between the needs of school children, panicked parents, unprepared teachers and administrators. They delayed the new school year to November, and mandated distance learning. Paper, pencil, chalkboards suddenly became inadequate tools. Computers, internet access, learning platforms—all inaccessible to impoverished teachers and children.
STCH Ministries donors became angels, (messengers sent by God). Within a few weeks more than 65 computers and notebooks were in the hands of the teachers, and available for children in the tutoring room and orphanages. Teachers worked to adapt to virtual lessons, and struggled with spotty internet signal, and limited band width when several computers were online at the same time.
At Raquel’s school, teachers were grateful for the computers, but definitely frustrated as they tried to meet the needs of their students. They moved around to hallways or perched on stair steps, sat on the floor, or crammed together in one room for best internet reception.
Raquel, never one to stare at a problem for long, began to search for ways to improve the situation. She bought a device that was supposed to boost the signal—didn’t help. She considered a router, but couldn’t afford $35.00. Raquel prayed. She told the teachers that by the following Monday they would have a solution. Her daughter, Michell asked, “But, Mom, how are you going to do this?” More prayer.
In Austin, God was already answering those prayers. Marco Leal and Will Krauss, owner and president of the Loyal IT firm, and STCH Ministries staff boarded flights for the Dominican Republic. We hoped they could review and make suggestions to improve. However, Marco and Will came with two huge bags of equipment to RESOLVE, not just review. Much of the high-tech equipment was donated by Austin Retina Associates and Central Texas Eye Center, who also wanted to help. God never does anything halfway!
They toured and assessed the problems, while speaking a third language, besides English and Spanish…granular control, access points, 48 watts to 5.8 gigahertz, 8 Port, 12-Port, maybe a 24-port Switch, Packets, and TCIP/IP Transmission Control Protocol. Russell reported, “We installed outdoor-rated Network cable for durability, one Access Point on the second floor of the school, which will boost Wi-Fi signal to all of the second floor of the main building and some of the second building as well. This was the first of 3 Access points along with a switch that will manage the 3 Access Points. Plus another device that will grant us access to their Network via the Internet….with greater speeds of data transfer and a higher number of devices connected.”
Raquel may not have understood the words or the concepts. What she DID know was that God had answered her prayers. Tears welled up in her eyes, and rolled down her cheeks. Giddy with excitement, the next morning she shared in the teachers’ amazement when they turned on their computers and saw that they had internet access. In addition to the work at Raquel’s school, the team traveled to the school at Villa Altagracia to do similar work, and then returned to the headquarters area at the IBQ church to significantly improve the internet capacity there. We are grateful to Loyal IT and to all of our Ministry Partners in schools, churches and orphanages who do such amazing work for God. An old poem states, “God chooses whom He uses.” We are honored to serve with others whom God has chosen for this work.
Vice President of Family and International Ministries