Well, if you're thinking about joining us in the DR, we're betting you have a few questions. Let's see if these answers help! Also, see our Visitor Information document for a printable and sharable version of the basics plus packing lists! For further questions, contact us, or check out our Resources page.
What's it like in the DR?
The Dominican Republic is a tropical country that shares the island of Hispaniola with
Haiti. Hot and humid, rich in history and natural beauty, this island was the original
landing site for Christopher Columbus when he sailed the ocean blue back in 1492,
and as a result, its people are a beautiful mix of the indigenous Taíno Indians, the Spanish
settlers, and the African slaves the Spanish brought with them. Spanish is the national
language, and officially speaking the government is a democracy. However, the DR's
progress has been delayed by its general poverty, its numerous battles for its
independence, political leaders entrenched in corruption, and spiritual strongholds.
Their desire for progress is visible, but slow-moving. The antiquated (villages with no running water) coexists alongside the progressive (smart phones and internet). It's said that 6 Dominican families possess 90% of the country's wealth. The rest struggle to make ends meet in a place where electricity is sold at a premium and most things, food included, are as expensive as they would be in the United States.
The church as a national entity is steeped in Catholic tradition and a works-based mentality, though in our 20 years of ministry we have seen the percentage of evangelical Christians rise dramatically.
Who can go?
Casa Grande is pleased to welcome guests of all ages and physical ability levels. We've hosted
families with young children as well as individuals of 80 years or more. Our living facilities
are wheelchair-accessible, as are the majority of our outreaches. We don't have any age limits,
although we do request your good judgment.
Our focus is group ministry. We do occasionally host individuals, but our average group size
is between 8-25-- we can sleep up to 40 in our dormitories. Groups of short-term missionaries
provide more activity and manpower, opening doors for us to be able to minister to larger
groups of Dominicans. If you're an individual who would like to come down, please contact us
so we can try to get you plugged in to ministry, whether that's individually or getting involved
with a group that's already coming down.
Where are the outreaches?
Basically, the short answer is "Have bus: Will travel!" Casa Grande is located in Santiago de Los Caballeros, the "heart city," the second largest city in the country. We're almost two hours from most beaches, but we have ready access to mountain towns and we're not far from the highway. We frequently travel to other parts of the countryside, wherever God opens doors.
The events themselves may be in public schools, churches, or prisons. Frequently, though, we hold open-air meetings in fields, basketball courts, streets, or city parks for groups of anywhere from 20-250 people. We take all our own sound equipment and a generator, and we can set up almost anywhere.
What will we do?
Where do we stay?
Right here at Casa Grande. A big part of our ministry is hosting short-term missionaries
like you! We're not a hotel, and we're not a resort, but we do have hot water, clean sheets, a
swimming pool, volleyball net, wi-fi, and dormitories that can sleep up to 40 guests.
Private rooms are sometimes available on request for married couples or families with
What's the schedule like?
Subject to change! But a "normal" day typically consists of meals, group devotions, and two to three outreaches or church services.
What can we do for fun?
Your time in the DR with us will center primarily on ministry. However, when there's downtime
here on the base, we have a pool, basketball court and volleyball net, and shady places to relax
and read. We usually try to plan a few hours to take groups shopping for souvenirs and to see
the local supermarket, and group leaders may request a day to go to the beach as well, depending
on the length of your stay, the ministry schedule, and the weather!
How much does it cost?
Ministry expenses at Casa Grande will be $50/person per night. This includes a room and 3 meals a day, as well as ground transportation to and from the airport and to all ministry outreaches. You'll be responsible for your own airfare (which averages $550-$800 round trip) as well as entry and exit fees. If you’re a group leader, you may want to factor in a little extra for incidentals or extra group meals before or after you’re on base with us, or even to sow into a ministry here in the country. See our Visitor Information guide for more info.
Is it safe?
We will do our best to make your mission trip a safe, enjoyable opportunity for you to minister and grow. Our compound is gated and secured to help ensure your safety. Our drivers are familiar with local traffic and driving style, and we take every precaution to keep the group together. We do recommend that you not bring anything expensive that would tempt anyone with less than stellar intentions, such as jewelry or expensive electronics. Most people are fine using their cell phones as cameras, but we always recommend that groups stay very aware of their surroundings.
Can I drink the water?
Probably not the best idea. It's great for taking a bath, but we provide purified water for you to drink in dispensers around the house. Bring a water bottle, and fill up before you head out on an outreach.
Another thing to be aware of is that we don't flush the toilet paper. Different septic systems mean different issues with waste disposal. Believe us when we say that the convenience is not worth the backed up pipes!
Do I have to know Spanish?
Short answer: Nope! Now, if you do speak Spanish, or if you've been waiting for a chance to dust off that tourist vocabulary book, fantastic! But rest assured that our staff will be on hand to interpret for you, so don't worry about trying to translate your testimony or memorize a message. Online translators are cool, but often inaccurate when it comes to trying to communicate effectively. We're here to help!
With what denomination is Casa Grande affiliated?
La Casa Grande is evangelical Christian, but interdenominational. Just as we work with both conservative and charismatic Dominican churches, we host both conservative and charismatic short-term groups. Occasionally groups from different backgrounds do overlap during their times here.
Our staff is as diverse as the groups that we host, but our ministry is singular and evangelistic: We focus on Jesus as the One who unifies us and pulls each of us from our individual backgrounds toward a deeper understanding of and relationship with Him. We choose to keep Jesus as the center, and we are willing to let doctrinal differences expand our viewpoints rather than cause division,
Well, what do you do? Our evangelistic style is to use whatever is at our fingertips as a demonstration of the gospel. Are you a magician? A professional Santa Claus? A rope-jumper? A doctor? A singer? A juggler? A painter? A speaker? A pastor? A kid-lover? If you have a willing heart and willing hands, we can put you and your group to work. If you have any other ideas for creatively using your talents or resources, we are always open to new ideas!
We usually ask that groups prepare several dramas to share, and everyone on the team should be ready to share a testimony. The words can be simple--this is a great way to encourage the local church and call new believers into the Body!
See our Outreach Prep document to help get you ready.
What will we eat?
Meals are served family-buffet style here at the base. Breakfast can consist of eggs, casseroles, or oatmeal, with toast and bagels always options. We'll introduce you to the Dominican bandera (the traditional meal of beans, rice, and meat), occasionally a soup or a pasta dish, and a variety of local salads. We also enjoy a variety of fresh fruits like papaya, pineapple, mango, melon, and avocado at every meal. Let us know if you have any medical dietary needs we should be aware of.