Santiago, Dominican

Dominican Republic beach with boats. Photo courtesy Jenica Limb.Snapshot of the Dominican Republic – The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, though Dominican Spanish is its own distinct dialect with different slangs and pronunciations than other countries. Most of the Dominican Republic’s primarily multiracial population lives in urban areas. There is much economic disparity, with upper-class individuals having lifestyles comparable to the United States, while the poorer people may not even have access to basic amenities. The Roman Catholic church is the dominant religion in the country; nearly 70% of the population belongs to the church, while about 18% are Evangelical, and another 10% have no religious affiliation. The Dominican Republic’s culture blends Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino practices. The fast-paced dance musical styles of merengue and bachata were created in the Dominican Republic. Rock and rap have also become increasingly popular, especially among the youth. Baseball dominates the country’s sports scene, though basketball and boxing are also popular. Dominican meals generally contain rice, beans, some type of meat, and a small salad. Lunch is the main meal of the day in the Dominican Republic. Another popular dish is sanocho, a stew that uses several kinds of meat. Flan, dulce de leche, rice pudding, and sugarcane are all popular desserts in the country.

The Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes up approximately 1.1% of the total population of the Dominican Republic.

There are stakes and wards as well as districts and branches in the mission. There are some multi-generation member families, but but for the most part, members are first-generation converts. The Church is growing and members are eager to serve and are not shy to talk about the Church with their friends/neighbors.

Convert retention is a major concern in the area. Missionaries would have sufficient work to focus full-time with less-active members, but church leaders instruct the members to do this work and allow missionaries to teach and baptize new converts.

The Church runs a Dominican Republic MTC, located in Santo Domingo. North American non-native speakers would spend a short time in the Provo MTC and then stay in the Dominican Republic MTC for several more weeks. The Dominican Republic MTC also teaches French/Creole-speaking missionaries assigned to serve in Haiti, as well as English-speaking missionaries assigned to neighboring islands

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