Dear Friends,  We send you a big HOLA from the Dominican Republic!
2024 started amid holiday celebrations in the Dominican Republic. While many in the United States are packing up Christmas decorations, we were just getting started in the D.R. The grand finale of the winter holiday season is Three Kings Day (Epiphany), when stories of the journey of the Magi and their visit to see the Christ Child are told, and gifts are given in celebration. In addition to gifts, this year many children received a fleece throw to keep them warm through rainy season nights. It was a time of great joy!

During January and February, Lucille visited individually with each of the students in the Whole Child and High School Leadership programs. In addition to taking time to share, get updates, and take annual photos, she also spends time helping each student write a letter to their sponsor. These are very special visits, ones she says are her favorite part of her missionary role! She saw firsthand so much progress! It is so exciting to see changes and growth as the children have access to healthy meals, quality schooling, counseling, and help from a tutor at one of Love Unconditional’s learning circles. One of her highlights was meeting with special needs student Germayli, age 14, who had been working with tutors for seemingly countless hours, and is now reading and writing her sponsor on her own!
We are fast approaching the many spring activities surrounding the Easter season. We are busy preparing for upcoming outreach and events. Lucille is mentoring a new student leaders team comprised mostly of Middle Schoolers who are learning about leadership and at the same time practicing dramas, preparing teachings, and learning to lead songs for upcoming children’s programs during spring events. It is incredible seeing them develop confidence and grow as leaders.
Several children have needed medical assistance in recent months, including 5-year-old Alaina who has AML leukemia. Love Unconditional helped with chemotherapy treatments; the cancer went into remission for a while but has returned. Currently, she needs platelet transfusions every few days. Please pray for a miracle for this precious little girl. Another child, 10-year-old Christler, needs surgeries in both his eyes, including one for a detached retina. We ask for prayers for restoration of sight for him.
We are happy to report that the front entrance gates and window bars have been installed at the community center! This is a great improvement to manage the flow of guests in the building, keeping everyone safe during the daytime hours, and also to lock the property after hours.  A future goal is to bar all of the external entry points at the center and to build and stock an internal storehouse for bulk food storage.
We are often asked about the situation on the island of Hispaniola. Haiti continues to plummet deeper and deeper into chaos. It has been described as “hell on earth.” The violence is horrifying and we hear stories of atrocities from those who have narrowly escaped. Recently gang members broke into prison and let out all of the prisoners. Most schools and hospitals in Haiti are not operational due to the absence of security. The government of the Dominican Republic continues to beg for international intervention. We do not know what will happen on the island in the days ahead. But we do know that for vulnerable and oftentimes orphaned children who find their way to our mission, there is a great need not only for basics (like food and clothing) but also for schooling, stability, and healing from trauma. Some of these children are on the waiting list for our Whole Child program.  If you would like to sponsor a specific child, please reach out, or visit Sponsor a Child
There are many ways to help: financial partnership, ‘sponsor a child’, hosting a friendship event, fundraising, monthly giving to ‘fill a plate’, seasonal drives, praying, and more! It is always a joy to share stories, photos, and videos with old and new friends. Would you help us introduce the mission to neighbors, clients, church, and friends? We love getting to include more people in the Love Unconditional family!
Thank you for ALL the ways you care!
Burnedette MacDonald & Missionary Lucille Wilson
P.S. You can share help and hope this season!  There are now multiple ways to give and donate.  For more information visit Ways to Help