For a number of years, members of St. Michael Lutheran Church, a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation in Fort Myers, Fla., served on mission trips to its Dominican sister city, Santiago. Upon returning home, they raised awareness of the needs in the Caribbean country, which lead to a formal partnership in 2004 that includes the LCMS, Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services, Inc., and the Central American Lutheran Mission Society (CALMS). The partners support the Dominican Republic Lutheran Mission team, which works to plant the first congregation and address the plight of people with developmental disabilities.
Many Dominican young people and adults have already been baptized and confirmed in this emerging Lutheran church body, and one major task of the missionaries is to train local Dominicans to serve as lay leaders and pastors. A new seminary was established in 2010 outside Santo Domingo, and it serves all of the Caribbean, Latin America and Northern South America.
Another emphasis of Lutheran mission work in the Dominican Republic is ministry to people with developmental disabilities and to their families. One LCMS missionary has worked with the Dominican government to open doors for Dominican Lutherans to care for these families and children with developmental disabilities. Good Shepherd Lutheran Home, a dedicated care facility for these children, opened in December 2010.
The LCMS supports the day-to-day operations and costs at various worship sites throughout the country, and it has given specific grants to support music ministry in the Dominican Republic to purchase property and build a church.