Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

Companion Dioceses: Twic East & Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Mission – Pizza Ranch Fundraiser

WHO: You are invited to support the 2017 Nebraska Youth DR Mission Team, and enjoy the better things in life…pizza, chicken, and ice cream!!!

WHAT: Our DR Youth Mission Team has been selected to participate in the Pizza Ranch Community Impact Program. This program acknowledges groups which make a difference in our community and beyond. Participating groups are given a generous portion of sale proceeds and all the tips received during the event.

WHERE: Pizza Ranch located in the Frederick Square Shopping Center, just South of Center Street on 84th Street.

WHEN: Monday Evening, May 22, 2017, 5:00 to 9:00 PM


Our Nebraska Youth DR Mission Team will be serving pizza, busing tables, and sharing the good news of the work being done in the Dominican Republic. Invite family and friends….let’s all join in the fun !!!

Our 2017 NE Youth Dominican Republic Mission Team has been selected to participate in the Pizza Ranch Community Impact Program.  This permits us to share the good news of the work being done with our community, and at the same time receive a percentage of the sales proceeds and all the tips received during a 4 hour period of time.  Our team members will be serving pizza, busing tables and sharing information.

We hope Episcopalians across our community might bring family and friends to join our team at Pizza Ranch on Monday, May 22nd from 5 to 9 PM.

We will have a team of 17 from Omaha to Alliance return to the mountains of the central Dominican Republic on June 20-27, 2017. We will continue to build upon the ministries we have initiated in the DR.  Specifically, we will complete our work on the Children’s Shelter in El Pedrgal, continue sharing music programs with the community, and are really excited to promote a community renewal of our baptismal covenant.  After returning last year, a youth asked if it would be possible to re-commit themselves to Christ by being baptized in the waters of a beautiful nearby waterfall.  Our ministry continues to grow, and this year our team wants to stand with our brothers and sisters in a renewal of this sacred covenant.  I do not know if this has ever been done before. We hope to have many in the community join us.


Things are going wonderfully….and the more at the Pizza Ranch the better.

Don Peeler

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Calling All Prayer Partners: Youth Mission to Dominican Republic June 15-22, 2016

Pray for the youth and leaders who will be wearing this T-Shirt!

Pray for the youth and leaders who will be wearing this T-Shirt!




The DioNEB Youth Mission to the Dominican Republic is June 15-22.


Thank you for sharing in and supporting this youth mission to the Dominican Republic. As a prayer partner, you will be a vital part of our mission each day we are away. Our team will be greatly blessed and strengthened by your prayers. Below is our itinerary so that you can follow our activities with us:


Wednesday, June 15th.  Pray for safe travel as mission team members meet at 4:20 AM at Eppley Airport.   Pray for unity of mind and mission for our team of 14 as we fly from Omaha to Santo Domingo, DR. Pray for our hosts as they meet us at the airport with a warm welcome and food, and provide us historical and cultural orientation to their beautiful country.  Pray for us as we venture out into the community to explore Epiphany Cathedral and the Episcopal Seminary. Pray for our rest at the end of the long day as we stay at the dormitory at the Diocesan Office.


Thursday, June 16th.  Pray for us as we start our day together at VIllar Brothers for breakfast. Pray for travel mercies as we take a three-hour bus ride up the mountain to The Episcopal Camp of The Mount of the Transfiguration in El Pedregal. Pray that old friendships will be rekindled and new ones made as we visit the community, check on previous projects, and plan to successfully complete our current projects.



Friday, June 17th. Awakened by the roosters, we begin our work projects today. Pray for the grace to be flexible in the tasks we are called to do—our construction project will be to repaint, repair and extend the playground at the Episcopal school we helped build in 2014. This work will be done in the mornings.  We will conduct our Music project in the afternoons. This project will result in a music program being established at the school.


Saturday, June 18th.  Please continue prayers for our various projects. Pray especially that any language barrier might be bridged by The Holy Spirit, and that God’s Message of Love is evident. Pray that we find and witness Christ in each other on this day!


Sunday, June 19th.  Pray that God will bind our hearts together during our bilingual Eucharist today. Pray for peace, wisdom, and joy in all we do today. Pray for those who reside in the homes in which we are called to minister. We give thanks for this wonderful community!



El Pedregal Map

El Pedregal Map

Monday, June 20th.  Pray for the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of the team and of our Dominican friends who are working alongside us.

As we complete our work today, pray with thanksgiving and dedicate this work to God.  Pray for open hearts that love deeply as we celebrate with our new Dominican family.


Tuesday June 21st.  With our projects complete, pray for the families and for the youth in the community of El Pedregal. Pray once again for safe travels as we return by bus to Santo Domingo. Pray that our time in the historic Colonial Zone further strengthens the bond our team has made with this beautiful country.  Pray for our peace, reflection and understanding of the importance of the work we have done.  Pray for a restful final night which we are together in the DR.


Wednesday, June 22th.  Pray that the greatest treasure we pack for home will be our new friendships. On this day, please pray for our youth missioners.  They will return home forever changed. Pray that this change is accepted as a gift from God that will bless our youth missioners each day of their lives.


Each day thereafter….Please continue to pray for the people of El Pedregal and the Dominican Republic.


Thank you,


Your 2016 NE Youth Mission Team


Jim Drazdowski, Don and Melissa Peeler, Lauren White, Audrey Coonce, Hannah Coonce, Aly Trofholz, Lexi O’Connor, James Henry, Anna Kay Sitzman, Lizzy Nelson, Hannah Jensen, Josh Guerrero, and Mason Lamb .


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Youth DR Mission Needs Your Help

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

With all the need and suffering in our world, it is understandable that we may turn to God and ask….”Why don’t You do something???” And God answers…..”I did. I created you!!!”

The 2016 NE Youth DR Mission Team…. NEEDS YOU NOW.

Two missioner places are again open which ideally will be filled with one clergy missioner and one youth missioner. Two youth missioners may also complete our team of fifteen.

It is in response to His call that we will travel this June 15-22 to serve in the rural mountains of the Dominican Republic. Yet this mission is not the mission of those traveling…it is a call to mission for all of DioNeb.

All are called to do their part, and there are many parts to be fulfilled. Those remaining at home are an equally important part of the mission and success of the NE Youth DR Mission Team.

How can you and your parish help?

First, pray for those who are traveling to seek and serve our Lord. Also, please pray for the community in which we will work.

Second, consider a donation of items needed for this mission work. We will need up to three cordless drills, and paint brushes of several sizes for our playground construction project. Thanks to the generosity of several folks, the children’s hand musical instruments to be used for our afternoon music programs with the children of the community have been received, and are no longer needed. These instruments will be left with the local Episcopal School so that music education may be added to their curriculum.

Finally, there may be youth in your parish who desire to participate, but cannot afford the $1500 cost of this life affirming experience. Please consider sponsoring, or helping to sponsor, a youth. Your investment will change lives. At this time we are looking for two $1000 Scholarships, but financial assistance in any amount will be greatly appreciated. We are still hoping to raise $4500 to defray the cost of projects and to assist our youth.

Together, we CAN do something!!!!

Please contact Don and Melissa Peeler at or at 402-578-5355 with any questions. Arrangements to pick up donated items can be made with the Peeler’s, or items may be delivered to St. Andrews or the Diocesan Office in Omaha. Financial gifts may be sent directly to Beth Byrne, Director of Finance,109 North 18th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68102. Please note your gift is for the 2016 NE Youth DR Mission.

….and God said, “I did. I created you!!!”

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2016 Youth DR Mission to Build Relationships through Construction and Music Ministry

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

Hannah Jensen will be our music intern again this year.

The 2016 Youth Mission to Dominican Republic is filling fast, but a few spots remain for youth ages 16 through 2016 high school graduates.    The Youth Mission Team is also in need of financial support to conduct a very special music ministry.  Please consider a gift of funds or materials, and watch it multiply in many beautiful ways !!!


Keep reading here to see how lives are transformed through the love of Jesus Christ. The life changed may even be your own!


The Diocese of Nebraska will continue its work in the mountains of central Dominican Republic June 15-22, 2016. We are still looking for a few youth participants age 16 through high school graduate to join in helping to make a difference in the lives of others.

We have been called to conduct two very special projects in the community of El Pedregal.  We will work in the mornings to paint, repair and expand the school playground we completed in 2014.  In the afternoons, we will conduct a very special music ministry with the children of the community.  We will also work, worship and recreate with the greater community through various activities, including a very special celebration of fiesta.

The Mortar Bucket Brigade – Working Together

The Mortar Bucket Brigade – Working Together

Our Wednesday to Wednesday itinerary permits a unique opportunity to visit the Diocesan Offices and Seminary. and experience worship at the beautiful Epiphany Cathedral in Santo Domingo. Our mission experience will once again culminate in discovery of the Historic Colonial Zone on our final afternoon and evening prior to returning home.

Our work in EL Pedregal will be directed by Padre Daniel Samuel. We will stay in dormitory-style accommodations at the gated Diocesan Camp where our meals will be specially prepared for us. Safe, bottled water will also be available. Team orientation to mission work, Dominican culture, and team building will occur beginning in April 2016 to prepare us for this life affirming opportunity.



The cost for the 2016 Mission will be $1500. A $100 deposit is necessary now to confirm participation, and all funds must be paid by May 8, 2016. Deposits may be sent to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Please contact Don or Melissa Peeler now at 402-572-7556 or at for more information.


Improving the playground

Improving the playground

Give and watch your gift multiply….

We are blessed beyond measure to have been asked to bring music to this rural, mountain community.  However, the cost involved to provide a meaningful quality music ministry will require coordination of English and Spanish music leaders, music, instruments, and other expenses.  We have estimated the cost of this ministry to be approximately $2000.  We are also looking for donations of small children’s hand instruments, such as rhythm sticks, cymbals and tambourines. We will leave all donated instruments at the local Episcopal School so that music classes may be conducted during the school year.

Any gift of funding or materials will be much appreciated. Please sending monetary gifts to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Please indicate your gift is to support the NE Youth DR Mission.

Please contact Don and Melissa Peeler at 402-572-7556, or at regarding the gift of instruments. If you would like the Peelers to visit your parish to speak on DR Youth Ministry, please contact them. The 2016 mission will be their 8th mission to the Dominican Republic, and the Peelers are happy to share their experience.

Join Our Team…the Life Changed Will Be Your Own!

Join Our Team…the Life Changed Will Be Your Own!








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2015 Youth Mission Dominican Republic Trip & Photos


Youth Mission Team at Omaha Airport

 Con Mucho Amor….NE Youth Serve in the DR


“This mission reaffirmed my belief that God directs me to what I truly need in my life even before I know I need it.” A 2015 Youth Missioner


Eighteen youth and adults from Nebraska traveled to the Dominican Republic June 22 through 29, 2015 to help build a home for a family in El Pedregal, and to renovate a building to become a Children’s Shelter at the Mount of the Transfiguration School. Work on both projects was done again this year in partnership with Christ Church Valdosta Georgia. A third construction project of our team was to establish a dedicated media room on the second floor of the Stevens Dormitory where educational and entertainment programs may be offered to the community and those visiting the camp.

Team members also brought gifts for the community, including laptop computers for the school, clothing, school supplies, back packs, and Spanish and Bilingual children’s books for the school library. A gift of baseball equipment, vestments, altar items, and tools were also made to the Diocesan Office to be delivered where the need is greatest. Medical supplies were also presented to Dr. Israel De La Cruz for use in a hospital and clinic near Santiago. Several suitcases which carried the supplies were also left behind to be used for storage and closets in the community.


A small part of the supplies presented by our team

Sponsoring parishes sending missioners and supplies were Trinity Cathedral-Omaha, Church of the Holy Spirit-Bellevue, Holy Trinity-Lincoln, Christ Church-Sidney and St. Andrews-Omaha. The additional financial support of St. Mary’s-Blair, and St. Matthew’s-Alliance, and the generous gifts of altar items and school supplies from St. Augustine’s-Elkhorn are also gratefully acknowledged.

In preparation for this mission, our team met to worship at four of the parishes we represented. This presented a valuable opportunity for our group to become acquainted, share mission plans, and inform our home parishes of our mission goals. One June 7, 2015, our team met at Holy Trinity-Lincoln. We enjoyed a picnic lunch together on the South lawn of the church before working as a team at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo doing landscaping maintenance. This special event gave us our first chance to work together as a team in service to others locally. It was especially rewarding to help make the Children’s Zoo more beautiful for its many young visitors.

Nebraska’s Youth Mission Team

Nebraska’s Youth Mission Team

On June 21, 2015, our Team gathered at Trinity Cathedral for commissioning and the blessing of the gifts we would share. After the service, we were treated to ice cream sundaes by the youth of Trinity, and we enjoyed them while we made our final preparations for this mission.

We arrived in Santo Domingo in the early afternoon of June 22, 2015, and anxiously boarded our bus ready for the beach at Boca Chica and a picnic lunch. The beach experience quickly introduced us to life in the DR. By mid-afternoon, we were back on the bus for the three hour ride north to the Diocesan Camp near Jarabacoa. Along the way, we stopped at Plaza Jacaranda near Bonao to stretch our legs. We arrived at camp, and settled into the Gordon Dormitory before dinner. Our first evening closed with compline and reflection to end a very long and exciting day.

Beach Picnic

Beach Picnic


We spent our first full day at the camp familiarizing ourselves with the construction status of the home and children’s shelter. We also visited several homes in the community and sites of prior mission work. Our team divided into three groups with one working at the home, one working at the children’s shelter, and the other working on the media room. We got right to work cleaning up the work-sites and sifting sand which we would later use to make mortar.

Sifting Sand to Make Mortar

Sifting Sand to Make Mortar

We spent the afternoon mixing mortar and laying block at the shelter, and assisting the Dominican laborer at the home construction site.   Before dinner, youth from the community joined our youth for a time of recreation and fellowship. This time ended with ice-cream being enjoyed by all. After dinner, we retired again to the second floor balcony of the Stevens Dormitory for reflection and compline. Compline ended with a moment of silence where we sat in the darkness and listened to the sounds of the community. This was a powerful experience that our youth repeated each evening.

Community time = best time

Community time = best time

Our work on June 24th brought much progress on the media room project and wonderful opportunities for fellowship with the community. The septic location was changed at the home, and a hole was dug. The rest of our group painted one side of the zinc sheets and treated the wood that would become the rafters of the home and shelter. After lunch, we enjoyed 2 hours with the community at the river. Before dinner, we stacked the zinc sheets, wood and blocks in preparation for the next morning’s work. After dinner, we projected the movie Rio in Spanish in the new media room. About 50 community children enjoyed this opportunity to be with our youth. Ice cream, cookies and sodas were shared with the children following the movie, and wonderful friendships were made.


Painting zinc sheets for roof

Painting zinc sheets for roof

June 25th was a very busy day for us. All the block was laid. The zinc sheets were painted, and all the wood for the rafters were treated. The hole for the septic tank was completely dug. We made great progress to both our construction projects. After dinner we went back to the media room to spend the evening with the community. We projected “Madagascar” in Spanish to almost 100 children from the school. It was amazing to share this experience with so many children. We again served ice cream, cookies, candy and sodas to the children following the movie. We were all touched by the joy a movie brings to the community.

Children’s shelter construction

Children’s shelter construction

On June 26th most of the roof went on Altagracia’s home. The placing of the rafters at the shelter was a difficult task. There was little work for our team to do, and most of this day was spent playing with the children of the community….just as God planned. It was another hot day, and our youth were treated to cold soft drinks at the local Colmada. It was interesting for the youth to see and experience this tiny local market. The evening culminated with our Fiesta during which we shared a delicious meal, music and dancing with the community. This was a time of thanksgiving and celebration which was enjoyed by everyone.

June 27th was our last full day in camp. We desired to pour the floors of Altagracia’s home, but were told the floors would not be poured until the electrical was installed in the home. As no electrician was present to do this work, our work at Altagracia’s home stopped after leveling the dirt floors. We helped with the roof construction at the children’s shelter. We lifted rafter timbers up to the laborers in the morning. Work at this site also ceased at noon.

After lunch, our group and a large delegation from the community trekked to the waterfalls about a 45 minutes hike away from the camp. A taxi took those members of our group who were not up to this vigorous hike. Our time at the falls was beyond beautiful. It was a blessed celebration of friendship. A young man in the community suffered a considerable head injury while cliff diving. The community rushed to his aid and assistance. We were all touched by the response and care of this close community. We were also relieved to learn the injury was not as severe as it first seemed.

Trek to waterfalls

Trek to waterfalls

A great surprise awaited us when we returned from the waterfalls. Glennys and Charlie Polanco Peralta and Israel De La Cruz were at the camp waiting for us. They had dinner with us, and shortly before sunset joined us for a bonfire. Our visitors brought musical instruments and played several songs for us. Our youth even requested a few songs that we all sang together around the fire. There was dancing and much laughter. Our youth presented their two songs to the great enjoyment of our visitors. After the bonfire, Charlie and Glennys spoke from their hearts to our group. They thanked us for loving them and coming to the DR to help others. They told us just how much it means to them that we do care for their people, and we come to be with them. It was a very emotional time as many in our group realized, possibly for the first time, that we have definitely made a very big difference. Medical Supplies were delivered to Dr. Israel De La Cruz. He told us that he and his family are continuing the work of his father to help the poor people in the mountains near Tamboril. Reflection time on this night proved to be a blessed sharing of emotion. It was unanimous that a part of each of us would remain in the DR, and a part of the DR will be forever held in our hearts. Compline and reflection brought peace and a tearful end to our most rewarding day in the DR.

Visiting friends

Visiting friends

On the morning of June 28, 2015, we worshipped with our Dominican family at 9 AM. Rev. Susanna DesMarais participated in the service. Melissa and Lindsay translated Padre Alvaro’s sermon. Altagracia thanked us for coming to help build her family a home. After service, we presented a house warming gift from Julius and Julia Ariail to Altagracia’s family at the site of her new home. We also had our photograph taken at Altagracia’s home.   Our bus to take us back to Santo Domingo was waiting when we returned to camp, and our time at the camp concluded with many goodbyes’ as we loaded our remaining luggage into a much smaller trailer.

Presentation of house warming gift to Altagacia

Presentation of house warming gift to Altagacia

Our 3 hours bus ride back to Santo Domingo was a mixed blessing of joy and sadness. We already missed our friends, but we were excited to visit the Colonial Zone. We stopped for much needed soft drink at Jacaranda Plaza. For our team, it was the first time in 8 days that we had a connection to the Internet. Messages were hurriedly sent and received. Our arrival in Santo Domingo and the Hodelpa Caribe Colonial was perfect. We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon of exploration of the historic Colonial Zone. Each missioner found a perfect memento of their wonderful time together on the island. The evening ended with a delicious pizza dinner on the rooftop of Café Angelo with missionaries Karen Carroll and Charlie Nakash.

In the historic Colonial Zone

In the historic Colonial Zone

Our final morning in Santo Domingo was spent enjoying a relaxing and bountiful breakfast before checking out of the hotel. We each wrote our name on the hotel lobby portico as guests are encouraged to do. We had a beautiful ride to the airport with the Caribbean Sea bidding us a fond farewell.

The people of the Dominican Republic were perfect hosts, generous with their spirit, and sincere with their love and caring for us. It is difficult to find the words which explain the impact this experience has had on each of our hearts. Only the photographs and memories we bring home can adequately share the story of our Team. The fun and fellowship we shared, and the generosity of our sponsors will never be forgotten. Our precious week in the DR culminated with an understanding of how much it means to the folks in the DR that others care about them. We heard many times that it is not what we bring with us, but the fact we came which is most important. It is the relationships that will grow and continue to form that is the greatest gift of all.

We return home able to give the assurance that the Diocese of Nebraska is well loved in El Pedregal and throughout the Dominican Republic. We can also give an assurance that we have found a second ‘home’ in the DR with family anxiously awaiting our return. We have learned that our youth mission team can accomplish many, many important things con mucho amor (with much love).

Every day, we felt and observed a deeper loving relationship…and our Team is ready to grow this excitement and further share our joy. May God bless this growing ministry!

Jim Drazdowski Rev. Susanna DesMarais Alyson Trofholz Melissa Peeler
Steve White Angela Byrne Michael Gearhart Lauren White
Isabelle Adcock Haidan O’Keefe Summer Sanabria Don Peeler
Madison Miles Lindsey Wilson Kelly Dornan Dan Coonce
Audrey Coonce Hannah Coonce

– Don Peeler

The completed children’s shelter

The completed children’s shelter

Altagracia serving a meal in her new home.

Altagracia serving a meal in her new home.








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Mission Trip to Hato Mayer in the Dominican Republic



Join our team as we travel to Hato Mayer in the Dominican Republic to work on renovating a local house owned by the church (see pictures below). No construction skills are necessary, just a willingness to work. Stay in the comforts of a new hotel (picture on bottom right). Enjoy the beauty of this tropical country and work with local parishioners.

Click here for a three-page PDF with more details and registration information.

The Mission Trip sign-up deadline is August 1, 2015.

Dates: September 21 – 28, 2015

Cost: $1600 (approximately) Flying out of Omaha




Contact Karen Watson at St. Elizabeth’s Church, Holdrege, for more information.

(o) 308-995-4528
(c) 402-517-1326



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DR Missioners Seek Your Help

Rowan Ptomey

Rowan Ptomey

The NE Youth DR Mission Team Returns to El Pedregal in June 2015.

The Diocese of Nebraska will be well represented in the mountains of central Dominican Republic June 22-29, 2015. Eighteen youth and leaders from 5 Nebraska parishes will once again partner with Christ Church Valdosta Georgia to complete two very important construction projects. First, we will build another home for a church family. This determined group will also renovate an existing building to serve the local community as a Children’s Shelter and Pre-School.

But that isn’t all your Nebraska missioners have planned. Last year, the Disney movies Frozen and The Little Mermaid were projected in Spanish for the community. For many in attendance, it was the first movie they had ever seen. The time spent together in fellowship was beautiful, and has become known as the “Movie Ministry.” Since last June, a projector, spare bulb, and more than 50 family friendly movies have been delivered to Padre Alvaro Yepes, and the Movie Ministry continues.

A very special third project will be completed in June by our NE Youth Mission Team. A second projector, DVD player, speakers and other necessary equipment will be installed in a dedicated media room at the Diocesan Camp. This room will be the place where educational and entertainment programs may be enjoyed well into the future by the community and by those visiting the Diocesan Camp.

Summer Murray

Summer Murray

It is also the practice of the NE Youth DR Mission Team to bring much needed supplies to present to the local priest for distribution to the community. Last year our group took 14 suitcases full of sports equipment, medical supplies, kitchen items, bedding, vestments, school supplies and a guitar.

This year Padre Alvaro has indicated a great need for school supplies and books for their small library. Books for grade school students should be in Spanish, and books for the upper grade levels can be in English. At this time the school does not have a computer lab. Both of their computers are broken. Used, but operable, laptop computers are needed to develop a computer laboratory at the school.

How can you help? First, please keep our 2015 NE Youth DR Mission Team in your prayers. Second, school supplies, books and used laptops may be donated for delivery this June to the School of the Mount of the Transfiguration. All donated laptops will be returned to factory settings prior to delivery. Finally, you may financially support this mission to change lives by sending monetary gifts to Beth Byrne, Diocesan Director of Finance, at 109 North 18th Street, Omaha NE 68102. Please indicate your gift is to support the NE Youth DR Mission.

Please contact Don and Melissa Peeler at 402-572-7556, or at, with any questions you may have regarding this ministry or items you may wish to donate.

Summer Sanabria

Summer Sanabria

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Let’s Build a Home Together!!!

Help Kelly build a house in the DR!

Help Kelly build a house in the DR!

My name is Kelly Dornan. I am a member at Saint Andrews Episcopal Church and a senior at Westside High school. I would love to share with you my mission experience in the barrio of El Pedregal, Dominican Republic.

Last summer I participated in a Nebraska Diocesan Youth Mission with youth from four parishes. Our mission was to build a home for a church family there, and a playground at the school. Together we worked with the community to complete our mission calling. In one week, I formed life long friendships not only with my fellow missioners, but also with this wonderful community.

This experience was very important to me because through it I became closer to my faith. I thought I went to the Dominican Republic to help change the lives of others, and they changed my life. I am blessed to say, I am who I am today because of my mission experience in the DR.

I am writing to you because I am hosting a dinner and silent auction to raise funds to support the 2015 building of a home and the renovation of a building into a children’s shelter. Funds raised will be used to purchase necessary project materials. Youth from several Diocesan churches will again work with the community to complete these important projects.

I invite you to attend the dinner to support our projects and learn more about my mission experience as well as the experience of the youth who participated last year.

When: Sunday January 25, 2015
Where: Saint Andrews Episcopal Church 925 South 84th St. Omaha, NE 68114
What: Catered Latin Dinner and Silent Auction
Time: 5:30 P.M.
Price: $25 Per Person/$30 at the door

Babysitting provided in the nursery.

Please make checks payable to Saint Andrews Episcopal Church with “DR Youth Mission” in the memo line. Please send checks to St. Andrews Episcopal Church. No tickets will be issued. You will check in at the door.

If you are unable to attend but wish to support the 2015 Nebraska Youth DR Mission, checks may be sent to St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or suggestions. You can reach me at my cell phone: (402) 536-0179, or my email:

I am excited about this event and hope you will become a part of our team so that we may build this home together.

Thank you for your consideration and support,

Kelly Dornan


Note from Don Peeler:

Kelly Dornan is a remarkable young lady who went with us last year on the Diocesan Youth DR Mission. She poured the last bucket of cement to complete the floor in the house we built for Jacqueline’s family. Kelly told us then that we had more homes to build, and last Fall committed herself to raising the funds necessary to build a home for another church family in el Pedregal.


Kelly is hosting a dinner and silent auction to raise funds to purchase the materials to build the home and to renovate a building into a children’s shelter. The youth who participated last year, and those going this year are working with her, so while the dinner is at St. Andrews, this is truly a Diocesan Event.

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2015 Youth Mission to the Dominican Republic

The 2015 Youth Mission to the Dominican Republic is June 22-29; the 2015 team is forming now!

The Nebraska Youth Mission Team will once again partner with Christ Church (Valdosta GA) to work on two construction projects in the rural, mountain community of El Pedregal. As in 2014, we will stay at the Diocesan Camp located there, and will work both on the grounds of the camp, and in the adjoining community.

A very special third project will be completed by the NE Youth Mission Team. This project will create a dedicated media projection room on the grounds of the Episcopal Camp and Conference Center. This room will provide valuable programs to the community and to its visitors, including the much appreciated Movie Ministry that was initiated by the NE Youth Mission Team in 2014.

The building at the Diocesan Camp which will house the media projection room

The media room will be located on the second floor of this building which serves as a large dormitory. This building also houses a conference facility at the Diocesan Camp in El Pedregal. During the past year, several Diocesan groups and mission teams have utilized this facility. A dedicated media room offering audio and visual services will enhance learning and fellowship opportunities to all visiting this very special place. A projector and ten family friendly movies have already been delivered to the camp so that the Movie Ministry, and other programs, might continue in the interim.Our first construction project will involve the renovation of an existing building to serve as a day care center that will be administered by the staff of the local Episcopal K-8 School, Monte de la Transfiguracion. This building is adjacent to the playground which the NE and GA teams built together on the school grounds in 2014. As this building has been flooded in the past, both landscaping and structural improvements will be made. The building to be renovated is pictured here:

The building to be renovated

The building to be renovated




Our second construction project will be to replace a wooden house in the community with a concrete-block house for Altagracia, her two children, and her husband who currently live in the home shown here.


Exterior of Altagracia’s home


The photo on the right shows the interior of Altagracia’s home. Altagracia is pregnant with her third child. She is employed as a cook and domestic at the camp. In June 2015, we will help Altagracia welcome her new child into a new cement block home. In 2014, we helped build a home for Jacqueline, who is caring for nine people in her home, including her deceased sister’s children and her aging mother. The home we build for Altagracia will be very similar to the one we build for Jacqueline, except it must be smaller because of the the size of their building lot. Like Jacqueline, Altagracia’s family is active in the local church community. She works very hard to provide the best she can for her family, but mosquito-safe housing has proven unattainable for them.


Interior of Altagracia’s home




Here is the home we helped build in 2014.


Home we helped build in 2014




The 2015 Mission Team will leave early morning from Omaha NE on June 22, 2015. We will return to Omaha late evening on June 29, 2015. We will arrive in Santo Domingo shortly after noon on June 22nd, and will travel by private coach two hours north into the heart of the Dominican Republic. We will be warmly welcomed to camp by Padre Alvaro Yepes and his wife Angela. We will stay in dormitory-style housing, and our meals will be prepared by camp staff. We will work on our projects simultaneously, so work teams will be utilized with everyone having the opportunity to work with each other and the community.

Afternoon activities, such as trips to the river and waterfalls, are planned with the community. We will continue our Movie Ministry Nights with the children (ages 2 to 92) of the community. On Saturday night we will celebrate the success of our mission with a Community Fiesta like no other. Following worship on Sunday morning, we will return to Santo Domingo for an afternoon walking tour of the historic Colonial Zone. We will spend our last night in a hotel in the Colonial Zone. The following morning, we will travel to the Santo Domingo airport, and begin our journey home.

Eligible youth must be at least 16 years old by June 2015, or just graduated high school in May 2015. Preference will be given to youth attending an Episcopal parish in Nebraska. We have reserved 16 airline tickets, and we expect the group will fill fast.

The total cost, including air and ground transportation, housing, meals, insurance and project fees is estimated to be $1675. A non-refundable $100 deposit is necessary at this time to reserve your seat on the plane. The remaining costs will be determined 60 days before departure, and all fees must be paid 30 days prior to departure. Fundraising will be left to the youth, family and sponsoring parish.

Questions???   Please, call Don and Melissa Peeler at 402-572-7556, or email them at

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Colegio Kids: Making a Difference in the Dominican Republic through Education




In 2001, the heart of Lincoln native, Jack Keester, was forever touched bythe warm, friendly people of the Dominican Republic. The children were most special to Jack as they dreamed to be much more than the limited opportunities of their surrounding offered them. Jack firmly believed that education was the key to breaking the chains of poverty that prevents the DR from establishing a more acceptable standard of living for its people. Education in a good private school is the path a child in the DR must take to prepare for the university and a professional career.

Jack took a very brave step in 2001 to form a 501c3 organization called Colegio Kids. The mission of Colegio Kids is to support the programs of the Diocese of the Episcopal Church of the DR through assistance in education and health issues. In addition to providing scholarships and aiding school projects, Colegio Kids assists in the health programs of Clinica Esperanza y Caridad and Centro Buen Pastor.


Since 2001, under Jack’s leadership, Colegio Kid’s has:

  1. Provided 1365 scholarships to primary and secondary school students.
  2. Provided over 200 scholarships to students at a local university.
  3. Completely renovated the bathroom facilities for the 600 student Colegio San Esteban.
  4. Assisted a Lincoln NE Rotary Club with the following:
  5. Establishing a matching grant program, resulting in over $200,000 in medical equipment for Clinica Esperanza.
  6. Provided school supplies, cooking equipment, clothing and computer lab to a small school in a migrant labor camp.
  7. Provided a source of clean drinking water to a poor barrio.
  8. Provided a connection for emergency electrical power to Colegio San Esteban.
  9. Arranged and funded shipment of 20,000 books in Spanish valued at $150,000 for the Episcopal school system of 23 schools and over 5000 students.
  10. Provided dental care for more than 200 students.
  11. Funded 400 new school desks.

An Urgent Need Prevails Now!!!

It is important that the wonderful work of Jack continues.

In recent years, support for Colegio Kids has diminished as sponsors have found other interests, moved away, or have simply passed to the greater life. In 2013, a shortfall of over $6000 meant 20 fewer scholarships were given. In 2014, the deficit appears it may continue to grow.

Can you help Colegio Kids??? Mission work in the Dominican Republic is an important part of the ministry life of the Diocese of Nebraska which shares a Companion Diocese relationship with the DR. Individual sponsors are the heart of this vital program. Each sponsor will receive a short bio of their student and a photograph. Most students will respond with a short thank you note in Spanish which is translated for the sponsor.

A full sponsorship costs $300 which covers one-half of the costs of the school year. A donation of $350 provides a needy student the opportunity of education for one year with an important health examination. No donation is too small!!! Gifts of less than $300 are pooled to provide scholarship support.

A second urgent need also exists. Jack is looking for a person of like heart and commitment who will assure the success of Colegio Kids continues well into the future. Jack has done all the hard work. He is looking for someone to travel with him to San Pedro De Macoris to photograph the scholarship students and obtain their bios. This person will also maintain records, make periodic solicitations for funds, and disseminate information regarding Colegio Kids.

Are you called to help? Donations can be forwarded to Colegio Kids at 2325 South 24th Street, Lincoln, NE 68502. Donations may also be made by credit card or PayPal at http://colegiokids,net/ or on Facebook at For more information on how you might assist Jack in the future of this ministry, you may contact Jack at

Together, we do make a difference!!!


– Don Peeler

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