Pastor Phanord’s Dream and How It Became a Reality

Nearly everyone remembers, or has heard about, September 11, 2001 when two American Airlines planes were deliberately flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade center in New York City, as well as two other deliberate crashes in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. What is less remembered is another American Airlines crash just over two months later that instantly killed everyone onboard as it left John F. Kennedy Airport for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. That’s how I lost one of my very good friends, Pastor Jean-Luc Phanord.

In 1997, I got acquainted with Pastor Phanord on my second short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. His church was in one of the lowest-income areas of the city of La Romana and had a membership of and outreach mostly to impoverished Haitian immigrants. Many were sugar cane cutters, and they lived in shacks in rural villages called bateyes (“bah-tays”). Virtually none had clean water, sanitation, adequate educational facilities, and definitely not medical care. His vision was to help change that, and having a hospital was at the center. It was my privilege to be there on the Sunday afternoon when the opening of the first floor of the new hospital (actually a clinic at that time) took place.

I have met many people in my 76 years, but few made such a strong immediate positive impression on me as Pastor Phanord. He lived his Christian ministry 24 hours daily, seven days a week. Fortunately, in addition to his many local friends, he had American ones–especially in New England and other parts of eastern U.S. They agreed with his vision of a new hospital and were able to find over 2,000 American volunteers, mostly high school and college students, to go down there on short-term mission trips every year and work with local people in building it concrete block by block. Many medical volunteers also donated their time, and the hospital has received a lot of donated medical goods.

Today the Good Samaritan Hospital has three floors, and another is being constructed. It is the largest hospital east of Santo Domingo (the country’s capital). Patients are served regardless of their ability to pay. See their website:

I might add on another personal note that my several experiences in La Romana were major factors in getting me more interested in missions. I wish that there were more people like Pastor Phanord across the planet.

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