the other side of the island

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

March 9, 2011

Going to Haiti was difficult.

Like crazy difficult.

Most of us who’ve grown up in the United States just don’t have the capacity of truly understanding day to day life in Haiti… especially a post-earthquake Haiti.

The people are beautiful, but broken in ways that many of us will never experience. The land is surrounded by mountainous landscapes and beautiful ocean views and reefs, but has been raped by years of deforestation.

But the country of Haiti only accounts for about a third of the island of Hispaniola. The other side of the island is the Dominican Republic. The entire island of Hispaniola is smaller than the state of South Carolina, but has over 4 times the population (split about half and half between Haiti and Dominican Republic).

While the two nations share the island, they couldn’t be more different.

Consider the following statistics (and I’ll throw in U.S. stats just for a reality check):

Literacy Rate (over the age of 15)

  • Haiti – 53%
  • Dominican Republic – 87%
  • United States – 99%

Per Capita Income

  • Haiti – $1,300
  • Dominican Republic – $8,200
  • United States – $37,500

Life Expectancy

  • Haiti – 61 years
  • Dominican Republic – 73 years
  • United States – 78 years

Just these basic stats show a pretty wide divide between the two sides of the same island. They’ve had very different paths through history, not to mention the condition of the land (no deforestation in Dominican Republic).

But these numbers also show an equally wide divide between the Dominican Republic and the United States.

That’s not to say that Dominicans need to have the same income levels as us in order for their lives to be considered good. There can be large differences in income while experiencing amazing community transformation. But these numbers indicate a need, even if it’s not as extreme as the need in Haiti.

There’s still a need in places like the Dominican Republic.

And I’m excited to see the ministry of LoveServes International in action. They believe in the transforming power of Christ and His Church, and they’re helping pastors and churches in the Dominican Republic transform their own communities.

That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I’m excited to be going there on March 17-19.

I want to talk to the people who’s lives have been changed by the power of the Gospel.

I want to get pictures of the sparkle in their eyes as they tell me about how Jesus changed their lives.

I want to share their stories with you so that we can be encouraged by the amazing testimonies of His children.

I want to see God be glorified…

I’ll be tweeting, sharing on Facebook, loading photos on Flickr, and maybe even videos to YouTube in real-time while I’m down there. I’d love nothing more than to take you on this trip with me. And I ask that you join me in prayer during this trip. Please consider subscribing and/or following on Twitter… whatever it takes to stay connected so that you can pray not for me, but for the people and the ministries that I encounter on this trip.

Stay tuned…

For more from this trip check out the dominican republic diaries.



  1. Lyla Lindquist

    I’m remembering flying south years ago and seeing the visual distinction between the two from the air. Stark reminder.

    Might He bless you, your work and those you encounter through your hands and feet there, Dan.

    • @bibledude

      when i tell people that i’m going to the dominican republic on a mission trip, they often tell me about their vacations there. while i totally understand that there is a very nice side to the island for tourism, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need there… materially and spiritually. i’m excited to see and learn more about the work that God is doing down there through this awesome ministry! and i’m really interested to experience how different it is from haiti!

      thanks for stopping by, and for agreeing with me in prayer!


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the other side of the island

by Dan King time to read: 3 min