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Caribbean missionaries looking forward to 2019

May 24, 2018

By Ed Byrne The Brillion News

For a group of 10 lay men and women – nine from Wisconsin and one from Nevada – an annual journey to the Dominican Republic is an affair of the heart and of the spirit.

Make no mistake about it. These folks are Christians on a mission – to help Dominican people in both body and spirit.

Making the trip this year were Paul Flunker, a construction/factory worker from Appleton, who has been making the trip for 14 years; Dan Natzke, a dairy farmer from Wayside, 13 years; Shawn Eckstein, a crop consultant from Reedsville, 11 years; Christina Robokoff, a retired teacher from Green Bay, seven years; Dean Meinholz, a dairy farmer from Arlington, three years; Kim Meinholz, a nurse from Arlington, three years; Mike Brennan, a retired police officer from McFarland, two years; Crystal Schenian, an occupational therapist from Reedsville, one year; Sheila Olson, an occupational therapist from Reno, Nevada, one year; and Molly McGinn, a student from Green Bay, also one year.

The mission trip was held from February 25 through March 3.

The group, known as the Azua Mission Team, maintains a running blog at, and the words flow easily and candidly:

“The final 24 hours is always bitter-sweet. Emotions range with the individual, and the number of years served has a significant impact on that. While the homecoming to loved ones is looked forward to, the friendships that are being left until another year (or maybe not until eternity) will be missed. There’s the memories and emotions of the past week; not so much what was done, but with who and for whom it was done. It’s always about the people. It’s always about Jesus. A particular Jesus film or ministry stop may be forgotten but not the certain little boy, elderly lady, or disabled man. There’s no forgetting the people we served with that so humbly showed what faith is really like.”

It is very clear that the experience is one where the missionaries are also people being missioned to.

Dan Natzke, whose family owns and operates the Wayside Dairy, thanked the many people back home who supported the mission trip.

“Showing the Jesus film outside, under the stars, in the village streets is always special. Some villagers watched from rooftops,” Natzke wrote. “Participation in the church services is always lively.”

The missionaries take their message to villages, to prisons (for both men and women), and to the blind and disabled.

Please see the complete story in the May 24, 2018 edition of The Brillion News. 



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