Foursquare Missions International (FMI) Missionaries Charlie and Darla Finocchiaro have dedicated their lives to the warm-hearted people of the Dominican Republic (DR) since their deployment in 1996.
In the DR, a stage two country in Foursquare's Four-Stage Development Model, local Foursquare pastors encounter opposition from legalistic churches but pray for a movement of the Spirit. The harvest is ready, as more people come to know Christ, but the laborers are few. Because many ministry workers must be bi-vocational, the DR sees a shortage of men and women who want to take the next step into pastoral ministry.
But this hasn’t deterred Charlie or Darla, who serve in the DR’s National District, western Santo Domingo, San Cristobal and Santiago. They work to further disciple church-planting pastors and their congregations through training, classes, phone calls, Skype appointments and even personal visits. As they support and develop leaders, this missions-minded couple seeks to see the Spirit empower the DR Foursquare Church and watch its people grow in their ministry gifts.
What do you love most about the DR?
Charlie: The warm-hearted, hospitable, friendly people. Dominicans by nature are historically very gracious. This spirit over our island began with the great agricultural abundance enjoyed by the natives before the arrival and colonization by Spain. The natives, broken up into five kingdoms, were non-warring, because there was abundance for all. Even though the colonization brought slavery and other problems, the general spirit of graciousness over our nation still remains.
What motivated you to become missionaries to the DR?
Charlie: I was a single missionary, and planted churches in Colombia and Peru for four years. After graduate work at Fuller Theological Seminary and marrying Darla, my treasure, we applied to FMI to serve in Latin America. Three nations were in need of missionaries: Puerto Rico and Mexico (Mexico City), both with established works, or the opening of Foursquare in the DR.
After much prayer and counsel, and receiving a word from Dean Truett that said we should go to the DR, we felt the Lord desired for us to take on this pioneering challenge in the grace of the Spirit.
We have served in the DR for 16 years. We planted the first Foursquare church in our house in 1998 after conducting Bible studies in 1997. We began and completed incorporation of The Foursquare Church by 1999.
I’m currently the Foursquare national leader, and supervise our four Dominican and two Haitian churches. I encourage the development of new leaders and church planting, and act as a mentor to our pastors. I also continue to pastor the first Foursquare church, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year.
Describe the spiritual culture of people in your area.
Charlie: The people are very open to talk about God and to hear the gospel. There is an almost universal respect for God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Some are very religious, with no personal relationship to Christ. Many mix Christian beliefs with other beliefs. The majority desire and seek God’s blessing but have difficulty repenting and surrendering to God.
How have short-term missions teams served in your area and contributed to what you are doing?
Charlie: Short-term missions teams have come to do Vacation Bible School outreaches among the many children, and have done youth ministry, evangelism, medical clinics and construction projects. These teams have both helped us and shaped the lives of those serving.
What do you hope to see for the future of your ministry?
Charlie: A move of the Spirit like the charismatic renewal, with wonderful cooperation and teamwork among all the churches; more churches planted; more converts being discipled; and the nation being transformed by the practical love of Christ’s disciples. This will lead many out of emotional, spiritual and economic poverty.
How to Pray for the Finocchiaros
- Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit.
- Pray for vibrant Christianity to ward off legalism and traditionalism.
- Pray for interdenominational fellowship and teamwork.
- Pray that church members and future leaders would recognize their ministry gifts, and be equipped and activated in these gifts of the Spirit.
How You Can Bless the Finocchiaros
Our Foursquare missionaries are always encouraged by and grateful for any prayers and correspondence they receive. Whether it’s a gift sent on a holiday, or simply a letter or note of encouragement, you can make a difference by expressing your support in a practical way.
To send an encouraging letter to Charlie and Darla Finocchiaro, email them or mail a letter to the following address:
Charlie and Darla Finocchiaro
Agape Flights DMG 18512
100 Airport Ave. E
Venice, FL 34285
For more giving opportunities, visit the FMI World Missions Map.
By: Allyson Siwajian, content coordinator for Foursquare Leader and foursquare.org in Los Angeles