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In-Country Staff

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Dominican Republic

Kristin Hamner,
Dominican Republic National Director


Our ministry in the Dominican Republic is led by Pastor Kristin Hamner. Kristin joined the FFP team after participating in two short-term summer mission trips through her home church, First Presbyterian Church, Grand Island, Nebraska. During those first mission trips, she saw and felt God actively working in her own life and the lives of those around her. She felt the call to continue serving in a missional context and joined our staff in 2005.

Kristin has grown along with the Dominican Ministry, and has served our communities and the Foundation ministry in many different capacities. She has taught English, worked on our sponsorship programs, and hosted a wide variety of mission teams. She is now responsible for FFP’s year-round mission programs and serves as Chief of Staff of all FFP’s in-country staff and interns.

In 2014 Kristin graduated from Dubuque Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2015 she was ordained by the Central Nebraska Presbytery. In 2016 her ordination was recognized by the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I., one of the denominations with whom we serve in the Dominican.

Kristin is a servant leader who loves serving with the mission groups and feels blessed to have her son, Nicolás serving by her side.

“What a privilege it is to see lives change as we build bridges between churches in the States and churches in the Dominican Republic.”

Dominican Republic Staff

Dr. Griselda Cecilia Lugo, Medical Director 

Pastor Bronny Novas, Director of Maintenance

Neff MedinaProgram Coordinator

Joelmy CedenoStaff Member

Jairo MedranoStaff Member

Lais Montes de Oca, Secretary

Celenia Perez, Coordinator of Special Projects

Dominican Republic Scholarship Students

Maura Yan Feliz, Student Intern

Cruseria Yan Feliz, Student Intern

Asnarda Yan FelizStudent Intern

Fania Duralus, Student Intern

Dominican Republic Volunteer Staff

Tiffany DirksProgram Coordinator

Denise TasickEducator in Residence

Lisa Bond, Summer Intern

Jackson Weippert, Summer Intern

Michael Wills, Summer Intern

Additional Staff Bios

Dr. Griselda Cecilia “Cici” Lugo, Medical Director
CiciEver since she was young Cici wanted to be a doctor, and every doll her parents gave her became another “patient” to examine and operate on. It was no surprise when Cici went to medical school.

In 2005 as a medical student, FFP invited Cici to work in a medical clinic – on real patients. She became a regular volunteer at FFP medical clinics. In 2009, Cici joined the FFP staff and oversees all medical and health activities for FFP in the Dominican Republic.

How has working for FFP changed your life? “FFP has had a huge impact on my life. I used to be a princess, looking at life with rose-tinged glasses. Working for FFP I saw what was happening in my country. I never knew there were people who died from hunger and lack of medicines. Before I was like most people, with no reason to look for the bateys. Working with FFP taught me stop thinking about myself and open my eyes to the needs in my country. “

Favorite Bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Pastor Bronny Novas, Director of Maintenance
BronnyBronny is an inspired pastor and long-time friend of FFP. He’s also an electrical engineer and seems able to fix, build, maintain and install just about anything. Bronny is an invaluable member of FFP and has been an important part of many construction projects in communities including Pantoja, LaJavilla, Pedernales, Anse a Pitre and of course his home church in Haina. He also helps get containers filled with donations from the US through the port and into the country.

Why do you work with FFP? “For me FFP is a passion. Any time I can go to a project and use my skills my spirit rejoices. I give thanks to God for everything I can do to help.”

Favorite Bible verse: “Beat your plowshares into swords. And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’” Joel 3:10

Tiffany Dirks, Programs Coordinator
TiffanyIn 2011 Tiffany went on her first short-term mission trip, “Being a missionary was never on my radar. But God used that experience to change my life and desires and how I saw my purpose.”

She reached out to college friend, Kristin Hamner, who suggested she come on an FFP Leaders’ Trip. Tiffany loved the trip so much she signed up to serve in the Dominican Republic for 16 months–which she’s since extended to another 18 months, “I definitely feel that God has called me to this.”

Most memorable FFP experience: “I was working with a group in Batey San Joaquin. We demolished the stage in a pavilion where young girls were forced to dance and prostitute themselves. As we broke up the concrete, I felt we were literally breaking strongholds of evil. Afterward the entire mood in the community shifted to relief and joy and harmony.” Read more about this tremendous experience.

Favorite Bible verse: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

Neff Medina, Programs Coordinator
Neff MedinaI’m finishing my psychology degree at Universidad Nacional Evangélica and am married to my beautiful wife, Betty. Previously I taught English at an immersion program for university students. In 2014, I heard that North Americans were coming to my community, Los Minas, to build a church and community center so I took time off to pitch in. That’s how I met Kristin and Foundation for Peace; she was leading the mission team who was doing the work. I couldn’t believe all the missionaries came to Los Minas just because they wanted to be God’s hands and feet.

I always talked about helping the poor, but when I saw Kristin and the mission team in action, I realized my actions were just words. What FFP does is far beyond words or theory. It’s working together, hand in hand, to do the work of God … Dominicans, Haitians and Americans. I decided I wanted to be part of an organization like that and joined the FFP team. I really want to change lives. I really want my life to be changed. I really want to be remarkable. But most of all, I want God’s glory to shine over whatever I do.

Favorite Bible Verse: My favorite verse is Isaiah 6:8: “And the voice of the Lord came to my ears, saying, ‘Whom am I to send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.’”

Joelmy Cedeno, Staff Member
JoelmyJoelmy, a native of the Dominican Republic, joined the FFP staff in Spring 2016. A chance encounter allowed him to meet Ken Culver (FFP’s Executive Director). As Ken talked with him about the work of FFP, Joelmy felt immediately drawn to FFP’s outreach and knew God was calling him to be a part of it.

Joelmy is a pastor’s kid and has spent his life working alongside his parents in ministry. When his parents were pastors in Montreal, Canada, he learned to speak English, which he does fluently. Joelmy is part of the praise band, Moriah Worship, and they are currently recording their first album.

Favorite Bible Verse: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” (Psalm 37:5-6)

Jairo Medrano, Staff Member
JairoJairo joined the FFP staff in mid-2016 to work with mission teams. The staff appreciates his patience, thoughtful manner and hard work.

Jairo learned about FFP through the work FFP is doing to build a new sanctuary and water project at his church. He was impressed with FFP’s commitment to partner with communities and churches, and believes social and community work is a powerful way to express one’s faith and preach through actions. On a side note, FFP was impressed with Jairo when they saw him step up one night to preach one night when his pastor was late to arrive!

Jairo is a youth leader at his church and is an officer for his denomination’s National Youth Ministries in the Santo Domingo area. He is married and studying English.

Favorite Bible Verse: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” (Mark 16:15)

Lais Montes de Oca, Secretary
LaisSince 2008, Lais has worked as a secretary at the Ensanche Quisqueya School behind our FFP house in Santo Domingo. Now, she works with the Foundation for Peace as a secretary and is part of our DR staff.

Lais also teaches Bible study with children in her church and she works with the ministry Castillo Del Rey. Lais likes working with FFP because of how the people express the love and the power of God in different forms.

Favorite Bible verse: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” Colossians 3:23

Celenia Perez, Coordinator of Special Projects
CeleniaCelenia has worked with the Foundation since its inception. She’s been housekeeper and cook; now she serves as the coordinator of special projects—making curtains, gardening, and taking care of our staff and missionaries. Celenia is a hard worker dedicated to the ministry and is a second mother to our mission staff.

Maura Yan Feliz, Student Intern
MauraMaura is the oldest of the Feliz sisters and grew up in Batey Algodon. Maura has a beautiful voice and from a young age wanted to be a singer … and sometimes a nurse. Presently she’s studying psychology at UASD. Maura is a powerful worship leader and every week churches invite her to sing at their services.

How has working with FFP changed your life? “Before I was very shy, but working with FFP I’ve learned to open up and share more. I’ve always had faith, but watching how loving and generous the mission groups are has made my faith grow. I know that no one is an accident. If God created you, He has a purpose for you.”

Cruseria Yan Feliz, Student Intern

CruceriaCruceria is the middle Feliz sister. When she younger, her newborn cousin was hospitalized. Watching the way the doctors treated her cousins instilled a desire to be a doctor one day. Currently Cruseria is studying medicine at UASD and wants to become a pediatrician.

How has working for FFP changed your life? “The love that groups show, the way they play with kids and the work they do impresses and inspires me. Not only do they send money, they come to do the work with us! Americans have shown me so much love and this has changed my life.”

Favorite Bible verse: “Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’” John 20:27

Asnarda Yan Feliz, Student Intern
AsnardaAsnarda is the youngest Feliz sister and is a wonderful artist. She’s studying art at university and many of her pieces are displayed at the house in Santo Domingo.

How has working with FFP changed your life? “My faith grows with each group I work with. I see how they bring love to all they do and how their lives are changed. Their examples make me want to help with whatever I can. Everything I do for FFP is like working for God — and the work is not hard when we work together.”

Favorite Bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Fania Duralus, Student Intern
FaniaFania first met FFP in Fond Parisien, Haiti after the earthquake. Because of her bright smile and incredible work ethic, FFP staff members took Fania under their wings. Fania wants to become a construction engineer and a famous soccer player.

How has working with FFP changed your life? “Even though I don’t speak English I can’t believe how many Americans friends I have made. I feel happy and thankful for the opportunities I have now. I was very different before knowing FFP. Now I’m proud of who I’ve become, the way I think, the way I live and the way I share. I have goals and dreams thanks to FFP.”

Favorite Bible verse: “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

Denise Tasick, Educator in Residence
DeniseDenise has been teaching Spanish for 24 years in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. During her career she has coached field hockey, served as ski club advisor, and led educational tours to Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica with her students. Whether she’s in the classroom or in the cloud forest, Denise is passionate about her students’ learning, growing and belief in themselves.

In 2014 Denise participated in her first mission trip with Foundation for Peace. It was from that moment on she knew she wanted to return to work, worship and commune with the gracious, loving, and humble people of the Dominican Republic. A subsequent trip in 2015 solidified her desires, which has brought her back to the country for a year-long term. “I am so excited, grateful and extremely blessed to have this opportunity. I thank God everyday for answering my prayers and for using me to do his good works.”

Favorite Bible Verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. (Joshua 1:9)

Lisa Bond, Summer Intern
lisa bond 150x150Lisa is a nursing student at Stockton University (NJ), with a minor in Spanish. She’s been coming to the DR with her church (Hope Presbyterian) for five years. At school, she volunteers for Christian Overcomers–a ministry to adults with disabilities. She has a twin brother, a younger brother, an older sister, two cats and a dog.

“How has working with FFP impacted your life?” Working with FFP has opened my eyes to the whole world. I’ve been able to participate in things I would never have thought possible, and I’ve grown stronger in my faith in God. I’ve seen whole communities come together for a common cause, praising and swinging buckets of cement at the same time. Through FFP I’ve learned that anything is possible with God.

Favorite Bible Verse: “Whatever you do, work with your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)

Jackson Weippert, Summer Intern
JacksonJackson is a New Jersey native, studying International Business, Music and Spanish at Monmouth University. He loves to play and write music, as well as attend concerts. He has been the worship leader at his home church for the past seven years.

“How has working with FFP impacted your life?” I have gone to the Dominican Republic on short-term mission trips for five consecutive years. This year, as a summer intern, I am very excited to serve in such a meaningful way.

Favorite Bible Verse: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and only few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)


Michael Wills, Summer Intern
Michael lives in Pennsylvania and is currently a freshman studying Engineering and Math at Virginia Tech. He has been down to the Dominican Republic for the past three years with his church, Woodside Presbyterian. Michael enjoys playing clarinet and board games. He was the student tech team leader at his church for the past three years.

“How has working with FFP impacted your life?”Through volunteering with the FFP, I’ve seen the powerful impact that people can have on one another despite living worlds apart and speaking different languages. I’m connected to the DR in a way that I’m not anywhere else, and I hope to be able to explore that and share the connection with others.

Favorite Bible Verse:My favorite Bible verse is “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a)



Pastor Michel Valentin,
Haiti National Director


Our Haiti outreach is led by Pastor Michel Valentin and his wife Nadege. Valentin, as most people call him, first met Foundation for Peace after the earthquake when he brought his injured daughter, Manite, to the field hospital in Jimani, DR.

Having been blessed with incredible intelligence, compassion, education and faith Valentin quickly became a valued resource at the hospital where he used his Creole, Spanish and English skills to translate for patients and doctors. His tireless efforts helped deliver critical care to hundreds of patients. In his “spare” time he led spontaneous worship for the hospitals’ patients.

In 2010 Valentin officially joined the FFP team as our National Director in Haiti. He oversees all of FFP’s work in Haiti, especially the Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men project in Ganthier. In all he does, Valentin freely shares his passionate faith, compassionate spirit and endless enthusiasm with all who meet him.

Valentin is also pastor of the Eglise Sanctuaire de la Grace de Croix-Coq, which he and his wife started in 2011. He lives in Croix-des-Bouquets with his wife Nadege and their daughters, Marceline, Stellecy, Michnaelle.

Haiti Staff

Nadege Valentin, Secretary

Hernery Valentin, Construction Supervisor

Dessalines Enselme, Director of Operations

Wesley FrancoisDirector Ministry Programs

Roger Brice, Translator/Staff member

Saintemene Robert, Translator/Staff member

Garry Leon, Translator/Staff member

Ero Celestin, Translator/Staff member

Dr. Marc Osiris, Medical Director

Makesnel Ulysse, Translator/Staff member

Walmy Ulysse, Translator/Staff member

Haiti Volunteer Staff

Ben Henrie, North American Missionary Intern

Additional Staff Bios

Nadege Celestin
, Secretary

NadegeNadege is a vital part of the FFP ministry with her husband, Valentin. They share a vision for ministry that she supports in many ways, while going to culinary school and caring for their family. Nadege also graciously and lovingly helps care for the FFP interns who live on the second floor of their home. She currently serves as the FFP secretary and often cooks for FFP mission teams.

Hernery Valentin,
Construction Supervisor
HeneryHernery has extensive construction experience and officially joined FFP in November 2010. He oversees construction at our vocational school—Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men—in Ganthier and other projects in the area. He started working alongside FFP in our relief efforts after the earthquake. Hernery transported much needed materials back and forth to Camp Hope and organized the storage depot. Hernery offers his friendly smile and patient guidance to all who work at the site in Ganthier.

Dessalines Enselme
, Director of Operations

DessalinesDessalines was born in Cap Haitien. In 1998 he and his family moved to Delmas (outside Port-au-Prince). There he attended Pastor Valentin’s church and the two became good friends. After the earthquake, Dessalines helped Valentin with FFP work. He officially became part of the staff in November 2010.

Dessalines has a kind and gentle spirit, and displays a true servant’s heart. But don’t let his gentleness fool you, he is also incredibly STRONG! On your trip to Haiti you’ll probably see Dessalines, holding a baby, changing a flat tire, practicing his English and quietly being the first to help.

Wesley Francois, Director of Ministry Programs
WesleyWesley translated four languages in the Jimani field hospital after the 2010 earthquake. He also served a health agent in the Haiti Disaster Management Program. He currently works with FFP translating for mission teams and teaching English classes at Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men. Since his first experience teaching English, he has made it a priority; he believes it strengthens people.

Wesley loves God and likes to read. He loves to learn languages, hang out with children, and play and watch soccer. His dream is to become a great civil engineer so he can be a part of making Haiti green, paved and well-organized.

“Together, we are better.”

Roger Brice, Translator/Staff member
Roger BriceBrice is from Jacmel and is the oldest of five children. Currently he lives in Miracle Village with his cousin, where he’s lived since the earthquake. Brice is a top student at the Men Nan Men School where he is studying English and Spanish. His dream is to become a journalist so that he can help his country by keeping people informed of what’s happening.

What makes FFP special? “FFP is one of the best organizations because of the way they treat the students, the community and the workers. I haven’t been treated like this before. They build schools and give safe water. Maybe one day FFP will be one of the great missions of Haiti.
Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li. (Little by little the bird makes its nest.)

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Saintemene Robert, Translator/Staff member
Saintemene_150pxSaintemene is from Galette-Chambon and is the youngest of seven children. She studied English at Men Nan Men School and was at the top of her class. She’s the only female on the FFP staff and is making her mark in her own quiet way. She’s a hard worker who enjoys working with teams.

How is FFP making a difference? “FFP is making a difference by bringing education to so many students. They also help people by taking care of their health and bringing them medicines at medical clinics. I hope one day that I will be able to help others the way FFP has helped me. As my English improves, I have more opportunities—like working as a member of FFP!”

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Garry Leon, Translator/Staff member
Garry Leon
Garry is from Thiotte and is the third oldest of 11 children. Presently Garry lives In Miracle Village with his sister who was a victim of the earthquake. He was the top student of his English class at Men Nan Men School. Garry is quiet, but a hard worker, and is excited to be working with FFP.

How is working with FFP making a difference in your life? “Before I started with FFP, I didn’t have anything to do. When I finished high school I did not go to college because I did not have any money. I started learning English in Diery’s school (which FFP built after the earthquake) and then I attended Men Nan Men School after it opened. I am so excited to work with FFP because it helps me to get a better life.”

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Ero Celestin, Translator/Staff member
EroEro is from Aux Cayes and is the second oldest of five children. He studied English at Men Nan Men School and was at the top of his class.

How is working with FFP making a difference in your life? “Before I started working with Foundation for Peace, I didn’t have anything to do. I am really thankful to God that He put FFP on my path. It is a huge blessing! Foundation for Peace always tries to give the population the best assistance possible by building a professional school, repairing a school affected by natural disasters, and providing health and clean water. My experience with FFP has helped me appreciate people so much more, especially kids. I am so excited to be a part of this organization.”

Favorite Bible verse: John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

Ben Henrie, Assistant Director of Mission Teams
Ben first came to Haiti in 2011 and God touched his heart for this beautiful country and its people. We’re happy to have him back on staff to work with our Haitian staff and mission teams. Ben grew up in a strong Christian home and was brought up in the church. While he went to Sunday School and youth group as a youngster, and even attended Christian College, Ben says, “God changed my life when he took me to Haiti for the first time in 2011. Since then I have been back at least once a year. He has worked on my heart each time and I am looking forward to how he will continue to mold my heart after his own heart as I serve alongside his precious children in Haiti.”