When CDEM was founded--then and now

CDEM was established in 1999 by Alberto and Lynette Rivas.  Their mission work began in Santiago, but God soon called them to the village of Monte Cristi near the Haitian border because there were no Christian churches in that area.  Their vision was to plant churches in Monte Cristi and the nearby villages so many people could hear the good news about Jesus.

At first, the Rivas family commuted back and forth to Monte Cristi on weekends leading Bible studies, Sunday School and eventually church services.  In July of 2002, Alberto and his family relocated to Monte Cristi where the church met in the carport of their home with the children’s classes meeting on the basketball court or in the downstairs of their house.

Despite Lynette's sudden death in 2003 from a previously undetected heart condition, Alberto continued the mission work and vision of planting churches.  In December of that same year, the area around Monte Cristi experienced devastating floods with many losing their homes and even more losing their jobs.  During this time, the mission had the opportunity to feed 200 families for a month.  This opened the doors to begin our second church plant in the Madre area in September 2004.   In 2011, the decision was made to close the church that had been started in Madre. Those who had become Christians in that area had moved to other towns, and there had been a lack of responsiveness in others.

For several years, van loads of people from the neighborhood by our baseball field in Buenos Aires, were transported at least three times a week to worship services and Bible studies in Monte Cristi.  In 2008, God led the way to begin the Buenos Aires church, making it accessible to many more people than we could ever transport.​​

That same year, 2008, the Monte Cristi congregation was also able to move into its own building for worship right across the street from the Rivas home. And, the mission also began providing support for the pastor of the church located in Barrero.  This church is a healthy growing church.
 In August of 2011, a school was opened in the Buenos Aires neighborhood, offering the lower grade levels..  Several factors contributed to the vision and need for this school. It is difficult for the children of this area to attend school because of the long distance to the closest public school.  With prayer and hearing God’s leading, Alberto, along with spiritual leaders in the Dominican Republic worked to provide this opportunity to serve children towards improved education and social skills, but more importantly, to learn about Jesus.

Each year the next grade level has been added so these children can continue their education through the 6th grade in the fall of 2017.  In addition to expanding these grades each year and adding more students, additional governmental regulations have added financial challenges through increased need for supplies, administrative staff, food, physical facilities, educational materials, and qualified teachers, Currently the school operates half days.  Breakfast and lunch is provided to these students.

Through the rapid growth and satan’s attempts to impede the progress at times, positive benefits outside of the classrooms have also been experienced in the community.
Offering this school helps to protect these small children from criminal dangers and reduce the percent of drugs in the community. Many parents of children who attend the school have been baptized.  Many of the children from the school also attend the church and activities that introduce them to spiritual teachings.


Alberto and his family continue to serve in the Dominican Republic. Alberto leads and oversees the CDEM mission and school. Their primary home is in Santiago, where Jonathan and Abigail attend school.  In 2017, they welcomed a new family member, Yunior. Alberto became guardian of his nephew, following the sad death of his sister.Most weekends they travel to Monte Cristi where they attend and assist with services in the churches of CDEM, as a family.
Over the years, CDEM has been blessed with many Godly Dominicans who have contributed greatly to this work.  We are thankful to God for these men and women, who continue to serve steadfastly.