The founders of Shine the Light initiative are thrilled after their inaugural gala in Winnipeg was a success, meaning more people will get help through their ministry.

Brent and Wendy Wong run Shine Dental in Winnipeg as well as Shine the Light Initiative in the Dominican Republic (D.R.). Normally the couple and their two sons go out to the D.R. up to five times a year but recently they have been spending the last few months there helping the ministry and home-schooling their children. 

On April 19 Shine the Light put on a gala fundraiser to help build a second story at their office in the D.R. 

"It was an amazing evening," says Wendy. "We brought our Dominican Director, Anthony, as the keynote speaker and that was his first time leaving this island which was a dream for him in many ways."

Shine the Light has done a total of 54 trips over the last 19 years to the D.R. to help the people in the area in many ways. Some of those include giving free dental work, running after-school programs for kids, teaching English, sewing classes, and Christian counselling. 

"Like that old adage says, 'If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.' By giving these people jobs and a career, then you're changing their lives, their family's lives, and their lineage for many generations to come," says Brent.

The work on the second floor starts today and will continue over the coming year, allowing more space for extra programs in the area.

A Family Affair

 The Wongs have been in the D.R. for a few months and took their teenage sons Jonah and Isaiah. 

"We're getting the opportunity to teach them something very unique, obviously," says Brent. "They're enjoying it. Missing their friends back home but what an experience."

The boys have been on over 40 trips to the D.R. over their lifetimes and are now leading groups of their own at 16 and 15 years old. 

"They lead their own team of adults to build houses when we're building multiple houses at the same time. In March they actually lead their own group  of teenagers. They are amazing young men."