MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Dozens of people have gotten sick, some have even died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. And while some have canceled their upcoming trips one local church says it's their mission to go.
New Vision Church in Murfreesboro is working hard to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they plan on doing that nationally and internationally.
"In most specifically the international work that we have is in the Dominican Republic," said Bob Landham, mission pastor.
For 10 years, Pastor Bob Landham has been attending or planning trips to the island.
"[We have] one in a place called La Represa, which is about an hour and a half north and west of the capital, and we have another location in Jimani which is right on the Haitian border," Landham explained.
In those years, Landham says they've accomplished a lot, everything from working with children and pastors to planting churches.
As of late, trips to the Dominican Republic have ended in mysterious illnesses and nearly a dozen American deaths. Local autopsies concluded most died of respiratory problems, or heart attack.
The U.S. embassy in Santo Domingo says there is no proof at this point the deaths are linked. Landham called the news tragic.
"We follow the state department threat assessments, the alerts, and interestingly, the Dominican Republic has the same alert status as France and Germany, Denmark and Belgium," Landham said.
Landham is boarding a plane next week with a group to continue mission work on the island and they don't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
"None whatsoever, we've changed our plans in some other places but none in the Dominican Republic at all," Landham said.
The church has about seven trips to the Dominican Republic planned so far this year.