Ernesto Bathermy: From Cutting Sugar Cane to Serving God

In the month of November 2015, Rev. Ernesto Bathermy, District Superintendent in the Dominican Republic and the President of the Dominican Nazarene Seminary, graduated SENDAS on the main campus with the Master’s degree in Religion with concentration in the Mission of the Church, receiving the honor of “Cum Laude.”

During the ceremony, Rev. Bathermy shared a small part of this story, and we think it is worthy of being shared. With the permission of Rev. Bathermy, we share this short summary of his life, including details of his story that will be an inspiration to all.

Ernesto

The parents of Ernesto were immigrants from Haiti in the Dominican Republic. They could not read or write. Ernesto is the fifth child of seven. As happens with many immigrants, especially when they are not professionals, the work they do is very difficult and pays a low salary. So, the economic situation of the family was not sufficient, and for this reason, all the children were required to work at an early age.

Ernesto worked in the fields cutting sugar cane from the time he was eight until he was 25 years old. Also, in the community where he lived the majority of his childhood, there was no school. These were obstacles that made continuing his studies nearly impossible for the first 25 years of his life. However, God in his great mercy, answered the prayers of his heart.

When Ernesto was twelve years old, a soldier gave his father a New Testament. Since Ernesto’s father could not read, the Bible remained in the house. One day, while looking for a science book to read, Ernesto found the New Testament and specifically the Book of Acts. The story impacted his life and from that moment on, he wanted give his life to Christ. Ernesto’s family made fun of him, and for that reason, the decision to serve God was postponed for six years. In 1979, Ernesto accepted Jesus Christ, and this decision changed his life in a radical way, so much so that the community members began to call him “Pastor” although he did not pastor a church.

After many trials in his life, in 1986 he began to pastor in Batey Guazuma, Central Romano in the Dominican Republic. At that time, he had taken six courses of the certificate program in the decentralized SENDAS program in the Dominican Republic. Ernesto had only a sixth grade education at that time.

He met his wife Altagracia Nova in the year 1988 at the Dominican Nazarene Seminary where they were both studying and where Ernesto completed his Bachelor degree in Theology. They were married in 1990 while they pastored at the Altos de Chavon Church of the Nazarene.

Ernesto completed his studies at SMD in 1991 and a few days after that they moved to the East District where he served as the Assistant to the District Superintendent. A year and a half later, he was named the Superintendent of the East District, holding the position for two years.

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The Bathermy family has been a part of the teaching ministry at the Dominican Nazarene Seminary since 1991. The family has three boys, Randy, Esteban and Samuel, who share in the ministry and are a great help.

In the year 2004, Ernesto completed the License degree in Education with concentration in Modern Languages at the Caribbean University and almost immediately began studying once again with SENDAS, this time in the master’s program.

In the words of Rev. Ernesto Bathermy, “…allow me to express the reason that this graduation is so significant. For many people, completing an academic degree is a natural thing, but for me that is not the case. That is because at the age of 25, I only had a third grade education, so for me to finish high school was quite an accomplishment, to complete university studies was very difficult, and to complete a post graduate degree was simply impossible. So, if you ask me how I was able to do it, my response would be that only by the grace of God was it possible. All the glory and honor to Him!”

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Today, Ernesto Bathermy is a key leader in the holistic development of the Church of the Nazarene in the Dominican Republic. However, would anyone would have imagined, 30 years ago, that this humble immigrant picking sugar cane, rejected by society andalmost without an education could be a transformational pastor in his community (as he continues to be), the Seminary President, and the Superintendent of the Central District of the Dominican Republic? Surely not. However, this was exactly God’s plan!

At SENDAS, we feel very proud to have contributed even a small part, in the change of the history of Ernesto and his family. We want to honor Rev. Ernesto Bathermy for his desire to overcome, his dedication, perseverance, growth and leadership. Definitely, he is an example to follow.

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