A couple of weeks ago, I sat in a cozy home nestled in the foothills of Genesee Colorado with a group of women from Denver and the surrounding areas. Curled up on couches and chairs, we shared a delicious meal and sipped on bottled water while dreaming about February 4th -11th. This was to be one of the final planning meetings with the 12 women and 2 preteen girls that are traveling to the Dominican Republic under the umbrella of Lookout Mountain Community Church. (Since that night, one more woman has come forward to join us…15 of us in all) Because of busy schedules, many of the women in attendance were just meeting one another for the first time that evening, yet there was an undeniable instant connection within this group that, for me, can only be described as “soulish”. My spell check said that isn’t a word but it should be because it is a rare but amazing phenomenon that tends to happen when one encounters other people who are moving to a larger story than the one this world is telling. Eugene Petersen refers to something like this when he speaks of the “unforced rhythms of grace”. These women are flowing in with something much larger than themselves. They are operating outside the boundaries and “rules” of this world and when I sit among them it’s as if God “pierces the veneer of reality” and shows me the larger something, much more grand, something so “other” than this normal I am accustomed to. As a result, my heart has been quickly woven together with theirs.
I feel it would be safe to say that many in this group believe we have been summoned, beckoned rather, to join together for this trip. At many levels we are all unsure of why we are leaving our comforts, abandoning our schedules and responsibilities here, and traveling hundreds of miles away from our children, families, and careers for a week. Yet something pulls us. Maybe we just want to be part of this grand story in some small way. But we are being asked, “what is the purpose of the trip?” Simply put: We are going to go to the campo (country) in the Dominican Republic and wash women’s feet, laugh together, hold each others hands, and pray together. We also are going to take a busload of women to the beach one day. It is only 20 miles away and most of them have never been. We want these women to know they are seen, by us, by God.
We also have more tangible goals of bringing them a business curriculum and helping them build sustainable incomes. We are planning on building a tighter relationship with an orphanage there to further the partnership between the DR and the US for international adoption. However, as we load up our suitcases and bags with gifts and toys to bring with us we are aware our plans are little compared to the big Plan that God is orchestrating.
The bigger picture is that over a decade ago, a group of people associated with Lookout Mountain Community Church traveled from Colorado to the Dominican Republic. They laid the foundation of a relationship with a group of people in a little town outside Santo Domingo called La Victoria. It means “The Victory”. Since that original trip, dozens of others have traveled down and fallen in love with the people. Some have moved their families down to live and raise children, others have married one another, some have even adopted kids and brought them back to the United States to live. I am sure the original connection is a story unto itself and I could go on and on about the amazing tales people have returned from La Victoria to tell. But that is not the piece about which I am writing. I am writing about this chapter, the one that I am watching unfold in front of my eyes. It is clear the story is still being written, and this little chapter is called Project: I See You.
Stayed tuned: We leave Denver International Airport in the morning. We will write more when we can.