Several weeks ago I sent out an email saying I was planning a trip to the Dominican Republic in April for women from Colorado who haven't had the opportunity to take a trip yet. However, as things began to unfold it became clear that the trip in April is going to be more of a business trip to move us forward in the dream of purchasing land and building a community center with the women to house their jewelry making supplies, woodworking tools and provide a place for them to convene as a community. Currently, the space we use is a patch of dirt, shaded by a tree that provides little coverage when the torrential downpours so common to the area arrive in the afternoon. In addition to researching and hopefully purchasing a building site this group is also planning on traveling to Port a Prince Haiti, where they will meet a community that is possibly even poorer than our friends in La Canita. With the help of our friends, Kim and Mark Jones, who do ongoing work there, we hope to one day travel with the women of La Canita to serve their neighbors in Haiti. We have served and loved them for five years and out of that abundance believe that God may be leading them to pour into women's worth and value in other communities. How amazing to dream about travelling with them and serving others with them.
This leads to the June trip that is, in fact, an immersion trip with new women from the Denver area travelling together. I have decided to join this trip, not the April one, as I get really excited about creating and building a new team and experiencing with them this new culture for the first time. We hope to introduce the idea of serving nearby communities and ascertain who may have a desire to begin taking steps toward that end. We imagine the focus will be getting to know people who potentially have even more needs than what they have been living with in La Canita. We will offer to take some of the women to a smaller more rural area nearby to meet with a new group and begin the idea of serving others locally. Maybe someday we will travel to Haiti with our beautiful friends from the DR. "Si Dios quiere"...if God wills.
Many people on this trip have education backgrounds and hearts for children. We are excited to see what will unfold with this group and their specific passions.
What I have learned from my "mission trips" over the last five years is that I have an extravagant life compared to so many in this world, particularly the underdeveloped or "third world". At the same time, I am struck by my own poverty, spiritually and relationally speaking, compared to many in this world who must rely on God every day to provide for each need. The joy and gratitude that flows from a life dependent on a Loving God levels me every time I visit. The simplicity in contrast to my complicated web I have come to know as "normal" beckons me to a deeper place of faith in a good and extravagant God. It beckons me to return to the Dominican Republic and dream about where Project I see You will go in the future.