In the spring of 2009 I went on a trip with my church to the Dominican Republic. For me the trip was impromptu and I was in somewhat of a daze. I had just been laid off from my job that I had comfortably had for 6 years and was left with my minuscule private counseling practice to keep me working. I had a lot of time on my hands and I was a bit lost, (as much of the workforce can empathize with in these recent times).
It is not in my nature to decide three weeks before a trip to just go and especially on a mission trip. (I am typically pretty intense about purpose and intentionality when I am asking for prayer and especially financial support for an endeavor...more on this later). Yet, I went at the suggestion of a dear friend, the nurturing of my loved ones, and practical support from friends and strangers.
What a healing and igniting time it was for our group of women in La Victoria: Dominican and North American alike. Our friends Mercy and Angie had dreamed for years of connecting these women that live in the country side of La Victoria with their friends in Colorado. The specific purpose/(s) was/(were) unclear, but the value of mutual respect and admiration, and relationship, were the driving force. We visited with these women in their homes, and explored our value through conversation, teaching, and demonstration.
And what a full circle time it was for me personally. Since my undergrad work in International Public Health, I have had a dream of working on a grassroots project with women in a developing nation that was both holistic and practical. And that was one solid outcome of this trip. Since our last visit our group has been in contact with these Dominican women brainstorming micro-enterprise business ideas and praying about what our next steps will be.
Two years later, we are returning to get "for real" about these next steps, February 4 to February 11, 2011. To be true to our Dominican sisters, there is a lot of our trip that is "unplanned", but some things we are planning (with open hands): go with these women to the market in Santa Domingo to explore further possibilities (most of them rarely leave their town), explore material supply options for their product ideas, cook and taste test some products :), make some craft products, provide them with feminine health care kits, investigate gardening options, possibly begin some business basics training and of course - take them to the beach (although it is only 20 minutes away, their daily life does not allow them this luxury).
If you are the praying type, we need lots of it! Do we even know what we are doing? Kind of, ...not really? Pray that we will see what God had envisioned for all of us through this relationship. And all the practical matters that go along with this. Oh - and we don't have housing for our stay yet, so...
If you are compelled to give to this cause, we are raising money through our church and your gift would be tax-deductible. Just make a check to Lookout Mountain Community Church with a sticky note that says "Women's DR Trip" and mail it to: 534 Commons Drive, Golden CO 80401. As an FYI, I will paying for my travel expenses through my counseling business. Soon after my trip to the DR in 2009, I committed to growing my private practice as my primary employment and decided to assign a percentage of my business to doing things such as this. If you do give, it will go towards our team's collective expenses, and things such as supplies for the feminine kits and gardening, (which we will buy in the DR), and micro-loans in the future.
Email me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and more blogging on this to come...