During the DDG-sponsored exploration trip from April 23-29, 2015, the Rev. Lisa Dr. Lisa Tucker-Gray sent daily blog entries that were posted on the Facebook page of her home church, St. John's in Plymouth, MI. All six days of her blog entries plus a link to her photographs have been re-posted on the DDG website at this link:
After the trip ended, she summed up her thoughts on the trip in the statement below:
This past week visiting the Dominican Republic for the first time as a participant in the DDG Spring Exploratory Trip has planted a seed of hope and possibility deep within my soul. God is indeed doing a new thing here among the people and it is palpable. I came here primarily as an Episcopal priest wanting to explore mission opportunities for my congregation. And while that need was met and we will take the next step together to discern our call, I am also leaving as a child of God reignited in purpose and passion for living out the gospel. Every aspect of our time here was an opportunity to see God at work - in each priest, church member, school teacher, administrator and staff. With visits to over 20 churches and nearly as many schools, we heard again and again about dreams for doing more, giving more, reaching more, and we saw the amazing work and witness of each and every faith-filled person who so generously welcomed and made time for us.
Of all the many wonderful experiences we shared this week, what touched me most were the small, unexpected, spontaneous ways God showered me with pure joy and love. I will remember sitting on the floor at Iglesia Santísima Trinidad with the preschoolers helping them open their little packets of crayons; throwing the tennis ball so high and far on the playground for the boys during recess at Todos los Santos that they cheered and then later that morning jumping in to play kickball at Encarnación; and never will I forget Romani - the little 7 year old girl who came up to me on the playground, hugged me and then handed me her half eaten candy bar and said she wanted me to have it. Perhaps Jesus knew what that felt like for me in that moment, and maybe that is why he calls us to be like children - open and free, always ready to welcome someone new into the circle. I have felt welcome here in this place that I cannot wait to come back to soon.
Thank you Bishop Holguín, the DDG, and especially Bill, Karen, Julius, Emily and Charlie - you are amazing angels in our midst and I am so very grateful that God called each of you here and that through that love you are extending that call to us and so many more everyday.
A deep bow of gratitude,
The Rev. Dr. Lisa Anne Tucker-Gray
Rector, St. John's Episcopal Church
The next exploration trip is planned for November 12-18, 2015, and will follow generally the same east-to-west southern coastal route as this April trip. For more information on this November trip, contact DDG Executive Director Bill Kunkle (contact information below).