With the youth mission trip to Charleston, South Carolina literally around the corner, I decided on to reflect on last year’s trip to the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. I give you the Top 5 Mission Trip Moments from 2015:
Hiking: I enjoy hiking but I’m an amateur. One morning, at the recommendation of our hosts, our little group began a hike. We were promised waterfalls and an easy path to walk. It’s only about 2.5 miles they said. Ha! The path was about a foot and half wide. The cliff went steeply upwards and downwards. We climbed over rocks, sunk our shoes in mud, and skidded down some paths. In the end, it was worth it. The waterfalls we saw were gorgeous. The scenery breathtaking. It’s one of my favorite memories of that trip.
The Work: Here in Chicago life moves pretty fast. In West Virginia, life moves slow. I now have a better appreciation for Ferris Bueller’s remark: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Some days it took us a few hours to get to our work site. Getting materials for our little suburban workhorses was like pulling teeth. Yet, it was amazing. In the end, the group bonded with a wonderful family and their animals, goats and all.
Spicket: West Virginia is hot, even in the mountains. After a long day of work and play, a nice coolish shower hits the spot. That is if you’re lucky enough to get one. The youth picked the cabins with the girls all the way on the end, not realizing it’s also the end of water pressure. Not only was the shower tiny, the water coming from the shower was tiny. I’ve never appreciated water and a shower so much as I did when I returned home.
Band of Black Vans: Our group looked like the government with our 2 big black sprinter vans and black mini-van in those back woods of the Appalachians. There were hairpin turns that I swear we were going to tumble down, over the cliff and rolling to a stop. I have no idea how those vans made it up those mountains and down again. But they stored our gear, got us from point A to point B in one piece and allowed us to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy on the drive home.
Youth: The youth are incredible. They make me laugh. They leave me frustrated. They show me the face of God. They taught me how to tie-dye and invited me to play volleyball. I will never be able to hear “Hooked on a Feeling” without thinking of the boys who did their own version in the car. Needless to say those youth are what my ministry is centered around and I cannot wait for this year’s group to provide me with more incredible memories.
Now it’s time for this year’s trip…I wonder what memories I’ll return home with this year?