Saturday, July 30, 2016

Reflections on the Mission Trip

I have returned from my first Mission Trip in about 5 years.  This was a very different experience for me - not a leader, a grandma to one of the participants and being the oldest one in the group.  I was part of a team from Ohio that went to Christmount in Black Mountain North Carolina for a youth mission trip.  It was a good experience for everyone who participated - including me.

There were two  ways in which I was particularly challenged.  First, I cam to be a helper to Wendy and because of the illness of her daughter, she was unable to participate.  On Wednesday the whole Taylor family left to take Lilly back home.  And thankfully, she was recovered enough to greet us all as we arrived back in Delaware, Ohio last night.  So, I ended up spending most of the working day with Maya, who was too young to go to the work camp experiences.

Secondly, there were definitely issues at home as Chuck called on Tuesday to say that his van was stolen from our driveway.  So, in the middle of what I was doing on the Mission trip, I was talking to him and the insurance company and eventually the police after they recovered the van on Thursday. It was really crazy.

With all that, however, it was a very good experience for me.  My time with Maya ended up being really special.  We did Bible study, a prayer bead craft, walked the labyrinth, journalled and talked about life and family and God.  And while she may be only 10 years old, I felt like we were spiritual companion during that time.  God continues to surprise me in ways that are really beyond explaining.
Here is Maya writing after she walked the prayer Labyrinth

We also had a lot of fun.  We swam every day in the swimming pool, played cards, and took walks.  The first two days, eight year old Luke Taylor joined us and he and Maya were creative and fun together.  I really enjoyed their imaginative play.

Another beautiful part to the trip was being with Addie and watching her interact with the other kids and adults.  She was part of a cabin of 4 girls who worked hard at their mission jobs (like weeding, picking and sorting vegetables) and during their free time liked to sing and dance and do each other's hair. Here is Addie after her hair was done by the girls

Here I am after Addie did MY hair:
Here is Addie and her new friend, Maria.  

Most of all I liked the group experience of being with adults who care enough to take a week out of their lives to be with youth to help them to learn about Christian service.  It is really easy for all of us these days to have a sense of entitlement and forget about the very real needs in this world.  And sometimes we can only see it when we get away from home and in a place that is devoted to opening our eyes to others.

As a grandmother, I am really blessed to have the opportunity to share this kind of experience with my granddaughter.  I can see clearly that this was a real gift to both of us and I plan to offer it to all of my grandchildren in the future.

It is probably better than any toy, electronic gadget or piece of clothing I could buy them.  It is a real opportunity for growth (and fun!)

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