On Sunday, my church youth group is going on a week-long mission trip to Houston, TX. Since “Director of Christian Education” is one of my three titles at the church where I work, and since being a DCE invariably includes working with the youth group, it means I am going on a mission trip, too.
We'll be repairing homes damaged by last fall’s hurricane. Our kids go on mission trips almost every summer and we take a “big trip” (one that often involves air travel) every four years. This is the year for that!
Our group will be split in half during travel. The reason is the male chaperone and his two sons decided to fly out to Houston early to catch an Astros game. Guys! Meanwhile, I will be taking two girls and two boys on a plane. We will then meet the Astros group at Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the Houston airport, rent a minivan and a compact car, and drive the rest of the way to the mission camp.
Lest you think this is all fun and games, it isn’t. Our accommodations this year are interesting. The mission organization that sponsors this was gifted with temporary use of a big warehouse. Shower and toilet facilities (which I was assured were clean) are separate from the warehouse.
Meanwhile, the organizers were met with a distinct challenge: no beds. So, resourceful folks that they are, they got hold of some shipping pallets and built bunk beds – enough beds to hold 100 people. Then they threw air mattresses on the bunk beds. We are supposed to come with our own sheets, pillowcases, towels, washcloths, and pillows. No pillows for us since we’re flying, so we’ll hit the local Wal-Mart to get some. When we depart on Saturday, we’ll leave the pillows at the camp for other individuals with space-limited packing.
Our task is going to be construction. That’s right. Construction with six kids between the ages of 13-18, a 50-year old male, and me (66 years old with bad knees and a newly discovered possible tear in my left rotator cuff). I think my job is going to be standing on the sidelines shouting, “You go, kids!” and "Put that chainsaw down!!" But knowing me, I’ll probably want to do something more useful, even if it’s being the water-bearer.
I was told that the community we’d be working with are primarily Cambodian. After the hurricane, they were ripped off by an unscrupulous contractor, and so our mission organization stepped up to see if they could help the community make some progress over June-July.
I look forward to doing a lot of hard work, helping other people, getting to know to folks who “aren’t like us,” getting fed a steady diet of carbs (there goes my Weight Watchers plan for the week), worshiping nightly (the kids like this – guitars and drums, you know), and growing a little closer to one another. And we get to go home with lots of memories and photos.
Best of all, one of our former group members will be in Houston with us as the Work Site Manager. Her attendance on previous trips moved her move to on the other side of the equation. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.
So, stay tuned for a week of videos and photos. The historical blogs, book blogs, and blogs of general weirdness will resume Tuesday, July 3.