Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mission Trip '15

For the past few years, our church has gone on a mission trip with our youth and adults to a children's home in Tennessee - Wear's Valley Ranch, to be exact. I have yet to go on the trip, because I've stayed at home with the kids. With Kevin as the pastor, it'd be kind of weird if I went and HE stayed at home. You know, since he has been the one that planned and coordinated the trip each year. :)

Anyway, only 6th grade and up can go on the trip (little kids aren't allowed), but I guess being the pastor's kid occasionally has its privileges, and this was one of them. We decided to take Kate along with us this year!  So while the whole group would be gone from Sunday - Friday, we decided that I'd drive separately with Kate and stay Sunday - Tuesday.  It was a win for both of us, since I'd FINALLY get to go, and Kate would get a little taste of missions.
She was excited for the trip, but highly concerned about her after-church nap on Sunday.  We figured she would fall asleep on the drive up to Tennessee, and we were right...  
Let me just say that the children's home is located right on a mountain, and it is beautiful.  It is a working ranch.  They have horses, sheep, chickens, cows, and probably a lot of other stuff that I didn't even see.  They grow and raise a lot of what they eat.  The day we got there was actually chicken processing day (ie - the day they killed chickens).  But the scenery really was beautiful...

The very first job on day 1 involved some brush/shrub cleaning in the chicken pasture area (where they keep the chickens that provide eggs to the ranch). Five minutes into the cleanup and I looked over to see Kate outside of the pen, looking down at her shoe, instead of inside helping us clean up.
Me: Kate? What are you doing?
Kate: I got poop on my shoe. That's gross. I'm done helping people.
Mission trip complete.
Ha!  During the day, a lot of what we do involves cleanup around the ranch.  There are kids that live there year round, but there are also camps that are run there during the summer.  Needless to say, at the end of the summer, when all the campers have gone home, there is a lot of maintenance to do.  So we help with some of that stuff.
But the REAL fun comes at night, when we get to hang out with all of the kids.  On Monday night, we ordered pizza for the whole ranch (and of course had ice cream) and hung out in their big recreation barn area. We played basketball, and I learned quite a few "new" games: carpet ball, pit ball, and nine square.  We got to know a lot of the kids, and for those who had been on this trip multiple times, they got to hang out with some of the kids that had been around year after year.
Kate was in heaven. 
Monday night Kevin asked everyone in the group to name their favorite part of the trip so far.  There were lots of great moments up to that point, but I have to say that I absolutely LOVED seeing Kate run around with all those kids.  She was a stranger to no one. Her outgoing personality helps her make friends instantly and I hope she always stays that way.
Here she is learning how to play carpet ball with her dad...   

I had so much fun in just a few days.  I can only imagine the fun, memories, and experiences that those in our group had after being there for a full week. People often think a mission trip is about service and evangelism to other people (and it most definitely is). But I think people often overlook that those who are a part of the trip themselves cannot serve and remain unchanged.  If you've never been on a mission trip, I encourage you to remedy that!  You grow closer to God through service.  You learn to appreciate how God has blessed you.  You better see how God can use you in your everyday life, right where you are. A mission trip is not about YOU, but rest assured that God will work in your life as you serve others.

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