As I sit on my couch still processing everything that has happened this week, I really fell compelled to write a review of my experience. Which you can gather from the title, is on Group Mission Trip's Week of Hope. We just returned from a 5 day mission trip to Nashville TN. It was an amazing week that I'm still wrapping my head around.
I say that because my group of teenagers really surprised me. I went in with the preconceived notion that my kids would huddle up in a corner, keep to themselves, and I would spend the majority of my week begging them to work. That was not the case! My kids went right to work and built great relationships with the kids we served. I attribute that to one thing, the staff and programming.
First things first, the staff or 'Red Shirts' that we had were awesome. They were not only really energetic which helped keep the kids energy up and keep the motivated, but they also built relationships with the students and were there in the middle laughing, smiling, joking, and even singing them to bed and night. I don't know if they will ever read my blog post but Leah, Laura. Rachel, and Giny; you girls were awesome! From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you each. You made our experience extra special. Leah, I'm sure your future in youth ministry will be bright and pray for your continued success in college. Laura, you were awesome! I hope we see each other at SYMC and can catch up.
Another thing that was cool is there was room for everyone. When we left I grabbed my bongo's just in case there was room on the worship team for me or one of my students. I didn't expect there to be though, I mean I'm from a small church in rural Kentucky, surely there will be a mega church there with an entire praise band etc. Not only was I encouraged to play but they staff were excited that we had a drummer in addition to the guitar player. It was awesome to see one of my students also participate in the praise band with me too.
I won't get into the other things that made the week awesome, great work site, decent food for a mission trip, the fact that we had a shower trailer, awesome host site, etc. but there were so many factors.
The programming was top notch! The lessons were great, interactive, the messages and devotionals supported each other, the students were encouraged to interact. Like any typical youth event we had crazy games awesome songs and videos, and the "Care Card" videos were hilarious! Plus looking ahead at next years programming it appears that there will be a lead up series on the LIVE platform that will lead in to the trip, that alone = epicness!
The only suggestion that I could even make is an off the wall one. Being that parent ministry is my sweet spot, it would have been cool to have a logo embossed follow up questions. Just 3-5 easy to answer discussion starters for post trip for the parents. This handed out at the end would be awesome! But thats not even a complaint, just an idea I had. When I talked to the staff they even thought it was a great idea and would pass it along, so if it happens, you can say thank you to me.
If you are looking for the most bang for your mission trip buck, do yourself a favor. Seriously, put the iPad down and go to http://www.groupmissiontrips.com. Check them out! Now...Go..put the doughnut down and go. I'll wait and until next time!
Just Keep Swimming!