Is it really over?
A year ago we began the first steps in working on our annual summer mission trip to New Sweden, Maine. Six months ago we opened up the application process. Five months ago we finalized the team and began the real work. A month ago panic started to set in!
And now every time I go on Facebook I see Maine team members wishing they were still up there.
In a lot of ways, this was a trip full of unexpected twists. We lost some team members the week before leaving. Our first day of travel was supposed to be a ten hour drive at most that turned into twelve because of construction. Our activity for that night was rained out meaning a scramble to find something else for all these teens to do to get their energy out! Our second day of driving we woke up to a flat tire. In the rain. Once that was fixed we hit the road; there was no traffic … but the rain was so heavy we only averaged 40 miles per hour for the day! Once we were there, we had rain almost every day, two emergency room trips, and we had to send a leader home early because of a death in her family. We try to plan ahead, but there is no way to predict every possible outcome.
And yet, we had an amazing trip. With a team predominantly made up of middle school students and a handful of high school students, we led a Vacation Bible School that ranged from kids four years old through twelfth grade. Our teens taught lessons, led games, worshiped, taught crafts and prayed with children to accept Christ. We spent hours and hours as a group studying our way through 2 Timothy – the discussion was amazing. We bonded as a group in so many ways; it was exciting to see as a leader that there weren’t cliques or exclusive circles, but that we were one team working and ministering together!
One of the things I love about how the Maine trip has changed in the last couple years with the smaller team size and many of the older students opting for our other high school only stateside trip, is that it has become an incredible place for discovering new, younger leaders in the group. Kids who might not have stepped up or out with the older leaders around, now have the opportunity to rise to the occasion in powerful ways.
The mission trip to Maine is a labor intensive trip, requiring a LOT out of our volunteer leaders and students. At the same time, it’s one of best places for evangelism training, teaching kids to be teachers, learning to serve, being out of our comfort zones, and serving a real need to our fellow churches in Northern Maine.
I love that our teens are already counting down the weeks to next year.