Over at revgals revkjarla says: I am in mission trip mode right now, as I get ready to take a group of youth to DC to do service work around hunger and homelessness issues. So, in that spirit, our FF is Mission Style! So here are your questions:
1) Have you ever been on a mission trip, as a participant or adult chaperone? What was it like?
First let me say that mission trips are not as common here in the UK as they are in the US, so much so that the first time I came across mission trips was when we lived in Texas. It may be something to do with the relatively small size of the country. That said they do happen and most of my children have been involved in them in some way or another, probably most notably Jo who went out to Zambia for a month after graduation from University, where her boyfriend (now husband) was leading a team. They worked with orphanages, and in some difficult areas, caring, building, and making friends. It certainly impacted her! As for me, no not in the sense that you are talking about because as a teen I was not a Christian.
As an adult however I have been on several evangelistic missions, working with local church folk to spread the gospel in their area, going to schools, homes, pubs and clubs, I grew a lot through this experience!
2) What is the worst thing that happened to you/your group on a mission trip (or retreat, or camp, or Habitat for Humanity experience, or something like that--hey, this is YOUR Friday Five, so you get to play it how you would like.)
Turning up to find that the towns folk expected us a week later, and as we were dependant upon them for food etc we had nowhere to stay and nothing to eat. We had gone to Northern Ireland, so getting home easily was not an option. One of the significant elements of these trips was that we went with only enough money in our pockets to buy somebody else a drink, no credit cards/ bank cards, no mobile (cell) phones. It was an interesting experience, our wise team leader called us to pray, and not to panic. Soon gifts of food and offers of places to sleep came rolling in, and we and the church we were working with were blessed!
Another aspect of that trip was being asked to share my testimony in a large meeting, I was terrified, but through it I experienced a call to preach, the rest they say is history!
3) If money were no object, where would you want to go to help and serve? What would you do?
That is a hard question, there are so many areas that would benefit, and so many areas we might benefit from engaging with, but I think I would like to take a group of young folk to an area in Africa where poverty and hunger need addressing, where they could be involved in building a school, digging a well or something like that. I would also like them to be in contact with and worship with a local church. I think we learn a lot about ourselves when we are taken from our comfort zones.
I have been really challenged by an excellent series of programmes on BBC 2 recently where ministers from what were mission fields, have come to Britain and worked with the churches here, they really showed us how insular and comfortable, and dare I say dead, we are!
4) What would be your advice to someone who will be sleeping in a gym with 20 other people for a week?
Don't, well maybe don't if you are 50 like me, if you are in your teens/ 20's have a blast. If on the other hand you have to, good sleeping bag and inflatable bed roll, and a pillow- good luck!
5) Any parting thoughts, stories, or questions you have around the whole theme of Mission Trips?
Mission is more than a week a year, it is and should be a major part of our discipleship, that said I think that mission trips are invaluable for building fellowship and growing faith. Service is an essential of discipleship, and an opportunity to serve beyond our usual boundaries may change us for life! But it must be part of a whole and not an excuse to not be involved in mission for the rest of the year!
“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can” John Wesley