As we have returned from our 14 hour journey home from Florida for a full week, I’ve decided to share a list of things I have learned after leading my first mission trip. I’m blessed to have the job that I do, full of experiences that allow me to try so many aspects of ministry. 10 students, 5 chaperones, 7 days, 60+ campers, 3 beach trips, almost 50 camper timeouts, and 9 months of planning later, here’s what I have.
1) 14 hour bus rides cause serious physical, emotional, and psychological tolls on people of every age.
2) It doesn’t matter how much energy you have when you say something, guaranteed the students will not hear you the first 3 times.
3) Flexibility is the key to every situation because it never goes as planned, whether it’s simple room assignments, a logical schedule with built in time to be late, or trampoline park groupons. It will change, and that’s okay.
4) Your bus will be filled with sand if you even look at the beach from the road.
5) Studying for the GMAT while leading 15 people in a new place does not work out well. One will be sacrificed and it will be the studying.
6) There will always be drama. It doesn’t matter how many boys or how many girls; they all will find something to be upset about with each other at some point.
7) If you explain the responsibility and value in serving others, kids can step up to the plate and truly surprise you.
8) Communion on the beach is the coolest thing ever.
9) Kids care about other kids way more than you can ever realize. And it’s a blessing to see even just a small piece of that love.
10) We all have something to learn. No matte your age, your IQ, your personality type, or your level of faith, God can teach you through both comfortable and challenging situations. The more open you are, the better chance you have of growing.