I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew.
I have not one, not two, but three mission trips planned for this summer. That’s a lot even by my standards.
In early July I’m going with the high school youth to Tampa, Florida. This is the sort of trip I started making years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I love the kids at our church, as I’ve loved all of the youth groups I’ve travelled with, and there’s nothing like a week spent in close quarters to grow a relationship.
Then, later in July, I’m headed to the Dominican Republic. We’re going to live and work in the mountains, deep in the country’s beautiful interior. We’re going to sleep in hammocks (too many creeping things on the ground apparently), and we’re going to take bucket showers … when there’s water available. (I hate camping, generally speaking, but this isn’t camping, I keep telling myself. And it’s for a good cause.)
In early August I’m going along with yet another group – to Moore, Oklahoma, site of those devastating tornados last month.
What’s ordinarily good and memorable about these trips are the unexpected moments.
On a mission trip to Haiti several years ago I went along with a medical team to the rural parts of the island. Before loading up the four-wheel-drive vehicles, I learned how to take blood pressure readings, and so my job – along with a University of Michigan nursing student – was triage, taking down as much information from the long line of people that formed as we could before the physicians saw them. (That’s me in the photo above, looking very important and official in my scrubs.)
The highlight of that trip was being present for the birth of several babies at the hospital in Leogane. One of those babies was born by caesarian section, as were both of my own children, and so the next morning I checked in and found that the new mom had no experience with much of anything, including changing a diaper.
So, here, finally, was something I knew how to do. After all those mission trips where I was the least skilled person on the team, I was experienced at something that was very much needed. (Yes, that’s me in the picture below, changing a diaper.)
I have no idea what this summer’s trips will bring, but I look forward to bringing home stories and memories that will sustain me for years to come. And provide me with a few interesting blog posts too.