Often the things that feel most memorable on a mission trip are the things that weren’t on the schedule. There are few better experiences for young people (and adults) to develop patience and spontaneity as a mission trip. On this last one we:
- Organized an impromptu pizza and game night after our planned evening activity was rained out. This was on the last night of the trip, and the activity was one students had been looking forward to all week. Nobody complained.
- Split our group in two on a moment’s notice when a service site could only accommodate six of the 20 people who showed up. The decision about who would go where was made quickly and with minimal deliberation, and both groups had terrific experiences at their sites that morning.
- Enjoyed a brief Frostie stop when we were ahead of schedule for dinner. $.50 Frosties means the church invested a total of $9 and only the planning required to find the Wendy’s in Google Maps. Win.
Students and leaders should hear from the very beginning that we have no way of knowing everything that we will be doing on a mission trip, and that’s part of the fun. No doubt it’s part of the challenge, too; people invest time and energy into making schedules for these things, so it can be intensely frustrating when plans don’t work out. But, as much as sweating and praying, mission trips are for responding to changing circumstances to seize opportunities or to endure disappointment. Both are critical skills for faith and life.