The Value of the FUMY Summer Mission TripBy: Susan Naslund
Here is a math problem for you: Solve for x, if x = 18 youths plus 5 adults (plus 23 sleeping bags + 23 duffel bags) divided by 3 vans and 1 pick up truck, traveling north at the rate of 65 miles per hour multiplied by 2 10-hour periods. Math is not my strong suit, but my guess is that in the above equation, x = a Foothills United Methodist Youth Mission Trip to Portland, Oregon.
Is that the answer you got?
I have never been on a mission trip. I don't particularly like to camp or get dirty. I have never been away from my husband for more than a few days at a time. Nevertheless, I believe I have been called to spend eleven days this summer on an amazing adventure with several of the greatest teenagers and adult leaders I have ever met. Officially, I will go along as the group's "scribe," writing down the details of our trip and reporting the group's progress through our team's website. More than that, I will try to put into words the transformational experiences I know each of us will have while traveling, working and playing together.
So far, there has been a lot to learn about mission trips. It turns out that you don't just show up with your duffel bag on the day of departure and hit the road. It turns out that getting to "x" is a journey in itself. Each of us has been figuring out what we do best, and how we can most effectively contribute to the group. It turns out that some people on the team are encouragers, some have great stamina, while others are best at reminding us of our spiritual grounding. Some even do math well so I don't have to worry about that!
We hope you will follow along with us virtually by checking in regularly at http://fumcyouthmission.wordpress.com/. There you will meet the mission team and read what we have been up to in preparation for the trip. The kids have been earning money to pay for expenses by doing projects around the church and at the homes of members of our congregation. They have been getting to know each other. They have been getting their hands dirty together. They have been praying together.
We will leave for Portland on July 20th. In the meantime, we all ask for your prayers of support, and we thank you for the help you have already given us. As the Mission Trip Scribe, the initial message I want to convey is one of humbleness. Before January, I had no idea what went on behind the scenes of mission trip preparation. A huge commitment of time and hard work has already been made by the youth and leaders. Yes, I have confirmed that the correct answer to "x" in the above equation is indeed "a Foothills United Methodist Youth Mission Trip to Portland, Oregon." However, I also now know that in the end, the value of "x" is going to be something that cannot be calculated with a mathematical formula. I am so grateful to be part of this team. I look forward to sending you greetings from the road this summer.