I am sooooo excited to be able to post my own mission trip experience.  We just got back from the Bahamas a couple of days ago and I’m still buzzing from the experience…

1. Name, occupation:  Myrtis, High School Teacher, part-time writer.

2. Where and when did you do missionary work?  Our church (Compass Community Church) went to Nassau, Bahamas in  July 2011

3. What did you do when you were there?  We did water outreaches, took lunch to the Haitian village, ran a kids camp, visited a girls reform school, and had a block party at an orphanage.  Part of the trip’s focus was teach the concept of outward focus servant evangelism to members of a local church.

4. What made you want to go?  I have always been interested in and curious about mission trips but have never been willing to take a step out there.  To me they all seemed too expensive and I had no desire to go to a 3rd world country.  This trip was perfect for me.  It was relatively inexpensive, we stayed at a resort, there were quite a few members from my church going including someone who was from the Bahamas.  Plus the Bahamas is a popular tourist spot so I figured it wouldn’t be as bad as going other places.  I felt like I had no excuse not to take this trip.

5. Cost; how much did it cost to go and  what about the experience made you find the expenses worth it?  The trip cost $600 per person not including food.  It was worth it because when I look at how much stuff we waste money on every day that cost seemed relatively small.

6. How did you raise the money?  We just paid for the trip outright.  We knew about the trip a year in advance and made payments throughout the year.

7. What was the worst thing that happened on your trip?  Leaving.  When you go somewhere with the specific intent to do “mission” work, you get the opportunity to leave your real world behind.  No job, no sports practice, no dishes, no laundry, no email or any other distractions of regular life.  On our last night there were talked about the importance of bringing that serving attitude back home.  If we can serve people 2000 miles away, we can surely serve people in our community.  That is a little more challenging to do when the busy schedule kicks into high gear.

8. What was the best thing that happened on your trip?  The best part of the trip was the cancelled block party.  We were supposed to have a block party at the church, but about an hour before the party it started raining and continued to rain for 2 hours.  The parking lot was a mess of big puddles.  We had invited kids from a local orphanage to attend that party but they couldn’t come because they didn’t have transportation.  Since our original plans got rained out and the orphanage couldn’t come to us, we decided to take the party to them.  We packed up all of the games, prizes, sno cone machine, cotton candy, face-painting, and candy and went to the orphanage.  We all had a blast.  It was incredible.

9. Share anything you would like about the experience and the people you encountered? As the block party story shows, we really learned about being flexible, letting go and letting God direct things.  Nothing (and I literally mean nothing) went as originally planned on our trip.  Bad weather, locations being unavailable, people not showing up, etc. kept popping up.  Instead of getting frustrated we were able to look for other opportunities.  In those “other” opportunities were some great God moments.  We had an awesome group that gelled together very well and we all just went with the flow.

10. What is your response to someone who says “I would love to go on a mission trip but I’m a little scared”?  Find something the fits you.  You don’t have to go to the trash heaps of Mexico, a remote village in Africa, or the crowded streets of India.  There are opportunities ALL around.  Even if you can’t actually take a trip somewhere, look for opportunities to be a “Suburban Missionary” right where you are.  Mission work is about finding people with needs and letting God help you meet those needs.  People with needs are everywhere.  Right now, wherever you are, there is someone who is hungry, a child who is struggling, a person who is homeless….opportunities are abound.