Mission Trip

I slept for ten hours last night and am still not awake, but I really need to tell you about this incredible week that I just had.

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I was blessed to be a part of a mission trip to Cincinnati with 20 eighth graders. We went and worked at three different places; one called Master Provisions where we sorted through donated clothes and packed them to deliver around the world; one called Granny’s Garden School where we shoveled pounds of compost and woodchips to create new gardens; and one called The Giving Fields where the students worked in the fields picking green beans and other vegetables that supply food banks in Kentucky with fresh vegetables to give.

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So… when you were in 8th grade, what were you doing with your summers?

I ask because I did nothing like this. I didn’t fundraise and donate a week of my time to go help other people with manual labor. And these kids worked without complaint, for hours at a time. They talked to the people who run these organization, asking questions and learning their stories. They participated in small groups with people they didn’t know, encouraging each other and praying over each other. They built friendships with people who were new and left the trip as a family when they came as strangers.

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These kids shared their stories and their hopes and their love with each other. I saw them hold hands and pray without prompting. I saw them singing worship songs with their whole heart. I saw them covered in dirt and muck and smiling and asking for more.

People continually underestimate middle schoolers. Adults think they are too young to do important things; but how many adults do you know that would do this? These students are inspiring and absolutely incredible. They are funny and full of light and joy and wisdom.

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I really couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my vacation. I miss them already.

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Summer Days

The days are absolutely flying by, even with the sun lingering until late. It’s already July, and August is already school time, and I’m already almost done with another of my classes and I’m avoiding homework and papers like THE PLAGUE. I’m looking forward to this busy season being done, and then it’s just one class I’m taking and a mission trip and summer days that I can fill with whatever I want.

I want to make ice cream and sew things and read lovely books. I want to watch movies and drink too much coffee and have good conversations. And in the next few weeks, if you want to do those things too, let’s do them together.

Shauna Niequist (my hero) is posting about how she is being intentional about slowing down. I’m guilty of this; I like to fill my life because I’m afraid of missing anything, when in reality being this busy makes it hard to be present at the things I’m choosing to do. It’s a constant lesson for me. Say no to things to say yes to better things. Be present in the moment and stop worrying.

Carpe diem, and all that. It’s like Dead Poet’s Society, Oh Captain My Captain; it’s like Ferris Bueller, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Let’s work on seizing the day.