(Part 2 in a series of 7. Check? daily? for? another? insight into? brilliant moves I’ve made? over 30 years in ministry to students.? Imagine, each day’s story? gets dumber from here.)
We were some hot stuff, our Sr. High Youth Mission Team. We went to Habitat every 4th Saturday of the month so? we had MAD skills. So hot, we’d traveled as far as our UM Children’s Home on a district mission trip to do gardening and put up some kinda storage unit! We were BAD. (Which was good and a relevant term back then? thanks to MJ)? ?
Then we got wind of this new thing: youth groups all over the country had begun? going on trips to do? home repair stuff, wheelchair ramps, roofing, etc. Sounded studly to our group so we decided? we wanted to ride the wave of this new thing.? (It was the early 90’s) (don’t roll ur eyes at me)
The ensuing? madness was no one’s fault but the leader’s – me. We didn’t need? a fancy? youth mission? organization? because we knew as much as they did, so? let’s save? money. I found a small home-grown organization? running home repair? camps? out of their church.? We? set off in the “caution: church van”,? power tools in the back, ready to build us somethin’.
Let me cut the story short and? bullet point the epic fails:
1) MOST STUDENTS (and one certain leader) WILL OVERESTIMATE THEIR SKILL LEVELS ON THE INFO FORM: On a scale of 1-4 (being the highest), ? I think we averaged? ourselves a 4.5 in all areas. Thus we were left ALONE? at? a mobile home site to build a wheelchair ramp, install? a door,? and remove/replace several rotting foundation boards under the trailer. ? Epic fail #1.
2) NO SITE COACH OR NO WORK DESCRIPTION IS A BAD THING:? I never thought to ask if there would be site supervisors (like at Habitat) to tell us what to do, where to cut, and do the icky things we didn’t want to do.? I also didn’t ask if there would be any instructions on how we were to do what we were assigned to do.? Epic fail #2.
3) DON’T BE A SMART ALECK WHEN HOLDING A? POWER SAW: I was terrified? by this point into the trip. We were in WAY over our heads and I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared to let the youth use the power saw since none of us had ever really? done it unsupervised before. I lectured them on the safety of it all, turned the saw on to? demonstrate…and sawed through the power cord. Epic fail #3.
4) DON’T USE A CAR JACK TO PROP UP THE? ENTIRE BACK CORNER OF? A DOUBLE-WIDE:? One of those? rotting foundation boards wouldn’t budge from up top so the only way to get at it was to shimmy underneath the trailer and pull it out from there.? The trailer sat too low due to the rotting and needed to be propped up thus our decision to use the church van’s? car jack. Being the leader, I was quickly elected to shimmy into the dark, creepy place. The car jack didn’t break till after I’d already scooted? back out. Epic fail #4 (use of the car jack). Epic success? for God’s grace on an idiot? youth leader.
#5) IS A WHEELCHAIR RAMP? SUPPOSED TO BE AT? A? 45 DEGREE ANGLE?? Thank God the mud puddle at the bottom of the ramp stopped the forward momentum? of the homeowner as she took her first ride on the ramp.? Epic fail #5.
Oh, and I was the only adult on this trip and on the crew. Guess that’s #6.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Unless you REALLY know what you’re doing on a mission trip – use the pro youth mission organizations. They’re worth what you think you could do cheaper yourself. I’ve tried several? and am a raving fan of Group Workcamps Foundation.
Tomorrow:? An event? referred to only as? “Oh, THAT Halloween.”
PS-Thanks, Krystie, for reminding me what years of therapy? had blocked out.?