Mission Trip Reflections

On this year’s mission trip, and since, I’ve struggled with what exactly I did.  Because, I didn’t do much.  Don’t get me wrong, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the work Erik Edwards does in leading and planning our annual mission trip.  He does it with excellence, patience, grace, integrity, selflessness, and a persistent focus on reaching students and guiding them in their faith journeys.  He does it all for free.   He does it all much better than I ever did or could.  He’ll start working soon to identify next year’s trip.

Tanner Iglio led our nightly PCC time after the worship service for all 470 participants.  He did a great job writing nightly devotions, sharing brief words from his own spiritual journey, and coordinating a brief, yet effective, time of worship through music.

Aimee Krueger emerged as the pastor I’ve seen within her.  Because of her role in leading
Me and Aimee
our junior high students the past few years, she personally knew more of the PCC students than any of the other adults, including me.  They looked to her for answers.  She gave them with a smile, grace, and enthusiasm. 

She worked hard on a construction crew all day like the rest of us, and then she joined students for basketball or ultimate Frisbee while I napped.  To her core, Aimee loves and empathizes with students who might feel on the outskirts.  It was inspiring to watch her lead them, guide them, and encourage them to share their personalities with the crowd.  She put her foot down with students, and on behalf of students, when needed; she’s found her authoritative voice, but only uses it when necessary. 

She, like the other exemplary chaperones, gave up a week’s vacation and paid a significant sum of money to sleep on an air mattress on very old carpet for fewer than seven hours a night, to eat cafeteria food (although it was very good!), to lead students in manual labor from 7:00-3:00, to worship in a hot room of smelly teenage boys, to hug them and pray with them anyway, and to drive a van full of sleeping students home after a week of insufficient sleep.

I could not have been prouder of her.

But, with Erik being the administrative genius he is, and with Tanner writing and leading excellent devotions, and with Aimee pastoring the majority, what was I supposed to do?

Some years, I spend my time checking on, encouraging, and diffusing chaperones.  But this year, that wasn’t needed.  This year, the chaperones were responsible, committed, encouraging, gracious, self-starting, team players who were a true joy to serve alongside.  They made life-changing investments in students’ lives, and they made my job so easy, I wasn’t sure what my job was anymore.

To be continued…


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