There's a million things I love about going on mission trips, but honestly.....one of the best things about mission trips are the friendships that you make with the people who travel with you. There's something about traveling with a group of people to the other side of the world for a couple of weeks that creates a very strong bond. I have a special bond with these people that I know will last a lifetime. Okay...that's a dramatic statement, I know....but I'm finding that it's pretty true.
In 2009, our team organized at North Side Baptist Church under the leadership of Jerry & Sandra Hawkins. It was a small team - 15 people. We started meeting almost a full year before our trip - so by the time we actually left for Nairobi, we were a pretty tight group. During our 17-day trip to Kenya, we flew over 36 hours together, we worked side by side, drove hours and hours together on a bus, ate together, prayed together, worshiped together, cried together and....in the end, had the experience of a lifetime...."together."
This team has enjoyed several reunions since we came home. I love these people. My friendships with them are some of the most valuable in my life.
Just four months ago, I joined a team from Newspring Church in Anderson that traveled with the 410 Bridge Ministry to Segera, Kenya. Newspring sends several teams every year to Kenya -
and even though I wasn't a member of the church, they had an opening on their November team and I was able to take it. What a great team! I didn't know any of them beforehand, but the experience of traveling and serving with them was incredible. What a phenomenal group of people!
Oh my gosh! I loved them all. Everybody got along well -- we laughed together, ate together, flew together, had the infamous 3 hour traffic jam in the city of Nairobi together, trekked out in the bush together, we sat out on the grass of some of most beautiful country you've ever seen together, shared our testimony in small, dirt floored churches together, led people to Christ together, saw the lives of special needs kids changed together!
Yes, it's a little "uncomfortable" to travel that far with people you may not know that well, but I'm SO GRATEFUL that I did. I love these people! At the end of my life, I'll think back on these friendships and remember my time with these people as some of most valuable experiences of my life.