I am not new at this. I have returned home from a mission trip many times. I prepare my teams to come up with short responses for well meaning people who ask, "How was your trip?" But this time, I was not prepared myself.
Each trip is unique. Each trip has its own highs and lows. This trip was FABULOUS and it was DEVASTATING. How? I struggle putting it into words. I will try.
The best part of my trip was watching the relationships grow with children from the Sole Hope outreach house. Sole Hope is an organization that serves those with jiggers, a sand flea that burrows under the skin and produces its larvae that stay there until removed. Their outreach house takes on the worst cases. I saw familiar face. Little Abraham was at the outreach house when I was there this last December. He was brought back. This was his second time at the outreach house. So not only did I see a familiar face, so did he. We loved on him for the week he was there and then we drove him back to his families home to reunite him, jigger free, with his family. Whew...great experience and tough experience in one. It was nice to take him back home to his family, but what we took him back to brought me to tears. His family of seven lived in a homelike structure the about the size of a queen size bed. There was one bed and no door. No wonder this boy had jiggers so bad in twice in just 6 months.
My team, a few who had returned from previous trips, also were building relationships with children and ministry partners. In my opinion, that is the key to a successful short term mission trip. We served the long term missionaries who are the real heros. They work day and night, year round and we just come along side them for a short time. Our team loved on them big time!
So when you ask, "how was your trip?" Be ready for a brief, "it was good." Because it was. But honestly, it was much much more than good. It was profound! It was life changing! But I will say "it was good," because it's easier for you to understand. It's easier than going into long stories of how me and my teams lives were wrecked.