Texas Missions Trip: Day 7…

I guess the saying that “all good things must come to an end” is true! This week has been an extremely exhausting time for all of us due to the busyness, chaos, and heat! Although it was all of these things and more, it was still an incredible trip that we were blessed by. As I mentioned in a previous post, I doubted at first if this trip was from God or from me. Each day confirmed that this WAS from Him. We loved every minute of it and I am praying that we made an impact in those foster children’s lives!

I went to two morning activities (fishing/boating and the sports pavilion). The former activity went off without a hitch while the latter was another chaotic event for my cabin. We had to make at least five different kids sit out from playing for a while so they could calm down and think about what they did. Being that it was almost the end of camp; most of them were out of control. Kids that had been perfect angels all week were acting up. It was as if a switch was flipped in them over night and I got to see what they were really like. Most of the time, when we made a kid sit out; I saw tears and true sadness in their eyes. It broke my heart to see such sadness on those kids faces. I can’t begin to imagine what they have been through in their lives and the tough situations they have been dealt and forced to live in.

We started packing up before lunch on Friday and then ended up leaving the camp around 2:00 PM (Texas time…which is one hour behind PA). We got to the airport around a little before 3:00 and were on our plane shortly before 4:00. Before we even took off in Texas, I was already talking to my group about the possibility of coming back next year or the year after. This was the most surprising thing to me about the trip. I went there uncertain of whether or not we would make an impact, and left KNOWING that we did and that I myself was impacted.

We flew to Atlanta for a layover. After we boarded our plane in Atlanta, we sat there for nearly two hours as the technicians were trying to fix a problem that the plane was having with some hydraulic system. They attempted to fix it but were unable to do so, so they de-boarded us, and then boarded us onto another plane. As we were sitting in the new plane, I reached into my bag and tried to find a youth ministry magazine that I had been reading, and then it hit me that I had left it on the other plane. I told Keith and the rest of my group and laughed about it, and then Keith brought something else to my attention. He said “did you get your iPod?” AHHHHHHH, I immediately realized that I didn’t. While we were on the first plane, I didn’t imagine that I wouldn’t be on that plane until I got to Harrisburg, PA. I was a bit upset, but wasn’t going to let it get me down. It was just an iPod and magazine and I could have bought another one of each.

Here is a conversation I had with the flight attendant after I realized I left my iPod on the other plane:

Me: “Excuse me…I have a problem…I left my iPod and a magazine on the other plane in the back of the seat in front of where I was sitting…”

Flight Attendant Lady: “you’re kidding me?” then she rolled her eyes and started to walk away saying “I’ll be right back!”

What was funny/frustrating/ironic about this is that I was actually going to say “can you have the airline mail them to me?” but she cut me off before I could get to that part. She got off the plane and walked 5 or 6 gates down to get my iPod off of the other plane. She couldn’t find my magazine (because I had it placed behind the fold down tray table). All is well now though because I have my iPod back, and I called the magazine today and they are going to ship me out a new one tomorrow morning…free of charge! God definitely answers prayers, even ones about lost iPods and magazines that seem insignificant!

In closing, this past week was an extremely amazing week of ministry. I got to work alongside of my students, and they became my co-workers for a week. I enjoyed it and learned new things about them all. I also developed a heart and compassion for foster children. I didn’t know much about them before this week of working with them, but after, I know that I want to help them more in the future. Although the kids were cruel towards each other and a bit hard to handle at times, I loved every minute of getting to know and working with them. If we come back, it wouldn’t surprise me if I asked to be placed in a cabin with the same kids next year (or the year after…if next year won’t work out)!!! I developed a bond with those campers and I will definitely be praying for and thinking about them all!

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your interest in what our group was doing down in Texas and for all of your prayers! I am certain that we wouldn’t have made as much of an impact as we did if we didn’t have people back home praying for and thinking about us!

Thank you so much!

– paulg

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