Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring "Break"

70 teens X 2 meals a day x 5 days = 1 exhausted chica
Simple math equation, right? I mean, I got a 5 on the AP Calculus exam in high school, so I should have guessed that answer easily. Contrary to common sense, however, the result I expected was a semi-busy week that still included lots of time to write in the afternoons. Ha! Boy was I wrong! However, I have endured the week of cooking for our Spring Break missions trip, and while completely and utterly pooped out (Jim and I both woke up this morning feeling run over by the same dump truck), I have to say, I kind of enjoyed my week.

(This is only about half of the food I bought for the week. I heaped up 3 baskets at Costco, 1 at Food 4 Less, and 4 at Walmart...You should have seen people's eyes. It was a great opportunity to tell them about what we were doing!)

After 6 years of taking our youth to Mexico over Spring Break, last year due to safety concerns and money issues for a lot of our kids, we decided to do an in-town missions trip. Because, afterall, our entire lives are supposed to be a mission, right? It was such a success last year that we decided to do it again this year. So we set up base camp at Lake Oneil on Camp Pendleton, sent our students to three different chapels around Base to do Vacation Bible School in the mornings, and then set them up with a variety of different community service activities each afternoon. Each night after dinner, we had the traditional speaker/worship/application activities, and of course time in between for the fun camp bonding stuff. I was soooooo proud of our group!

(The cute "Barnabas"awards I made for each day's most-encouraging/helpful guy and girl. Everyone was so great, it was so hard to just pick two a day!)

We ended up with 73 people, including middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, college age (and Marines), and parents. It was so neat to watch them interact across age groups, and to see the new friendships form. There were no real attitude or behavior problems, and on Friday, while everyone looked forward to sleeping in their own bed again, many really wanted to stay. The crazy thing is that the whole week, we were only a few miles from home. Yet it felt like a different world. Lots of great ministry happened, from little kids at VBS asking Jesus to be their "forever friend" to single moms getting yard work done to teenagers just hanging out with old people in a convalescent home to something like a ton of clothing being sorted for distribution to poor people, and lots more. (Funny side note: everyone that helped with the clothes distribution got to pick out one item to keep. Our kids have quite the sense of style! That night at dinner I saw a neon blue 80s ski suit, a banana suit, an asian-style robe, and of course, Jim wearing a woman's blouse while playing football--because he liked the way it felt silky!)

And of course, going back to my ridiculous choice of a task for this week...hey, in spite of all challenges (including my oven overheating--oh the irony!--and conking out mid-week), I enjoyed my time alone and everyone seemed to love the food. I've never had so many requests for recipes! (Seriously, I think anything tastes good to a teenager after working hard all day.)...The introverted side of me got to spend most of my day alone in my kitchen, which is just what I needed; and then I got to hang out with everyone at meal times to hear all the cool stories.

I'm utterly exhausted, and nowhere near ready to go back to school in 2 days. And I didn't get the writing on our sequel done that I needed to (so why am I writing here? hmmmm....). But it was a good week.


  1. I love the picture of your room. Looks like my house when I'm getting ready to go to the village (plus all the clothes and school supplies). So, did the kids overnight at your house, or somewhere else? Did you take the meals somewhere, or did they come to you? Sounds like it was a great (although busy) week.

  2. I cooked it all at my house, and then drove over to Lake Oneil (about a 20-25 min. drive) where they were camping twice a day (I packed lunch in coolers each morning so I wouldn't have to make a third trip).
    I'm not sure how to cook [well] for 70+ people at a campground, but I think I'd try to figure it out if I did it again. The commuting ate up a lot of valuable time. But, it was great getting to sleep in my own bed each night (even if it was only for a few hours!)

  3. That is awesome Rachel!! That group looks amazing! I'm so glad ya'll had such a great experience, and good job with all that food! lol. It's almost like catering team all over again... except just you by yourself! ;)

  4. Awwww! I love mission projects and trips - and that is SO great that yall did something in the area. We are big pushers of thinking "glocally" - global AND local missions. Some of my favorite mission moments are the ones we do in our own backyard. :) Glad it was such a great experience and that you had so many involved! Keep up the good work.