My Experience on the Waypoint Youth Mission Trip
Do you want to hear about the Waypoint youth mission trip to Florida?
The Waypoint Church youth group was able to mix fun, hard work, faith, and the will to spread the goodness of God down in Panama City, FL. We started our trip on Saturday morning. It was early, and we were quiet, but things got louder by the time we stopped to eat in South Carolina. At Taco Bell, I was challenged to drink some concoction with cheese dip, hot sauce, soda, and some other Taco Bell sauces. The cashier promised me a slushy if I could handle it. It wasn’t as bad as you might think, and the slushy was really good.
When we got to Atlanta we did some sightseeing at the MLK Jr. National Historical Park and also the aquarium. We spent the rest of the night at the house of one of the youth member’s great-grandparents’ house. They were very nice and really welcoming, but what ruined the night for me and everyone else in the room we slept in, were the clocks. Three clocks that each have their own chime, ding-dong, or coo-coo, or some singing bird. Imagine sleeping with loud clocks that go off at ten to fifteen-minute intervals. The next day we went to a church and heard an amazing sermon, but to be honest, it was a struggle to stay awake because of the clocks from the previous night.
We made a few more stops in Alabama and even picked up a cousin of some of the youth members’ and he joined us on the trip. As we got closer to Panama City, we saw the ruins of the Hurricane that had happened eight or nine months ago. We saw trees all bent over in one direction, houses and stores in ruins, and a church with no roof.
Our second night was spent in a church building. We played basketball when we got there because there was a gym upstairs, we had pizza, and we played tricks on each other. Like when some of the guys told me they ate my plate of food that I asked them not to touch while I was in the shower. Well, I found my found my food, untouched, and we tried to get a better night’s sleep. The building was really cold, but there were no cuckoo clocks.
We got up the next morning and got to work on a church that had part of its roof missing. Our task was to load about 250 bags (9,000 pounds) of broken and rotten material onto a truck. It was hard work in the heat, but when that was over we drove to the resort, checked in, and got settled. We were all eager to jump in the pool and go to the beach. We had a quick meeting where the plans and goals of our week were explained to us by our amazing youth counselors.
The real work started the next day, where we helped a man and his three daughters rebuild their fence. On that day, we put up 17 planks, plus the frame, and encountered a challenge from one of the neighbors. We were not pleased with those results, and we prayed for more energy and encouraged each other that night. Then, we went back the next day and did 56 planks, making our total 73 planks in 8 hours. The best thing that came out of that fence in the end was how I was able to bond with the people who worked on the fence with me. I actually got to know them instead of the once a week youth session. We even made a game out of the work, like forming what we called “the mafia family” and taking on new personas. I called myself “Don R” and pretended like I was a really cocky guy who used his large ego to stay motivated and get the job done. That was just one of the many personas we came up with.
Another great part of the work was seeing the emotion on the face of the man we helped and also feeling the appreciation in his words. He appreciated us coming down to help him as servants of the Lord. I know that, for me, I had to remind myself that I was there for the work and the glory of God and not for my own glory and pleasure.
I learned a lot about myself, and I spent some time thinking about my relationship with God. Our youth leaders had really amazing questions to ask in our Bible study sessions.
One of the questions was: “What does our relationship with God look like?”
That was one of my favorite questions, and I thought about it in bed till I fell asleep. Overall the trip taught me so many little and large concepts. I wouldn’t call what happened on the trip “bonding,” because it was more than that. It was evolution of our shared relationship as the Waypoint Youth Group.
Thank you for praying for us.