I know, I know…there should be a box for this on the permission slip. There are boxes for “can your child swim,” “medications,” and “allergies,” but I can’t believe we’ve completely missed it on this life-threatening condition.
No, it’s not the “Japanese red wasps” that darted from beneath the eaves of Ms. Ruby’s house and, according to one youth, could kill you with its horrible sting. (False. Unless, of course, you checked the “allergies” box on this, and especially since they are Carolina Red Wasps.) No, and neither is it the dreaded bite of the “world’s-most-deadly-spider-if-only-they-could-actually-bite-you” ie: the granddaddy long legs. (False again: http://spiders.ucr.edu/daddylonglegs.html) It’s not even choking on an Ale 8, falling off the ladder, or poking your eye out with a paint brush. Then what, pray tell, is “The Most Dangerous Part of the Mission Trip?”
“The Most Dangerous Part of the Mission Trip” is not actually part of the trip. It’s when they come home.
We worked with CBF’s Rural Poverty Initiative in one of the 20 poorest counties in our nation (http://www.thefellowship.info/missions/ministries/togetherforhope). After we talked about this one night, one of the youth came up to me, her eyes brimming with tears, and said, “I feel guilty. I have so much, and I go shopping whenever I want, but they don’t have anything. Maybe I shouldn’t have so much stuff?”
The most dangerous part of the trip is when they’ve seen economic disparity in our own country and have discovered the fact that, as Americans, we control most of the world’s wealth. It’s when they have had their eyes opened and vow that they will be different. It’s when they tell parents about what they’ve experienced. The most dangerous time is whether this new awareness will make a difference when they get home or whether we will try to soothe their consciences with a trip to the mall or the beach.
We left for Kentucky, parents waved goodbye, praying that their kids would come back changed. Be careful. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” So here come your kids. This is the time to talk to them. They might just decide they don’t need 3 pairs of $100 shoes anymore.