Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why take a missions trip to Alaska?

Why take a missions trip to Alaska?

I've been asked that a lot lately.

The missions team from LaFollette United Methodist Church, combined with members from Jacksboro and also Caryville United Methodist Churches are going to Willow, Alaska in June.

I'm on the team and I can't wait to go! For me, it is the trip of a lifetime. My daughter and I are driving up and meeting my husband who's flying into the Anchorage Airport. He'll be working on the trip too. Then, the 3 of us will head back to Tennessee.

What will the impact be?

The people of Willow are too poor to provide a home for their pastor without help. Our team is that help. Under the oversight of a licensed contractor we are going to get to install insulation and windows into the new home. I've never done that before (which is precisely what drew me to the trip).

When I was growing up, any power tool was hands-off for girls. I did get to have my own hammer, a few nails and a manual saw. Anything other than that was forbidden. The thought was that I, by virtue of my gender, would surely hurt myself instead of completing a project.

That idea has persisted for 40 years. It is now time to lay that notion to rest.

Mission trips provide an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and stretch your wings. The trips pull you out of your comfort zone and force you to look at life from a different perspective.

For the people of the United Methodist Church, a mission trip away also serves as a powerful reminder. The UMC is a connectional ministry. Being connectional is kind of like being a part of a big family. You have aunts, uncles and cousins that you've never met because they live all across the globe. On a missions trip, you get to meet the family that you didn't know you had and get to know them.

Along the way, you also get to know yourself and God, in a deeper and richer way.

On top of that, this time, on this missions trip to Willow, Alaska we get to learn how to install windows.

How's that for cool? Why take a missions trip to Alaska? Why wouldn't you?