Where: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
What: Backyard Bible Clubs & Night Services
So my first mission trip was the summer after 6th grade. I was just a tiny twelve-year-old who had finished one of the more awkward years of school.
It was going to be a test like none other. Can I stay away from home for an extended period of time? With people I barely know? With little to no sleep? Doing things I’ve never done before?
I did it.
I remember it being hard. But I did it. And I had an awesome time.
I missed home, but I loved being in this new place with new people and doing new things. It was all so exciting!
From what I can remember, we primarily worked at campgrounds hosting
backyard Bible clubs. We did crafts, played games, told stories and hung out with some awesome kids. My team seemed to get the smaller campground and it actually wasn’t until the end of our time there that kids actually came. We had been preparing for months for this, but in the end, we sometimes just ended up making the crafts for ourselves. We were of course a little disappointed, but when that first kid showed up, we smothered them in attention and love. It was a lovely sight.
Other little things I remember about this trip:
- The screeching raindrop – this awful sound that all the senior guys made every time we were on the bus. It was brilliantly annoying and hilarious at the same time.
- Playing spoons as instruments – we also had little church services at the campgrounds at night and one of our “acts” was playing spoons of different sizes. Also brilliant.
I knew leaving,that this experience was something I wanted to do again…many times. Looking back, I’m sure that my traveling itch started here.