As a youth ministry volunteer here’s what I’m not able to do.
- I don’t guide the programming or the overall things we do in our ministry.
- I don’t guide what’s taught.
- I can’t control the environment, how the room looks or feels.
- I don’t know every student that comes, I struggle to remember the names of the guys in my group.
- I can’t be at every youth group event or activity, much less attend sporting events or just randomly show up like I did when I was in full-time church-based ministry.
In truth, just showing up on Wednesday night for a few hours is about all I’ve got to offer the high school ministry. It is important to me. At the same time, just being blunt, helping in the high school ministry is not my number one priority these days… it’s not the trump card it was when I was on staff at a church or even when Kristen and I were volunteers in our mid-20s.
- Most people are generally good.
- Stranger danger doesn’t apply, necessarily, to adults.
- Crime is way down. You grew up in a more dangerous society than your kids.
In yesterday’s post, Impending Doom, I shared about a segment of our society whose entire life narrative is built around the hope they find in a world headed to hell in a hand basket, praying for and even seeking to manipulate world events to usher in the imminent return of Jesus.
Last month, I drove from Nashville, Tennessee to Starkville, Mississippi for a Sunday afternoon speaking engagement. As I drove across rural Alabama and Mississippi, through small towns, flooded fields, and by countless small farms, I got a glimpse into a religious phenomenon oddly familiar.
On this drive were hundreds of religious signs. Most mentioned the name of a church or the times of a service. But many focused on a central message: Impending Doom.
A big term in college basketball this year was, “Are you the hunter or are you the hunted?” In other words: Are you the aggressor?
The cool moist Pacific air greeted me. I sent a text to Kristen, who was waiting in the cell phone lot. “I’m outside.” Three minutes prior I walked off my Southwest flight from Chicago, the last leg of my return flight from Port au Prince. A few minutes later and I saw her pull up in our white minivan. She slid over to the passenger seat, I tossed my bags into the back, and the trip was officially over.
Watch the first 6-7 minutes of this presentation from Rick Steves, I think it’ll challenge your perceptions of what it means…
- …to travel. The “why” we need to travel beyond our borders is super important.
- …to share what we know to be true. I’ve watched and loved Rick Steves show on PBS for years, I’d heard him do a couple radio interviews where he was a little outspoken on some issues, but my goodness he is unafraid to use his voice in this 80 minute piece.
In both cases, I hope to see more of that. I know for myself, while I certainly don’t land in the same area code as Mr. Steves on a lot of political issues addressed in this speech… I certainly want to continue to embody the two points above. I want to and plan to continue to travel beyond our borders. And I want to and plan to continue to share what I know to be true.
I’ll be sharing some stories and reflections on the 2014 Haiti Vision Trip with Praying Pelican Missions over the next week or so. But for now I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures. (Hover over the images to see captions, RSS readers, visit the site to see missing captions)
Dave stopped for this picture while exploring an orphanage near Jacmel, Haiti
Who doesn’t want to do a mission trip with this view? Absolutely amazing place.
We all want to know what Papa Noelle does in the off season, apparently he plays soccer with kids
The team performed a skit sharing the story of the Prodigal Son, afterwards Rebecca Hug offered an application for the story.
Shawn Kiger looking on as Rebecca Hug teaches
Kristen teaches children how to blow bubbles. Pretty awesome that this was 100% new to them… clearly not a lot of American teams have been here.
Loved this shot of Wes, just being Wes. His beard made him a kid-favorite.
Not exactly Yosemite, this water bottle has been some places… in this case the mountains of Haiti.
Apparently, this gentleman’s flight was delayed and lead to a miscommunication with his ride. For some reason he decided to stand in the middle of the arrival area with at least a thousand people staring at him. Every 15-20 seconds someone would offer him a cab.
One of the favorite things for our group to do was enjoy some good old country jun in the back of the pick-up.
This puppy posed for a picture after we met with the school director.
Thankful for Praying Pelican Missions for putting this trip together. Stunning view overlooking Jacmel, Haiti
I may have provoked this look with a comment…
Gair looks on as children play in the orphanage. (Jacmel, Haiti)
Jim Noreen & Sister Mona at Good Shepherd Orphanage
I’ve met Anderson a few times at Good Shepherd, he’s always full of great smiles and makes sure to tell you his name, Anderson.
Gair spotted this old iron at the orphanage in Jacmel, it opens in the middle to put hot coals in… a collectable.
Exploring the countryside is more fun in the back of a pick-up
A team had just completed this construction of a boys dorm in an orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti
Air dried laundry awaits cool breezes in Jacmel, Haiti
A meeting with the school’s director to hear about their work… none of the teachers get paid, 100% volunteer.
We enjoyed one of the Western Hemisphere’s best waterfalls… Bassin Bleu.
This cute little guy was curious about my big camera. Shortly after this he crawled behind me on the floor and fell asleep.
A bubble is a surprising difficult subject as it’s always moving and autofocus can’t quite manage. I set my lens and just waited… really pleased with this shot.
Praying for the children at Good Shepherd
The ride up to Jacmel & Bissen Bleu was long, but awesome.
For Praying Pelican Missions, Cote Plage is one of their key partners and housing locations. I captured this shot in the early morning light on Saturday.
I captured this shot almost by instinct, she tossed the frisbee and I fired the shutter… the result is fun.