Further Reflections on a week in Joplin

This was the first time I would have to go away for a while since we had Junia.  For that reason alone, I was not looking forward to the trip.  The students were excited.  But after nine of these trips I approach it as part of my job rather than something to be excited about.  I admit that is not a good thing.  Yet if I am honest, I would rather stay home with my wife and baby.

By the end of the trip I had to admit this had been one of the best mission trips I have been on since I started working with CSF.

(Don’t get me wrong, I sorely missed Emily and Junia!)

(And any alumni who read this don’t be offended, I said “one of the best” not “the best” 🙂

The group before we headed home

I give a lot of credit to this group of students.  They were just plain fun to be around.  I could offer many examples of goofy sayings and games from throughout the week, but instead I will talk about what we did Friday night.  We stayed in a church, eating our meals at tables set up in the sanctuary.  Each night we had a time of worship, led by two students on guitars.  Throughout the week we noticed these odd-looking things under the chairs…


Someone joked that we should have a hymn sing.  By the end of the week the whole group thought it would be fun to spend an hour singing hymns out of a hymnal.  So we did.

It was kind of funny to see the students so excited for hymnals.  I guess there was a nostalgia for these old-fashioned, song-filled books.

I am not going to look too deeply into it.  I doubt that churches will or should start bringing hymnals back.  But I do think there is a respect for the past among many students that would enjoy the occasional “unplugged” service that their grandparents are used to.

A few other reflections:

*I was very impressed with how one student, Hannah, stepped up prior to the trip and just took over the meal planning.  She made a menu, a shopping list and cooked all our dinners.  I told her that will come in handy when I write a job recommendation one day!

*Driving vans is much better then buses, though I don’t think I’d want to go much further then we did.  The great thing about vans is freedom!  We took the students to where Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma all come together and they loved it.  I never saw college students so excited about geography!  I also enjoyed the freedom of picking delicious food places on the trip: Cracker Barrel, Waffle House and Culvers.  No McDonalds, Burger King or Wendy’s.

*On a personal note, it was nice to see some old friends who live in the area!

*Finally, it is always encouraging to see the students work together as a team!  I pray this teamwork continues as we seek to serve and love those around us on campus.

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