I am no newcomer to mission work…the church I grew up in sent our UMYF on mission trips every summer. Appalachian Service Project (ASP) and Heifer Project were our go-to service trips and I loved every minute of the weeks spent working. Six years ago, I had the opportunity to go to the beautiful island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas to visit my dear friend Abraham at Bahamas Methodist Habitat. I needed a vacation and I had a friend who lived in the Bahamas…What a week! I happily took a vacation from my job as a nurse and traded latex gloves for work gloves to spend a week helping out in paradise. When people think of the Bahamas they think of the ports they see from their cruise ships and the swanky all you can eat and drink resorts they vacation in, what most don’t realize is that outside of the tourism market there are few other means of income in this beautiful country made of islands in the Caribbean. Eleuthera is one of the smaller islands and there is very little tourism there. Many of the men leave the island to go find work in Nassau or Freeport. On top of this, the island is on the far eastern border of the Atlantic and the Caribbean putting it in the line of many hurricanes. Many of the families live in homes that could be described as shacks at best, yet they are some of the most friendly, happy people I’ve ever met. My week there was truly inspiring and I fell in love with this small island and its people.
Tomorrow I have the opportunity to help lead 31 youth from West End on the same trip. As I sit here on my sofa in my comfortable Bellevue townhouse, drinking my Saturday morning coffee with the TV on in the background I can’t help but to wonder what the next week will bring. Will our group be able to make a difference in someone’s life? Will the youth find the same inspiration and evidence of God’s love as I did 6 years ago? Will we all return home more grateful for what we have and not as worried about what we don’t have? Will I be able to be the role model that the youth need on this trip? Will everyone show up at the airport with their passport? Only the next week will tell! As Abraham likes to say “pray with us” while we do God’s work. (Oh and don’t worry he’s already praying with me about being a chaperone!)