I grew up going on lots of mission trips around the U.S. to help with hurricane clean up, tornado clean up, building projects, working in warehouses, cooking meals, and the list goes on.
I've known for a while now that mission trips do more for me and my soul than for the project and people I am working for. While the work I've done on trips is appreciated, the fruits of that labor may not last but the impact of going on each trip absolutely does last.
Two Saturdays ago, Matt, my dad, and I went to Joplin, MO to help out for the weekend. We went in not really knowing what task we would work on. I thought we might do a little demo or clean up but instead we ended up working in the kitchen!
I'm used to getting dirty and exhausted from physical labor on most mission trips so this task was very different than what all three of us were used to.
The church we slept at over the weekend was converted into a shelter for all the volunteers coming down to Joplin and that weekend there were about 100 people coming and going. We were in charge of making lunch for all of the volunteers that came in looking for a meal so we set to work around 9 am. Lunch was scheduled to go from about 11-1. There were tons of frozen pizzas and some left over fajitas from dinner the night before. We began strategizing how we would cook enough pizza and keep everything hot for our hungry volunteers. By the time lunch was over, we were running the kitchen like pros and felt really satisfied with the work we had done.
Next we went outside to a warehouse where tornado victims could come and shop for food and goods that they needed (the warehouse was full of donations so everything was free).
It was about 102 degrees that afternoon so it was rough being out in the heat for the afternoon.
After working at the warehouse for the day, we were done. We were tired and had worked hard all day. The great feeling of a good days work filled the whole crew.
The next morning we made an awesome breakfast for about 50-60 people consisting of pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, biscuits, bacon, and sauteed veggies! We got up about 5:45 am and served breakfast until 9 am.
The thing about all of this wonderful work we did is, that anybody could have done the work that we did that weekend. If I hadn't been there, the only person that would have missed out would have been me.
The work I did was important and much appreciated but the one who benefited most from arriving in Joplin for the weekend was me because I got to serve and work toward a greater purpose.