In some arenas short term mission trips are criticized for how much money is spent on a short term investment, but we believe that they are worth it! The last two weeks we had two different groups come down to Brazil. The first one was a group of football coaches to do a camp for football players in the Northeast. The second was a family, friends from college. Jonathan played soccer with me for four years and is now a Pastor.
The football clinic went really well. We picked up the team on a Wednesday and after a missed flight ended up getting to the camp in Igarassu, a neighboring town to Recife, pretty late with half of the group. On Thursday we had a couple coaches arrive. The team was able to focus on them in a more laid back atmosphere. They passed on quite a bit to these guys and me as well!
On Friday afternoon seven of us loaded up our car (loaded up is an understatement) and went to the big city and after a slight detour (slight meaning we went to the wrong place and then got lost and ended up driving on the sidewalk to avoid getting lost again) we arrived at an English school where a big group of English students awaited us. Some kids sat on the floor and other adults stood as the room was packed. We talked about football and the coaches took in some stardom. We put some equipment on a little kid and had him hit the group leader Hoss who played Offensive Lineman in the NFL. The afternoon was set up by the american consulate which has been a neat relationship in the last couple of months.
On Friday night the players started showing up. We had 40-50 players that came and it was the perfect number for providing good attention for all of them. On the field was fabulous for everyone and then when the sun was a little hotter or on the other side of the earth we did 6 character lessons on the mental, emotional, social, intellectual, physical and spiritual side of football. The guys really liked it. My team especially needed a lot of these extra sessions.
The camp went really well and the group could clearly see our ministry with the football team. We really connected as a team as well and their testimonies throughout the week ministered to my soul. On Monday they headed home.
On Tuesday we picked up Jonathan and Michelle Watson and their daughter Victoria and we headed back to Arcoverde. We did not do too many extra things with them, just our normal ministries. But having them along was a lot of fun. They provided advise for friends, worked on the construction, made pom-poms for Sarah's cheerleading team she is starting up, prepared for a party and then on Saturday night Jonathan preached at our service where we had a great turnout.
They were very encouraging the whole time and it was neat to share life with them once again. We talked about our time in college and our lives since then. Sunday night we had a party and had around 40 people in our house and just ate and had a good time. Probably half of those people are unchurched and it was neat to have interaction with everyone in that way.
Short term mission trips help in several ways.
1. It gives a great boost to the missionaries.
2. It impacts the nationals and peaks their interest.
3. It impacts those on the trip.
Michelle said that everyone needs to go on at least one foreign mission trip because it opens your eyes to a different world. We would love for more teams to come down to help build a sport's court, do football clinics or do English clinics or VBS and there are more ideas as well!