Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teen Missions

If things work out with the timing on Jasmine's surgery (and believe me I am pushing for that to happen) the girls are going on a mission trip to AZ through Teen Missions. Teen Missions camp is on Merritt Island Florida basically in swamp land. This is a no frills work camp meaning there isn't a game time, recreation time etc. It is not for the faint of heart.

The rules are very strict which is one reason I don't worry about my kids being there. Long pants and work boots have to be worn at all time except swim time. Water shoes and a knee length cover have to be worn for swim time. And yes, the girls wear work boots with their dresses on Sunday--but since everyone is, no one stands out.

Laundry and bathing is done in buckets. Thank goodness for swim time! A verse has to be memorized every day. You eat what you are served. That one is going to give Jasmine the most trouble. You can ask for a small portion and they will give you only a spoonful but that still has to be eaten no matter what (unless you are actually allergic).

You raise your own trip money. For the girls that is $1990 this year. Starting with the preteens (age 9), the teams go all over the world. The girls are on the only team staying in the U.S.

The youngest kids are Mustard Seeds ages 4-6. They stay at the FL camp for four days and a parent stays with them. The twins might do that this year. Rick will go with them. I went with Jasmine once. I have sleep issues and I don't think I slept more than two hours a night for those four days. It is like VBS 24/7 also and I need a little alone time. But it is a good program.

They dress in authentic costumes from all over the world for the closing program.

Work project.

Obstacle course.

The next group is Peanuts, ages 6-8/9. They stay without a parent for about 9 days at the FL camp. They have a work project, small scaled obstacle course and swim time.

Starting at age 9 or 10 they are preteens and then teens and they stay 5-7 weeks. The first nine days is spent at the FL camp learning to build, mix cement, learning songs and puppet skits etc.

The obstacle course includes a high wall where everyone has to work together to get their whole team over, a high rope ladder, a rope bridge, a rope to swing over a river (and the kids do fall in and get soaked), blocks with the books of the Bible written on them to stack in order, and tires to go through. It's tough and it's timed.

After the training days, they have a commissioning candle light service and then go to their mission fields. After their weeks there they usually have a fun day like Wet and Wild to end the summer.

So why do I send my kids to a place that is roasting hot in the summer and has strict rules? Well, for Adam, we need a break from each other. We both acknowledge that. He needs the chance to be with a group of teens from all over the US where he can just be him self but still be safe. I need the time to recharge. He needs the strong Christian emphasis for those few weeks to get his life back in order. He has signed up for overseas teams twice but failed to raise the money so he stayed in FL on a local team one year. (It is expensive because the money helps buy the supplies and sometimes help a child in a third world country take part in a trip). The next year there wasn't a team staying in FL so he went on the Indiana choir team. This year he is not going. He does need something to do this summer though. We just don't know what yet.

The girls are going to have a shared experience as sisters, to be part of team and to do a work project in Arizona on a reservation. It just sounds like a good thing to do.

Not all the kids that come are there because they really want to be summer missionaries or for spiritual reasons. Many are there because their parents need a break and the kids are very safe due to strict rules both at the camp and on the mission field. Many are there because they want to go to Uganda, Greece, Australia, Scotland or where ever. But for whatever reason they go, they still learn the verses and take part in a Bible rally each night. They learn how to share the gospel and take part in songs and skits.
It's not too late to sign up. Some teams are full, but not all.

You can visit their website HERE. They are also on facebook.


Karen said...

Kathy, I think that's wonderful that they want to go. God bless them and you with changed lives and the finances.

Hannah said...

I'm so excited for my trip, but I'm also really scared. :)