Monday, June 19, 2017

Rolla Mission Trip Recap

Six years ago I went on my first mission trip. SIX YEARS AGO. That's insane to think about. This year I felt like I finally didn't overpack, mastered the art of prepping my shower caddy for the drive to the showers, and was ready to serve. 

Now if there's one thing I have learned over the course of 6 different mission trips: Joplin twice, Memphis, Tulsa, Kansas City, and this year in Rolla, it's that no matter what we prepare for, things will always unfold differently. God's plan is greater.


Worship/Devotions our first night outside of First United Methodist Church of Rolla
We all also know that mission trip is emotionally draining. Honestly, I was emotionally drained before I even arrived which made that first day very difficult.

This year's mission trip was different from the past years. We paired down the size of our mission trip- from 120 people to 80 people. We also broke down into smaller groups to serve, and the youth rotated between those locations over the course of 3 days.

As a college student I was now considered an adult so I stayed at the same location to serve all week (Community Partnership). Some of the other places people on the trip served included: The Mission, G.R.A.C.E  (Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprises), Community Partnership Thrift Store, the Waynesville YMCA day camp, doing construction (both at the Mission and the church we stayed at), and working at the church's preschool. I'm not going to go into details on every other organization because I only worked with the Community Partnership but if you click the links above you can learn more about what they do.
We stayed at Pastor Bill LaMora's church. Ten years ago he was the SunRise Youth Pastor.
The Community Partnership has three difference branches of their organization. They have Early Care and Education, Chafee Independent Living Program+ other youth development programs, Capable Kids and Families. Early Care and Education brings supplies to daycare centers around the area. This supports the teachers in their programming as well as giving them the tools they need to teach their students. The Independent Living Program takes teens around the age of 17 who are about to be aged out of the foster care system. They provide support for these teenagers so they can transition to living on their own, help them with graduating high school, applying for college and applying for scholarships. We most directly worked with Capable Kids and Families. This takes children with developmental delays and disabilities and fills the gaps that the state can't cover in support or therapy.
For the three days we were there we made play dough and sensory bottles for the employees to take to in their in-home therapy sessions. It was different from mission work I've done before because it wasn't directly talking to people, instead it was behind the scenes. Once we finished making the bottles and play dough on the final day, we sanitized the entire therapy room. Their therapy room is incredible- they have a huge swing, tons of toys, and even a ball pit. It only took us an hour or so to clean the entire thing. While it may have seemed like we weren't doing much besides making the play dough or sensory bottles, seeing how those tools would go help kids really impacted me.

We would serve every day from 9-3, go back to the church, grab our stuff, and head off to the Rolla Junior High School to go shower. Then we would eat dinner and break off into our devotional groups. I was in the 11th-college girl group, with two great leaders (Carla and Kim). Throughout the four nights we had powerful conversations about positivity, serving with purpose, and relationships. 

After this we'd have free time until around 10:30 or 11 when it was lights out. Free time included a lot of intense games of spoons, lots of cards, basketball, and much more.

When looking at the mission trip as a whole, I am glad I went. Mission trip builds connections you don't normally get to make. Sure we all go to the Wright City or O'Fallon campus, but we all have busy lives. Mission trip gives us a solid five day stretch of time to forget about everything else and focus on God, our service, and becoming closer. To my SunRise family- thank you. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to serve with you this week.

Until next time,
Taylor xx

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