A Changed Life: DR Bibles & Bricks Youth Mission Trip
July 16, 2022 | Written by Sam Mikkelson.
I have heard many times that mission trips change your life. Coming into this trip, I did not see how that could be possible at first. I felt as if I was missing out on experiences with my friends at home, and I was reluctant and unsure about the trip as a whole. I thought the construction work we would be doing in the hospital would be much more meaningful and important because we would be able to see, like actually see, the changes I was making. For that reason, I was so excited to be on the construction team on the first day. All we did was paint. But, as I painted the walls, I saw the unfinished cement walls fade away into the new clean white walls of a hospital. We painted for 7 hours, and at the end of the day I felt proud of the work I and the Day 1 Construction Team had done. But my life was in no way changed as I had anticipated or expected.
The next day it was my turn to go to Vacation Bible School. Walking into the church I was very nervous and unsure. The only phrase I knew how to say in Spanish was, “Hola!” I couldn’t even ask the kids their names or tell them mine. Nevertheless, I went over to a group of kids and sat down with them on the floor. Timid and unsure I said hello and got only a few quiet “hellos” back. I didn’t get much further than that. Throughout the first half of VBS, I felt completely and utterly lost and out of place. Everything was in Spanish, and I had no idea what was going on. The kids were all laughing and screaming and singing. I did my best to participate but I wasn’t really sure if I was doing anything right.
After we all came back from playing a game at the park nearby, I went back over to the kids and sat down. As we sat there, I thought of only one thing to do: show them a trick. So, I began showing them my handstand! Instantly I saw all the boys faces around me light up, and then they began to do their own version of a handstand and showed me tricks of their own. I felt as if I had crossed a barrier. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by children all laughing. I could feel—like really feel—the joy and happiness radiating off of them, and I was filled with joy myself. The rest of the time flew by. The kids and I arm wrestled, thumb wrestled, and just played around. I never understood a word they said to me, but I didn’t need to. We were just playing and having fun together despite our inability to communicate with words.
Before I knew it, it was time to leave. At the beginning of the day, I felt nervous, timid, and lost, but by the end of the day I felt at ease, open, and at home. That day I realized what was so special about mission trips. That feeling of pure joy I had with those kids and the joy that was shared between us did change my life. Walking out of the church that day I knew I wanted to go back again and again. I don’t know if any of those kids will remember me, but I sure will remember them.