Each mission trip, we leave proud of the progress we made at the worksites and the relationships throughout the group that were strengthened. This is just as true or maybe even more so for this trip. What set this mission trip apart from the others was our experience with our site leader Evan and the home owner Tee. They are both incredibly strong people who made a big impact in the little time we had with them, with their strong faith, work ethic, and inspirational anecdotes. Some of the specific highlights of the trip for me include working on the fence frame with Connor, teaching some of our songs to Evan, wading under the waterfall at the top of our hike, going to Waffle House, each car ride through the mountains, and as always, our final devotional session (where we read our letters and say goodbye). The trip was a fine conclusion to my S.T.A.G.E. career.
Being the busy traveler I am, I was in Finland (and spent a night in Paris) before the mission trip and didn’t get back into the states until Tuesday afternoon. When my mom dropped me off at camp Wednesday morning, I was a little discombobulated. We tried to trick our site leader, Evan, that I was there the whole time and that he just didn’t remember me, but someone messed that up for us. I ended up throwing myself into setting posts with Sam and Nathan. The atmosphere that was established before I got there, despite weather, bug bites, injuries, and sickness, remained positive and incredibly loving. As we drive home now I feel as if I’ve been here the whole week. Personally, I had lots of favorite moments on Thursday: I’m so proud of Sarah, T, and myself for finishing sealing the roof in under the hot sun. I loved the hike, the absolute beauty of the waterfall once we FINALLY made it up there, and the laughs I had with the people on the way up and down the mountain. I loved the vibe of happiness and appreciation as we arrived at Waffle House late that night, filling our bellies and dancing while waiting for the bill. I’m so grateful that God gave us these happy memories to remember with the bittersweet goodbyes of last night. We are all so incredibly blessed, and I couldn’t be more excited for next year.
~ Ruth Butters
~ Ruth Butters
~ Connor Barash