July 26, 2009

Passing On The Gift

Middle School Mission Trip 2009

1obsolete : the act or an instance of sending2 a: a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work b: assignment to or work in a field of missionary enterprise c (1): a mission establishment (2): a local church or parish dependent on a larger religious organization for direction or financial support dplural : organized missionary work e: a course of sermons and services given to convert the unchurched or quicken Christian faith3: a body of persons sent to perform a service or carry on an activity: as a: a group sent to a foreign country to conduct diplomatic or political negotiations b: a permanent embassy or legation c: a team of specialists or cultural leaders sent to a foreign country4 a: a specific task with which a person or a group is charged b (1): a definite military, naval, or aerospace task mission> mission> (2): a flight operation of an aircraft or spacecraft in the performance of a mission mission to Mars> c: a preestablished and often self-imposed objective or purpose mission>5: calling, vocation

If I had to summarize what I learned at Heifer International this week. It was that I am not powerless. My time, knowledge and money is power.
I'm not going to be able to write everything we did. Our week was jam packed.
Our first day, we stopped in Marionville, MO. Ozark Methodist Manor was the official destination. We learned about the Manor and ate dinner with the residents. After supper, we divided into groups to do certain tasks. Our group's task was to clean wheelchairs.
After our time there, we drove to Branson, MO. Our hotel had a pizza place and indoor water park. The kids let loose and had a nice time.

Early the next morning, we packed up and headed to our next stop. Heifer Ranch in Perryville, AR. We spend three nights there. The first and final night were in the Heifer Hilton. Which, is supposed to be funny, I think? It was a barn, divided down the middle, with no sides. The bulls got one side and the heifers got the other.
In this picture, we are preparing our bunks.

The second night we stayed in the global village. This represented people living in poverty around the world. My group stayed in Thailand. Three other groups stayed in Zambia, Urban Slums and Guatemala.
During our time in the global village, we were taught the daily struggles people in poverty face every day to feed their family a meager meal. We were given little to eat. (rice, raw vegetables, and eggs) We had to build our own fire with limited matches. Then sleep in less than adequate housing.
Instead of giving the hungry food, they give them an animal. This animal can give them milk, manure (for fertilizing gardens), offspring (the first offspring has to be given to another person in the village), eggs, wool, draft power and money.
This water buffalo on the ranch represents draft power, milk and manure.
Goats provide milk and money.
This great pyrenes was a guard dog for the goats and sheep on the ranch.
To further educate our group. We did low and high challenges. This was to teach us a sense of community and working together.
Below are two of our adult leaders trying to accomplish a fun task.
During our low challenge, our group had to walk a rope with the help of others. It took everyone listening, paying attention, and working together.
Ryan and Denver during our low challenge.
When we went into the global village
In every group there was a "pregnant mother". This was funny to the kids. In reality though, many face this dilemma. "Do I feed my starving 7 year old or myself, so my unborn baby is nourished." The "baby" was actually a water balloon. If the balloon popped, the group had to mourn for 30 minutes in silence.
In Thailand they build their houses in the air. This is to protect them from flood rains and pests. To utilize space and labor, they build animal cages underneath. These were the guests staying below us. Lots of honking in the night. :)
This was Thailand. I felt blessed to have this housing. It was one of the best. We didn't have mattresses but we were safe from critters. The four groups united to prepare our meal. We had a mushy potato and el dente carrot stew, rice, and "sawdust" cornbread.
After our night, we had to chore. We let out the chickens, gathered eggs, fed the rabbits, goats, walked the goats, carried water buckets to the gardens and cleaned our squatty potty ( I'll explain soon).
All toilets in the global village were composting toilets. This meant that after using the restroom, you had to put a handful of sawdust in afterwards. This helped break down the waste. They use this by-product for fertilization. EWWWW!!!
This was Ryan on the high challenge. Again, it was a team building exercise.
The rock wall
Our leaders, Melissa and Becca
While staying in the Heifer Hilton, we ate in the cafeteria. All meals were provided from the farm. Meat, vegetables, ect.
The horses respresented draft power on the ranch.
Our last morning, I took a little walk and captured a picture of their greenhouses. This is where all the seedlings (herbs and vegetables) are started.
Our group at a "pitstop" in Arkansas.

This was the indoor waterpark that we enjoyed the first night.
I learned during this trip, that I am blessed. I don't have to decide if I'm going to buy medicine for my family with Malaria, or feed them. My hardest decision in a day might be choosing what I'm going to cook for my children instead of how I'm going to feed them.

In closing, I encourage you to watch Geoffrey's story. Click on the link.

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