Year three on a mission trip with my 17-year-old daughter. And 24 other teens. And eight adults I have grown to know and love.
Three years ago, was our first mission trip to Freeport, Grand Bahamas. On the way to the airport early that morning, I cried. I was with a very angry 15-year-old and a bunch of people who knew each other other. I felt so vulnerable.
And again, we returned home better versions of ourselves. Transformed by simplicity, sweat, prayer and truth.
This year all of my God-given talents aligned with imagination, found materials and this group of people I was with. I looked at an old, rusty boxspring, broken glass and trash and saw possibility.
And others saw it too.
The boxsprings became colorful flowers. Old dresser drawers became window boxes.
Broken glass and garbage turned into wind chimes that soothed us as we worked.
My daughter shined from within. Radiant. Her heart wide open. Collaborating and using her talents to add beauty and embrace others.
And I relearned everything I already know. That paint transform us so easily. That a layer of color can change everything. The owners of this home were so proud of this lovely yellow that shouted "we are loved and cared for".
The bench below was made from a trashed table, bed and dresser. I loved watching it came together with teamwork, ingenuity, and grit.
And these are just some of the stories.
There were are so many more. Gardens boxes and a picnic bench were built. Walls were patched and sanded. Every room was painted. The roof was repaired. Cabinets were resurfaced with paint, Mod Podge, and new knobs. Friendships were deepened. Burdens were lifted. Food was delivered. Stories were shared. Prayers were said. Songs were sung. Hearts broke open.
And we laughed. And held hands. Played silly games. Prayed some more. For others. For ourselves.
Each year there are different people, projects, and worksites with a year of space for growth and experience in between. We all arrive as individuals and leave as a cohesive group aching for the closeness and simplicity we felt on that island together when we are home.
We will go back again next year.
I am so grateful for this experience with my daughter. I am remembering the calm I felt. The peace.
And working toward feeling that everyday. In my home and in my heart.
ps. All the links and details about where we went and the ministry we work with in the Bahamas is right here under year one.