We have this team of students from the college age fellowship (Fusion 15:5) at GCC that are planning a missions trip to Guatemala. Fusion 15:5 is a new 4th service that got started aiming for 35 and under people. (I still fit into that!) I think the church likes to think of it as a church plant within a church, which is a really cool way to think of it.
There are 4 people in charge of the whole trip and their team is pretty much chosen now. They had their first team meeting this past weekend. They will be going for close to 4 weeks, helping out a self sustaining farm and orphanage. The current team size is 27 people. Wow.
There are a few things that are very neat about this trip. First, that there is this whole group of college students that are really really excited to go overseas to travel and work in a third world country. I scoff sometimes at the elements of affluence in our community - luxury cars, humongous malls with aisle upon aisle of objects of desire, people that are fanatic fans of sporting events... you know the drill. So to be able to see a group of young people that decided, close to a year ago, that 2005 would be a summer where they would travel to help serve, that is really something. As we all know, finding people that have the desire to go overseas is not easy. Secondly, they planned it all themselves. They identified like minded people with this desire, they networked with other missions people to get some ideas, they hit the books and the web to do some research about where and when. And they did it mostly on their own, with no 'adult' type of people. Indigenous at best. They have lead their culture and impacted it from within. Thirdly, it will be neat to see how it affects students that are younger than them. This team is out of my area of oversight, since they are all post high school. But it will be neat to see how the students I work with envision what they themselves will do in college. 'Could I go and do something like that when I am in college? What will my summers look like? Maybe I should give up a few weeks to do something awesome and crazy like that'
There are a few things about the trip that make me glad I'm not involved. First, a team of 27. That is huge. I can't imagine traveling through airports, customs, local buses, etc. with a team that large. On one hand, its great momentum. On the other hand, traveling internationally with such a large American team, in a post 9-11 world, that would have me, and has me, a little concerned. Concerned for their logistics and their safety and them not drawing attention to themselves. It will be virtually impossible to not have people notice them. I also hope that this trip really engages on some of the present/future ideas of mission. These ideas of training local, indigenous leadership; making sure that there is not a dependency built upon a non local church or group; sensitivity and caring for the local culture; and making sure the team members can articulate their passion and what they did when they were there.
I'm sure I will be posting more info about them as it gets closer. Overall, another really awesome thing happening in this progression of missions at GCC.