Monday, July 02, 2007

Mosquitoes and Milestones

Three summers ago, I took my oldest daughter K, to spend a few days among mosquitoes, living in a tent, with no air conditioning in a Florida swamp. That's right, we took part of a Teen Missions Boot Camp. I'm proud to say that the experience so impacted her, that the mere mention of the phrase "Boot Camp", brings fright and terror to her.

That experience coincided with the first summer of SPACE and was a good precursor for my foray into replicating some kind of missions progression with GCC. It set a good stage for me in both the physical and directional movement for SPACE. Physically, the time was very difficult and challenging - fitting it's exact purpose. They make it pretty miserable on purpose - because the mission field isn't like suburban America. Florida heat, no running water, sleeping in a tent on a concrete floor, pool time for one hour a day... When traveling now, I am still relieved any time I sleep on a bed. I also appreciate bug repellent a lot more after the 160 mosquito bites between the two of us [we counted them after Boot Camp was over]. Directionally, Teen Missions certainly has a huge progression and a path to give students the practical experience for growth and the medium to get them to other cultures.

All of the above is just extra though. The most significant impact of that trip was the effect it had on K. She put her face underwater in the pool for the first time, she learned of the enormous problem of the African AIDS pandemic [back in 2004 mind you], and the experience set her up knowing that the world is a much bigger place, with much bigger problems.

This summer, Em is the same age that her sister was during Boot Camp and we had toyed with the idea of me taking both of them back and K doing the next program step up. Thankfully, it "didn't work out." Instead, following the Wind takes all of us to Hungary. 2004 was a milestone summer for K. I'm excited to see how 2007 will be another milestone summer for both K and Em, as well as us as parents.

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