Monday, July 12, 2010

Trinidad Revisited

Exactly one year ago today, my family of four was embarking on a new experience together—going to the island of Trinidad for a mission trip! (Trinidad and Tobago are little islands off the northeast coast of Venezuela, and they speak English there.) It was a trip that I hope none of us forgets, yet even just a year has made some of it a little blurry to my memory. (This is not unusual, as my sister routinely begs me to “PLEASE remember” some forgotten important marker from our past!) So, I determined to document it, even if a year later.

I pulled out the photograph album this morning and glanced through the numerous pictures we took. What a great opportunity for my boys and for us to leave our comforts of home and to serve others. It was a stepping out of the ol’ comfort zone, but the people were truly people we could embrace while we were being stretched. You cannot imagine their joy in the small things, their amazement that we would come, and their gratitude for a conversation! The exuberant church service we visited ended with a limbo contest, in which N. placed second! (He wanted to win so badly!) Hearing their steel pan drums and singing some of the same songs we sing at our church was a real treat. In this brief glimpse, I found the Trinidadians to be so genuine, joyful, and energetic.

Visits to orphanages, homes for the elderly, and hosting a sort of Bible school for older kids were our main objectives. One of the most unusual experiences we had was a visit to a youth prison. Most of the inmates were boys who were between my boys’ ages (14-18)! I was drawn to them, even though they were hesitant to speak in our small group at first. Some of our group gave a dramatic presentation that opened the door to talk about spiritual things, and a few of the boys told us about their hopes for the future and we were able to help answer questions about their hopes for eternity. One young man sticks in my mind who gratefully took a Bible from us; he was excited about reading and learning to live God’s way. Many of them were street kids who had stolen or kidnapped to get money to live on. We just cannot fathom being born into this . . . .

The organization (mostly run by one family) that our church is affiliated with does a wonderful job in Trinidad. You can read about some others’ experiences here I am so glad we went, and I can’t wait to talk to one member of our group who returned this year. She gets back next week.

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