Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mission Trip, Day Five....

Wednesday, July 18th

One of the challenges of leading (okay, but I'm not the leader!) a team that is supposed to be at least half youth ages 14 - 18 is finding ways to keep the entire team productive.  Sometimes it takes two or three experienced heads to puzzle out how to solve some tricky bit of construction, like "Can we support the entire house on this six foot long foundation?"  While that puzzling is occurring, there are four (usually) inexperienced people trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing with their time.

One of the hallmarks of good leaders in such a situation is that they figure out ahead of time what can be done by those inexperienced hands.  One must also make sure that those inexperienced hands have and know how to use the tools they need for the job.  It's almost guaranteed that it will take them twice as long to do something as it would us, but like those horrible word problems ("If one man can paint a room in 7 hours and another can paint it in 4, how long will it take if they work together?"), the answer always is, "Faster than either could do it alone."  It's great to finish the puzzling and find that something else has already been finished as well.

One of the things I saw as my 'job' on this trip was to mentor Ryan in his first year as leader.  Every now and then I'd ask, "What's that noise?"  He'd answer, "I don't hear anything."  "Me either.  Go find out why your team isn't working!"

He gave me a note in my Warm Fuzzy bag that said, "Thanks for helping me be a fearless leader."  I got all warm and fuzzy.  That, in case you were wondering, is the purpose of the Warm Fuzzy bags.  No Cold Pricklies, and NO Hot Spicies.

We had our picnic a day early this year.  Our homeowners came, and our whole team had dinner with them.  I'm proud to say that the whole team stayed with them for over two hours, listening to them tell stories and make jokes.  My journal entry for that evening:

"She is 62.  Oxygen, wrinkles, and comfortable in her skin.  He's 68, up at 3 AM to deliver papers to earn $50/week. Together they raised six kids, have six grandkids, and six great-grandkids.  They tell stories of their life together; good, bad, joys and sorrows.  And they still look at each other with love and laughter in their eyes.  He can still make her dance."

And Babygirl's numbers are better.  No admission this week.  It's a good day.


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