Our Mission Team retreat was this past weekend, squeezed in between car crashes and electroshock therapy. We shared dinner Friday evening with the church's College Dinner, a free meal offered to any student who cares to show up on the first Friday of the month. It was fun to chat with people who are studying things I'll never understand, and to listen to a young man passionately recite Pi to the 50th digit, in honor of the extremely exciting upcoming Pi day (3/14/15 9:26:53). Rock on, geeks everywhere!
As always, the retreat is multipurpose: Get the new people to know the established people. Get some cultural training and learn the general rules of the organization. Do something of service for the church. Eat a lot. Stay up really late playing games. Catch a bat or two (optional). Do some fundraising.
This year we asked our churches to donate any leftover fabric they might have lying around, and brought sewing machines along. During the course of the day on Saturday those machines were in steady use for nearly 10 hours. We made infinity scarves and rice bags. And by 'we' I mean the entire team, men, women, boys, girls. Cutting, pinning, ironing, hand stitching, machine stitching, stuffing bags - we filled two bins with things to sell at an upcoming craft fair, and it was done with laughter and teasing and considerable skill.
Our workshops included one session on living roll playing through a poverty budget for a month, and another where teams had to select (from real applications) which one of five homes that they would work on. And on Sunday I twisted some arms and got some of the team to sing in the choir before we were all commissioned.
People ask why we do it. Why go off someplace and crawl underneath a house with the bugs and put up insulation? Or risk life and limb climbing on a roof in the summer heat? To help others, certainly. To see the youth become part of something larger than themselves, absolutely. To spend time with some of the best people have ever known in the name of becoming a better person myself. Yes, amen.
....and Chef Michael's baked ziti. Amen and amen.