Hello again! Last time I was here I talked about getting ready for a youth choir mission trip with my church. Well, I'm back, safe and sound. I've been home for three weeks now, trying to assimilate the time. Here's a look at day one of the trip. . .
I boarded a bus bright and early on Saturday, June 8. We were headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming to share the songs we had learned. After loading the luggage, we had a group prayer in the parking lot.
As the bus pulled away, my mom and dad waved (goodbyes with my sisters had been said the night before). We had hugged, but I hadn't said much as far as goodbyes go. I was smiling, but knew I was teetering on the edge of cheerful and tearful. I didn't talk in an effort to maintain balance.
Driving through beautiful, albeit empty, Kansas, The Sound of Music was played on the mini TV screens. I was happy to hear the familiar story and sweet songs. They talked over the fear in my head.
We passed many gigantic wind turbines, my future-engineer friend happily talking about how they work.
I knit, trying to trick my brain into relaxing by keeping my hands busy. Then I remembered the note my mom stuck in my backpack. I pulled it out and read the small piece of encouragement, Scripture, and love. It was nothing I didn't already know, but it calmed me.
We drove by bright green fields. Clever word games were passed around and we had fun trying to solve them. Later I met the two sisters in charge of the games. This meeting happened in Subway, where we were getting dinner. A comment was made about one of the sisters just recently discovering she has a dairy allergy. She and I instantly connected, drawn together by mutual eating implications. She shared her snickerdoodle cookies, I shared my granola bars.
A picture of my sisters, slathered with sunscreen and smiles, arrived in my phone. It came with a text about them having fun riding all the roller coasters at the amusement park. I don't like roller coasters, so my stomach turned a bit to picture my little, sweet sisters on the big, scary rides. Still, I smiled to see and read that they were having fun.
Mountains came into view as the sun went down. Kids crowded the windows on the left side of the bus. We'd reached Colorado. I texted a picture to my family, updating them on our progress.
It was dark by the time we arrived at our home base for the week, Sunnyside Baptist Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming, so I took a picture of it a couple days later. The pastor greeted us and told us a bit about the area.
We moved around furniture, plopped our luggage down on the concrete floor, blew up air mattresses, and rolled out sleeping bags in the church's basement. The girls got the big, open room, but it was still a tight fit. As the week wore on, we had many a conversation while sitting criss cross applesauce on our pushed-together air mattresses. We learned more about each other, bit by bit.
Before going to sleep, we tried to get clean. The girls bathroom was a dark, half-finished place. Spiderwebs hung from the pipes, shower curtains hung only partially from the rods. I talked with my friend as we showered (quickly, as the water had a single temperature- cold). The room was less creepy when you could occupy your thoughts with conversation. Exhausted from the day, it didn't take long for me to get to sleep that night.
That first day I wondered why in the world I was leaving home, even for one week. Looking back, I see a theme. . .
We sang because we believed words matter.
We prayed because God believes that words matter.
I kept quiet because I felt how much words matter.
Familiar songs comfort because words matter
Informative words matter.
Written words matter.
Words in the form of offhanded comments matter.
Texted words matter.
Words of welcome matter.
Each other's words matter.
Why did I go? Because words matter.
Thank you for your prayers, and thank you for valuing my words. More on the rest of the trip tomorrow~