Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mission Trips: A Duggar Dynasty

I will be the first to admit that my mission trip experiences are probably NOTHING like the ones the Duggar children have had. Growing up in my parent's church, I was an active participant in the youth activities; it was a small town and that's where all my friends were anyway. The other reason? BOYS! The random and square-dance like parings and re-parings were comical when looked back on. So that being the case, I have no doubt that the Duggars aren't in it for the gratuitous make out sessions when no one is looking.

Now that's not to say that our mission trips weren't successful and useful. The several years before I was "of age" to attend, our Senior High group would go to Mexico for a week every summer (with a week added on for the drive down and a stop at Disneyland on the way home) to build and help at orphanages and missions there. In all honesty, from talking to kids who went on the last Mexico trip, it was a tent-hopping good time. Undoubtedly that was one of the reasons it was the last trip. When it became my year to start going, we only went as far as Northern California and worked with a group that was set up there--kind of like going to camp, but winterizing homes for the poor. The downside to the project was that we didn't really get a chance to bond a lot with the people we were helping--we'd show up and work at our assigned home (we'd been divided up into groups based on our abilities--boys and girls divided up for grunt work and painting--and so we'd meet other people from the other groups there at the same time we were.) So we met and got to know the people we worked WITH but not so much the people living in the homes. They were usually working. Sometimes they'd be there, but you could tell they were grateful, but on some level also maybe embarassed in needing the help.

I won't say I didn't have a great time on the three trips I took--I was out my junior year because I had surgery instead--they were great times. I made a lot of friends and had pen pals for years afterwards. (Remember this was long before email!)

I must say that I'm way more impressed with the Duggar's trips than the ones I took. I don't want to diminish any of the work we did, we worked hard and were pleased to do it, but I don't think we gave nearly as much of ourselves as the Duggars seem to on their trips to El Salvador. We certainly never gave any of our own money into the project, other than our parents paying our portion for the drive down and the fee to join the group sponsoring our effort. The Duggars use their own money to buy gifts, clothing, food, and supplies for the people they are helping. I hate admitting that at the time, things like that never occurred to me. I was just there because it was what my friends and I did every summer.

I do think that going as a family is nice, and they do appear to meet and enjoy the people they are helping while they are there, but I can't deny that they might get even more out of the experience if they went with a group and got to meet other people who were there for the same reasons. You can never make too many friends.

Now it's time to share your stories--Did you go on Mission Trips when you were growing up? Do you go on them now?


  1. Nice to see you posting again. no, I never went on a mission trip myself. The closet thing to a mission trip for me was a Bible camp many years ago. I read an article telling how the college-age generation lacks empathy.
    Maybe modern electronics has something to do with this. In other words,'click to donate' solves all the problems in society. Nothing replaces hands on help.

  2. i agree with roddma, nice to see you back!!

    i never went on one, and while i think its something i would enjoy, for me its not about spreading the gospel, but about helping others. if they ask why i'm helping them, i'll be honest. i just dont feel its quite where God is calling me personally, but i think it would be a wonderful experience.

    and i agree also on the college age thing. its too easy to hit "click to donate" :-)

    i think what the duggars do is wonderful, and i wish i could devote myself to that... unfortauntely, i would need to raise not only the money to go, but also the money to pay my bills while i'm out of work during that time. lol

  3. I have been on two mission trips to Belize, Central America. They were both great experiences. I would consider going there again in the future if the right opportunity arose.

  4. Nope never done a mission trip here but wuld love to do community services of this type. Hvae a lot of ideas , have told DH I would love to do outreach when I retire from my biz. To me it is not about bringig "religion" to others but doing right by one's fellow man. When we were children we were not raised in a religious household but given access to all religions. Our parents felt religion was a personal issue. However our Mum used to read to us a lot and one of her favorite poems was "Abou Ben Adhem" and the peom has always spoken to me about God's Love and what Man should do to deserve it. YOu cna find it online doing a search. When we were kids the book we had said it was anonymous writer but now I see it is credited to James Henry Leigh Hunt, so not sure if that is true or not the book of my Mum's was very old with notes from ym GDad in the columns.

  5. I went on a mission trip every year as a teenager. I loved them and miss them now