Traditions, Face Plants & Laughter – What?

Eleven vehicles pulled out this morning on our final leg to our home away from home, Letcher County, Kentucky.  While we’ve been preparing our hearts for this trip all year, now it gets serious. In John 20: 19-23, we read where Jesus had come back to the disciples and shared an important instruction,  “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21). He sends us. It seems pretty clear that we are called to go out in to the world and lead the way for others to become disciples for our Lord. The work awaits and much will be accomplished but more than that, relationships are formed and bonded together in a common purpose both on our team as well as with the families we will meet this week.

Now, as a recap of our fun adventure so far…

It’s a taboo subject to change any traditions on this beloved trip to the mountains. I can’t say how many years this mission group has stayed at the Red Roof Inn in Knoxville, or exactly how many years they’ve eaten dinner at Outback and then gone bowling. I do know it’s been that way for the last 8-10 years at least. So we arrive as expected at the very friendly Red Roof and gather for the Leader meeting. With our strong faith in God, we certainly don’t put much thought in to jinx theories. However…as we were meeting, ONE certain leader with the initials M.F. “suggested” that we do something out of order from tradition. At her suggestion, a hush came over the room (not really, it actually was a brutal reaction). The timing and tradition of handing out the t-shirts had been yanked from the normal order of the evening. Could this small change impact the rest of the night?

We haul all 57 people to Outback where they made room for us very quickly. Dinner was delicious and the company entertaining. No complications at all. On to bowling where our teams for the week would battle against one another in an effort to team-build?? It takes about two minutes to get to the bowling alley and we pull in to find that we’d have to wait 1.5 hours to bowl. What?! It’s already 9pm! Tradition is on the line! How do we deviate from the only thing we know to do after dinner at Outback? Did M.F. cause this collapse? It’s decision time and no one….NO ONE wants to make the call to scratch bowling. The bottom line is, most adults would be sleeping in the bowling alleys if we waited to play. Who stays up this late to bowl?

Back to the Red Roof for? Mr. Jimmy’s wheels are turning and creative juices are flowing. All of the eight teams gather together for about an hour of insane relay games. Running, crawling, leap-frogging, rotating and circling are what comes to Jimmy’s mind. Now, there are some things 40+ year old men and women just don’t do and haven’t done in about 30 years! Leap frog?!? Over how many kids? Oh, let’s hold hands and rotate clockwise while running down through a field, circle around and GO BACK? The result? Ungraceful face plants, grass stains on old knees, and laughter that unlocked reserves and broke barriers to allow bonds to tie us together. You see, tradition is wonderful but we know when our actions are good and right in the eyes of the Lord, we will be blessed…no matter if we are in the bowling alley or falling and sprawling through a grassy field.

Looking forward to more surprises this week.

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