Not your typical Missions Trip Essay – Introduction

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A college admissions director was recently asked which entrance essays he liked or disliked the most and why.  He said he absolutely dreads the ever popular “Mission Essay”.  He reasoned that they are so predictable that he found them boring.  He said he would rather read anything else and hoped to never see another “Mission’s Essay” – ever.  He seemed very perturbed.

I’m a nurse with an associate’s degree.  I’ve been nursing for the past 14 years and have been completely satisfied with the choice I made to just get a degree and get to work.  (I was in my 30’s and had 2 little boys at home and frankly needed to get to work.)  Until recently, I haven’t given returning to school to get a BSN any thought.   But my employer sent out an email that said all RN’s will be required to have a BSN within five years to continue employment.  It seems that RN’s are on the way out, so I have a decision to make.  Go back to school or get a job at Macy’s.   I haven’t decided yet, but I thought I’d go ahead and tackle the college entrance essay.  So, Mr. Admissions Director I hope you like this missions essay; it’s from a different perspective.

Not Your Typical “Mission Essay” Essay
by A Left Behind Mom

Over the past 10 years, I have sent five high school aged kids (bio’s and step kids) around the world on mission trips.  The reason parents do this is to broaden the perspective of our college bound kids (and also to get them out of the house for 10 days).   Mission trips expose our kids to third world challenges in a very personal way that can’t be accomplished sitting in classrooms.  Hopefully, they will develop some compassion and a desire to help solve some of these problems.  To think outside of themselves and quit whining about how deprived they are since they don’t have the most recent tech gadgets or a new $100 pair of jeans.  This seems to happen when they see people living in street, drinking contaminated water and nearly starving to death.

The last child reaching the mission’s trip age was more than a bit reluctant to go; after all he had a girlfriend and it would significantly decrease the amount of time they could spend together.   This rational only made me more determined to see him heading out of the country.  A little hard labor to burn off some testosterone was just what this evil step-mom recommends.  I was so determined in fact that I was willing to send my husband along.  Now you might be thinking, this sounds like summer vacation for Left Behind Mom (LBM).  What you may not realize is that LBM has 4 LBK (left behind kids) to take care of for the next ten days.  This does not make LBM very happy.   However, in order to keep the tradition and to keep this budding romance from getting dangerously serious – the sacrifice must be made.  So I encouraged both dad and step son to embrace the opportunity; Carpe Diem (for Dad), YOLO (for stepson).

And so they went off to Haiti.  To serve, to make memories, work hard, and change lives – theirs and others.  They were following the commandment to “love God and love people.”   Soon they would return with stories of broken down buses and getting to ride in the back of a nice but stinky chicken farmer’s beat up truck.  They would tell how they made new friends and how their lives were affected more than those they went to help.  (I – like the admissions director – could anticipate the unfolding. ) But, unlike the admissions director, I love to hear the details.  The details vary; just like fingerprints, no two mission trips are exactly alike.
(Except for the diarrhea – there is always diarrhea.)

So now, all I have to do is survive the next 10 days.


– Check back tomorrow to see how things went at home.


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