Talk about being baptized by fire.  I moved to Newell, IA on June 1 and on June 2 I was traveling to Hasty, AR for a mission trip with some of my new senior high students.  It was a great trip.  A little awkward at first but a good trip none the less.  

So we left June 2 at 8am and about 2 hours into the trip I noticed the ac wasn’t working on the van.  It was cool and a little rainy out so it took the students a little longer to figure this out.  You know there’s nothing like traveling for 12 hours with students you don’t really know and no ac.  It’s a real bonding experience.  Thankfully once we got to the camp we were able to go to a recommended mechanic by one of the guys at the camp.  He told us what I knew – we were out of freon.  I even got to interpret for our associate pastor.  When the guy had filled the compressor with freon he says, ‘Fire’er up!’ to which our associate pastor just kind of stood there talking to me.  So I politely said, ‘Oh you meant start it up.’  At that point Gary got the hint and jumped in and started it up.  The mechanic was apologetic and said he forgot he was talking to “yankees.”  We got a good laugh out of it.  Thankfully I am used to the hillbilly speak from my parents.  They grew up in Springfield, MO which is just about 1.5 hours from Hasty so it was all good. 

We went down to help out with a basketball camp.  It was a small camp.  Just about 32 campers.  It was a lot of fun though.  Towards the end of the week Rodney Strauman (a missionary to the hills) took us back and showed us the homes within the hills.  It was a sobering experience.  To see people living in the US in homes that are literally shacks that are falling apart…most with no windows.  I was glad our students got to see that some people even in the US aren’t as priviledged as we are and that we really have nothing to complain about.  I think it was good for them.

It was good for me.  

I got to spend a lot of time with our guys.  I was in a cabin with 5 of them and was able to lead devotions with them each night.  We had some great discussions.  I think one of the highlights of the week for them was swimming late at night.  I was given a key to the pool with permission to take them swimming whenever we wanted late at night.  The first night I did a belly flop.   Then 2 nights later the camp went swimming late at night and everyone started chanting, “Belly-flop!  Belly-flop!” So I did another one that night as well.  It hurt like heck.

In retrospect though it was good.  I would do it all again.