I was together with 500 people and 9 days in Latvia for a short term mission trip.
It was sth that i did not plan long enough or in other words - spontaneous. But i have to admit, it was worth it! Every single moment, even though it means sleeping on a thin mattress together with 20 girls on hard cement floor. And i manage to shower for at least 3 times! What an experience!
However being in Germany long enough to learn about how ze Germans try to structure everything and how we plan our week by the days and our day by the hours, it only took the organisers of the social mission trip 3 rules to put everything under control.
Rule number 1 - You do not get ANGRY!
You do not get angry when your neighbours came into the room at half past two in the middle of the night. You do not get angry when the local latvian radio is on practically 24/7. You do not get angry when there is no timetable to follow and the school bell is the only thing u can count on to know when u shud eat breakfast lunch or dinner. You do not get angry when naughty kids are shouting at your ears while getting their presents. And not only that, you do not get angry at all!
Rule number 2 - Problems do not exist!
A problem will be a problem if u think it is a problem. And the word 'problem' was never even mentioned once in the new testament. Meaning, there is no such thing as cannot get a car for your fellow group mate who is a bit slow and has difficulty walking to send us to the most deprived area of the city to give out foodbags. There is no such thing as cannot organise technical equipment (video projectors, wires, laptop etc) to go to the nearest schools for Kids program. There is no such thing as cannot be patient or cannot dressed up as clowns to entertain the children who are coming for the Kids program.
Rule number 3- You are not going to get married here!
i mean, come on! we are trying to save the world here (or not) and of course there are nice, holy and godly people around you who you might accidentally be attracted to but push it down, all of the feelings, all of it! And thus it creates a safe environment of building (first) friendships (and only) and as a girl i do feel safe to just talk because of the open environment and not to withheld myself too much for the fear or misleading or giving false hints to our fellow brothers.
Overall to sum it up, the mission trip was a dream come true. There are expectations that are not fulfilled because of the huge numbers of participants but of course there are far more precious things that i've gained. I have learnt so much about myself and thus have more faith in the one who created me and to really believe that i can contribute and make a small change in a city.