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Mistakes and Failures = Lessons Learned

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    • #4330

      Mark Crocker

      I tell this story a lot during training, so forgive me if you heard it before!

      I was taking my first team abroad on my own. I had been communicating with my host for months via email, a few weeks before I left I checked in again and found it strange when I didn’t hear back. I waited a few days and tried again. Nothing.

      I kept emailing and trying to call with more and more urgency. The day before I took my team over I must have sent a dozen emails. Crickets

      We landed on the ground in Fiji and … no host. No one there to pick us up. Nothing.

      I started asking around if anyone knew my host. Ridiculous. imagine showing up in a new city and asking if people know “Donald Maeson”?

      Strangely/co-incidentally/God-moment … 30 minutes later I was alone in the dark in front of my hosts house where I actually met him for the first time. I thanked the stranger from the airport who had drove me to a-friend-of-the-church-elder-who-knew-a-pastor-with-that-same-last-name … I found out that my hosts email had gone down and he hadn’t had a chance to sort it out …

      = Lesson learned. Get multiple details/contact information from your host early in the process.

    • #4428

      Vincent Chan

      On my very first missions trip ever in my late teens, I was just a team member, not the actual leader.  It was trip to a small town in the interior so 20-hour drive.  The catch – there was 9 of us (in a minivan):  me plus 8 females.  As good as the trip turned out, there were many lessons learned, such as:

      1. If you happen to be the only male, do not upset one of the girls. You may have the entire wrath from all the girls fall on you

      2. It was suggested (jokingly by another female), before I left, that I bring a box of chocolates, because when one girl is upset, they all will. Or ensure there is something you can do while the girls figure out their drama in the other room

      3. While there is nothing wrong with a “female Jesus” – if you’re the only guy, expect to play every male drama role and get used to hugging girls especially if you’re playing Jesus.

      Or basically – <span style=”line-height: 1.5;”>Have a more balanced team (males vs females ratio) whenever possible</span>

      <span style=”line-height: 1.5;”> </span>

    • #4549


      Now it was a couple years ago, I had gone to volunteer at the L.A. Dream center. The team I was on was running a food truck. We set up a line on the side of the road and at the end of the line a few of us offered to pray for the people after they had received their food. I had the opportunity to a part of the prayer team. The thing is there were a lot of citizens who spoke only Spanish. When I finally had the courage to say something and to try to start a conversation I ended up saying how are you in Spanish. The issue with this is that those were the only words I knew in Spanish; so when she responded I had no clue what she said. Following that a team member told me what she said and I sheepishly said I was good. A minute later I went and prayed for her… and her group of friends who couldn’t understand me either. After that I said goodbye and they went on their way.

      This was one of the most embarrassing moments of a missions trip for me ever.

      Luckily I learned the lesson, I need to know how to speak the language a bit before I try and speak it. The other point is language is necessary for missions.

    • #4560


      I went on a missions trip under a leader that clearly was not skilled in administration or leadership, and the prep weeks leading up to the trip were disorganized, confusing, and left us with little preparation done leading up to our departure date. We didn’t feel particularly unified as we got on the plane, and there were more questions than answers.

      We served in a remote village in the middle of the Amazon, but we never really understood what was going on. Plans kept changing moment by moment. At one point, no clean water came for us, so we had to try to get water by whatever means necessary because it was the middle of the scorching hot South American summer.

      The trip could have been a failure, but it actually unified the rest of us. We knew the issues and we knew that we were all there together and we had to get through it. We supported each other, helped each other out in any way possible, and prayed for each other as we served. In the end, it was an amazingly positive memory of teamwork. Our team didn’t let a trip’s mistakes and failures take over the entire trip.

    • #4709


      While on a STM, one evening I had some time to spare and so I decided to go to the local gym and exercise. I rode the bikes for a while as I looked on to the people that where playing badminton. Eventually, one man noticed that I was watching and handing me a racket he invited me to play. I played against him and his friends for an hour or so until we all decided that we were tired. Later, the man invited me to eat super with his friends. We had a good time so when supper ended I asked him for his contact info. At first, the man was very hesitant yet when I persisted he explained to me that he had met a foreigner in the past who had agreed to keep in tough with him but never did. Instead he asked me for mine and I told him it. During the rest of my time there we met several times afterward and our friendship grew. Today we still keep in touch. I think that one of the great errors we can commit to an individual person, while on an STM, is when promise to keep in touch and we do not. We become their friends while we are there perhaps because we could use something from the relationship, but when we return home we do not see nearly as much value to maintain the connection. At the very least, I believe this this is a natural hidden attitude that we tend to take on STM trips. Our intentions may be different, but our tendencies are to evaluate relationships based on what we can receive; even if this is the opportunity to give testimony

    • #6410


      Good to read!

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