I will never forget…Deputation Announcement Night
I had submitted my application, ranked my ministry site preferences*, interviewed with the committee, and attended the three pre-selection meetings where the committee had us do different activities in order to observe our strengths and interactions with the other participants.
It had been just over a month since the night God stirred in my heart a desire to participate in this unique 2-month missions program. But this was the night; the night where I would find out where I would be spending my summer and who I would be spending it with. All 31 of us gathered in an upstairs Sunday school classroom, nerves and excitement abounding.
First they announced the teams.
Four by four (except for the one team of 3!) students’ names were called, and they rushed to the front, hugging and excitedly greeting one another.
Chase. Tyler. Kelly. Lindsay.
We ran to the front, but there was no hugging. We were not (and still are not) huggy people. We did not know each other. The whole thing was rather uncomfortable.
Despite our awkward meeting, and obvious preconceived judgements of one another, we set off on our scavenger hunt, running around the church and neighborhood to find the clues that would tell us where we would be spending the summer. We opened the first envelope and found a picture of a lush green field. Everyone took their guesses:
I tried to contain my excitement as the next clue was opened. No one knew what it was, but I knew. I had spent the previous summer visiting these same spots, and the picture they held was most definitely the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland. They still didn’t believe me, until we opened the next clue, which was the Irish flag. We were all pretty darn happy with that location.
Although we had some rough times, I think we were all (mostly) happy with who ended up on our team. One thing is certain- over the two months we all grew a lot! And I am really happy that God paired me with the beautiful sorority girl that I was so intimidated by and resentful of on announcement night, because our friendship has helped me to break down those terrible stereotypes I previously bought into.
*The REAL story behind the site ranking on the application: I saw that Ireland was an option, and knew that I would love to go back, but also realized that the whole point of the program is to go somewhere you haven’t been and is outside your comfort zone. So I decided I wouldn’t put Ireland as #1. I covered up the locations and instead ranked by the description of the ministry to be done at each site. Ireland still came in number one, with the weekly vacation bible schools and events for teenagers (which is crazy, because that is obviously not my area of interest these days) So I decided I would put it as #2. And then I somehow got the lines mixed up and still accidentally put it as #1. When asked during my interview if there was anywhere I really didn’t want to go, I told them Africa (also funny, because I have been to Africa since then and I loved it). When they asked if there was anywhere I really DID want to go, I broke down and told them the story about trying not to rank Ireland #1 but it repeatedly ending up as my first choice. They laughed and I found out later that they were about to send me to Turkey, but at the last minute decided to switch me to the Ireland team. I am forever thankful.
Read about my other unforgettable moments here.