I choose unpredictability

Signing up for a summer mission trip to Los Angeles, I was pumped. I was excited to have a new experience with my friends, stateside, and for a whole week. It was going to be predictable and comfortable. I had been in the airport before. I know English pretty well. I’m really good at being nice to homeless people and children – which is who we were going to be helping. As I checked the list on my church website to see what mission trip I was assigned, I only saw unpredictability.

From an early age, the sense of travel has been instilled in me. My parents have made it a point to go on a vacation every year. Whether it be camping in Colorado, eating lobster rolls in Maine or crossing the pond to sightsee around European countries, we traveled outside Dallas-Fort Worth each summer as a family. Even if the summer vacation did not entail what other people defined as thrilling, we always had fun and we almost always went somewhere new. That’s where the thrill came in. We would arrive in a city that we hadn’t slept in before only to leave a week later with our tourist license (not literally, of course). From these experiences, the airport buzz became a calming sound, road signs were a second language and a map was velvet to my fingers.

Checking the mission trip assignment list, I scanned for my name. Thankfully it was in alphabetical order, so I was toward the top. I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw my name and the reality sunk in: I was going to go on a mission trip. Then my eyes carried over to the right hand side of the screen, where I expected to see “LA.” Instead, I saw “Costa Rica.” And then I let a new reality set in: I was going to Costa Rica. I looked up to the apprehensive faces of my parents, suddenly realizing that I hadn’t told them the verdict. As the words graced my lips, I felt them catch in my throat. Tears were forming in my eyes. My parents joined in my disbelief.  This was something different. This was unpredictable. I didn’t sign up for this.

I have spent the last month reading and re-reading the summary sheet on my church’s website describing the events of my two weeks in Costa Rica. I looked on a map to see where this foreign country was. I met my mission team that I will join in service, communion and the unknown. The initial fear has left my mind as I now prepare to travel outside the country without my parents that I have previously relied so much on. I am empowering myself to not communicate with my parents, sister or friends for two weeks. This will be different. This will be unpredictable. But I am choosing this.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]