The Prichett family joined a team from the Austin Stone this summer to come on a mission trip as a family. This was their first time participating in an international mission trip. This article is written by Rachel, 16, and represents the thoughts of the whole Prichett family.
After returning from our mission trip to Makarios, I wouldn’t call my team of 22 anything but a family. But what made this trip different for me is that my group also included my actual, literal family – Thomas (14), Rachel (16)(that’s me), Susan (Mom), and Steve (Dad). From packing to landing in a foreign country, the support provided by going as a family was invaluable for all of us. I think that knowing we had our family to fall back on helped give us the security to branch out more immediately, whether to locals, staff, or our other group members.
For Thomas and me, one of the biggest benefits of going as a family was, well, going. It’s fair to say that sending your teenaged kids off to a developing country with near-strangers is not at the top of any parent’s to-do list. Going with your teens allows joy rather than worry. According to Mom and Dad, “As parents, it brought joy to watch our kids interact with the local children, and to grow as human beings, both spiritually and emotionally”. Not to mention, going with our parents eliminated a lot of pre-trip anxiety for Thomas and me.
The trip was also powerful for Mom and Dad as a married couple. They’ve said that anytime you do something spiritual together, it bonds you as husband and wife. An especially powerful experience was the interaction with a village teenage girl with cerebral palsy. After having had similar experiences with Mom’s sisters back in the States, Mom and Dad were able to connect and experience something deep in a way they had before as a couple. Because of their past together they were able to bring something special to the D.R. and connect in an unusual way.
Our shared experience, however, was not nearly as vital while on the trip as it was upon our return. For me (Rachel), reverse culture-shock had hit hard before I even got off the plane. It didn’t help at all when I had to say goodbye to my newly-formed mission family at the airport. However, I’m lucky to have gone home with three of them, and to see them every day. We all shared the same wonderful, powerful experience. It brought us together rather than putting an impassable wall between us, as going alone may well have done. We’ve all tried many times to explain our experience to others, but it’s simply impossible to do it justice. It’s so nice to have an immediate family that understands, because they were all there. We’re still talking about the mission trip, and will be for a while. It gave us a unique spiritual experience that has invaluably bonded us as a family.
Makarios hosts short term mission teams year round, representing various people groups from youth groups to family groups to medical and dental teams to mixed adult and youth groups. For more information on how you can join us for a short term trip, click here.