Saturday, June 19, 2010

Packing up.

My daughter and I are traveling to the Cumberland area of Tennessee's Appalachian Mountains for a mission trip with St. Luke's Presbyterian Church. Half of our group of 30+ will do repairs and light construction on homes in this very poor area; half will conduct a day camp for 20 or so children. We're in the Day Camp crew, and I'm very much looking forward to meeting the children in our charge. I'm driving a 15-passenger van for the first time in many, many years and will be responsible for picking up, shepherding, and delivering each child in my charge to and from their homes.  I'm sure the backing up part will get better with each day's practice.

The organizers of the various mission trips we have each year figured out that trying to stow a wide assortment of luggage shapes and sizes was the biggest headache at the beginning and end. So they ordered one duffle bag for each participant. Everything . . . clothing, bedding, tools, toiletries, amusements, pillows, rain gear, shoes, Bibles, etc. . . . must fit INSIDE THE BAG. Since ours is the first mission trip to use the bags, we're the guinea pig of sorts for how much better things go.

The extra-large bags are huge. Nonetheless, packing to fit the available space has been both a challenge and an opportunity. Do I really need this extra pair of pants? Can't I make do with one pair of shoes all week? Will I have time to read more than one book? Can I use a small backpack instead of a purse? Should I go au naturel and not blow dry or style my hair all week - hence, no dryer or hair stuff? Do I leave vanity at home and take a servant attitude instead?

The basic routines of my daily life seem superfluous when confronted with such limitations. Perhaps our organizers understood that limiting us to a single duffle bag would be both a spiritual and a practical lesson.

They're pretty smart that way.


  1. Personally, I'd opt for no hair products and more footwear. If my feet are wet or aching, it doesn't matter one bit what my hair looks like - I want to change my shoes!
    Have a wonderful and uplifting time. Here's hoping for lovely weather :)

  2. You are SO right. I ended up packing two pairs of shoes, including a pair of TEVA flips just for the cooling, comfy feel in the evening.

    : )


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