WHAT?! A "missions" trip to JAMAICA?! You've got to be kidding me! JAMAICA?! All they do there is smoke pot, listen to reggae & lie on the beach, mon! Clearly this is just an opportunity for a bunch of kids to go on vacation together for 9 days. And what type of "missions" trip has students building classrooms for a local church, putting on a VBS, ministering at an orphanage and to shut-ins, and doing sports outreach in the community? SPORTS outreach?? That sounds FUN. Serving Jesus is NOT supposed to be fun. I mean, students in high school don't even understand the concept of serving or missions.
Although - last year the youth group went to Jamaica for a "missions" trip, and it transformed the youth group. I suppose we have seen some of the students really mature in their relationships with Christ.
And I suppose that there are maybe some problems in Jamaica that missions trips can assist. Turns out Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world. And I suppose, like many tourist attractions, Jamaica is a land of extremes - opulence v. poverty. And I suppose that there could be some opportunity for construction aid, since Jamaica also frequently experiences devastation from tropical storms and hurricanes.
After thinking about it for awhile - and knowing our students and leaders - maybe it's not entirely a vacation. Granted, the students do have one "beach day" which, I suppose if you want to be really cynical, could overshadow the other eight days of missions work.
Basically I just wanted to apologize to everyone who received a support letter - it was not my intention to ask for money for the Parton Vacation.
But if you had a problem with it, you could have called ME before you sent a letter to our youth directors (who have worked tirelessly organizing a mission trip of 45 students and investing daily in the lives of young people) telling them that you "do not support college student vacations."
Please - if you have any questions about anything Doug & I are doing, feel free to ask us in person (or, if that's not an option, phone, email - whatever). We're generally pretty reasonable people...
... with the exception of an occasional snide blog post.