As instructed, I was awake, dressed and ready for the farm at 4:30 AM the following morning, albeit reluctantly. Perhaps to connect to my other more glamorous life, the last thing I put on was lip gloss. Lots and lots of lip gloss. I also, much to the team's chagrin, carried my cell phone. I had not disconnected from my other life as they all had.
Real thing is, I had so far, been missing the most important element of this mission trip.... the mission. I had so far been trying to make this my mission trip versus God's mission.
I joined a group of women at the farm from our team. Valerie, Maria and I became the three amigos. Our boss was the real life overseer of the farm. Young, Caucasian and bossy. He worked our tails off. It was fun for me for all of 15 minutes. Not only were we working our butts off, we were doing it in the most 1940's of ways. I mean really, using a hoe when I could see toiling machines on the property. We all had blisters everywhere. I picked watermelons, cantaloupes, cabbages, cucumbers among other items until the sun got too hot to stand. We cleaned the pig pens and fed the pigs. I accidentally "let the cows out" which caused the three of us to nearly pee our pants in hysteric laughter. Val and Marie made a song out of it, "La Detra let the cows out." I can still hear their version of that song ringing in my ears. I also see visions of that lone cow wandering aimlessly outside the fence near the busy street.
To add complete insult to injury we were the only ones working out there. The Farm was a place created under the auspices of, in exchange for working on the farm (i.e. pick your own stuff), you could get next to free fruits and vegetables. Instead we were working until our fingers bled then the locals showed up, I handed them 30 cucumbers and they handed me $.45. Some of them I heard firsthand went to the next town and sold their lot for a profit. It killed me knowing that my effort might be wasted. And to hear that young man yell to us to hurry up, wash and bag the vegetables just about drove me completely crazy with ire. Oh lord please don't let me come to Mendenhall and be strung up from a tree for back hoeing a white man.
Now the complete kicker. I worked this farm for days on end and the same thing. I stared at equipment that could do what we were doing all day in less than 20 minutes. Hearing the barking noises of a young man less than 1/2 my age and then that stench. For days I had this horrific smell around me. In the mornings each day at the farm we would feed the pigs. But I could not get rid of that pig smell all day. No matter what, I smelled that stench. The smell of something not right.
On about the 4th day I was now wearing my bandana like a mask. It went from my neck to the top of my head to my face. It was at first cute to wear it, then it was for protection from the beaming sun, then it was to shield me from that stench. For the third time God spoke to my heart, "Get to know me."
Lying on my cot one evening it came to me. My life was a mask. I was a big phony, running from my own truth. Unhappy in too many ways to count. I started sobbing quietly. As the tears ran down my face and lips, for the first time I not only smelled that stench but I tasted it too. The smell of the swine was being cemented on my lip gloss. I was smelling all day that stench captured on my lips. My upper lip. God spoke to me for the last time and said, "When you are ready, I am here for you."
Lying on my cot I decided through boogery swine infested sobs, tomorrow I would come clean to the mission team. I wiped off my lip gloss, put my cell phone way down in the bottom of my luggage and said in a whisper, "I hear you Lord, I am able. I am ready to get to know you. I am on your mission" END OF PART TWO