This is a true story of if you don't seek out God's attention to you, how he will get yours for him. He can always get yours.
The year was 2005. I was embarking on my first ever mission trip. This trip of seven days was to a very rural and very poor part of Mississippi, so named Mendenhall. I was with a group of about 20 or so persons from my church. I was so excited about this opportunity and knew well ahead that we might be working on a farm, living in sparse dorm like structures and assisting Mendenhall church in any way they deemed necessary. Before leaving Atlanta I bought a brand new red bandana handkerchief and a new pair of steel toe work boots from Wal-mart. I wore my "ON A MISSION" t-shirt that I eventually passed down to my own daughter on her first mission trip. I had six weeks of missions training. I got to know my team and they had gotten to know me. I was on a mission, headed to Mendenhall- to SAVE MENDENHALL. Before leaving we were asked to identify our top three areas where we wanted to serve. I chose administrative office work in town, working with children and jobs training. I intently steered a world away from choosing menial labor like cleaning or working the farm. Although I did circle in bright red, "would like to work the farm no more than one day for the experience." Here I was a big executive, business owner, mother and wife, off to a new adventure.
I thought we were riding to Mississippi on a chartered bus with air conditioning and reclining seats. We actually rode on a clumpy something that might have at one time, on its best day, been mistaken for a bus. The sparsely working air conditioner dripped overhead and for all of the eight hour trip onto what felt like only my seat and my belongings.
One bright spot. We stopped along the drive and I drank bubbling spring water direct from the ground. We also enjoyed from a gas station of all places, fried anything you can imagine on a stick including your choice of okra, fish, corn, mushroom, chicken... anything. Yummy and memorable.
Upon our arrival to Mendenhall we checked into these archaic barrack-style dorms straight out of Hogan's Heroes. Upon seeing my cot, I quickly realized though I had packed my new red handkerchief and my steel toe boots for my 1/2 day on the farm, I had overlooked what I had really needed, personal items like linen and blanket. I had a real issue of sharing personal items like wash cloths and towels especially with strangers. I thought back to the drip that followed me the whole way on the bus and for the first of many times this trip God spoke to me and said, "Get over yourself." To the rescue comes a very mild-mannered angelic team member Alice, who discreetly offered me a beautiful set of fluffy yellow linen. She said, "here you can have it to keep." I did not hesitate.
When it came time to pass out our assignments I noticed that I was the only one on the team to appear overly anxious. While others appeared content, I could not wait to hear where in town I would be working and then with which beautiful little brown children I would charm and make giggle? When the assignments were read aloud I heard the unthinkable. I was assigned first shift on cleaning the dorm bathrooms and the next morning at 430 AM I was to come dressed to work the farm. Working the farm meant cleaning the pig sties, weeding the vegetables with a hoe, picking rows and rows of vegetation and then selling them to local residents for mere pennies a piece. The farm I would hear would be my WEEKLY assignment. As I heard this, my jaw dropped. All I could do was adjust my red bandana tied so perfectly around my neck and think of a way, any way to get out of this. Clearly there had been a mistake. As I entered the bathroom stall to begin cleaning the toilets, God spoke to me for a second time and a bit more loudly, "Get over yourself and Get to know me."
END OF PART ONE