SFL Flashback: Teen Missions Trips

This post was originally featured on SFL on Mar 5, 2009

From the missions journal of John Q. Goodwin, youth group president of the Come Out From Among Them Baptist Church of Loco, Oklahoma.

Preface: I have decided to keep a journal of our summer missions trip to Mexico. Jim Elliot kept a journal so it seems like a good idea for me to keep one too. Perhaps it will be useful to other who are going on teen missions trips with their own (hopefully Independent Baptist) churches.

Day 1: We have arrived in Mexico and are all very excited by the presence of so many sinners around us that we can witness to. I suppose there were plenty of sinners back in Oklahoma too but these sinners speak Spanish which makes them a lot more interesting. Also, we have located a McDonalds so we will not starve while we are here. The people at our hotel speak English which makes it a lot easier when we need to order room service and such.

Day 2: Spent the day with the missionary passing out gospel tracts and street preaching. Brother Benjamin, our youth pastor gave a great message this morning on the supremacy of the King James Version text, although I’m not sure many of the people really understood. Even Carlos, our interpreter seemed a bit confused during the part about Koine Greek. I can only hope that God uses these messages to really impress upon the hearts of people the importance of using the right Bible.

Day 3: I believe God is calling me to marry this girl Maria Sanchez whom I met at a the local church service yesterday. I cannot talk to her because she does not speak any English but she seems very godly and is also very good looking which makes it even easier to know this is God’s choice for me. I will attempt to learn some Spanish so that I can ask if she believes in courtship.

Day 4: Another rousing sermon today by Brother Benjamin, this time on sin. His hard preaching about cable television, internet porn, and gluttony should have a lot of folks here under conviction. You could tell how much people were responding by the way they kept shrugging and saying “internet?” over and over again. They obviously had never heard about the dangers of the world web of wickedness preached so clearly. It’s a good thing that we were here to stand in the gap.

Day 5: Today we took a rest from our labors and went sight seeing and shopping for souvenirs. Then we had a picnic on the beach where we shared testimonies about how this time in Mexico has changed our lives. Also, God has revealed to me that marrying Maria is not His will for me after all. Since we are going home tomorrow, I consider that God has shut that door. Instead I am going to marry Chastity Winkler, a girl in my own youth group. I plan to have my father talk to to her father once we get home.

Day 6: We’re on the bus and in a few minutes we’ll be back in the United States. Missions work is very rewarding but tiring as well and my sunburn from the beach trip yesterday itches a lot. It’s been a great trip and we have a lot of pictures to show the church and we can report over seven-hundred decisions for Christ being made. It could have been more but nobody in our group actually speaks Spanish. The missionary we were visiting seemed really happy that we came, at least he smiled a lot as he waved goodbye to us. I can’t wait to go back next year.

93 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: Teen Missions Trips”

  1. This is not real. Please, no. :p

    Though I do remember a kid from high school who thought it was definitely God’s Will for him to marry my best friend, even after she repeatedly rejected him. She got married two weeks ago to an amazing man; he’s still single…and strange. 🙂

    1. There was a man in our church who was interested in two girls- my best friend, and me. Well, my parents got the idea that God wanted me to marry him, and I did (I was 18 and easily manipulated). Looking back, he probably should have married my best friend. I don’t know if she would have been happy, but I think he would have been happier. 😥

        1. satire lol


          satire |ˈsaˌtīr|
          the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices

        2. In an Age of Extremes like today, it’s really hard to do satire.

          Because as off-the-wall outrageous crazy as you can get for laughs, there WILL be a True Believer out there twice as crazy and DEAD SERIOUS.

      1. Dear Darrell:

        Yet one suspects that it is quite ‘true to life …’


        Christian Socialist

  2. And even more painful than this journal, is the Sunday Evening service where the youth give their report of “how God blessed me on this trip.” To the long-winded girl who uses 2,000 words to tell a 20 word story, “JUST SHUT UP!”

    1. …and then I was all like, wow, I can’t believe that happened, and like it was just soooo awesome, and then I was all like, THANKKKKK YOUUUUUU!!!! It was just like such a blessing, and then I was all like I just so can’t wait to do it like all over again!!!

      1. “And when they told us that the hotel didn’t have air conditioning, we were all like, REALLY? Then on top of that there was no WiFi, so like how were we supposed to get on Facebook?? The last straw was when we had no cell phone service.

        But I felt blessed to able to suffer for Jesus.”

  3. Guess not . For some reason this kid reminds me of a hall monitor at bju. My husband was stuck with this pompous ass in the early to mid 80’s. He once stood up in a hall meeting and announced that alcohol had never touched his lips and he had never had kissed his girl friend. God had also told him to marry her. Within a semester or so girlfriend was knocked up and he had a drinking problem. Aha youth. Hope their marriage lasted and he learned a lesson.

    1. I once heard a guy in his late 20’s at a young-marrieds’ Sunday School class cookout give a testimony in which he stated that exact phrase, “not one drop of alcohol has ever passed my lips.” I almost laughed out loud. Not because I didn’t believe him, but because it is a ridiculous measurement of spirituality. There were of course, “Amens” all around, which gave me greater justification for having already stopped attending that church. (We went to the activity, because the people were still our friends) It was kind of sad, because my wife and I really enjoyed that Sunday School class for the most part, even though we didn’t care for the church that much.

      1. I’ve heard it said that the reason for the Altar Call was to get the new converts up front where they could sign a Dry Pledge. Just like homosexuality is the Big Taboo among Fundies today, so alcohol was 100 years ago.

      2. I actually said that to my students last year! It’s amazing how far from fundy I’ve come in a little over a year. I’m ashamed now. 😳

      3. I’m not even legal drinking age and I’ll admit that drops of alcohol quite certainly have touched my lips.

        But that’s because I go to a heathen church that takes the word “wine” literally in the Bible. 😉

    2. Dear Presbyterian girl:

      ‘He once stood up in a hall meeting and announced that alcohol had never touched his lips and he had never had kissed his girl friend.’

      So was this particular pompous ass bragging or complaining?

      Christian Socialist

      PS: I wonder what he’ll be saying/drinking/doing when he himself is in his early to mid 80s. :mrgreen:

      1. He might say I have been married to that perfectly attractive woman all these years and I have never once satisfied her… Sorry that was inappropriate. I just couldn’t resiste. 😳

        1. Dear Presbyterian girl:

          If there was anything inappropriate in your post, it was lost on me. But if he was my brother in law and the stellar failure you suggest, I suspect I’d slap his face. Sorry if that crosses a line; but it is honest!

          Christian Socialist

        2. Good IFB men don’t satisfy their wives. (Unles you are Jack Hyles than you satisfy your secretary) it’s just too emotional and someone might think you are dancing.

        3. Dear Presbyterian girl:

          I hear you on the Jack Hyles thing, but I’d hate to believe that the rest is true about good IFB men!

          I’m rather left thinking, ‘if you don’t dance, what’s the point?’

          Christian Socialist

        4. That used to be a joke the rebel kids or people with the ability to lol at stuff would say when I was at BJ. That you had to be careful about any movements when you were close to your wife or people might see you and think you were dancing. Of corse dancing is a sin. Even with your wife.
          The dancing question: is it sin if you dance with your spouse? Reminds me of the other big BJU/ funny question: What is the will of God for my life? And was helpful if you wanted to break up with a boyfriend. “It’s just not Gods will for us to date anymore” it’s a good thing God is God any human could not handle the stress of being blamed for all the whims of the heart….. Rumblings at 1:30am

  4. First? Oh I really want my very own but cushion! The old lady from church clearly has never heard of sharing her butt cushion with others. She must have had quite the place on the ladies church softball team with that swing, My butt really hurts from her landing a home run on my backside with her cane! I doubt shes even saved.

    1. Kitty, you are going to need that butt cushion when the youth group gets to testifying. Half of them could be Long-winded girl! My mom and I always used to joke about how many testimonies it would take for our buts to go numb during special testimony services.
      When you hear the words “We’ll just take a few minutes for the youth to tell you about God’s blessings on the mission trip” – RUN!

  5. Ah yes, once again the IFB’s inability to understand any other culture beside their own and turn everybody into white-Europeans.

    btw, I know this was satire, but so close to the truth. My old church’s only black family’s daughter got married and all the fundies couldn’t understand why at the reception, the family didn’t dance like waltzes or “traditional” dances

    1. White Americans, I think you mean… we real Europeans think you people across the Pond are deeply strange 😉

      1. We are strange indeed…..We white Americans think we are the standard for Godliness.
        All of the whites at the wedding were appalled at the “sensual dancing”. I used to “clubbing” and I know sensual dancing when I see it, there was no sensual dancing at that wedding. They just danced with in more of a celebratory attitude. Alot of whites tend to be anal when it comes to celebrations.

    2. Hmm. My oldest daughter got married a month ago, and they tangoed for their ‘first dance’. They been taking lessons, and it was really cool. Her dress was knee-length, with many layers of filmy silk (ooh, was it hard to work with!) that swished around, and the lipstick-red tango shoes. It was fabulous!

  6. This is so funny and what’s even more hilarious but sad, is how the youth in these fundamental circles try so hard to emulate their leaders in order to be found as “blessed and chosen” of God as their preacher, youth directors and leaders of the church.

    I remember working at summer camps and the experiences being run-of-the-mill oh but when we got back to church after serving for weeks as ranch hands and standing up in church to give testimonies of events… these events seemed to grow in grandeur to prove the blessings of God on the life of the one giving testimony.

    I think the old adage, “Lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas” applies in terms that we slowly acquire the traits of those around us. It’s easy to fool ourselves into believing performing tricks is good, if performing tricks gets us a few pats on our heads, no matter how foolish these tricks really are! Ruff Ruff!

    So glad to have gotten off all fours and back on my own two feet as it should be! LOL
    I honestly don’t believe that these acts of pleasing others and God aren’t acts of stupidity, but rather, honest acts of trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, many youth have been mislead by their parents and the church into believing this nonsense. How miserable it is for them! My dearest hope is that these young kids learn to question authority and to know themselves and their purpose!

    Funny post Darrell!

    ~~~Heart 😆

  7. Please excuse that double negative in that last paragraph… I’m sure you got what I meant to say!! Right? LOL

    ~~~Heart 😕

  8. This reminds me of the “mission” trip that I got to chaparone to England, Scotland and Wales. The only thing “mission” about it is that we stayed at missionary’s houses. There was no preaching, no soul winning, no Bible reading. It was all site seeing. It was a nice trip. Really liked Scotland.

    1. Just wanted to let you know that “soul winning” is a contrived word / fundy doctrine based on a poor kjv translation of a phrase in one verse in psalms. I went on a trip one time with a fundy group who had hired a “Christian” tour group company and the American guides who had been “Christians” their whole life had never heard the phrase before and asked what we meant by it. That was another moment of realization for me that fundys have twisted so much.

      Also Jesus never taught “soul winning”. Study it out.

  9. Let me start my stating I could not do satire anywhere near the level that Darrell has done.

    But Day2 and Day4 really give it away as satire; I cannot believe the preaching topics would really be used on a missionary trip. “The Supremacy of the KJV” is more of a topic for church members than the lost – having this given as the street preacher’s topic immediately told me it was satire. To a lesser extent, Day 4 had the same issue, but I’ve heard so-called “street preaching” like Day 4.

    But Day 6 is the best ever. The satire in the …he smiled a lot as he waved goodbye… was absolutely priceless and I cannot say enough how excellent the writing of Day 6 was.

    1. I knew one adult who had been an MK saying that there was no need to translate bibles into native languages (she’d grown up in Vanuatu) because they were all learning English.

      Assuming that a fundy wouldn’t preach a completely illogical sermon while on a missions trip is perhaps assuming too much.

      1. Maybe yes, maybe no. To me, preaching on the KJV isn’t something any missionary does while in a non-English speaking country.

        I do know of missionaries that speak on the importance of a good translation, though.

      2. This is real – not satire: Our youth returned from a mission trip during which they passed out Spanish Bibles to local people. As they were telling about their trip (and doing a very good job of it) a member of our congregation seriously asked if the books were King James Bibles. The teen looked befuddled for a second or two, and wisely said, “Yes.”
        My sister, who had been on several real mission trips to Mexico, joked later that the questioner hadn’t even pronounced “King James” correctly. In Mexico, it would be “Hy-mee Rey.”

  10. Now, for the question I really want answered: Did you have mission trips come visit you when you were an MK, Darrell? And did any of them resemble this in any way, shape, or form?

  11. In looking back, many of these mission trips were more about the people going on them than they were about actually helping the people in other places.

    1. Yes! This is exactly right! I do think there is some cultural value to sending young people to another country to experience other cultures. Heck most American kids growing up in fundy youth groups nary travel outside their state. Unfortunately they are still in the fundy bubble while on the trip and they are convinced handing out pamphlets in a language they cannot speak on a street corner in a foreign country for a few hours is “mission work”.

  12. True Story. In the 70’s, my girl friend,( now beloved wife of 40+years), went on an over -the -border trip to San Luis with a few hundred other kids from the AZ Conservative Baptist Youth Conference to “help” a local Mexican church, to do what? I don’t remember. What I do remember is that the kind ladies of the church fed us lunch. Yes, we were warned not to drink the water, so we drank Coca Cola. Did not matter. The next day back in Tucson,the hotel was overwhelmed, hundreds of sick kids, not enough bathrooms…

  13. Took a “missions” trip to Flatbush Brooklyn in high school. We held VBS there and helped the kids put on a play. The saddest part for me was that very few parents came to see the kids in the play. My dad came, and we lived in Orlando. We also took the kids to the Brooklyn Zoo. It was an adventure taking so many kids on the subway. Shaquille unfortunately got onto our subway car and the doors to the other cars were locked. Never have I seen a sadder 7ft tall man in my life.

  14. My mission trip to Korea the first time was very similar, although not quite this fundy. I basically worked with the kids of the church on improving their English conversation abilities and knowing Western culture. It was an amazing experience. We were out to eat with church families almost every single night. The church we were at treated us so well. Granted, I’m a girl, so teaching was the only role I could assume, but that really wasn’t too much of a hinderance because we weren’t really there for true “mission work” – we were just supporting a church outreach camp. We only went soul winning for about an hour one day in a park, and there wasn’t really the pressure for results because of the language barrier and the fact that confrontational soul winning is not accepted in Korean culture.
    This post made me laugh so hard because this was how most of the missions trips at my home church and that my friends went on were like. It’s funny looking back on how culturally incompetent we all must have seemed.

  15. This is rich, and unfortunately so true to life. I don’t think this short term missions spoof is even close to being limited to fundyland. I’ve known even the more non fundy churches to spend tens of thousands of dollars to go pour a couple cubic yards of concrete in some place that apparently needed some concrete in order to be Christians.

  16. Darrell, did you steal this out of my old journal from when I was a fundy? I’m watchin’ you… -_-

  17. “Missions work is very rewarding but tiring as well and my sunburn from the beach trip yesterday itches a lot.”

    That’s funny right there.

  18. Hilarious!! This reminds me of a fundy church that went to Brazil to teach them about listening to and singing the “right kind” of music.

  19. I’ve been on mission trips to Mexico, but… not quite this style. They were joint ventures with Mexican Christians and while not everyone in attendance spoke Spanish, we were highly encouraged to at least learn the basics for communication.

    The much more important point I’m trying to get around to, however, is that Mexican food is the best ever. Tacos al pastor, anybody? I can even give you some taco stand recommendations for Pachuca, Hildalgo, where my aunt and uncle used to live… mmm, and that place down the hill from them where the lady made chalupas with mashed potatoes…

  20. My favoritist favoritist thing about many of these mission trips is that they end up redundant. Nothing like trying to convert Catholics or Mormons to “real” Christianity to get our righteous KJV fervor going!

    But no, seriously. I went from crazy fundy to Presbyterian in college and you’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t be) at the reactions I got from my former church. Apparently when you’re a Mainline you’re not saved anymore 😕

    1. Haha I was once was asked by someone I attended BJU with if I was saved anymore. I was shocked “yes I’m saved and now I know how and from what” Unbelievable

      1. Uhh, did you ask your old BJU school-mate if they still believed once- saved, always saved? It seems to be a pet doctrine of Fundies!

        1. Or Episcopalian! We’re only a shade better than Roman Catholic, apparently. Funny though, I’ve heard more scripture and sermons actually based on scripture, than id did in fundy/penteland. But I haven’t heard sermons on the evils of gays or abortion or liquor or Hollywood. Seems they’re less interested in sin than in doing what Jesus told us to do. Imagine that!

        2. When I was in college I had a trip to Canada and saw my cousin L Hatfield. Bishop of Nova Scotia for the Anglican Church. Back at BJU in the fall… Wait for dumb question… “Oh my word did you witness to him? That must just break your heart.” Me: “why would i do that my Dad says he os a very loving Christian” blank looks abound. Next day I got yo spend quality time with the dean of women. She agreed lol he could be saved. Amazing.

        3. Yeah. IFBs tend to have a lot of problems with Presbyterians. They have a lot more problems if you used to be IFB and became a Presby, as I’ve learned the hard way.

  21. I remember my parents taking a missions trips to Mexico (we just started going to the ifb) and the church said it was “such a blessing” that Brother Henry has a 15 passenger Ford van that can be used for such a glorious trip (31 hours of driving 1 way). I refused to go (I told my parents that nothing good was going to come of it), so off they went. The pastors son-in-law was supposed to pay for the fuel with the church credit card, which at one fuel stop he “forgot”. Dad was livid as he said it was all paid and good to go, after 10 minutes of driving he giggled that he did not pay. Dad whiped the van around and went back to pay. The cops just pulled in when they pulled up to pay. It could have been bad. That is only 1 incident of the craziness. He was so concerned about kids holding hands he had a flash light that he tried shining to see whats going on. He wanted dad to drive with the interior light on so things would be proper. I believe my dad to him to stuff it (he is a bit of a hot headed German) Yet the son-in-law had no issues playing slap-n-tickle in the van with his wife infront of the kids. That was all in the first 8 hours of the trip. When the parents came back, the mog and a groupl off people were waiting for for them and in a big voice welcomed them back and said how was it? Mom gave him a look I’ll never forget and said there is “NO WAY you’re EVER getting me to do that again…”. She single handedly unloaded the van and went home. Pretty funny stuff….

    1. I’ll bet a dozen fresh warm Krispy-Kreme donuts that your dad didn’t realize he had “volunteered” his time and van for this trip.

    2. Germans are hot-headed?
      Good, from now on, that’s my excuse.
      (I’m German by way of my grandmother.)

      1. Ja, BG, Germans are hotheaded! (Speaking as one adopted into a German-American family)

        When they get mad, they’re almost as stereotypically bad as Italians…except Germans hold grudges FOR.EVER. 👿

    3. After the stunt with the credit card I would have kept right on going …. back home to the church. nepotism or no nepotism, no way I’d trust someone that could try to pull that off.

  22. I never went on a youth mission trip…my church didn’t have them because it was too “liberal; social gospel” for them.

    Yes, they supported foreign missionaries, but the most the youth group did was take gift baskets to the elderly shut-ins (church members only) at Christmas.

  23. During my daughters time in youth group at Fundy-Lite Independent Baptist, the only mission trips planned were to places with English as the first language. The official reason was because
    ‘they couldn’t effectively minister in another language/culture”. The trip to Mobile, AL for a couple of weeks to help in a new church plant was pretty good. The one to visit our Maple Leaf neighbors up North was left wanting.

    As a family, we spent a month in Brazil and three weeks in a closed Asian country. Both trips were to poorer, off the beaten path villages to work with people we know. We worked on building relationships and helping with camps and various projects building and fixing things. Those trips helped the kids grow as Believers, as well as learn to help in ways they never imagined. Our older daughter went back to the Asian country twice since to help in orphanages. And we didn’t even pass out any tracts or show “Christian” films. I even learned to never trust a little Oriental kid with a Ping Pong paddle. He’ll play nice until you get to know him, then put a whuppin’n on you like you never saw.

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