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Track & Field/Cross Country Jamaica mission: Day one recap

Monday, December 30, 2013
by Steven Mason

Below is the first of a series of blogs about the Lipscomb track and field/cross country teams' mission to Jamaica. 42 student-athletes are on the trip.

Don’t Forget Your Passport

Day one: 10pm, Morant Bay Villa, Morant Bay, St. Thomas, Jamaica

In our regular lives, most days wind up being pretty much the same.

However, today is not like tomorrow. This is because today is December 28, the last day this week that you’ll be woken up by an iPhone plugged to a charger plugged to a wall in a dorm in Nashville, Tennessee, where you have everything you need. The more of today passes, the further you will get from your iPhone and the closer you will get to the reality that God is working in places that you’ve never even seen.

Today ends in Morant Bay, Jamaica. But there are a few things that you need to do first.

Today you need to wake up. This part is important, probably the second most important thing you will do today. So you wake up, incredibly early and incredibly grateful. As always, you are completely overwhelmed because there is the spreadsheet and there next to your little name is more than a thousand dollars of belief in you. Even at two in the morning with a little bit of drool still on your pillow this is evident. Whether or not you will ever love on enough kids or build enough anything to deserve that amount of belief, there is nothing to do now but accept it.

Once you’re mostly conscious, you need to do the most important thing that you will do today.

Don’t forget your passport.

 If you’re one of the forty-two Lipscomb Track and Field members and mentors on the trip, you will get a flat tire today. If you’re another, you will have a ticket mishap. But these things tend to happen, just like we tend to move on from them, and the next thing you know, it’s don’t forget your passport and you’re piled into a van. Just don’t forget your passport and you’re piled into a plane. Just don’t forget your passport and you’re piled into a new van, zip code, country, world.

In this world, you can still walk a crosswalk and plug things in (assuming you wouldn’t rather unplug completely). Sometimes you can walk on a sidewalk, and sometimes you can’t. You can shower with hot water, drink from drinking fountains, talk on a cell phone, you can drive on the left side of the road up mountains and past the ocean, past towns of cinder buildings and towns of not much at all. In this world, you can see things and (if we’re honest) smell things that you wouldn’t usually. And whether you like it or not, these are all parts of the big broken world that God has sent you into. Assuming that you haven’t forgotten your passport. (Like I said, probably the most important thing that you do today.)

The passport is important because in missions, there isn’t much secret to who you are and where you come from. Of course, although at first you needed your passport because you weren’t getting on the plane without it, right about now, our trip leader Coach Mason is fixing to take up your passport for another reason: the only thing worse than forgetting your passport on the way to Jamaica is forgetting it on the way home. See, that little blue book is not only your ticket to Jamaica, it’s also the only thing standing between your short-term mission and a very long-term mission. Meanwhile, it’s your reminder that this isn’t your culture, our country, or your world. That the things you are here to do come with an expiration date.

That today is not like tomorrow.

Quote of the day, Caleb Love: We’re just getting started.