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Dotson wraps up mission trip in Brazil

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lipscomb volleyball junior Caitlin "Dot" Dotson wraps up the mission trip in Brazil.

By Caitlin "Dot" Dotson

I love words, just like I love to fly. You can paint a picture with words alone; their power is amazing. As pen hits paper, explosions of color and ideas come to life. Sometimes so many words start to run through my mind that I cannot get them all out in time or in an organized manner.

A sea of jumbled thoughts floods the thousands of rivers running through my head in an effort to focus my thought process and convey my mental images. Adjectives that essentially have the same meaning can contain slightly different connotations that will completely alter the message being delivered. These words can evoke emotions and ignite dreams. They described and give life to stories.

Our 10-day trip to Brazil was filled with adjectives from every end of the spectrum- from fear to contentment. One of the best things about words is that they allow everyone to paint their own unique picture; elaborate colors or black and white- whatever suits you. If well constructed, words can produce a movie in our imagination.

This trip we have been asked to journal and “snap chat,” or draw a picture from the day that has stuck in our mind. This exercise is to ensure that we remember this trip in more than just pictures, but in experiences as well. Our words and drawings showcase our own individual stories and growths from our Brazilian excursion.

Although, we all saw the same things, we all colored them differently. Our snap chats are filled with portraits of gaining courage and strength, opening up, or reawakening a part of ourselves that we had let lay dormant for too long.

One thing we all shared was clarity. As the path unfolded we hit a few bumps but there were reasons for everything and everyone on this trip. It was as if this trip was like learning a new word; we dove into something unknown and came out with a new understanding and a bigger vocabulary.

God brought us all together- a unique group- for one last adventure. I think the chief purpose was to open us and rekindle our hearts for one another and others.

In Rio, it was evident that even the blind could see the natural beauty here. By opening our eyes we saw beauty in the most unlikely places, including the graffiti that covers almost every square inch of Rio. We found ourselves flabbergasted by the strange artworks that plaster the walls, there’s a story behind it and we all tried our best to unearth its origins by studying the intricate designs.

When our eyes had been opened we were stunned. Some of us were so stunned that they decided to accept God; Kaycee, Molly and Brittnay all were baptized in tropical waters after experiencing the supernatural beauty and grace of our mission trip.

Once our eyes were opened our hearts quickly followed. We were able to accept those surrounding us into our arms. It was as if by stretching out our hands to show the love we had we pulled a drawstring to unlock our hearts to all those we touched without hesitation.

This fleeting passion captured and convicted us all the while boggling our minds. How could we feel such love for so many people we barely know and they feel the same for us?

People are the nouns of language- essential for any sentence or story. Not always flashy and sometimes easily forgotten, but the most important element. When we experienced some trouble the pastor from the church we had worked with days earlier drove two hours to comfort us and friends we had met only a day before rode a bus for three hours to watch us play.

As we tried to wrap ourselves around the changes we felt we continuously opened ourselves to new things. We made the decision to immerse ourselves in them and their culture, even if that meant eating chicken hearts. The language did not matter, we assumed of own language of LUV and even the deaf could understand that.

The small moments full of laughter that we spent in the vans were the glue that sealed a new bond in our already tight knit group and allowed us to release ourselves fully to each other. We think big thoughts and dream big dreams but learned to relish the small pleasures- each other’s company and unbridled laughter.

A team full of best friends, who knows each other so well on the court, learned of unknown aspirations, fears and heart ache of the girls we have come to know as family. Newly opened portals allowed glimpses into inner persons, moving our team dynamic to a new more personal level. The only way that this trip could have taken all the unforeseen twists and turns talked about in the previous blogs and still be such a complete success is Divine Intervention, in my very verbose book.

Symbolically, we ended our trip in clouds. In my first blog, I told you how I feel about flying and clouds- a rebirth, a chance to begin anew.

We spent two days surrounded by clouds on the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain and at the feet of Christ the Redeemer. We have all been changed in some way- we all do have new luggage and though our bags may be lighter (because we gave away everything from t-shirts to volleyball kneepads), we are returning more full than ever. During this mission trip- we were verbs; we came to do and to serve and we did.

I still love words and their meanings; so to sum this trip up, let’s have a little play on them. Rio de Janeiro was awesome- we are in awe of the awful and the awe-full elements of the country and its peoples.

We found faith in those who had strong convictions and confidence in their beliefs and drew inspiration from each other, leaving us full of awe.

We found wonder in the awful, living of the favellas and the conditions of the school building; they showcase such potential and love but so many less reasons to believe. Yes, this trip was awesome. As our hourglass ends here a new journey begins. This one may not be filled with the beautiful sand of the Brazilian beaches, we do not know where it will take us- but isn’t that the part of the fun?

Okay, one last word play: Love in Rio. Lovin’ Rio. LUV in Rio.