Wade’s Wisdom is a regular humor column by Wade Bearden. Here, he shares his wisdom, knowledge, and intricate understanding of life to readers all over the world.
“Don’t drink the water.”
“Take the mace out of your bag before going through airport security.”
“You shouldn’t pet the wild monkeys.”
These are all suggestions we hear when prepping for a short-term mission trip. It’s what we’re not told though, that could get us into a wealth of trouble. Information that may or may not be the difference between you having a great time and you wishing you were back home watching reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger.
I’ve had a number of great short-term mission experiences. But, more importantly, I’ve come back from my travels with knowledge to help you be better prepared for yours. Here are five lessons anyone going on a short-term mission trip needs to know before they leave. Oh, and you’re welcome.
1. Everyone Looks Better Overseas
The best way to get a member of the opposite sex to notice you is to go on a mission trip. Everyone—and I mean everyone—is more attractive abroad. On the mission field, people you would normally never consider, start to bat their eyes in slow motion. Blame it on the sense of adventure or maybe the close traveling quarters, but this point is practically down to a science. I might be 6’1″, 145 pounds, but I look like Brad Pit when I’m holding a kid in Africa.
2. Mission Trips are Just Really Long Photo Shoots
If you play your cards right, you’ll have enough Facebook profile pictures to last the entire year. You guys, I haven’t been out of the country in two years and I still have photos I show people at dinner parties.
I’ve also learned the hard way that photography is much different abroad than at home. I tried snapping selfies with random kids here in America and I ended up getting my picture taken at the police station instead.
3. Mission Trip Relationships Never Work Out
Sadly, this too is down to a science. Ladies, your man will start looking less like Brad Pitt and more like Jonah Hill. Guys, your Angelina Jolie won’t be the mysterious Tomb Raider she was in the jungles of Cambodia. And, before you know it, your plans to adopt all of those children will disappear right before your eyes.
4. You’re Going to Play Soccer…and Lose
One of the best ways to prepare for a mission trip is to start playing soccer. As much as we like to have pride in our country’s elite athleticism, most of us are pretty terrible at futbal. You might have watched the World Cup. You might have even went out for the high school squad. But you’re an American and you’re still going to get beat overseas.
Even the little kids are better than you.
5. The Appetizer isn’t the Appetizer
I think I speak for America when I say that if a meal doesn’t have cheese on it, it doesn’t exist. I was shocked when I first saw the size of the food portions overseas. “Loved the appetizer, now when is the meal coming out?” Apparently, triple cheeseburgers with bacon and lettuce are frowned upon in every country except for ours. And don’t even get me started on the “no free refills” policy. Communists.
Are you going on a mission trip this summer? What would you add to the list?