Monday, July 05, 2010

Suzanna the Missionary

Tonight we had to say goodnight to our oldest daughter via telephone.  She is about 250 miles away from us tonight . . . and tomorrow night, too.  We'll get to see her again Wednesday, but it's an odd feeling to have our 12-year-old daughter so far away being so independent.  Wanna know why she's gone?

She's on a family mission trip . . . without her family!

Our church arranges family mission trips for families looking for ways to carry out service projects together.  The destinations are usually some distance away without being too far (the last mission trip was to Fargo, ND), and there must be unmet needs that the families can address while there.  This summer's site is Rapid City, SD.  Susan had thought it would be a fun thing for our family to do, but this summer's projects include construction, so nobody under 10 could go (ruling out Hillary).  We decided to do it another year instead.

Jodeen, Susan's officemate at the church (where Susan is Sunday school director), had signed up herself and her daughter Larissa to go as a family, but they had extra room in their vehicle and their big tent, prompting Jodeen to invite Suzanna to join them and be a part of their family for a few days.  Suzanna eagerly accepted!  Last week she attended a couple organizational meetings at church to learn what to pack, when to leave, etc.  Suzanna had everything packed and ready to go by Saturday for this morning's departure!  Susan drove Suzanna to church this morning to meet Jodeen and Larissa; and after they drove off, Susan had a few tearful moments alone in the parking lot.

So it was a delight to get a phone call from Suzanna tonight.  Today and tomorrow, they're helping Habitat for Humanity build houses (Wednesday morning, they will assist at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission's thrift store).  Suzanna put in insulation ("I forget what it's called, but it's that pink stuff that's itchy") and helped with the installation of sheetrock for ceilings by marking where the screws went and helping to hold up the sheets while others drove the screws.  They ate and cleaned up back at the camp site (which has shower facilities), and some of the teens in our church's group were roasting marshmallows and Oreos (I didn't know they could/should be roasted) for a late-night snack.  Suzanna said, "They seem like they plan to stay up late, but I'm ready for bed."  She was "feeling a little homesick," though, so first she borrowed a cell phone so she could hear our voices.

Little does she know how therapeutic it was for us, too, to hear her voice.

P.S.  Abigail and Hillary were eager to talk to Suzanna a little bit themselves and tell her how much they love and miss her, and Hillary is even sleeping in Suzanna's bed tonight.  One thing that they are looking forward to: if allowed some TV viewing time, they will get the chance to operate the remote control and choose the channels, something that Suzanna does when she's around (or that Daddy does when it's viewing time for the family).


  1. It sounded like Suzanna's having a great time -- and I'm eager to hear all of her stories when she gets back.

  2. Wow...can't believe they're all getting to that age where they will do things independently! (sniff sniff!)

  3. What a great adventure for Suzanna! Your first little bird...testing her wings a bit.... It's great that you allowed her to have that experience. I can't wait to ask her about it when I see you all in August!
    And I hope that Abigail and Hillary enjoyed the freedom of the remote! ;-)