reflections on a spring break eve

Nine years ago, I was preparing to spend a few days with my parents and siblings during spring break.  We traveled together to Arkansas and stayed in large rented houses/cabins.  Mom cooked big meals, we played board games and curled our hair.  We shopped together and really enjoyed the eight of us coming together from our scattered dwelling places to spend time with one another.

It was just a few weeks after I had begun dating Rob.  Because we’d be spending the majority of the week apart, I put together a box for him and the boys.  I carefully placed stickers on the sides and lid, labeling it: ZERBE MEN SPRING BREAK BOX OF FUN. I mostly filled it with cheap junk that was desirable (and not often obtained) to elementary age boys.  Parachute men, silly puddy, bubble wands, bowls with built in straws, plastic cups personalized with silver sharpie ink and other items filled the plastic tote that remained in their grandma’s den for years to come. 

On this eve of spring break, we’re collecting copies of passports, handing out medications, and charging camera batteries.  The 8 year old and 5 year old boys who played with Spongebob stickers and army men are preparing to leave the country tomorrow morning.  The now 17 year old Riley and 14 year old Duncan have raised over $3000, attended weeks of training and are going to support an established church and tell the locals about Jesus.  Neither have been out of the country before, and neither have flown.  Their borrowed suitcases are filled with a week’s worth of clothes and at least that much junk food.  We’ve dined on steak dinners, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and french bread pizza in anticipation of a week away from familiar foods.  In the morning, I’m splurging on McGriddles for their departure meal.

We’ve talked about where to stash the copies of their passports, how much money to save for the airport dining on the trip home, which medicine is for allergies and which is for tummy trouble and when to tell an adult if you’re not feeling well.  Their bibles, chewing gum and chocolate snacks are in their carry-on bags.  Granola bars, beef jerky and drink mix are in the suitcases.  Riley went to bed a while ago, and Duncan’s glued to SNL getting some quality time with his dad.

We’ll make one more trip to their mom’s house to gather a few items and I have one quick errand to run in the morning.  The group is meeting at church in the morning to pray together with the rest of the youth before they head to the airport.  When they said parents are welcome to follow us to the airport, we believed them and we will.

Please join me in praying for my boys this week. My prayer is that lives will be changed for eternity because of the work they are doing there.  My prayer is that this work will be life changing for them as well.

approximate itinerary
Sunday-travel, arrive in country 7pm
Monday-training
Tuesday-training and mission work
Wednesday-training and mission work
Thursday-training and mission work
Friday-cultural day
Saturday-travel, arrive home 7pm

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