By Hannah Trautwein, Partnership Coordinator

Three months from now, Summer 2018 will be over.

As I finish up last minute planning to start the summer in Clendenin, I can’t help but think how life will be different three months from now. Who will we meet that we don’t know now? With that question, I become anxious over this: Will we get to know others through the lense of compassion and thoughtfulness or quick need-to-know questions and answers?

So often I have found myself quickly going through my to-do list each day, only to arrive at the end of the summer and realize that I only know people for their project, not their friendship. I want to challenge myself, and anyone reading to start taking the time to ask the questions that really matter. Whether you are coming on a mission trip or not, we can all act with more compassion.

I was speaking with a homeowner recently, and at the end of our conversation about what we would like to help her with this summer, she gently added: “Do you think I could have a front porch too?” She was almost embarrassed to ask, and I could tell she thought she was wanting too much. With that in mind I asked her if a front porch was important to her. She said it was, and told me a story about how she and her husband used to always sit on the front porch in their rocking chairs together and talk. Her husband died about a year before a flood swept through the home they once lived in together.

My initial thought was something like: well, maybe if we have enough funding, or if we get other things done first. And while these are fine answers, and there is wisdom in being thoughtful when considering our stewardship of time and resources, those things aren’t everything. They certainly aren’t worth missing out on getting to know the reason why my new friend wanted a porch. I got to know more about her life, and realize that some little things are worth the extra effort. In the end, it isn’t the material things that matter, but the relationships that will continue to form over the next 3 months.

If you’re coming on a trip with us this summer, I challenge you to meet people with an anticipation. Will they show you a different point of view? Will they remind you to take time to appreciate the little things? It is an exciting moment to think that there are days soon when we will meet people that we will never forget.



Next Step Ministries