Milo Mission Trip Succeeds Despite Rough Start

May 01, 2006 | Carol Sumerlin

"We aren’t going to make it to the airport on time!” That thought returned over and over to the 24 Milo Adventist Academy students sitting in their bus at milepost 130, miles and miles from Portland International Airport.

After months of preparation for their mission trip to El Salvador, including saving money, writing sponsors, learning Vacation Bible School songs and stories in Spanish, and creating crafts to share with children, they’d been on their way only an hour when everything halted in a traffic jam.

Unbeknownst to them, their group's own pickup and luggage trailer were in the midst of the crash that was causing the tie-up. Though a semi truck had rear-ended the trailer, somehow the contents remained inside, and the pickup's passengers were unhurt.

Check-in time for their flight was 9:50, but at 6:00 they still sat by the road waiting for police clearance to continue their three-hour drive to Portland. Bus driver Bill Lambie sent prayers heavenward for traffic to begin moving, since the bus couldn’t follow the example of the SUVs crossing the median to find another route.

One of the students suggested praying together for a way to open up. Just as they finished their prayer, traffic began to move. By the time the bus arrived at the airport at 11:00, the ticket agents and even the security attendants were determined to get them on their plane. The last bag was checked through with just five minutes to spare.

In the next two weeks, students built a church from foundation to roofline, presented two Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) in Spanish, made wonderful friends, and marveled at how people who live with so little can be so happy. Their VBS meetings led members in San Salvador to decide to put a greater emphasis on evangelism to children. And to think it nearly failed to get off the ground!

Experiencing miracles, building friendships, seeing God at work—maybe that is why mission trips build faith as well as churches.