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Day 1: The Craziness Begins

They say mission trips never go as planned, but you'd think we'd at least get to our destination before things got a little crazy.

A two hour flight delay wasn't exactly on anyone's radar, but it at least provided for some "team bonding"—aka card games and food.

Hours before, our team was praying for our safety on the flight and for the hearts of the people that we are going to be interacting with all week, followed by tearful goodbyes. Tears from the parents, that is. The students could not be more eager to get on the plane instead of the typical 16 hour van ride. Even with the delay, the change from driving to flying was a welcome one.

Everyone passed time by getting Starbucks, watching movies on Justin's iPad, and getting started on a proud EBC mission trip tradition... A Kemps tournament. If you know students who went on the Philly trip last year, it's likely that you heard of this fast-paced, intense card game. This year students wasted no time in picking teams and doing practice rounds. Some had their last fix of Chick-fil-A before we trade in chicken sandwiches for Philly cheese steaks for the week!Chillin' at the Airport

Many conversations were had with strangers in the airport wondering what a group of almost 20 students was doing. One lady shared her stories from her own mission trip to Peru, while others from the Atlanta area asked what church we were from. What a great chance to share about what we are doing and WHO we are doing it for!

Our flight finally got off the ground at 5 p.m., which was a lot better than the projected time of 6:45. Even with several first-time fliers, the group all put their hands in the air for takeoff and no one had a panic attack. Well, after the plane jerked on the runway to avoid a squirrel and everyone quite breathing for a split second. The rest of the flight was uneventful, thankfully, minus a few popping ears.

We landed without any problems, but if you thought that navigating the much smaller airport in Philly would be easy, you would be wrong. Somehow our team set off an alarm going through the exit and doors complete with flashing lights and alarms shut some of us in. It was only about a minute before the alarms shut off and we ran through the doors before they closed again. Fun times!

As our host church family, the Pearsons, picked us up from the airport, we quickly loaded up all of our luggage and bodies into their vans and drove to a mall for dinner. 8 p.m. is not too late to eat! The food court had a good selection, but like true Georgians most of us chose to have Chick-fil-A for the second time today.

Tonight we are staying at Riverside Community Church while another team wraps up their week at Fairmount, where we will be staying for the rest of the week. Time for some shut-eye before rising early and getting started on our busy week.

With the middle school mission trip finishing up in Boston, Lauren Buice kindly stepped in to recount the Philadelphia events.