A different kind of vacation

Published 10:02 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

For many, summer is a time for hitting the beach, spending some time in the sun and generally taking it easy.

For some, though, a summer trip to the Caribbean or Central America means something more than surf and sand — it means an opportunity to serve others and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Whether they’ve headed to Haiti, to Mexico or to Guatemala — as did one recent group from East End and Mount Sinai Baptist churches — or even closer to home with groups serving in Appalachia, Philadelphia and other parts of the United States, short-term missionaries from Suffolk have made good on the scriptural call to go and tell.

Email newsletter signup

And in the course of their trips, they’ve done plenty of showing, as well. Showing concern for their far-flung neighbors, they’ve done all sorts of construction projects, conducted many vacation Bible schools, visited countless homes and taken tons of goods to those places to provide aid to those who have not experienced the easy blessings that most of us who live in America have come to take for granted.

The dozen people — most of them from Suffolk — who recently traveled to Guatemala, for instance, installed stoves and water purification systems in people’s homes during their 10-day trip. They also taught vacation Bible school at an all-boys’ primary school, made visits to homes in the community and led a service at a local church.

They could have spent those 10 days at Disney World or on the Outer Banks or any number of other things that most of us think of when the temperature rises and kids are out of school.

And we imply no judgment against those who spend their vacations doing such things. In fact, we enjoy doing those things as much as anyone else, and we recognize that families need such times in their lives, as surely as they need to have times of service.

But it would be shortsighted to ignore the impact these groups have on the lives of others. Their sacrifice of a vacation means a family will have clean water, that another family will be able to cook dinners without filling its home with smoke from a fire. Disney provides great memories, but this kind of service changes lives.

We are proud to live in a community in which this kind of outreach is so widespread.