Mission Impossible

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley

I went on my first missions trip! In fact, Tracy Lungbird, the most beautiful girl at my church, helped convince me that I should go. I remember her exact words: “You’re not going, are you?”

This sounds negative, but I had read that girls pretend not to like you if they really do like you! And Tracy must’ve really liked me because she also threw something at me when she said it.

Anyway, 12 of us kids and four brave adults arrived at the airport during spring break with a gleam in our eyes, dedication in our hearts and 4,000 pounds of luggage. Mom always says, “You never know what the weather’s going to do.”

I had never flown before. It’s very confusing.

When I stepped up to the counter, the airline lady asked, “Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry anything on the plane?”

Well, I don’t like carrying my own luggage, much less someone else’s stuff. But this was a missions trip, and I knew I needed to be a servant.

“No one has asked yet,” I said, “but I’m willing to help.”

That must’ve been the wrong answer, because the woman actually yelled, “No you will not!” while making a face that caused her eyebrows to grow together in the shape of McDonald’s arches.

I laughed (another bad thing to do), not at what she said, but because her eyebrows reminded me of my uncle’s eyebrows—or, actually, his eyebrow, which looks like a furry caterpillar running across his forehead.

Our missions trip was to downtown Chicago. We were helping an inner-city church construct a recreation center, so kids would have a safe place to play and learn about Jesus. Our group was building the playground. Some small kids showed up to watch our progress through the fence. Actually, they were yelling at us to work faster because they wanted to play and swing!

As I finished the swing set, I saw a 5-year-old girl standing at the edge of the crowd crying. I went over to cheer her up.

“Stop crying,” I said. “I’ll put my shirt back on.”

“That’d be nice,” she answered, “but I’m crying because my two brothers said they weren’t going to let me play on the playground when it opens.”

I grinned and said, “Well, how would you like to play on it now? I need an official swing tester!”

Her face broke out in a huge grin as we walked past her two mean—and now jealous—brothers and started swinging on the new swing set.

Later, Tracy came over and said, “That was a cool thing you did for that little girl—very Christlike.”

Knowing how to take a compliment, I said, “Thanks; will you go to the Valentine’s Day banquet with me next year?”

“It wasn’t that cool,” she said.

Anyway, I went on the trip hoping to win a girl’s heart . . . and, actually, I did. It’s strange how God can use you if you keep doing things for Him!

This article originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2008 by Bob Smiley. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.