Every mission trip has its stereotypical figures and its girl and boy awkwardness and awesomeness. Somehow the same “people” are always showing up on these trips. There is always a mission pimp, a team nun, a safe guy, the single guy, the mission stud, the popular girl, mission martha, the sidekick, the natural girl, the overachiever, and the mission mom.
Before I carry on, I always love to preface to get myself out of as much trouble as possible. First I would like to say, that I wholeheartedly love each one of these figures. And I myself, am sure to have played many a role. I highly respect and admire anyone who chooses to take their vacation or time off to serve the least of these and who spends time raising support, using their own hard earned money, and praying for and with team members as they go overseas to do a beautiful work. So consider yourself blessed if you fall into one of these categories. I know I’m thankful for you. If you’ve been on a mission trip before, you already know these characters. If you haven’t, you are likely very curious as to how all of this is happening in the midst of a mission trip. Sorry, it just does.
And as I said before these things really don’t matter. It’s not the focus or point of a mission trip. It’s simply a byproduct. You can’t put girls and boys together in tight spaces on a mission without girl and boy stories arising. So before I waste any more of your time with prefaces, let’s get to those stories!
The same personalities always seem to end up on these trips. The first and most noticeable one… because he makes sure he is noticed is the “Mission Pimp.” I’m not sure I need to describe him, but you can usually find him pairing off with a lady by Day #2 and then another one by Day #5 and so on… pretty soon, the ladies are in chaos and my man talks about how much he respects women as sisters and is so blessed to have found so many “sisters” on the team. I bet you are.
The “mission pimp” is never alone either. Next to him, you will find the “Desperate Guy” aka “The Sidekick.” He’s at the “mission pimp’s” side… a Tonto to the Lone Ranger or a Pedro to a Napoleon Dynamite. The “mission pimp” loves the attention of the ladies…and even of the fellas… he just really loves attention. He loves to be admired. And “pedro” loves to admire him. In fact, he wants to be him one day. While “mission pimp” is trading out massages with the insecure single ladies on the team, Pedro sits right next to him waiting his turn. As soon as a massage is over, “pedro” slides in. It’s the perfect move. You can’t say ‘no’ to him because it would blow the whole operation so Pedro enjoys the recompenses as “the sidekick” and wonders if one day, he too can be the “mission pimp.” #Keeping the dream alive.
Meanwhile, you will find the “Mission Stud” across the room. He looks over at the “mission pimp” and “pedro” and simply carries on his conversation with the “Natural Girl” knowing that “God will complete the good work He has started in the ‘mission pimp’s’ life.”
The “mission stud” needs not an introduction either. He is the guy on the team who all the ladies, secure and insecure want to be with. He loves the Lord. He loves children. But there is an issue. The problem is, he really is interested more in the mission than on the girls. Which makes the girls like him even more. He gets along with everyone. Him and “Single Guy” are boys and he even tolerates the “mission pimp” and has a soft spot for “pedro.”
The “natural girl” is the one who causes all the other ladies to scream out, “Where did she come from?!!? And why does she look the same as she did in the states?” She wears no makeup. She looks the same before, during, and after the trip. Before the trip, you thought she was cute. During the trip, while other ladies drown in the sorrows of a lack of make-up and blow dryers, the “natural girl” quickly rises to the top of every guy’s list thereby becoming what is known as the “overachiever”… the girl who was once unnoticed back home but now the boys can’t get enough of. This is the girl whose natural beauty and God-fearing attributes… have been further heightened in the missions atmosphere. The other girls appreciate “natural girl” and admire her but also begin to lose self-confidence in themselves… “She looks fine today. What happened to ME?!!”
Meanwhile, the “Safe Guy” is scurrying around gathering intel on all the single ladies. “What’s their dating history?” “Are they currently in a relationship?” “Are they interested in someone?” “Who do they like on the team?” And somehow, “safe guy” always get the answers. “Safe guy” is already in a relationship so girls feel safe sharing information with him. “Safe guy” loves to revel in the information he has acquired. He tells lots of stories to the other guys about the girls on the team, yet refuses to say any names as to not “gossip.” This is when the “Leader Guy” has to step in and say, “Shut up Andrew Brady, give us names or be quiet!” …I mean, he says, “Shut up ‘safe guy mystery man #1’ give us names or be quiet!” The “safe guy” can save us all a lot of time. He has acquired great information. “Is she dating?” “Who does she like?” “Do I have a chance?” “What did she mean by that?”
“Safe guy” can be a great addition to a guys’ late night talk. He’s very helpful to the “single guy.” That’s the guy who is on the trip with the right heart, and the right reasons but… if you asked him he’d share… “I’m not looking per se, buuuuttt…I’m available.” He’s a great guy with a big heart and when he finds a girl on the trip he likes, he’ll be ready to make his move.
As we speak, the ladies are loading the van, and the “Popular Girl” aka the “Overpacker” can be seen standing next to the “mission pimp” and “pedro.” They love carrying her bags and making sure her daily needs are being taken care of. Meanwhile, “Mission Martha” is painting sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly, carrying two jugs of water, some mangos, and beef jerky, while making sure the games and crafts have been loaded into the van.
It’s definitely a blessing to have “mission mom” on these trips well. She’s the one person who supports it all. She wasn’t walking with the Lord at a young age so when she sees all these young believers, she doesn’t see all the stereotypes and faults that we see. She’s in love with everyone. She thinks its cute that “mission pimp” has a crush. And another. And another. She loves that “pedro” has a best friend. And she can’t wait to introduce “mission stud” to her daughter as soon as the team gets back.
Well, meanwhile, another issue is brewing on the other side of the room. “I’ve fallen in love with the ‘Team Nun’ but I am afraid to talk to her.” Yes, aren’t we all. While the “mission pimp” is sharing riveting Scriptures about himself and “how graciously God has chosen him to be fearfully and wonderfully made and if you work hard, maybe you can too”… the rest of the fellas are trying to wrap their heads around the “team nun.” The “team nun” is incredibly godly. She obviously hears from the Lord and by the time I am heating up my coffee in the morning, she has been interceding on behalf of the team for the last hour. The guys aren’t sure what to do with her. They are incredibly attracted to her godliness and character but are intimidated to speak to her. When a guy finally finds the courage to do so, he realizes that one who shines in the presence of the Lord is full of grace, wisdom, and love and is well worth being around. Go for it “single guy!”
I’m sure there are more people we could talk about but this is getting long. Maybe we can do a Part 3 next week, maybe. First, I need to make sure Mike will let me lead another mission trip.
14. That’s how many times I said the word pimp. I figured you were gonna go back and count. I’ll save you the time.