In September 2007 a friend from MO called my dad about a trip he was thinking about taking.
He said they needed more guys, so after thinking about it my dad called the man who was heading the team, Sam Ash. The outcome was Dad, my brother Joel and I signed up for the trip.
We didn't know to much about it except that we where going to the copper canyon in Mexico. Don't ask me where on the map, I have no idea :) Anyway, we did hear bits and pieces about how hard and dangerous it was but I kinda rolled my eyes a little. I guess I thought it was going to be just like all the other "mission trips" I've heard of, where every things planed out and kinda dull. I guess I just wanted some adventure. Boy did I get what I wanted :)
Eric Armstrong came up to Michigan the day before thanksgiving so we could drive down together.
We took off thanksgiving day at four in the morning (that means we like, totally missed all the food!). The game plan was we would be picking up more guys on the way down, but it was going to be a looong drive. In lower Michigan we made our first stop for Willy & Andy Buck, two young men that I had never met. Willy was the older of the two, 18. Andy was the younger brother and he was 16. Both were very intelligent and kept us updated with how many calories of trail mix and beef jerky we had in the van. Not that any of us could ever understand how much there really was(I normally count the stuff buy the bag. :) Eric by the way is a young guy that stayed with us for a while, really neat guy. He's 23 and is the greatest guitar player I know.
Second stop was Missouri, some where near Saint Louis. There we picked up Grady Gamble and Jason Bradshaw, two awesome guys that I was privileged to be teamed up with on the trip.
That night we stopped at about ten thirty at Grady's cousins house. It was really cool, we didn't know where we where going to spend the night so Grady called his cousin and asked if we could stay with him. He said he was out of town but told us where the keys where so we could get in the house. Thank God, we got a much needed rest. But first we argued over who got to sleep where. Everyone wanted everyone else to sleep in the good spots(see what you fight about when you go with a bunch of Christians ) Well that was one argument I lost(bummer), I got the bed. :) The next morning we packed back into the van and drove on toward our destination. All day we talked, laughed, played eucher, sang songs and slept(or tried to as we had to shut out the Bucks discussions of calories and the shouts of victory from the eucher game).
About eleven that night we made it to El Paso, Texas and headed for the Denny's restaurant to join up with the rest of the team that had drove from Colorado. I staggered in and slowly made my way with the others toward the back room. We walked in and I leaned up against the wall for support. Dead tired I looked around the room and saw all the guys that I would get to know over the rest of the trip. I remember thinking well this wasn't really the first impression I wanted to make, slouching up against the wall to tired to see straight.
After a good meal(one we thought might be our last for some time) we continued on toward the border crossing. Once in Mexico we drove to the mission station where we where to stay for the night. About 1:30 in the morning we where taken to the barracks and given beds. That's the one time in my life when I think I was asleep before I hit the pillow. :) I'm sure if we had known what we would have to go through in the next week it would have been a lot harder to fall asleep.