The following is an excerpt from an e-mail I received today from a parent and one of the chaperones on my weekend trip.  (I edited out all of the stuff about how great a youth minister I am…too embarassing.)

God calls us to go into the world, just don’t become part of the world. In order to go into the world you must experience the world for what it is. Many events that are mission oriented for kids and adults tend to be somewhat filtered for those of us in the church. We don’t mind working with others as long as they abide by our rules first and accept our criteria for their involvement. The church, I believe, has done itself a great disservice over the years because of this attitude. In order to work with the world you must experience all it has to offer – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think you all did a wonderful job and I think our kids demonstrated that they do have a strong core value system that can withstand some of what the world can throw at them. I just want to say thanks for exposing my daughter to what true mission work can be like. It’s not always pretty or easy, but God never said it would be.

Wow.  That really made my day.  It provided me some perspective that I badly needed after a weekend that begs, yet defies, explanation. Thanks nameless parent.  I needed that.