Appalachia: Just Because It’s Different - My Family Travels

Appalachia? Appalachia Kentucky? You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t imagine anybody in their right mind spending their entire Thanksgiving break there. I mean…it’s just mountains and shacks and really poor people right? Wait- WHAT? It’s a missions trip? See, I knew it wasn’t the trip for me. I can’t go to the middle of nowhere without you guys. Besides, don’t I need training for that or something? I’ve only just turned sixteen and couldn’t possibly be ready. Well if you’re going to make me I guess I’ll go. But I won’t like it. I just don’t see why you couldn’t send me to Hawaii or the Caribbean. I’m sure I’d like that way more. I know, I know. This isn’t about me.


Bye mom and Dad! I hope you miss me. I’ll see you in a week! Okay okay…enough hugs. You’re embarrassing me. I hope I get a window seat on the plane next to Miss Shevlin. She’s really the only teacher who gets me. Otherwise I don’t know if I can make the four hour plane ride.

Whew! Just landed. We’re in Knoxville? Wait, my phone says it’s over a four hour drive to the middle of nowhere where we will be staying! My parents hate me! Oh great….and now it’s pouring? This is some type of sick joke. Our suitcases will be soaked. Do they not believe in covered trucks here?

There’s the old school! Big Creek Missions….well…this place doesn’t look so bad. I mean, minus sharing a bathroom and a bedroom with 30 other girls. What’s that? Oh yea Miss Shevlin put me on your team. I’ve got my working clothes on. Let’s just go paint this house and get it over with. The quicker the better. Shotgun!

Wow…this house is small. How can anyone be happy like this? At least the job will take less time. I call painting from the ladder! Wait, this isn’t so bad. It’s actually kind of fun. Saundra? Hi I’m Rachel Zumbek. Do you want to help us paint your house? Will you tell us about yourself?

I’ve never been so tired in my whole life…but that was so much fun! I painted a house with new friends and jumped in a pile of leaves! I didn’t know working could be so much fun. I guess it really is what you make it.

I never would have realized how much better giving feels than receiving. I experienced life through another woman’s eyes as she invited me into her Kentucky world. Against all odds there I was squaredancing with a complete and total stranger! Maybe my parents don’t hate me…they just wanted me to see past my own little world.

I think I finally get the missions motto “It’s about the people and not the project.” Saundra was so happy with so little. Just because she has a different life than mine, that doesn’t make her way of living bad. I saw more joy inside of her than I’ve seen in any of my friends in a long time actually. How could she not be happy…she is living in beautiful Appalachia, Kentucky! I can’t wait to go back and keep painting Saundra’s house with her tomorrow.

Big Creek Missions

My High School’s Missions Program

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.