Saturday, October 20, 2012

Teen Mania Global Expeditions: The Ultimate Letdown

I was just thinking about it, and I have to say, my Teen Mania missions trip was one of the most disappointing and damaging events in my life.  I have never worked so hard to get something, and then been so let down...EVER.

I spent almost two grand on my Global Expedition.  That was money that my parents didn't have, and I had to work very hard to raise it.  It took almost a year of saving every penny, selling candy bars, begging everyone at my church for money, giving up my personal belongings for garage sales, etc., to be able to go on this trip.  It really was a once in a lifetime experience as far as I was concerned.

Then I got to Venezuela, and the truth of the situation turned out to be very different than what I was sold by Teen Mania when I signed up for the missions trip.  You can read my whole story here, but I can honestly say that what happened on that trip has haunted me well into my adult life (I can't believe I just turned 30 :-/).

The other day I was talking with my doctor during a routine visit, and she had to fill out a form for the insurance company listing all of my different diagnoses for various medical conditions.  I was surprised to see "PTSD" listed--that's post-traumatic stress disorder.  I asked her was that was about, and she said it was because of all the panic attacks and mood episodes I have related to Teen Mania.  I have nightmares about my missions trip to this day.  I can hear certain songs or see certain things that put me right back in that place I was at when I was 16 years old.

In hindsight, going on a Teen Mania Global Expedition was one of the worst decisions I have ever made.  If I had it to do all over again, I definitely would have spent the time, effort, and money on something else...perhaps a missions trip with my local church, or something entirely different.

What do you think?  Years (or even months) later, do you think going on your Teen Mania Ministries missions trip was a good decision?