Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mission Trip

Another land mark event for Chesapeake City! On Saturday, July 15, our work team came back from our charge's first mission trip. We went down to Leslie County, Kentucky, and worked on a home through Appalachia Service Project.

It was a great experience, and we had a great team. In fact, the center staff (four college students who run the Leslie County ASP Center all summer long) said that our group was the best they'd had all summer. What a great compliment to our churches and our awesome youth!

While we were at ASP, we interacted with other youth groups, did chores around the center, and (most importantly) worked on a house. We were working for a wonderful lady named Geraldine, whose monthly income wouldn't even pay my rent. While we were replacing the bathroom floor and installing siding among other things, we spent a lot of time talking to her and learning about her life. We also met some of her sons, and one of her grandsons (he became a favorite of ours). We learned that Miss Geraldine had been living on $250 a month for about 2 years, and that one of her sons died in an accident on the other side of the mountain last year. We also learned that her sister-in-law is a doctor in the community, and that she would love to see the ocean (we invited her to visit us).

We saw from talking to the family how much poverty there is in that region. Most peoples' homes are put together from whatever they can find, and in whatever fashion they can manage. Because of this, many of the home fall apart and often people cannot afford to repair them. But we were also amazed at the connection people have to their community there. Family and neighbors are very important to these people.

For me, the biggest blessing was getting to the know the youth better, and seeing how they reacted to the experience. For a shy person like me, it takes one on one time like this to really start learning about people, and I am totally in agreement with the center staff, that Christina, Marta and Frank are amazing. I am also incredibly thankful for having Deb and Terry to guide us through this experience. I still can't really drive a screw very well, but I can hammer as long as the nails are in the floor and not above my head.

God is truly doing awesoeme things in our community. :-)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

On Being Expendable

Pastor Amy blogged about Sabbath the other day, and this is something that I've been talking and thinking about lately. I have been talking with friends who are also in ministry. This guy at Camp, Brian, is a music minister, and when we were talking about Sabbath, he said that his mentor told him that sabbath is about reminding ourselves that God doesn't need us. I really like this because, on my days off, I often spend so much time thinking about work, and feeling guilty when I'm not working. At Camp, I feel guilty when I take naps during the day, even though I have meetings or Bible studies every night until 10:30 or 11:30, and usually spend time talking to staff members before and after. And I have breakfast at 7:30. And it takes me about an hour to wind down once I get back to my cabin. So, I have been reminding myself that I need sabbath emotionally, physically and spiritually. I've been telling this theory of being expendable to other friends who are in ministry, and I hope it has been helpful.

That said, I just finished a week of Camp that wasn't at all restful, although it was good. I went straight from Camp to my brother's All-Star game in Rising Sun, and left there around 9. I still had to stop at Walmart, and make photocopies at church. And then I got home around 11:30 and started packing. I'm pretty tired, and still a little wound up. I'm so nervous about this mission trip I'm taking, and I'm so afraid I've forgotten something important. When I talked to Amy on the phone yesterday, she said, "Well hopefully God will work things out if you did [forget something important]." Oh right. God. God doesn't need me to remember everything. I mean, it would be good if I did, but thank goodness the success of this mission trip, and my ministry in general doesn't rely on my memory and logistical skills.

Please pray for me. I know I'm going to have an awesome time once I get there. I'm going to keep reminding myself that God has invited me to come on this trip, but if I wasn't going, the work would still get done.