This week has had a different, but good, atmosphere, as this is our first week with only one group at a time. They traveled all the way from Maryland, and despite wrong turns, tornado-like wind and rain and the treacherous mountain roads of West Virginia, they made it!
They came prepared with knowledge, skill and tools to take on some pretty big projects, and that’s just what we had planned for them. Monday morning got off to a slow start with divvying up just where everyone was going to work, but after all that was sorted the groups took off in a blur of excitement.
The devotional lesson the night prior had been about seeing others around us through God’s eyes, and respecting and loving them just as they are because that’s exactly how God made them. I encouraged the group to get to know the people, and as these past few days have progressed, I have seen that happening even more than I was expecting.
I noticed relationships forming in kids club, which has been smaller than usual but the group from Our Savior Lutheran Church has taken it all in stride and has used this to their advantage. “There have been some really awesome individual connections made between the kids and my group,” said leader Natasha Bowlds when asked how she thought kids club was going. “Ya know, we may not have as long of a story or song time, but we’re playing with the kids, and spending time with them, and that’s what they’ll remember when we leave; that someone took time to care about them, and to really want to spend time with them, and that’s what we’re doing out there.”
I also got a chance to visit the work sites today, and was in awe of what I saw when I arrived at the second one. I walked up the road to the old broken down house where the group has been building a needed new porch for a small and broken family. As I got to the front yard I noticed two of the girls sitting up on the finished portion of the porch talking with and getting to know the daughter and mother in family. They were dirty, and one could tell they had not washed for days. It is also well known that the daughter is a prostitute and crack dealer. None of this held back the two high school girls from Maryland though, they all sat together playing with the dogs, talking, and sharing their lives with one another. I could see the love of God flowing out of them as these may be some of the only people this family meets, especially the younger daughter that are showing them true affection and not asking for anything in return.
Needless to say, these first few days have already been exciting and that makes me more excited for the remainder of the week! God is definitely at work here! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
Lovin’ the Lord in West Virginia,