One of the main work projects that we have been doing here in Pikeville, Kentucky is building wheelchair ramps for people who are elderly and disabled. When our last group was here they installed three different ramps throughout the week, (on top of a few other work projects).
One of the women who we installed a ramp for was Miss Linda Cochran. She is not in a wheelchair yet, but she does anticipate to be put into one in the near future. She has only been outside of her house two times in the past six months because she needed so much help getting down the stairs and out to the car. Our group didn’t actually finish her ramp because a thunderstorm blew up on their last day of work, so Nathan, Steph, and I decided to go and finish it for her on Friday evening.
The only work that needed to be done on the ramp was putting on the handrails, so Nathan and Linda’s son, Seth, worked on that while Steph and I just chatted with Linda. She was such a sweet lady, and she was so grateful for this ramp. She already had three dates all planned since she could finally get out of her house and down to the car. Both of her sons were going to take her out to do something fun, and her sister was going to take her out to dinner at a restaurant.
Watching her walk down that ramp all by herself, (even without her walker), brought me so much joy, and I knew that there was absolutely no other place on earth that I would want to be at that moment. It really made me understand the concept of being more blessed to give then to receive. The pure delight that I could see on her face brought me more happiness than I could have ever experienced had I been receiving something. Also, it was so awesome to be able to share the love of Jesus with her by doing such a practical thing. All it took was some two by fours and a drill, and we were being the hands of Jesus to Linda. This moment is one that I will remember for a long time, and I look forward to many more like it here in Kentucky!
Note: Check out all the exciting things that are going on with Experience Mission on our website www.ExperienceMission.org
Outreach in Pike County, Kentucky looks a little different than it does in some of the other Experience Mission communities. There is a very high population of shut-ins here who are mainly elderly, disabled, or many times both. Since there is such a high number of these folks, our main outreach opportunity is to go and visit with them. Most of them are pretty lonely, so they really enjoy just sitting and visiting for a little while with us “young folk”.
Miss Myrtle Bartley is a prime example of one of our outreach visits. She is 100 years old (but she told us not to tell anyone or she might not get a boyfriend), and she loves to just sit and chat with us. When our last group was here, I took out four girls to visit with her. While we were there she asked all kinds of questions. One of these was if any of us had boyfriends or husbands. We all told her no, we were too young for that! She proceeded to say that she thought we would all make great “hillbilly wives” and she would work on finding us some husbands! Then she told me that she’d try to find me an old man with a Cadillac and a lot of money to marry who was about to “slip on a banana peel right into the grave”. According to her, that’s how people do it nowadays! Obviously we all got quite a laugh out of that, and I’m pretty sure that she really enjoyed seeing us all get a kick out of it! Miss Myrtle is such a great lady, and I’m so glad that I have the privilege of bringing other people out to meet her and hear her stories!