|Jack is far right|
Then, back in April, the 17th to be exact (and I know only because it was 3 days prior to my ACL surgery) my son's Youth Minister, Rush, contacted me and said, "so your son suggested that you would be a great addition to our leaders on our Mission Trip". Well, hmmm...Again, when your adolescent asks you to participate in something of this nature I think the only answer can ever be a resounding "YES"! I did however have some trepidation about hard labour just 8 weeks post surgery. Rush and I discussed my likely limitations, and he assured me that he'd make certain I was not on a physically intense project.
|ASP Staff: Sam, Stephen, Margie, & Chick-Chick|
The Appalachia Service Project is a Christian ministry, open to all people, that inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair in Central Appalachia. To learn more about the Washington County center, go to http://tinyurl.com/ASPWashington.
Or visit their Facebook page.
|Team Timberwolf: Aaaawoooooo!|
The changes we were working on will certainly improve the home, and thereby the homeowners lives. ASP seems to focus on improving Safety, Insulation, and Dryness, all of which are pretty crucial in a home! ASP encourages the teams to build relationships with the families when possible, and to share lunch if the families are interested.
|Sun roof leaks air and water...|
|Hammering like Thor!|
As stated above, the outward purpose of such a trip is to provide Service to the recipients. But there is far more going on under the surface. I have watched and participated in the growth of friendships among the youth and staff. I have also watched high school youth a bit anxious about using power tools become adept and gung-ho about the same tools. I have seen them use some of that math which they always said they'd never use! I witnessed teens exhausted and crabby dig deep to finish a project, and stay kind to one-another. Likely they all worked harder than their parents know they can (Jack included).
|Building the Dormer|
A typical day with ASP includes waking up at 7:00, and meeting for morning Devotionals, and announcements. This is followed by breakfast. Then the ASP staff (who were at Lowes or Berries hardware upon the doors opening) return with hardware and lumber for each group. Teams gather their gear and drive to their worksites. Work goes on all day, with a lunch break and a Devotional. At the end of the work day, we head back to "home" and turn in a new "supplies list". Showers are available. We eat dinner at 6:00, and meet as a collective group at 7:30 for EG (Evening Group) Worship, singing, and any announcements. We were lucky, in that we were sharing the Elementary school, meals, and chores with two other churches, and a family of four who came on their own. Big group = big fun! After EG's, most folks made a beeline for ice-cream back in town. Then Quite time by 10:30, Lights-out at 11:00. I had my evening meditation until 11:30, then went to sleep and started it all over the next day.
|Gravel up the hill, for the drainage ditch|
At the end of the week, I left Washington County fairly exhausted, but very happy. My knee survived, a bit swollen and sore, but still intact. I felt spiritually fed, and gratitude to have shared this adventure with my son Jack. I'm pleased to have made so many new friends. In addition I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing what it might have been like to have had daughters, as I have two wonderful sons. What a treat!
The purpose of this Mission trip is to "inspire hope and service through volunteer home repair", and yet despite the great works we did, I am confident that I got far more out of this trip than I gave, as did all of us. Jack and I are still talking excitedly about next year, and my wife plans on joining us!
More tech-talk to come!