What a week we had. The early nervousness
and anxiety quickly turned to excitement once we arrived at the Jonesville Center.
We shared the center with an adult group from a Methodist Church in
Alabama that were a pleasure to be with. They were very
spiritual and musical. They prayed, played and entertained us all week.
We all got our assignments and learned what our jobs would
be and the family make up. We were going to build a handicap
ramp for an 81year old gentleman, and a gentle man he was.
He had a lot of physical challenges but a great attitude.
We were the 4th crew that was coming to his house to continue projects to keep him safer, drier and warmer. We were paired with Crew 2
who was doing interior work on his house.
This was an added treat that we had 14 of us together on the project.
And with frequent visits from John and Pedro Barata we were actually a crew of 17.
The house had a lot of work completed but still needed a lot more.
The ramp would give Don a chance to get off his front porch
which he hadn't done for 2 years since he couldn't navigate the
We (Jake, Chris, Aidan, Spencer, Cam, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Valente)
couldn't wait to get started and under the expert and patient
direction of Mr. Gibson we were determined to get it finished
and see Don wheel down the ramp.
It was hot and the work was hard but the kids were fired up and never
complained once. They fully understood what they were there for and
did a great job. Don had a dog, Buddy, and everyone
njoyed playing with him as well.
The kids were so endearing to Don and really enjoyed
talking to him. He enjoyed the company and the audience
and shared lots of stories about his life.
The next door neighbors came over every day since there isn't
much to do around there. They we're an 11 year old boy, Curtis,
and a three year old girl, Charlie, and their parents Jeff and Susie.
They checked in on Don everyday and Curtis brought him his mail e
veryday and filled his bird feeders. Don loves his birds and watches them for hours. We have all learned a lesson to appreciate the simple things in life as the people of Appalachia do because that is all they have.
We finished the deck and Don decided to join us at the picnic
that evening. We all went to pick him up and watch him come
down the ramp in his wheelchair for the first time.
The kids were so excited it was great to see the joy in their faces.
It truly was a God moment for all of us and the highlight of the week.
It was difficult the following day to say goodbye to Don
and the Reese family. That is the tough part of the journey
when it ends and you realize you will probably never see these
people again and they have have a huge impact on our lives in a week.
We all felt that we have received much more than we gave.
There were many great moments together as a group listening
to the Blue Grass band, going for ice cream, singing songs of worship
in the morning and evening,playing charades and just
enjoying each others company on the deck.
We had nightly sharing sessions that were very powerful.
Everyone reflected on the thoughts for the day and how they
were feeling about their journey. It was great to hear people
open up and express their feelings. A lot of people struggled with the
poverty people live in while we are blessed with so much.
We realize we can't save the world but I think a lot of us will make small changes in people's lives moving forward.
Tomorrow we will be heading home and looking forward to spending
time with our families and sharing stories of our journey.
We have truly blessed to take part in this service project.
God is good.