It has been a great day. Friday is usually my favorite, and not because we're done with our trip, that's a little saddening. It's become the new day in which we take a few extra hours and talk about the trip in a big group (which doesn't happen during the week). We share stories, talk about what we learned, how we grew, and how we saw others grow. Here are a few stories from out students about the trip.
Well, the days didn’t always start out with delicious waffles, but how does a peanut butter pie sound? What about home-made fried chicken and bread? When you think about it the “Megantic Mountain” group site at Ida and Willie’s house didn’t seem like much of a work site. Though we did scrub mold off of three houses and built an awning on Ida’s deck, it was more of a “relational” trip than that of the hard labor.
By the end of the week we were all considered Kin to Ida and Willie. We were invited to wonderful meals every day, a clean shower, and they even said they would send us birthday cards every year. The days consistently started out with a “Why hello, Nikki baby “and I was often called her Nikki. I definitely learned that you don’t need to be family to someone to be like a family. The thought and care you can put into making someone’s life better can be way more important than the actual work. According to Nora, Youthworks gave her a life back, and according to Jack, Youthworks gave him his wife back. Every little thing can save a life. Oh, and we saw a cat get his tail shut in a van door today.
So, on our last day of the mission trip we visited Morgantown and hung out at Zak’s old church. At night we all circled up and had a long group talk. We shared our thoughts on the people we served, the people we served with, and the people who served us. The talk lasted for about two hours and we could have kept on going but we needed sleep. Troy asked us to give shout outs to members of our church for making an impact on us or others. Me and many others were given a shout outs for working so well with the other church.
At the beginning of the week many kids from our church were worried about how the other churches kids would act. On the first night many of the other kids from Wisconsin said they were surprised at how hard we wanted to work and how they didn’t want to work very hard. After the first few days we bonded very well with the kids from Wisconsin and it turns out that they are very hard workers.
Kevin, a guy in my group teamed up with me and we took care of a crazy kid at Kids club named, A.J., and his nickname was wolverine. We played zombies and school with him and did whatever he told us to do. He was always bouncing off the walls and being crazy to get attention. I started playing a drum beat and wolverine started rapping words that made no sense. Kevin sang like an Indian on top of it and we made a great rap group. It was really good to see wolverine occupied and having fun without being bad. In the end our church and the church from Wisconsin bonded very well and we made a great team.
The mission trip, though extremely relational and deep, centered around actual works projects for my group in particular. Most of the other groups explained how most of the trip revolved around building relations with the townspeople of Williamsburg and the children, and my group, the Notre Dames, certainly did this. Ali, Kendall, Mark, Jason, and members from the other church were blessed to be able to work with two wonderful elderly people, Ernest and Caroline, as well as their grandson, Mathew. As we built them a brand new deck, our relations with the other church and Ernest’s family grew deep.
The week in Mingo County was marked by the growing of friendships and the mutual blessings between the youth workers and the residents in Mingo County. All of this was discussed today when our church gathered at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Morgantown, West Virginia. We shared our joys and the progress we saw within ourselves and the people we served, which included roughly two hours of discussing the amazing things we saw changing in people and the movement of God within our lives. From this trip we will take with us the memories and the motivation of seeing God at work through friends and family and use this to continue to serve like Jesus in the future.
We really have had a great trip. It was so impactful we even made the local paper (there's a good picture of Bobby Herron and Mark Ogle building a deck)! We are thankful for all your support and can't wait to see some smiling faces tomorrow when we get home. Until then.