138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Dear Friends and Family,
Today was our first official work day, and all the crews were full of anticipation. After breakfast and morning devotion, the crews headed out to their respective work sites. My crew of nine first went to meet Frankie, a man who needed help moving personal items to a storage unit. His home was devastated by hurricane Sandy, but he still remained very grateful for all that he still had. We talked with him for a long time and throughout our conversations he stressed that physical items do not matter as much as health. He constantly thanked us as we worked and he continuously told us how much our help meant to him. It is very evident of how God is working in his life and it was very inspiring to us all to see how happy is even though he had so much taken away from him.
We met Dennis and Nancy at our second work site. Like with Frankie, Dennis and Nancy were very grateful, and worked so hard to recover from hurricane Sandy. At their house, some of us painted a fence and stairs and the rest of us put up drywall. At the end of our time there Dennis gave us a tour of his house. As we went around, Dennis would point out specific spots and tell us the story behind them. One of the items was giant wooden compass that he had custom built. He explained that this piece was important to him because at any time he can stand on the compass and it will ground him. It reminds him that God is the True North, and with Him he will always be centered.
We are all excited to return to these sites to continue our work and continue to develop relationships with the community. Although it is only day one, we can already see God working in everyone’s hearts.
Family and Friends back home,
Today, Monday July 10 2017, we had our first workday on the site that God placed us each specifically for His reason. After waking up at 7 AM and having to be at breakfast by 7:15 AM, we all woke up in excitement for what God had planned for us on our site. As this being my second mission trip and having an amazing, life-changing experience from my last mission trip to Lorraine, Ohio I was excited to see what our Lord had planned for not only me, but the rest of the students that God has put on this trip with me. I am part of Crew 5 and there are 9 people in our group along with our Next Step leader Hannah. Already today our group has seen God work in our lives and the community of Long Island. Hannah told us we would be on a site without a family or person that we would be working for. This automatically put a fear in my heart because I had such a strong connection with the people I worked for on my last mission trip. But, today I completely felt God take away that fear and absolutely prove me wrong and it turned out to be a great day and amazingly showed me how God can work in amazing ways. We are working parsonage house, where actually us girls are staying, but we are working on the future pastors house for a local church that for now does not have a pastor.
After finding out we were going to have the opportunity to demolish a kitchen, and paint in a moldy basement, we were actually excited for what God had planned for us. So, we started out by demolishing the kitchen and carrying piece by piece out to a huge trash bin that was outside of the house. As we worked as a team to demolish the kitchen, it got even better. Me, along with three other we got to completely destroy large cabinets by hitting them for sledgehammers. Luckily we actually finished up the kitchen fast and we got have lunch early. After having lunch we had our devos. Devo time for my crew was such an awesome experience. I along with others got to share out testimony. Sharing my testimony was always hard for me because I’m a crier but my crew made me feel absolutely comfortable and as I cried and told my testimony they comforted me and thanked me and said how they liked hearing my testimony. Along with my love for hearing about others testimony, it was such a God moment for me to see how he took my fear away for not having a family, but actually making my crew my family. It was amazing getting close to my crew already on the first day. After lunch and devos we got the opportunity to paint in a moldy basement and boy oh boy was it hot but we accomplished it and it was so awesome painting and jamming to some good Christian hits and praising Jesus together. I had an opportunity along with Liv to talk to the Next Step leader Hannah about how God brought her here and how he is working in her life. It was also awesome because I had the opportunity to open up to her as well. After cleaning up we headed to worship and church time.
During church time and worship I could just feel my savior in my heart and right by side. We sang the song, “King of My Heart” and one of the lines go “He is never going to never let me down” I believe today, that he showed me that he will never let me down by taking me fear away since I’m not physically with people I’m working for but made me closer to my crew and used my crew to draw me closer to my Savior.
I’m so excited to see what else God has planned for the rest of the week and the amazing works he will be doing. He is great. Ephesians 2:10
Dear loved ones back home,
Today, group 2 and I were all at Bethany Church where we met a gentleman named David. We learned so much about the community and also about him and how he is working as the hands and feet of God in this area. He told us about how Long Island is more than just an average community but instead a family with long extensive roots. We began asking questions and one of them was the more obvious one, why do these families affected so hard by the weather keep coming back? At this point David looked at all of and simply said, “ This is their home “. This statement came with a lot of answers to me even though it was in four words. I was able to understand and could relate. These families, being multi generational, don’t know anywhere better. The families planted their roots in the neighborhood with the children doing the same, hoping that their children will also carry on that tradition after them. Our number one goal in life is to find a place where we are comfortable and we feel loved, but in Long Island this is that place for them. This being said, it’s more than just an ordinary house or it’s more than just a city to live in. It is everything they have ever known. For me it’s crazy to think that an area could mean so much to so many people but it’s simply because I’ve never experienced it first hand, which is why this trip is so special to me. After this long conversation we finally got to work by helping paint the church until around noon when we stopped for lunch. At this time we did our lunch devo’s where we were all able to share a little bit of our testimonies with the group. I began to explain how God has shown me his grace throughout my life and how I came to meet him at this past fall retreat. Soon after, we went around the circle telling each person what our favorite this about them was, strengthening our relationships with each other even more. Once we finished with that, it was obvious to me the affect it had on everyone. We were all more comfortable with each other and started having a lot more fun because of that. We were all messing around with each other and it even got to the point where I eventually came home with a painted on “playoff beard”. In conclusion, I can’t wait to see what else God has to offer to the church and also to me on this trip.