jueves, 10 de septiembre de 2009

New Thoughts

Today I learned that Lincoln County is reopening next summer. Makes me wonder...maybe I will go back?

jueves, 13 de agosto de 2009

And now...

Today, I got Thursday night pickin' music chords in the mail from Michael Midkiff. I was very excited. I haven't tried playing yet, partially because I'm really tired still and don't think I can focus on it. Got a new car battery today, so now when my friends around here are done being busy, I can go see them! For now, sitting on my bed will do just fine. Made a great smoothie yesterday. Good way to start the morning. Balance the craziness that is this place with some joy! Plenty of joy, and praise God for that. I'm really not sure I've ever missed people so much as I miss my WV team and my kids. Usually I don't miss people much at all. It's crazy how God will mess up your heart in such a short time. I'm excited, though. I feel like I can draw closer to Him now.

martes, 11 de agosto de 2009

Soggy Hamburgers

Through frustrations and lots of hugs from my kids, we finished our last week of programming in Lincoln County. Let me paint you a picture of beauty now. It's the last community cookout, and dark rain clouds are rolling in. We aren't sure what to do as community members start showing up. It pours once, but we don't call off. It doesn't look promising, but the community members stay and we set out the food. As Sarge referenced, we know that that community felt the love of God from YouthWorks! to stand out in the rain eating wet food with us. Those pictures of sopping wet kids and that soggy cheeseburger I ate was my favorite all summer. There we were, playing, eating, and just being together in the rain. That's the love of God lived out in community. I may not understand it, but I know it was there all summer long.
I'm back in Michigan now, after a long, tired drive from Philly. However ridiculous I may feel about it, I already miss my three favorite YW friends and those country mountain roads where we found a home.

sábado, 25 de julio de 2009

Sitting on a porch in a hollow with Duane, guns, and cameras

I got three new siblings at kids club a week ago. I love them! At the community cookout this week I went out back to the playground where Amilia asked me to lift her up to something on the playground. I decided we should try to sneak up on the teen mission trippers who were sitting at a gazebo, so with her in my arms we snuck over, but they spotted us. I asked her what we should do, and we ran away to hide on the playground. She giggled with glee as we ran off. Then we tried a couple more times. One last time, she asked her sister if she wanted to come. The three of us quietly made our way over, but alas, we were spotted! The sound of their laughter as we ran away is one of the most beautiful things of my summer.
Friday night after grocery shopping the weather was fine for a run, but I wasn't feeling compelled. I felt like playing some basketball instead, so John, Haley and I shot around for a while. I'm no good when I laugh, because what skill I have drops a couple levels. John is twice my size and intimidates me enough that I don't want to stand in his way when he's running to the basket, and Haley made me laugh so much I could hardly move. At one point, John said "argh" after missing a basket, and Haley decided he was Irish. That quickly became pirate talk which ended with Haley and I speaking in British accents. She decided that a good guarding technique would be to stick at her arms like in the Father Abraham song while saying "father Abraham, father Abraham" in her accent. To top it off, every time John came near one of us, she would shout "Giant." Needless to say, I may have gotten more of an ab workout laughing than anything else.
For a Saturday off, we went to Duane's house, where we go every Tuesday for a hike up the mountain with our youth participants. He, his brother, and his mother have pretty much adopted us as family from day one. We were there to fulfill a goal - Haley, our program staffer, wanted to shoot a rifle from the hip. And that we did. She almost dropped it when it kicked back, but caught it by the barrel. I evidently have some innate skill with cocking a gun, however, when it came to shooting it, I just looked like I was hoping it would go well when it kicked back on me, but held on to the butt. Then we moved on to the pistol. Haley hit the target first try. It was impressive. I aimed over the target, but it was the right direction... after the guys went, we had a photo shoot wearing the pistol holster and holding the shot gun. It was kinda loose on me, so I looked pretty hard core. For awhile after that, we all just sat on the porch talking while a little storm rolled in. It was good.

martes, 21 de julio de 2009

Mission: Be Saturated and Get Others Soaked

As kids spilled out of the van, a small eleven year old boy walked out and over to me. Lindsey and Sam greeted e with hugs, while his greeting was "Hey butthead." I reached out my arms to DJ and he came in for the hug. "You know you love me," I reminded him. "You're right," and he walked away.
I went to M & R for my one-on-one with John last week. Soon after ordering a drink, six year old Lauren walked in and, smiling, slid into the spot next to me in the booth, laying herself in my arms.
That is why I am here. God is using me to take His love and drench the hearts of kids who think being strong means having a calloused heart and showing them it's ok to feel. I am here to be the hands and feet of Jesus to children who know and trust that I am around simply because I love and care about them.

sábado, 4 de julio de 2009

A Long Short Week Followed by a Long Weekend : D

It's been a long, tiring week, even though we sent families off a day earlier than we do youth participants.  You should know though, my team is great.  They sent me to bed as soon as we got done with our nightly meeting every night.  The last night with the families I stayed up - I figured it'd be a good night to socialize when I didn't have Kids Club to run the next day.  We worked all afternoon to get things ready for next week, then went to Miss Laudie's for dinner, Bible study and 'pickin' time.  It was good, but things are better when you're not zoned out because you're tired.  The whole team was dragging, but we got up bright and early to leave for Charleston at 6:15 to get groceries.  That way we could beat the 4th of July crowds and get back for our weekend off.  We took a long nap after, went for our weekly lunch at M&R where Haley and I discovered delicious milkshake flavors - butter pecan and blackberry chocolate.  We did our own thing for awhile, then Mark and I started writing a scary movie that we hope to tape at the West Virginia crews' area retreat next weekend.   I cooked some dinner, then we decided we wanted to make some kind of video...we chose a music video to Queen's "I want to ride my bicycle."  I almost cried laughing when it was all fixed up.  While Mark edited the video, the other three of us tie dyed our white work shirts.  
Today, a dog chased me, nipping at my feet while I ran until a neighbor in her car yelled at it.  I won't be running down that road again...if I remember which one it is.  We watched the parade go past our home while sitting in the truck bed eating breakfast.  Bingo is happening this afternoon instead of tonight to give people a chance to do fireworks and stuff.  The volunteer firefighters had a potluck lunch they invited us to before bingo started.  It was tasty.  They had a drawing for a couple folding chairs, and of all the people who had a ticket, I won.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it when we leave, but for now, it makes a lovely seat while I type.  It's a bit better than the floor with a chunk of carpet roll on it.  By the way, we don't have to use internet in the closet anymore.  Joe, one of the volunteer firefighters, our main man in this building, hooked up the internet to our sleeping room.  Tonight we're going to the Charleston Youthworks site to have a cookout with our buddies there, then to watch the fireworks over the river.  
I'd like to end with my site director's theory on fireflies.  He and his friend came up with this while porch sitting in Kansas.  The theory is that a firefly's entire purpose is to create a masterpiece of light throughout it's life.  We can only see one flash at a time, but God doesn't exist within time.  So, to Him, each firefly creates this ongoing piece of art that is all connected and more beautiful than we can know.  

miércoles, 1 de julio de 2009

Our Favorite Pasttime

   So, our team's new favorite pasttime seems to be going to cemetaries.  I had my one-on-one there yesterday, two of our staff took their break there, and last night we took a hike up to the cemetary by a community member's house with our groups that are here this week.  So far, I've found the oldest year born - 1807, John has the longest life lived at 98, and Kelly has the most unique names which I don't remember right now.  There's a great view from the cemetary down the road.  There are houses and mountains all around.  A lot of cemetaries are on hills because they're closer to the heavens and when people farm around here they plow the flat ground.  
   This week started out rough in my eyes.  Sunday was swell, the families came in and all was fine.  Monday's Kids Club was tough with only a few adults/high schoolers helping to run it, no male leadership, and some of the volunteers being the same age as my kids.  However, my team thought I did amazing, so I'm chugging along and laying it all in  God's hands.  Yesterday was better.  I was repeatedly reading Joshua 1:9 and 2 Tim. 1:7 in the morning.  There's a woman here who is a retired social worker, and we've had a couple good conversations.  I really like her.  I also found that one of my Kids Club helpers really likes to make up new words to the boogaloo song, so we've been having fun with that.  
My team is great. 
Until later...

sábado, 27 de junio de 2009

A Rested Heart in a Cemetary

This week went really well.  There were definitely some bumps, but God worked in this place.  Kids Club grew from 14 to 27 in four days.  Those kids were loved, and their hearts broke to see their youth leaders leave for home.  I'm excited to stay here and keep loving them all summer, and see new groups come in and share God's love with them.  I connected with a couple of youth who were really impacted this week.  A lot of them were, but it was sweet (the kinda sweet like the Bible refers to when it compares God's word to honey) to hear their stories and where they are at with God, whether it's "I'm angry" or "I'm still going strong even though this is going on."  
In my one-on-one with my site director this week, he asked what I'd want to do on my day off.  One thing I told him is that I like to go to parks, but there aren't any in Hamlin.  Little did I know when our short trip to a fruit stand that wasn't up today became a long drive that I was losing interest in, that our stop at a cemetary (the two I was with like to look at the dif. stones, names and stuff) would be just the answer to my desire.  I sat under a tree on the top of a hill and read about how we've lost our wonder for God's creations.  It was the perfect place to be, to listen to and feel the wind, be shaded by a tree and see the mountains around me.  

martes, 23 de junio de 2009

Day 2!

Hey all!  First, thanks to all who have sent mail or prayers.  They brighten my days.  We have our first group in Hamlin.  It's gone well.  Kids Club was great yesterday.   I'm a little tired, but the youth running KC are doing a great job, and the adults are super helpful.  What a blessing to have this job!  They've told my site director that I'm doing well, so that's cool, but it also makes me feel a little bit like a have a good first impression to live up to!  It's all right, it's God shining through anyway.  Time to go.  Blessings.

sábado, 20 de junio de 2009

Closets and gumbo

So, I'm standing in a closet.  That's where the internet hook up is...it's kind of the furnace/stuff room.  Just picture a few cobwebs, one lightbulb, wires and gizmos everywhere.  Last Saturday was a birthday celebration for John and I.  We went to Charleston, went down to the river, had dinner with two other WV crews.   We wore sombreros at the restaurant and our teams made us a cake.  It was a good day.  This week...cleaning, prep work, going door to door to recruit kids from the community to come to Kids Club, getting tested for TB because I'm the lead volunteer for the nursing home (I don't have it), finally opening up a bit more to my team...which is a struggle sometimes.  It is a goal of mine tho, I wrote it on a notecard before we left training.  Don't let there be walls.  I hide behind those sometimes.  Surprise.  Mm...birthday, went out to ice cream after dinner, my team got me presents.  I wasn't expecting that...I've known them three weeks and we celebrated on Saturday!  They're a blessing tho.  We have a pretty solid team.  We made a video about our guidelines for the week to show the youth groups.  Every scene has Mark or Haley doing something wrong, then I come out and tackle them in all my beastly strength and wonder.  They wanted to put a nickname in the credits for me, and decided on Duchess.  Where that came from, I don't know.   Wasn't a fan, but it's growing on me after this train of thought - Thursday I did dishes for at least five hours, mind you, I had to heat water on the stove constantly because we don't have hot tap water.  Towards the end of this, I was feeling a lot like Cinderalla...who marries a prince, becomes queen, which is kinda like a Duchess.  So, hopefully I will learn to accept this - the kids are probably going to call me that once they see it on the video.  Why not Sherlock or Treehugger I say?  Geez.  Anyhoo, Thursday night, went to dinner at Miss Laudie's.  Homemade chicken and dumplings and then a Bible study with about 12 other people from her church.  Then there's 'pickin' where we play bluegrass, folk songs and hymns til whenever.  Those folks stay up late!  Friday afternoon my team went to a local restaurant.  Those people are real friendly!  I asked what was in the chicken gumbo soup...and got the answer three times:  gumbo.  Our waitress was tickled.  I didn't think it was that funny, but I laughed at how hilarious she thought it was. Lately I've felt like I'm more admiring what Jesus calls us to do than Jesus himself, but this morning, I was thinking about it.  Jesus calls us to do what he calls us to do because of who he is, his character, and admiring that seems like it just might be admiring the One who would have us live that life.  So.  That's my life soup, coming from a disorganized closet!

viernes, 12 de junio de 2009

One for the kingdom

So, end of week one. It was great. I'm tired, but not as much as I expected. Kids Club was intense. Logan is kind of inner city WV, but it's kind of just the WV culture. The kids are fighters...with their words, with their trust, and sometimes physically. They settled down a bit as the week went on, and they'll soften as the summer goes. Monday two of them had a sing off with gospel music. I liked that. Morgan was my favorite. He is eight, small, and kinda stand offish at first. He had the greatest expressions. The youth participants really stepped out of their comfort zones. We wouldn't have known that they were doing anything out of the ordinary if it hadn't been for the adult leaders telling us. They were stretched, and they did great. Youth were loved, they served, they saw God in new ways. I didn't get to be as involved as I'd like in hearing about how this week changed them, but their leaders can see, and they're the ones who will help them press on when they go home! Time to load some paint...peace.

sábado, 6 de junio de 2009

City on a hill

Hey so, I'm in a new town for this week where we have three work crews combined to do a real trial run. Oxymoron, yes. Let me describe. We stay at a church halfway up a mountain with the rooftops of the town buildings and houses coming up to about the base of our buildings. The town is in a valley surrounded by mountains covered in green trees. Yeah, it's awesome. We have youth groups coming in for our first week tomorrow.
Thursday my crew went to a community member's house to have dinner, join her church bible study, and then jammed out to some blue grass with them. Someone let me borrow a guitar and helped me figure out the beat while we had a couple other guitars, a banjo, some singers, and a bass. It was so much fun! Also...there was a battle that Mark and I fought in one of our meeting rooms...a battle against mold. Try a face mask and a good pep talk from my site director, and we took it on! It's looking better. Other people are waiting for the computer...peace and feel free to pray for us and the community/youth groups that are coming. I really like this community!

miércoles, 3 de junio de 2009


So, after a stranger slept at my house and we were driven to a gas station by my parents, playing guitar in said parking lot before parting with it at 5:30 a.m. while I waited for a man I had met once to pick us up for a nine hour drive, we arrived near Philly, PA. Four bedrooms, lots of hours of training, a Little Sally Walker, two bathrooms, seventy people, and some Rocky steps later, I found myself rolling out again with four people I had met just days before. On we drove with the other West Virginia crews until we had to part ways and go on to Hamlin ourselves. Welcomed by a rain storm, a leaky roof, some unappealing bathrooms, kind people and an introduction at church and we were on our way to making ourselves at home in this community. Some clogging, some phone calls, driving a truck on hilly, rainy, windy roads, sneaking a surprise into the girl's room for our area director, meeting people in the community and here I am. Now I must go. But, my address is P.O. box 612 / Hamlin, WV 25223.