2019 MISSION TRIP
DAY 2 MONDAY
Called to Serve
We started the day bright and early with everyone making their own breakfast then getting out the door to make it to 7:30am Mass at St. Jude church. Fr. Mike, the 6’10’’ priest, remains as pastor for the small Catholic Community in Louisa and continues to give inspiring homilies. Today’s Gospel reminded us that living out the life God calls us to is not always easy and we will probably face some opposition. He stated that there are more atheists in the world today than in any other time in history. Many try to use science to explain away all of the glorious things God created and does on our planet. But we know different. We are called to hang in there and do as God wants us to do – SERVE. In all acts of service we are actually serving Christ, even the least little thing, like giving a little drink of water.
After mingling outside of church with our friends from Immaculate Conception parish in PA, we headed over to the Point of Hope Center of the mission. Thanks to the generosity of many, we were able to give the mission center and envelope filled with over $2250 worth of Wal-Mart gift cards for their work with local children. We then received our orientation to the area and the mission. Cindy, the director, started us off with an introduction/ice breaker. We were asked to share what we might become the patron saint of. Our group included future patron saints of sarcasm, cleaning, joining forces, high energy, sports commentating, perseverance and joy. After those light hearted descriptions we moved on to the important stuff. She shared that although many of the residents live in what we would consider poverty, they are very generous with what they do have – love, caring and conversation. Their connection to family is very strong and often several generations of the family will live in the same home or on the same property. They say that they live in the same “holler” and watch out for each other. However, she stated that the most prevalent love here is God’s love.
The theme of this year’s mission season is God’s Love. That love inspires us to put our professed faith into action. Fr. Beiting used to always ask, “Have you asked God what He wants you to do with your life?” Cindy stated that we can and do derive joy from saying “yes” to God’s call. We all hope that this week will be filled with joy as we live out our “yes” to this mission call.
By 10am we were all heading out to our job sites. Dan, Mark, Michelle and Cameron went to Miss Doris’ home to work on the covered porch of her home. Miss Doris is an elderly woman who has multiple generations of family living with her. The youngest member of her family is her great-granddaughter, Jacquelyn, who is 6 years old and lives on the far end of the family property. Miss Doris was in a state of grief, as she just found out that her younger sister had passed away. Our team was sympathetic and tried to be supportive of her during this difficult time.
When the team assessed the porch situation, they found that both the floor and skirting boards of the porch were damaged by carpenter ants, as were the support columns and the foundation was crumbled. They needed to strategize how to take care of these problems without the roof caving in on them. They finally decided that they needed temporary columns to hold up the roof while they tore down the old porch to rebuild all of the support structure. They completed about ¾ of the job done and will complete it tomorrow.
The rest of the team – Rocky, David, Ashley, Sheryl, Joe S., Joe C., Rob and Renee’ – went to Ann’s home to work on replacing doors and windows. We also have a seminarian intern, John, working with us. Ann has only one arm, having lost the other one in an accident. She also has children and a grandchild, two year old Noah, living with her. We have fun interacting with Noah as he frequently pretended to change into the Hulk or Spiderman. He is the light of Ann’s life!
Although we had to use different sizes of windows and doors to replace the existing ones, Ann was very happy to get it done. She stated the door was so bad that in the winter, sometimes snow would blow in under the doors. The windows were also so inefficient to keep the heat in, her heat bills were sometimes over $500 per month. This makes it very difficult to purchase other needed items, such as food. We were able to get the door and the bay window replaced and the dead space filled in with one layer of wood. Tomorrow we will insulate and complete the fill in and perhaps start on another window.
We are very blessed. Much laughter is shared by our team as we live and work together, trying to do God’s will. Dinner was hot dogs and hamburgers with strawberry shortcake for dessert (thank you Nancy for the pound cake, it was delicious). The day was ended with evening prayer and a discussion on how we could keep God first in our lives. Daily prayer, Mass and encouragement from each other help us to do this. Please know that we are feeling the grace of your prayers and we are praying for you.
Your Mission Team