2019 Mission Trip: Louisa, Kentucky Day 3



Are you a woe or an alas person?

            After a big storm last night, we awoke to another hot, but beautiful morning in Louisa. Our deck has a glorious view of the mountains with lots of greenery. Clouds hang low blurring the tops of the peaks. The temperatures have been in the 90’s and it is very humid. We have been very careful to stay hydrated and protect ourselves from the sun. After a long day of work we are very grateful for showers and a cool home to stay in.

            Again this morning we attended 7:30am Mass at St. Jude’s. In today’s Gospel Jesus chastised the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida for living sinful lives. He loved them as He loves us and wanted them to repent from evil and follow God’s ways. It would seem that Jesus was mad that the people were not paying attention to His message supported by His mighty deeds. Fr. Mike talked about the difference between the words ‘woe’ and the word ‘alas’. Woe means that something bad will fall upon a person. Alas is more of a remembrance or a sorrow. We were asked if we are woe or alas people. In other words, are we judgmental or sorrowful when it seems that people are turning away from God? That is a pretty intense question. Are we ready to condemn, or are we sad, but hopeful, encouraging repentance? In reality, isn’t it only God’s place to judge us? Therefore, we are called to teach, forgive and encourage.

            Our larger group went back to Miss Ann’s house today. The door was finished, insulating and trim work was done and two more windows were changed out. We were able to change out one window with the same size new one, but the other was replaced with a smaller one requiring a lot of boxing in and trim work. Later this week we will continue to try to make her home more energy efficient and decrease her heating bills.

            We had more opportunity to talk with Miss Ann today. She is such a peaceful and good natured woman. She has adapted to the loss of her arm so well that we thought that the accident must have happened many years ago. She told us that it only happened about four years ago. She was close to home on a mountain road and lost control of the car and it flipped. Her arm has been amputated about half way between the shoulder and the elbow. She said she thought she was going to die at the time, but during her six month recovery from the accident she realized that she was going to live and had younger children at home to take care of. A determined spirit got her through and now she tries to pay it forward by helping others, even though she has limited resources. It has been a joy to spend time with her on the property that has been in her family for at least three generations.

            The rest of our team went to Miss Doris’ to complete their job fixing her porch. They also trimmed out the sides to make it difficult for critters to get under the porch and added additional railings for safety. It made them a little bit nervous when a Coast Guard helicopter was flying very low near the house. The family told them that they were searching for illegal marijuana fields. Miss Doris was happy to have the job completed and was up to interacting a little more with our team. She was feeling a little more at peace about the loss of her sister today. Her and her grandson expressed much interest in Michigan and how our team came together. Miss Doris shared her love of quilting and showed Michelle one of her pieces of work. It was a lovely quilt on her bed. (see picture) She gives them to family members, hoping they will become heirlooms. She also sells some to people in the area.

            Dinner consisted of pulled pork and tacos with all the fixins. Unfortunately for our neighbors, the group from Immaculate Conception (mostly youth), the air conditioning in their living quarters is broken, leaving them unable to really cool off after a hard day of work. When we finished our dinner we invited them to come eat in our dining room so they could cool off a bit. They gratefully and quickly accepted our offer. After dinner they joined us for evening prayer. We discussed times of feeling over-whelmed and how to deal with that. It was said that we need to thank and praise God, even in the tough times. We sang our song, BRING FORTH THE KINGDOM. The kids then sang their song, BIG HOUSE, along with the hand motions to go along with the song.

            Again, we are very grateful for your prayers. That grace is carrying us through these busy days of working hard in the heat. Blessings!