Day 4, Tuesday, July 10th
7am wake up call comes with music over the loudspeakers and by 7:15 we’re all dressed and ready for morning devos (devotionals). The group who led today’s are from Cornwall, NY. Breakfast was barely swallowed when we had to switch gears to make sandwiches for our lunches, pick up our lumber and head out to our family. S.’s son B. was out and smiling when we got there as was his brother, S., who loves to play us music: from Johnny Cash to the Soggy Bottom boys!
We jumped into the work after sitting under the box elder trading stories with S. , the father. It was hard to face the work knowing we would have to tear our what we had worked so hard on the day before, but we all had a good attitude and decided to take this as an opportunity to start over: spiritually and physically. We had the choice to let our past mistakes cloud our present or use it as a tool for growth. The crew cheerfully chose the latter!
We reached our daily goals, inside and out today. Well, mostly. We are learning to work slowly, deliberately, with a clear understanding of the next steps.
One of the most refreshing points of our day was an afternoon break time visiting the puppies at the end of the road. Oh how the girls begged me to take one home!
Back at the site, we were treated to a bluegrass band after dinner with dancing and jokes. Now it’s time for bed and we are all more than ready, and it’s not even 10pm. Here’s hoping it’s a bit cooler tomorrow!
We were all pretty pumped to meet the family and get started on our work. After breakfast and cleaning the bathrooms (every day each group at the center has one chore) we gathered our lumber and tools from the supply room and headed out to the work site. ASP requires that prior to the work being started, the crew should spend some time getting to know the family. When we arrived, S. came out to treat us with his sons and we sat in the shade of a box elder and chatted. It wasn’t too long before we all began to feel relaxed in the peaceful serenity of the countryside. After a while, the group split into two: 3 went inside to install laminate flooring in a bedroom and 6 stayed outside to begin digging postholes. I initially did not have a specific roles and so I sat down with S. and we chatted about his life and mine. We discovered we have a lot in common: he lives on the same property where he grew up and so do I; we both have four children; and we prefer the country to the city! The day was over early when we realized that we didn’t have the materials we needed to complete the first phase of the deck and were disappointed to discover that we had sunk the posts too soon and would have to dig new holes the next day. The outside crew was frustrated but vowed to work more carefully and read ahead in the future. It was a set back for sure, but we learned a little about how we can work together more effectively!
After our first day of work, we decided a treat was in order and went to the local ice cream joint, Dairy Delight. And what a delight it was: ice cream sundaes, soft serve swirls, milk shakes-mmmmmm! Several of us jogged back to the center to burn off some calories!!! After dinner we played cards, met some new friends from Delaware and New York and were definitely ready for bed by 10:30 tonight!
Day 2, Sunday July 8th
We were on the road again by 7:30 with some of us taking an early nap until midday. Bright sunshine filled Sunday’s travels and despite several unplanned stops, we managed to get into Chapmanville by 2:40, just 40 minutes behind schedule. But the kids put some pep in their step and we accomplished everything necessary to settle in and get to our new group orientation in time! We found out that we’d be working for a 75 year old man, S., and his adult sons who lived with him. S. lost a leg and needed a wheelchair ramp so that he could use his wonderful scooter instead of the crutches. Our lead construction heads went out to the job site on Sunday night with one of the ASP staff to meet the family and view the construction site.
We were all pretty tired by Sunday night and one of us fell asleep during EG(evening group). EG is when all the staff and volunteers get together after dinner for devotionals and reflections on the day. That first day we all introduced ourselves and got a chance to hear about the other groups. We were playing human chess until 10:30 but were in bed, lights out by 11pm.
Day 1, Saturday July 7th
The mission team met at Trinity Episcopal Church, Mt. Pocono, packed up the van and then paused to walk the labyrinth and write down our hopes, intentions and fears about our week together. We left earlier than planned in order to beat the weather coming our way and I'm glad we did. Weather reports for our region that evening were fierce but we encountered nothing but blue skies all day.
That evening we arrived at Piedmont Episcopal Church in Madison, Virginia and were treated to ice cream, freeze pops and the wonderful hospitality of Susan Good and some of the youth! We went to bed by 11 am were up and ready for our day by 7. Breakfast was amazing. Susan and the folks at Piedmont prepared a lovely spread of homemade muffins, fresh smoothies, toast and baked egg casseroles. What hospitality! Before leaving we gathered in the sunroom for a special prayer for travelers and were taught a new prayer by Father Brad.