ASP has a tradition called “The Warm & Fuzzies Wall.” Volunteers decorate a brown paper bag with their name on it. Throughout the week, everyone is encouraged to write down notes of affirmation and encouragement and place them in the bags. I decided that my handwriting is too sloppy for handwritten notes. More importantly, I wanted to share these affirmations not just in person, but with everyone. I want the whole world to know what an incredible group God brought together to make this week an amazing blessing and a wild success! What is written below is what I shared in person with each team member after our final day of service in Wise County, VA.
Kaylin B. – You jumped right in on the first day without hesitating to do the hardest work that needed to be done, and just kept going! Even when you got worn down, you kept a great attitude and were smart enough to take a rest and then bounce back up and keep on going. Your Kan Jam skills are also not to be denied! Thank you!
Emily L. – It was so much fun to watch you on your first ASP trip. You worked hard. You took time to connect with the children next door to your work site. I also thought you gave a great response during evening gathering. Your description of poverty being a cycle was so smart and really showed that you are working to understand and respond to the needs of your neighbors. Thank you for coming to ASP!
Gabe H. – Thank you for bringing all of your energy and style to ASP, especially during the World Cup! I was impressed with how well you stepped in and did whatever job you were asked to do. You’re a lot of fun to be around and everybody knows it.
Mason M. – You were such a smart worker this week. It was great to see how easily you could take instructions and take the lead on getting a task done that kept the job moving. You did a great job last year of showing excitement for ASP and now you have two different experiences that will make you even better at future projects and getting other people to give ASP a try. You also know how to take a wiffle ball to the head like a champ! Thank you.
Claire L. – I was delighted and surprised when you signed up for this trip. It was clear that you were stepping out of what you (and all of us) are used to, but also that you were ready and excited for the challenge! Way to go climbing up on the roof and running the chop saw! Throughout the week you showed an interest in better understanding the people of Appalachia as well as the reality of the struggle many people face. Thank you for taking this week to let your light shine. Detroit, here we come!
Steve M. – Thank you for your dedication and commitment to doing the best possible job in terms of both working on the house and in having a lasting impact on all of the trip participants. You were a work horse on a truly challenging project. You bring a great combination of determined focus and gentleness that shined through the way you equipped your team, wrestled with your project and helped lead this trip.
Mike S. – You’re a great leader because you’re always ready to help where needed and people like to be around you. You didn’t hesitate to join in dancing with our new local friends, even though it was something new. Just like last year, playing music together was also a blast! It’s really clear that ASP is a part of who you are; I’m glad you’re thinking about being on staff. You’ve got great questions and thoughts about God and faith, too. Thank you!
Amani H. – You did such a great job this year as one of our returning veterans. You were a leader and offered some really important thoughts when your group was discussing God moments and how our faith is being shaped this week. You were also full of laughter at all the right times this week. Thank you for being such a great member of the group.
Tommy S. – I’m really glad you came to ASP this year. It’s been great getting to know you better and seeing how quickly and naturally you jumped right into your team and the work at your site. I loved hearing you reflect and share during our faith discussions. I’m also glad you took time to look into the possibility of ASP staff.
Natalie M. – Just like last year, you were always happy to be helping out in whatever part of the job needed to be done. I’m glad you are thinking about ASP staff. It was so great to see you there on Thursday when I went through border patrol with my team. It looked like you belonged there! Great job!
Miranda M. – I was impressed all week long by how you constantly paid attention. You were thinking through tasks and the job as well as the reality that people in Appalachia face every day. If the opportunity arises, you will be an awesome ASP staff person. Thank you!
Dave W. – Thank you for being willing to step out of your comfort zone and lead a project. You used your lack of expertise as a way to pull your team members into figuring out solutions together. It was almost like you were bluffing to get the team to rise to the occasion. Either way, it worked and the team was equipped to serve. Great job finding New River’s Edge for us, it was an absolutely fantastic experience.
Kim S. – I’m glad I ended up able to come on this trip, but it is absolutely clear that our group had not only a trip leader, but also a spiritual leader. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this group, this trip, and into connecting with the woman your team served this week. You sparked faith discussions at the river and during the week that are some of my favorite “God sightings” this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Team Prince Edward
Sam M. – You really came back as an experienced ASP veteran this year! It was cool to see how confident you were about jumping into jobs at the worksite. It’s clear that you will really be a leader when you come back again. Great job! Thank you!
Tommy W. – Thank you for keeping everyone smiling and always being ready to jump in to lend a hand. Your friendliness really made our group stronger and helped us connect with the Connecticut crew, too.
Harrison C. – It took a lot of commitment (and a great mom) to drive all the way down yourself in order to be a part of ASP. You brought a fun attitude and a good team spirit to your team and to the whole trip. Thank you!
Gillian H. – Again you proved yourself ready to take on any job. Extra bonus points for bringing Shannon along to make our trip even better. I definitely can imagine you in ASP overalls driving a big white truck and getting everyone excited to serve.
Shannon R. – You were a great part of the group! You were always hard at work and ready to do whatever job came up. I hope that St. Luke will get really good at inviting friends to serve at ASP. Someday we will look back and say “Shannon was the first!”
Elizabeth M. – Thank you for being constantly at work behind the scenes to make this week unfold so wonderfully. You took pictures, you handled paperwork, you made sure your team had everything they needed not just to learn and complete their tasks, but to also have a pleasant and rewarding experience.
John M. – You’ll always be too friendly to be given full credit for your sarcastic wit. Thank you for leading your group into their work in a way that was organized and understood by everyone with a constant atmosphere of relaxed fun and comradery. As always, you stepped in everywhere to lend a hand quickly and offered a friendly greeting to every person along the way.
Many thanks are also due to everyone who made this trip come together! Special thanks to Robby Gilbert, Ron Harmon, Bill & Jackie Baver, Roberta Menapace, Conrad Ogletree, all the parents of our remarkable youth participants, and everyone from St. Luke Lutheran Church and beyond that provided support and prayers (especially the Youth Ministry Team, Social Ministry Team and Congregation Council). God has indeed accomplished something this week and made all of us a part of it!