Posts Tagged ‘Service’

#ASP2014 Links

PHOTO ALBUM / Travel Day / New River Retreat / Worship at River & Arrival Day / Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Affirmations

 

Team Simbo gets their first sheet of tin on the roof!

Team Simbo gets their first sheet of tin on the roof!

It’s the Fourth of July and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful as I set out with Team Simbo for our final day of work on the roof. The temperature was down, humidity was gone. There was a lot of work to be done, but the team was glad to start putting on the tin roofing. Two full sheets of tin were installed along with the end cap. The team cleared a great deal of construction debris that had gathered and also made sure the roof was protected from any rain that might come and ready for next week’s team to succeed.

Team Prince Edward headed to their final work day after a truly amazing Thursday night. They were invited by the family they are helping to come to a holiday celebration in Cleveland, VA. There was Bluegrass and Gospel music being played by local musicians along with fireworks. The best part was that the team members were treated like extended family who just came home: they were taken around and introduced to most everyone in the town. It was Appalachian hospitality at its finest! Today, they were glad to see their kitchen project come to completion. They also forged a strong connection with the family they were helping. Before leaving today, the team was asked to sign their names on an extra floor tile that the family wants to keep in their living room.

Team Agua was excited to see their work come to a satisfying conclusion. The ceiling was finished and the team was able to return the room to the way that the woman they are helping wants it: filled with dolls, bric-a-brac, and meaningful memories from over 92 years. The team shared goodbyes with the woman they helped and it was clear that everyone was changed by the work of this week.

Team Simbo at the end of their work week.

Team Simbo at the end of their work week.

After dinner, the entire ASP center gathered and every individual took a turn sharing their “God moments” or meaningful insights on the week. The discussion took nearly two hours, but everyone was engaged throughout and truly blessed to hear all of the ways that God had been working this week. I was so very impressed and proud of what our youth participants had to share. The adult leaders, too, shared heartfelt reflections on how we were impacted.

As the sun was setting, I gathered the St. Luke team outside and told every single one of them what I think of them. Then we rushed off to enjoy the local fireworks display, a last stop for ice cream and one last hour of games before hitting the air mattresses. Tomorrow morning we drive!

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The "Warm Fuzzies" Wall at #ASPWISE

The “Warm Fuzzies” Wall at #ASPWISE

#ASP2014 Links

PHOTO ALBUM / Travel Day / New River Retreat / Worship at River & Arrival Day / Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Affirmations

 

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.


Team Simbo
Kaylin B.

Kaylin B.

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!

 

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Emily L.

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!

 

 

IMG_3980Gabe 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.

Mason M.

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.

Claire L.

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.

Steve M.

 

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.


 Team Agua
Mike S.

Mike S.

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.

Amani H.

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.

Tommy S.

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.

Natalie M.

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.

Miranda M.

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.

Dave W.

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.

Kim S.

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.

Sam M.

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.

Tommy W.

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.

Harrison C.

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.

Gillian H.

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.

Shannon R.

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!”

 

John & Elizabeth M.

John & Elizabeth M.

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.


Thank you, everyone, from your awesome ASP 2014 Team!

Thank you, everyone, from your awesome ASP 2014 Team!

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!

Team Simbo making progress on their roofing project.

Team Simbo making progress on their roofing project.

#ASP2014 Links

PHOTO ALBUM / Travel Day / New River Retreat / Worship at River & Arrival Day / Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Affirmations

Thursday morning (work day 4) began again with morning devotions, which focused on the importance and virtue of patience. After breakfast, everyone sprung to action as we can now get a picture of what work can be done during the final two days of our week at ASP.

In exciting news, several youth from St. Luke expressed an interest in learning more about becoming ASP staff members in the future. Today, Miranda M., Natalie M. & Tommy S. shadowed the ASP staff as they sent teams out in the morning and did site visits to deliver supplies and support to the work teams. Miranda M. & Michael S. are both scheduled to shadow staff members on Friday.

I made my way back to Team Simbo today. We made an extra effort to arrive early at the site to try to get working before it got too hot. Upon arriving back at the site after 2 days away, I could quickly understand why this job has been frustrating and challenging. I could see that a great deal of work had been completed, but it was primarily addressing unexpected trouble in the roof substructure. The work that was done was slow and difficult and, although a lot has been accomplished, really only brought the progress of the job back to where we thought it was on Monday.

The crew from Connecticut that was working at the same house was moved to a new project. Gabe H. & Mason M. joined me in finishing a last piece of their indoor work: re-attaching a baseboard heater to a bedroom wall. On the roof, the crew was glad for cloudy skies without rain to make conditions a little bit easier. Steve M. along with Emily L. & Kaylin B. put down some water protection over seams in the new decking and then began setting wood beams (purlins) that the new tin roofing will be attached to. The ground crew (Claire L., Gabe H. & Mason M.) provided support by cutting lumber as needed and sending it up. After lunch, I joined the roof crew. When the sun came out, it was instantly exhausting. This team (and especially Steve M. who has spent all day every day on the roof) a big shout-out!

Team Prince Edward finished tiling the kitchen floor. They were excited to find out that the last row of tile along the wall were just the right size that they did not need to be cut! Another concern about moving the refrigerator back into place under a cabinet was also relived when it was determined that the cabinets are to come down next week to allow for wall repair. When they are rehung, there will be plenty of clearance for the refrigerator. The team also spent time spreading some of the remaining stone pile in the driveway.

Team Agua had a good day of progress after the challenge of drywalling the ceiling. Conditions were good for them to get three coats of spackling done, so tomorrow will be the final sanding and painting. Work was also done on trim, which proved tricky but came together. The other big accomplishment came from cleaning the walls. Finding out that a coal furnace exploded soot throughout the house a few years ago, the team scrubbed the walls and found a much brighter room. They also took all the boxes of bric-a-brac that are to be housed in the room and laid them out in the yard and cleaned each one individually. When the team departs tomorrow, they will leave a much nicer front room!

Having fun at the ASP picnic.

Having fun at the ASP picnic.

After the work day was finished it was time for the ASP Community Picnic. The weather could not have been better and we had a lovely long evening in a local park along the Cinch River. As is tradition, we invite the families we are helping to join us for the picnic. The women that teams Agua and Simbo serve were unable to come due to health and mobility problems. Ruth, the 92-year woman Team Agua is helping sent along words of appreciation along with a food donation for the picnic. The family that Team Prince Edward is helping was able to attend and everyone was very happy to meet them. After a delicious picnic dinner, several members of Team Prince Edward went with their family to enjoy some early 4th of July festivities. Everyone else stayed at the park until dark. We played Frisbee games, laughed a lot and really enjoyed being together. This is a remarkable group of young people with just the right adults accompanying them! We’re also seeing a lot of friendships forming with youth from the Connecticut churches.

The St. Luke ASP Team for 2014!

The St. Luke ASP Team for 2014!

As evening settles in before our final work day, there is a relaxed sense in the air at the ASP center. Some are relaxing and reading. Some are talking with new friends. One guy is writing a blog and posting pictures to Facebook as he says good night!

#ASP2014 Links

PHOTO ALBUM / Travel Day / New River Retreat / Worship at River & Arrival Day / Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Affirmations

Tommy W. & Gillian H. working for Team Prince Edward.

Tommy W. & Gillian H. working for Team Prince Edward.

Many of us were moving a little bit slower at the start of our third day of work, but the energy for service was still evident as we gathered for morning devotions. One of the churches from Connecticut led the devotions, but pulled together a group of musicians to help lead the music, including myself.

Today I joined Team Prince Edward as they travelled high into the hills and hollers of Appalachia. Their work site, situated on the top of a foothill, is surrounded by incredible natural beauty. The team quickly got to work on laying down the remaining lauan paneling on the kitchen floor. The work ran smoothly throughout the day with some members nailing down the flooring and others cutting and fitting the next piece. We also needed to move the refrigerator and a large hutch to clear space for the flooring. Last week an error caused a large pile of stone to be

Sam M. placing floor tiles.

Sam M. placing floor tiles.

delivered for a drainage trench when someone mistook inches for feet in the quarry order (for those who know, it was sort of the opposite of the problem Spinal Tap had when they ordered stone). Sam M. Tommy W. & Harrison C. helped load some of the stone into an ASP truck for delivery to another site. The team stopped for lunch and had a great time talking with James & Kathy, who live in the home being repaired. They told us stories of working on a chicken farm, local bluegrass musicians, and their church. As lunch ended, we fed our apple cores to Buck the horse. During the afternoon the floor tiles began to be placed and another truckload of stone was shoveled by Gillian H. and Shannon R.

The other two teams found today to be particularly challenging, even frustrating. Team Simbo continued forward on the roof, but the work is slow and difficult, especially in the heat. It is also difficult to see how the work being done will come together in a way that meets the needs of the woman they are helping. Team Agua continued hanging drywall on the ceiling, but were challenged throughout the day by the reality that the house (like many in Appalachia) is not standing straight and square, so many pieces had to be cut and trimmed repeatedly (and each time required holding the drywall up to the ceiling to see if it fit).

Team Prince Edward with their family after a good day of work.

Team Prince Edward with their family after a good day of work.

During the evening gathering, we focused on the realities of poverty in Appalachia. Much of what we heard resounded clearly in terms of the work we are doing, including the frustrations we are facing as we try to make repairs on homes that have such overwhelming needs that are only being addressed through a network of youth volunteers (like us). We learned about the realities that actual ASP applicants faced before applying and the hard reality that 81% of ASP applicants are turned down due to the limited resources that even an effort as large and established as ASP has to work with. When somebody remarked that it must be hard to choose which houses to repair, the expressions of sadness on the faces of the ASP staff (who made those hard decisions for this summer’s work) were quite obvious. Several of our teen participants accepted an invitation to join the ASP staff for their nightly meeting as a way to learn more about what ASP staff members do and how they can pursue becoming a staff member in the future.

The plan brewing at present is to end the evening with some more ice cream at Ma & Pa’s!

#ASP2014 Links

PHOTO ALBUM / Travel Day / New River Retreat / Worship at River & Arrival Day / Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4 / Day 5 / Affirmations

Kaylin and Emily raising the roof for Team Simbo.

Kaylin and Emily raising the roof for Team Simbo.

Today (Tuesday June 30) was our first day of work at our #ASP2014 sites!

I was a member of Team Simbo today. The home we are working on was a short drive from the ASP center.

Mason and Gabe working for Team Simbo

Mason and Gabe working for Team Simbo

We are doing work on the home of an older woman who has significant health problems for which she has trouble getting around and needs oxygen. She lives alone but a home nurse that is with her for part of the day and some regular visitors that help and support her. There is another work crew from Connecticut also working at this house. Our job is to continue replacing the roof. Our initial assessment indicated that there is two layers of roof on the house (2 layers of both shingles and wood). The main concern is that the beams beneath are not capable of bearing the weight of adding another layer (we will be putting on a tin roof). Early in the day, one of the ASP staff arrived for a site visit and we had a chance (both teams together) to introduce ourselves and each share our hopes and expectations for the week (both related to the work and to our faith journeys) along with our response to what we would fill a kiddie pool with if we could choose anything. The team worked together, half on the roof removing shingles and roof deck and half on the ground managing the debris. As old roofing was removed, we found ourselves faced with the challenge of water damage to the beams underneath.

Team Agua ready to work!

Team Agua ready to work!

Team Agua took on the task of renovating a room in the home of a very nice 92-year old woman who has lived in the home for 65 years. The group removed old drywall and did work to stabilize the beams in order to hang new walls as the week unfolds. The room is filled with a large amount of decorations and bric-a-brac that is very important to the woman, so the team took pictures of everything in the room so that it can be set up just as she likes it when the work is completed. Another team from Connecticut is working on the roof at the same house as Team Agua.

Team Prince Edward traveled to a house high on one of the local foothills. They met a couple with several animals, including a friendly horse. Their work will be primarily in the kitchen and they are starting by replacing the floor. The old floor was removed and two veterans from last year, Sam. M. and Gillian H., were perfectly suited to crawl under the house when new supports were being added under the floor. New subfloor material was put in place to allow the kitchen to be usable overnight and the work will continue through the week.

After we returned to the ASP center and had showers (Wow! Hot water this year!) we had dinner and then joined everybody for the evening gathering. Mike S. and I, along with 2 volunteers from Connecticut led everyone in singing “Country Roads”, “Blessed be Your Name” and “Sanctuary”. One of the ASP staff shared his testimony/faith story.

We ended the night with an incredible surprise taste of Applachia. In search of ice cream, we found Ma & Pa’s Drive In. In addition to great milkshakes and cones, it was “Bluegrass Jam” night. Several local neighbors show up every Monday with guitars, banjos, mandolins, lap steels, etc. and just play whatever comes to mind. They pulled several of us out for some “flatfooting” on the plywood dance floor. It was a remarkable way to end our first day of service. Everyone had a good start to their week and we are all ready to rest and do it again tomorrow. In fact, it’s 10:58…so lights will be out in 2 minutes. I’ll be breaking curfew in order to keep you in the loop…so good night!