Life’s Lessons

A week of mission work in Appalachia

I told you about the unexpected need for transportation for a mission trip to Kentucky. That problem was resolved and the mission trip went well.

Fourteen team members left Sunday morning to spend the week working with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP), who do an amazing job of helping those who need assistance with home repair.

Our group was joined at the guest house by two ladies from California who had researched an opportunity to be in service somewhere and had chosen to also work with CAP. They were assigned one house to work on, and our group was divided into two smaller teams to work in separate jobs. At the guest house we absorbed them and we were one big, happy family.

I was assigned to the group who would replace a patio door and windows. When we entered the house to begin taking down window dressings in preparation for replacing the windows, I was shocked. “Wow! This is nicer than my own home!” Yet this home owner had met the stringent criteria to receive help and had been on the waiting list for four years.

When our work finished early we went to help the ladies from California. They had worked hard all week preparing the area and installing sheeting to close in under a mobile home. This very old home had no siding at all that I could see, other than the building board. Our group put up the furring strips for siding and assisted wherever needed. Our team also helped with the addition that was being built on one end of the home.

Not being very steady and agile on my feet, I helped by staying out of the way.

On our very last day of work, I was asked to go along with the group who had been working on a small house way out in the country. The single lady had lived in that house her entire 51 years. Earlier in the season, a group had built on an addition for a bathroom. She did have running water in the house but had only an outhouse.

The stool had been installed and was working. The shower, though there, was not yet usable. There was drywall to install and paint. Others worked at assembling kitchen cabinets which they found still in the boxes and without instructions. The metal roof needed to be painted. Our small team got all of that done.

Since CAP doesn’t work on Friday, Thursday night is “family night.”

Employees host the volunteer team and the families they have worked for and with during the week to a family supper. I couldn’t decide if it sounded more like a high school reunion or a family Christmas party, but all the sounds of satisfaction and happiness echoed throughout the house.

I had the privilege of working briefly at all three sites. Though I can’t do the physical labor I used to do on mission trips, I can be a leader in the area more stressed in today’s mission work – forming relationships! I could listen to not just words spoken but the heart’s cry, and have learned to discern the difference.

That’s what it’s all about – meeting heart needs and, when opportunity presents itself, introducing them to Jesus, my Savior. Though I did not find opportunity to share Jesus’ love in words, I did share it in action. One home owner does not attend church at all but welcomed prayer for her needs.

Maybe that will open the door for her to seek Jesus.

A week of mission work in Appalachia