My hope is that you sang that to the tune of Living on a Prayer.
We are halfway through the summer and literally only surviving by the grace of God. Don’t get me wrong, it has been incredible so far but its exhausting, the worksite is difficult, and we are constantly being pushed out of our comfort zones as much as the students are.
And to top it all off I’ve been sick for the past few days and today I just had to stay in bed. It’s killing me to miss time with the students, but if I was going to get sick (which was inevitable) this was probably the best time with the best team. We have our 2 week team right now so I’ve already had the chance to get to know them all last week and hopefully I will feel much better by tomorrow. And one of our adult leaders is a mom so she brought me medicine and I am so thankful.
Okay so let me update you on the past few weeks:
Week 2: We finished the back deck on the home we were working on during week 1. This team had a slow start with not a ton of motivation but throughout the week they started to care more and finished very strong. Also something cool about this team, they are from Glen Ellyn which is in the same area I will be moving to. I really enjoyed getting to know this team, they already invited me to visit their church and possibly have connections for a place for me to live!!! God is Good! We were able to finish both decks on this house and serve this family in a great way. Since we were getting to the end of this project we had to find something else for the weeks to come. We had some options but a lot of them fell through. So one day at VBS our students were showing off pictures of the deck they built because they were proud of it, as they should be. One of the mom’s of some of the girls at VBS commented on how nice it would be to have a deck at her house. So of course I jumped on that opportunity. Amanda and I visited the house that saturday after the team left and as soon as we drove up we knew that is where we were supposed to be.
Week 3: Again a great week with a solid team. They were from Michigan so they got here really late Sunday night so Monday we jumped right in and worked at the same house putting under-penning underneath the trailer and built a ton of wooden boxes to be used here at God’s closet. This team was a lot of fun but definitely had trouble focusing. It’s hard to get teenagers to focus in general and this team proved to be a challenge. However, they were extremely open which gave Amanda and I the opportunity to get to know them very well which helped us find the best ways to teach and challenge them. During the VBS this week we only had a few students show up, same as the last few weeks. However, it didn’t phase this team. They showed those 2 kids so much love and gave them a glimpse into the love God has for them. They finished their projects by Wednesday so we headed over to our new project and got a jump start. For this house we are building a 12×24 deck off the side of the house, taking out and re-doing their sidewalk, putting new floors in their kitchen and living room, and adding railing to their existing porch. This family is great and definitely someone that we want to serve. The parents have just adopted the 2 most beautiful girls and have struggled to keep up with the condition of their house. We are super excited to serve the Lord by serving them the next few weeks!
Week 4: This is our first and only 2 week team. They are from Brandon, Fl which is cool because thats where my mom is from so I know the area pretty well. They also got here late Sunday night after a 15 hour drive so we got them unloaded and started bright and early monday morning. This team right off the bat had some obstacles. For starters, the majority of them are high school girls so there was a little bit of drama just in the first few days. they weren’t off to a great start but along with the adult leaders we were able to settle a lot of the problems and halfway through the week I saw a change in their attitudes. Not only did the team hove obstacles but the work project has been a doozy. We started to wonder if we’ve taken on more than we can handle. Nothing has seemed to go right and each step is taking forever. So this week I got really frustrated, not really with the team but more so with myself. If I don’t know how to do something then how am I expected to coach a team on it? and the problem is that I do know how to build a deck and lay concrete but for some reason their has been way more complications with these particular project. But again, the Lord provides. Amanda has given me a ton of scripture that she leaned on last year and reminds me to find encouragement through Christ and his word and not on my own ability.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
She’s also a great problem solver and people at Manchester Lumber graciously take all my questions and go through each step with me. This team has been great and patient and has gone back and fixed all of the mistakes with very little complaining. They have also gotten frustrated but throughout there have been great teaching moments and I believe we will be able to look back on this and see God working in some amazing ways. Also they homeowners have been on point! Since this is a 2 week team we work all day friday and saturday so the homeowners made lunch for us on Saturday! Grilled BBQ chicken, pork sandwiches, baked beans, pasta salad, and banana pudding!! This definitely gave the team a boost and we are so thankful the Lord sent us to this family.
So week 5 is underway with the same team. Hopefully I will start feeling better so I can jump right back in and help with the projects and hang out with the students. If you would, please continue to pray for us. I don’t want Amanda getting sick since we share a room so pray for our health and also that the Lord will work through us to finish these projects and to challenge the students well. We are studying Joshua during this trip and he’s been a great example of following God no matter what and our prayer is that we will do the same and the students will be strong and courageous like Joshua not just on this trip but when they go back home and they will follow God wherever he leads.
Thanks for your prayers, packages, phones calls, and texts!