Camp Victor 3

The week is passing all too quickly! We have made great progress at the worksite where my crew has labored all week. We’ve spent $1,000 in materials ($50 of that came from donations from WUMC funds) and done the equivalent of over $3,600 in labor. Tomorrow we should finish up the last of the new shingles.

House

Our worksite presented us with an unexpected situation when we knocked on the door bright and early Monday morning. The 80 year old man who owned the home passed away Sunday morning. His daughter, who also resides in the home, answered the door and delivered the news to us. She allowed us to continue with our construction work, but this was quite a surprise to our team. It seems he has been sick for a while and had contracted pneumonia recently – quite possibly as a result of the mold growing in the home. His daughter spent Monday making the funeral arrangements. On Tuesday she opened up to a few of us quite a bit and I got to engage in my favorite part of these workcamp mission trips: getting to know the people we’re serving. The mission isn’t jus about shingles and tar paper – althought that is integral to our work. It is also about developing relationships with those we serve. This is what makes Christian mission different from simple charity or volunteer work. We intentionally work to build relationships of love that model the example Jesus gave us – serving those we call friends.

Each member of our team has had such different experiences this week! Some have stayed at the same site all week (like myself) while others have floated to a number of other sites. Linda got to work for two days in one of the local churches. John has been with the same family each day and that family is preparing a special thank-you lunch for his crew on Friday!

Tonight the entire tri-cities work camp (all 65 of us) gathered on the beach for a bonfire, worship and dinner together. Pastor Edyth led us in a special Lenten ritual – we heard the story of “The Ragman” and then were able to put a piece of rag into the fire so that we could let something go and give it to God. Even in the midst of this week’s mission trip there has been frustration, irritation, and difficult people to love. It was a special moment to pause and give our hurts and pains to God so that we can continue to be transformed and made new Creatures in Christ.

My favorite part of the evening was speaking with a woman who happened upon our gathering on the beach. Her husband and 4 year old son were with her to look at the lunar eclipse. She and I shared conversation for almost 30 minutes because she asked me the simple question, “What is Lent?” That led into hearing much about her faith life and journey to Mississippi – she arrived here just two days ago with hopes of finding a job and a better life for her son.

God puts people into our path each day where we encounter Christ in those conversations…sometimes it is more obvious than others. It doesn’t take being on a mission trip to have the opportunity to see God in the ordinary! It just takes time and intentionality…something that it all too easy to miss in day to day life.

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