Weekend! Time to clean up and rest up, maybe see a few fireworks over the hills. Then the next group of churches comes in!
This new week we have only two churches working with us: First Presbyterian of Lancaster PA and First United Methodist of Ephrata PA. Only a few people have been with Life Builders before, so we have to make them feel at home here. We’ll go over the house rules to follow, let them know the schedule they are to stick to, and tell them about whats for dinner. Sunday night they’ll have time to get comfortable with the type of work they’ll be doing when Mark Oettinger, our main Work Site Coordinator, tells them about their jobsites for the week and answers questions. They will fall into place after the first day and it will feel like they’ve known us for longer than a week.
Care cards are an important feature that nobody has touched on really. I’ll explain: throughout the week we encourage the everyone to write notes to members of their group and others they meet while here and put them in our envelopes hanging on the wall. Then at the end of the week they get to read all the positive impact they had while working here. People have written notes to the kitchen staff to say just how incredible that chicken and rice was, or to the speaker to thank them for the way they presented that particular topic. Its an effort that builds the team up and gets you looking outside your bubble of normal conversation to discuss whats really impactful. Some workcampers from previous years, myself included, keep the packet of notes to read through on occasion as a reminder of what you can accomplish. Maybe in the future we’ll go digital, but for now, its a way to keep letter writing in fashion.
Today was a half day of work, so most groups did something fun and enjoyable in the afternoon. Some people went whitewater rafting, some people went swimming, and some went to a state park. Meanwhile, in the morning work was still being done. Here’s a summary of the work sites for this week. Hilltop is still the largest job site, as it was last week. The majority of Covenant Presbyterian, the largest group for this week, is stationed at Hilltop. Their tasks include things such as moving building materials, framing houses, flooring, and landscaping. The SALS Dorm is also still a major job site this week, as it is being rushed to meet deadlines. Lighthouse Baptist Church is the primary crew there, although Grace Community Church is also there for some of the week. Jobs include installing a drop ceiling and tile floor, hanging doors, resizing closets, and building stoops and handicap ramps. Another SALS site is William’s House, where Honey Brook Presbyterian and Windsor Baptist churches are stationed. Significant progress is being made, and jobs there include drywalling, flooring, and insulating the crawlspace beneath the house. Louise’s house is another site this week. There is significant water damage in the bathroom, so tasks there include plumbing and replacing the floor and floor joists. Several members of Covenant are working there. Finally, there are several sites around Gauley Bridge. At the Asbury house, the old asphalt siding is being pulled off, and new wooden siding is being put on and painted. The remainder of Covenant occupies this site. There are also three painting sites around town, including Dave’s house, the elementary school, and the high school. These sites are occupied by Honey Brook Presbyterian, Windsor Baptist, and Grace Community.
The theme for this summer’s mission work camps is Get S.M.A.R.T. Each letter in the word SMART represents a comparison. S stands for Service vs. Self, M refers to Miracle vs. Myth, A is for Attitude vs. Assumption, R stands for Receive vs. Resist, and T refers for To conform and To Transform. Each night at the worship service the speaker touches on a different letter. This week the speaker is Jason Hummel and he is directing his lessons and the S.M.A.R.T. theme towards being the underdog. He discusses how we as Christian’s are underdogs but how God uses the underdogs to do great things. Last week the speaker was Jeff Berger and he focused the theme more towards Peter’s interaction with Jesus. One of the nights Jeff had a very hands on lesson which was held in the gym area. The whole group was offered the opportunity to travel to different stations and experience, to some extent, just a few of the miracles that Jesus did on his time on earth.
Also at the services we have a time of worship where the group is lead in praise and worship songs. Phil Rude is a student at Bloomsburg University where he plays for Campus Crusade which is a campus ministry at his school. Last week Phil led the group each night in worship songs. This week it is Covenant Presbyterian who is one of the groups attending this week.
Next week we will be hearing from Doc Maddison, who is a school teacher near Philadelphia and lives in New Jersey. We will also be led in worship by Dan Lenko, who is a student at Eastern University and leads worship at his church, Trinity E.C. Boyertown. We look forward to hearing from them in the coming week as we continue with our Get S.M.A.R.T. theme.
Our new week came with some energy and jollyness. This week we have working with us: Covenant Presbyterian of Doylestown PA, Grace Community of Herndon PA, Windsor Baptist of Eagle PA, Lighthouse Baptist of Harrisburg PA, and Honeybrook Presbyterian.
Mondays are rough as far as work goes. People arrive Sunday and get used to the facilites. Going out to the jobsites the next day can prove rough because they aren’t familiar with their surroundings. Its generally a rusty and slow day for the groups. But the rest of the week they ease into their jobs and become proud of the work they can do.
This week the weather is treating us all well. It is nice to wake up to slightly foggy WV hills. The rest of the day burns off into sunshine and warmth. Also this week, we have less church groups than last week, so we’re dealing with a much smaller crowd of people. Last week we topped 200 if you count staff; this week its around 100 counting staff. The trimming of the people has really helped us to keep up with housing maintenance and its easier to answer questions when there aren’t so many.
We can only hope this week of workers accomplishes much and has a positive impact on this community while they’re here!
The week is winding down. One more day till the groups go home. It has been quite a productive week. A home was framed and the roof put on it, another home had the roof taken off then a new one put on, one location installed drop ceiling, at a ministry a number of items were done to help the place look like a church, and another person is getting a new floor, ceiling and insulation in his house.
Overalll, it has been impressive to see how much work has been done by a group of teenagers. And hopefully they will be memories and skills they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Here is a synopsis of the work that’s being done this week. There are 8 job sites in total. The biggest site is Hilltop, which has anywhere between 50 and 70 people, depending on the day. The first day, there was huge amount of building material that needed to be moved from one place at the site to another, so almost half the campers were at Hilltop. There is also framing, roofing, painting, flooring, weed-eating and trim work being done at the site. Hinkletown Mennonite and Midway COB are the two churches that are normally working at Hilltop. The Beard’s Fork Dorm is another large job site. There are about 30 people from Manor Presbyterian working there. The work includes tasks such as flooring, drywall, painting, drop ceiling installation, and lighting. This site is especially important because it is supposed to be finished by next Monday, although there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Another job site is William’s house. The house is basically being gutted and everything is being replaced. When Christian Endeavor arrived the floor was being held together by the carpet, because the one floor joist was cracked in half right inside the front door. Florin COB is the church working at William’s house. Living Waters Baptist Church is another site being worked on. The church was formally a high school, and various modifications are taking place to make it look more like a church. For example, the lockers are being taken out, and the resulting gaps in the walls are being framed in and drywalled. A drop ceiling is also being installed in the main hallway of the church. Grace Lutheran Macungie Church is working at the school. Close by is the Gaines Street site, where Christ Lutheran Niantic is gutting a double wide trailer that has been abandoned for about 10 years. SALS Landing is the job site being worked on by Akron Grace E.C. The work includes fixing signs, repairing and painting a porch, and lawn work. The final job site is Vicki’s house, where the roof is being re-shingled by Timberlake UMC. Vicki is the head of SALS, and redoing her roof allows her to supervise other job sites, such as the dorm and William’s house.