Today is our last day and this will be my last blog post. Typically, the last few days posts are minimal since we begin to repeat the activities of previous days. Today was unusual in the way God revealed Himself to me and others at the end. Here's the breakdown:
The morning was relaxed. With the painting complete and VBS almost over, there wasn't as much to do. The Lemley's left yesterday and others shifted over to the construction crew.
The things we did today were mostly what we've done in the last 3 days. Here are some special highlights.
We worked on binning the supplies just as we have in the last few days. Each of us filled bags and bags of donated hygienic supplies. When all was done, we had filled 2 containers larger than a pallet 4 feet deep with bags. Workers at the pantry, which is really more like a mini-warehouse, said that each of the 2 hours of work each day was worth 2 days of work. All along the way, the teenagers worked hard side-by-side the adults.
We had an interesting day at the garden. There are 4 different gardens on 4 successive blocks and we went to a new one on each of the 4 days of service projects. The garden today was in dire shape.
Immediately on arrival, we could hear the people next door. They were having a mid-day party – maybe the Bon Jovi party didn't end from the night before. As we started working, a man came out of the house. He was shirtless, loud, and very drunk. He was swearing and telling dirty jokes. Thankfully he went back inside and that was the last we heard of them.
Amanda has been our guide over the last few days. Alvil came out as a videographer Monday and Thursday. Jessica came out on Monday. Jess came today. All were very friendly and easy to talk to. Amanda, on her own, found the blog and read it. Along the way, we had several chances to show and share our faith with those around us.
It was a race to the finish to complete the grout for the new tile. It looks fantastic!
The construction crew deserves an extra measure of praise. They worked 12 hour days, took 10 minutes to each a sandwich for lunch, didn't eat dinner, and were isolated from everyone else. Grounds keeper Doug estimated that the labor alone was worth $20,000. The bathroom remodeling was desperately needed and greatly appreciated.
We concluded both VBSs today. Both were very successful and were hard to leave. The good news is that the Vances and Steiners will be on hand to continue the “party” every Tuesday.
I talked to Henry again tonight for an hour or so. He has been a real encouragement to me.
Henry has been trying to learn more about the Bible by taking some classes in Qu'Attell with the Full Gospel church. He asked me about our church and what it was like. Was it closer to Catholic or Baptist? Do most people in our church believe the same thing? I told him that we aren't all that crazy about labels or generalizations. We just want to emulate God's heavily kingdom here on earth by obedience to God's word in scripture. (My answer was longer and I rambled a bit, but this is more succinct).
Henry told me that his life changed when Aubrey was born. Aubrey is considered critically ill and qualified for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Last year, he received his wish and met Kane from WWE. Watching wrestling seems to be a father-son tradition in the family and both were thrilled with the opportunity. Henry said that was probably the happiest day of Aubrey's life.
Henry tries to talk to groups about substance abuse a few day each month. I told him about the addiction group and put him in touch with Kirk. Henry sounded interested in attending.
Margaret attended the Northwest VBS in the park. She lives a block over, saw the excitement and decided to check it out. Margaret stopped drinking about 5 years ago. She had a difficult time going through withdrawals and her children didn't like her much then. Her friends stopped wanting to be with her and she didn't want to be around her friends who all drank or worse. She was lonely and hot at home and wanted to come to the park to see what was going on.
Margaret came with her 13 old daughter, who just read one of the Twilight books (for the 3rd time) and didn't participate in VBS. About a minute after I met Margaret, she asked if she could help. I said “of course” and introduced her to some of the woman running one of the kids stations.
Margaret seemed to enjoy watching the kids play and how happy they were. At the close of VBS, I introduced her to Kirk, they exchanged contact information, and she said she wanted to come to the addiction group Kirk will organize.
Jesus said that to be a disciple, you must leave your father and mother and pick up your cross and follow Him. Margaret and Henry have both already done the hard part – they just need a guide to walk with them on their journey.
Martin met Brian on the first night of the Northwest VBS in the park. Brian talked of his faith, that he believed in God, but had problems with religion. Brian had a difficult childhood and was estranged from his family.
Brian and Martin talked each night, feeding off each other and building each other's faith. Like everyone else, Brian is looking for a community of faith that practiced what they preached.
Chipper has a silly band bracelet in the shape of a cross he liked. He told Martin he was afraid some kid might ask for it and he'd be in a pickle not wanting to give it up. This mad Martin think of hi one-of-a-kind wilderness trek bracelet. You can only get it by going on trek that year.
Martin sympathized and was tempted take it off. He started thinking about whether or not that was selfish and then, all of a sudden, he had the opposite impulse. Instead of taking it off, he wanted to give it to Brian. So, tonight, he gave his prized bracelet to Brian. He told Brian to think of him when looking at it and that the absence of it on his wrist would remind him of Brian.
Unbeknownst to Martin, Brian later showed up at our closing devo. They seemed to really enjoy the devo. At the end, Carry, Brian's girlfriend, gave Martin a cross carved into a block of wood.
The construction project was just getting going when on Monday when they needed to go out and buy something. Fred ended up going, but had a “huffy heart” going because he thought that the go-for was usually the guy that was in the way and doing the least work. Fred reflected on the work and had a change of heart when he realized how silly that was. From that moment on, he had a great attitude.
Ministers at Work
There was a point today where the construction crew took a break to go eat dinner. They were all tired and when the fast dinner was over, they didn't want to go back to work. When they did return, they found Vance and Galon scraping out the grout and doing “real” work. That was just the shot in the arm the crew needed to complete the job.
Blair, the youth minister at Glen Elm, took a little girl home each night who had been sexually abused. On Monday, she was quiet and reserved. By Thursday, she had come out of her shell and was visibly happy. The same was true of a boy that had been abused.
One of the teenagers talked to a boy that hadn't eaten that day. She made sure the boy got some food.
Pranks and Hijinks
Someone cut off a lot of Q-Tip heads and dumped them into Fred's bed. Fred went into the hall and found Galon giggling and thought he had caught the prankster and put all the Q-Tip heads in Galon's bed. Later Fred found his sheets shorted and then, once again, found Q-Tip heads in his bed. Only later did he find that Sharon was the mischievous prankster.
Which Room is Mine?
In the middle of the night, Jim Stevens tried to come into my room – twice. We finally solved this by putting up a sign that read “Jim, this is not your room.”.
The downstairs bathroom was reserved for woman from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Men had to go to the gym or the boys dorm during woman's hours. To get some satisfaction, someone put up a sign on the gym bathroom saying “reserved for woman 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Bushes are open 24/7.”.
Greg & Bon Jovi
Greg made the right choice and didn't go to the concert. People did put out lawn chairs at WCC and listened to the music. You could hear it clearly including Jon talking to the crowd.
Kevin gave a parting gift and thought. He presented us with a picture of Regina at night lit by the northern lights. It was a beautiful gift reflecting their sincere love for us. Gerry received it with gratitude and promised to hang it in a place that will help remind us of our time in Regina.
The motto of the trip was “be the change”. Nowhere more is this true in Regina. God has been working in Regina for a while now. We're just now getting a glimpse of His overall plan. When the Steiners arrived in Regina, neither they nor Kevin had a plan. While waiting for a plan to develop, the Steiners took action and let God reveal Himself through their blessed efforts.
Now the hard question: How can we reproduce this at Greenville Oaks? Perhaps, one part of it is taking actions of faith without waiting for the details to be laid out or a plan to be approved by the elders. Take initiative and God will bless it.
God bless until next time,
Posted on Fri, July 30, 2010
by Mark Maxey