It is hard to believe that today I met my 12th resident. Each and every one have been unique in what they have needed us to provide so it is always something to look forward to. This year, my resident is a recently widowed mother of two boys. Her eldest son is 32 years-old and is autistic. He is able to communicate verbally but is unfortunately in a severe state of depression. He has been eagerly awaiting our arrival for the past year but was told he probably would not be able to help us do any of the work or spend a significant amount of time with us. Soon after we arrived today, Louise Galas introduced us to her son John and explained his condition. At first John was a little shy but when I approached him to see if he wanted to help us he was very enthusiastic. As the day progressed, he became a part of the team and we are all looking forward to working with him throughout the week. I think it is amazing when we catch even the smallest glimpse of God’s plan. Having John as an able body will not only allow him to grow and be challenged, but he will be a major contributor to our crew’s progress both spiritually and physically. Emily, a 16 year-old youth from Maryland , broke her ankle on Saturday night while staying at a church on her way to workcamp. Her spirit is fabulous and when asked if she had considered going home she said that thought had not crossed her mind and there was still much work for her to complete from a spiritual point of view. She was right because while John is filling in for her admirable in a physical sense, she spent much of the day simply listening to Louise share her thoughts. At a workcamp I was once told that anyone can put a new coat of paint on a house, but it takes special individuals to really change the lives and brighten the spirits of those who live inside the house. While we are trying to accomplish both of these tasks, it was great to see our crew realize why they are here. At one point today I was simply looking around at the entire crew and I just knew that they were all here for a reason which was an incredible powerful moment. I look forward to what lies ahead.

Without exception the Faith workcampers were very excited about their residents and all of them seem to be very excited that we are here. Last year, Stephanie H. and the rest of her crew were unable to develop a real bond with their resident. In contrast, today her residents were excited that the crew was their and roots are already starting to grow. Jayme’s crew busted their humps today and painted an entire house. I’ll be watching what she eats at breakfast tomorrow morning and having the same exact thing! Big Jim has the daunting task of painting a shingle sided house which means each shingle must be painted individually with a brush. No thanks… Larry and Kelly are both on double crews and they said everyone is working well together which is sometimes challenging when you have 12 people in confined spaces.

It has been enjoyable and a good experience having Esther along for the trip. Her English is amazing! Along with Bret, they seamlessly fit into the group as everyone does and they have been contributors at the evening devotions which were lead by Stephanie H. this evening. The evening programs are much improved over last year and we hope that continues to be the case throughout the week. Today, Kelly joined the music team to help lead songs during the evening program and Jayme is helping out in the percussion section.

Each summer, every church is required to complete a project and bring the item to camp and it is displayed on stage. This year’s project was to bring a fruit basket. Our basket is made up of paper mache masks of each campers face which was then painted to look like a specific fruit. Tiffany and Stephanie L. spearheaded the project and spent quite a bit of time on it in an effort to make the best possible basket. Well they succeeded and you can see a video clip here of Tiffany putting our fruit basket on stage at the first service on Sunday afternoon. Here is a video of the baskets brought by other churches. After all that hard work, the girls certainly deserved some time to just hang out which can be seen here.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 95 degrees which should be enjoyable… We will continue the progress we have already begun on our homes and develop a fairly good idea of whether we will finish our homes by Friday. We are all thinking about each of you and look forward to sharing all the of the experiences that have taken place up to this point and the stories that are yet to happen. New pictures have been posted and please keep those emails coming. Thanks for all of your support! Keep the Faith…