As Big Jim has stated, “The theme for today is hot, hot, and hotter.” The temperatures soared and the vans said it was over 100 degrees. I think we all tried to do as much work in the shade today as humanly possible. By the second day of workcamp, our crews begin to turn from strangers to friends, we pick up momentum on the work site, and the layers of our “spiritual onion” start to peel away, leading each camper on a new journey to places they never thought they could go.
An enormous part of our week at the work site is building relationships with our resident and crew. Many of us have begun to see God’s love through our residents and their stories. During a discussion of today’s highs and lows during our evening devotions, Jim recounted the story of today’s lunch. In gracious appreciation for the work his crew was doing, the resident, a widower in his 60s, made hot dogs and hamburgers and shared a story of how he came to know God. His wife had succumbed to cancer, and shortly thereafter he became afflicted with lymphoma, which led to a month-long coma. His survival was unlikely but while in the hospital, he believes God visited him. His faith grew as he beat the disease, and today, though hooked up to oxygen, he serves two churches in their mission work.
Today, atop a 36-foot ladder, Eric realized why his resident, a jolly single retired schoolteacher and railroad conductor, needed this visit from workcampers. He lived in what appeared to be a nice neighborhood, with beautiful homes selling on the same street for quite large sums. The resident’s home itself did not look like it was in serious disrepair, nor did it seem like the resident was living under any extreme hardship, yet God brought us to this home for a reason. As the crew finished up lunch, the resident said in a choked, solemn tone: “In 35 years of living in this house, I have never had any visitors for more than five minutes. Thank you for being here.” The resident had opened his heart and his home to six strangers for a week and experienced love and friendship greater than anything he had experienced for the latter half of his life. Eric’s crew realized that the friendship we can bring is far more valuable than the repairs to a home.
Kelly entered the week with qualms about her double crew. Double crews are present at sights where the work needed exceeds the capability of one crew of six campers. In years past, campers have had mixed experiences with double crews. Some report difficulty in having 12 people all work and play well together while others seem to love the opportunity to get so close with 6 new friends. Kelly returned from her work site today with glowing reviews of her double crew experience and is extremely excited to see what surprises the rest of the week will entail.
In a camp rife with painting jobs, two of our campers got what most of us like to think of as dream projects. Justin’s crew is building a wheelchair ramp. Excitement was high as they approached the project, but Justin’s quick words upon returning to the school summed up his day perfectly: “This is gonna be a little more challenging than we thought…” We all know Justin’s determination and capability on the worksite, so there is little doubt that, come Friday, Marshfield will have one of he best wheelchair ramps this world has ever seen.
We have all enjoyed our free time together each evening. This year the game of Silent Football has made a triumphant return. This game has been a workcamp staple for years, with Faith carrying the Silent Football tradition far and wide. This year’s crop of campers has taken to the game with renewed vigor, so we expect to see plenty of embarrassing punishments throughout the week by those who fail to adhere to the rules.
Faith was well-represented in a dodgeball tournament this afternoon. By the luck of the draw, our two teams played eachother, so one team will advance to the semifinals this Thursday. Oddly enough, it was the team with the old guys who won.
Tomorrow we work a half day, then venture out to enjoy the local attractions. The half day will leave everyone scrambling to make the most of our time at the worksite, but the R&R will be welcomed by all.
God bless and good night.
Building faithful youth.