Chores and an Ice Cream Cone

Every year on ASP, the teams throughout the center are responsible for taking care of the housekeeping items. Makes sense…who else would wash the dishes, sweep the floor, clean the bathroom, mop the showers, make lunches, take out the trash, wipe down the meal tables? So, the way this works is on a rotation schedule. On the wall in the cafeteria there is a large and colorful Chore Chart. Each day, we find our team name and the corresponding chore. There are some dreaded chores like BATHROOMS or SHOWER/LOCKER ROOM! Yuck! It’s hard enough to convince myself to clean the bathroom much less to try and get a youth to clean someone else’s bathroom bluck! We’ll take turns washing meal dishes and the youth seem to like this one best of all. Nothing like a high-powered  sprayer to entertain the kids!

After a long day of work and sweat, we all look forward to an evening of ice-cream at the Dairy Queen! Unlike the last two years, we actually have a real ice cream store with lots and lots of choices! This tradition is very important and everyone takes it very seriously!

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Magoffin County – Monday – Day 2

Team Firethroat was on the scene bright and early this morning! Let’s get this party started. Of course…it’s Monday, which means…hold up – nothing happens quickly! All of the teams, both from Alabama and North Carolina, were circling the supply lot behind the school. A horde of white vans all needed supplies before leaving the center this morning. The supply room is the location for tools and items brought in from the hardware store. Ladders are strapped on top of vans. Lumber hangs out of windows. Toolboxes are crammed where van seats once were. Everyone is ready to meet new friends and work hard.

Around the bend and over a hill or three takes us to Team Firethroat’s home base. Our project is a family’s home that was partially damaged in the tornado in March, 2012. We’re excited to find out that our family has five children living in the home! Our job will be to finish a tin roof and to do some painting inside the house. Previous teams have started the roofing job so we’ll be completing their handy work. After an hour or so of discussion and planning, we’re able to get underway. The morning passed with laughter and lots of learning.  Firethroat leader Bain took time to explain and teach all along the way. It’s rewarding to see the youth on our team take an interest in learning new skills and to be so eager to use those skills. We learned how to use an electric sander, how to cut tin with some special drill, how to measure using both a tape measure and a square. We talked about safety and guillotines and how NOT to fall off of a roof. …lots of learning going on with Team Firethroat.

The tin roof crew developed a method to the madness while the other half of our crew grabbed paintbrushes and headed inside. The master plan for us was to paint a bedroom white…easy enough! With three of us working in this small room, we should be done in a jiffy. Well, again…it’s Monday and the walls seemed to simply suck the paint in and leave us with the same walls we started with…over and over.  After three coats, we agreed to give it a rest. We’ll check it tomorrow to see if we’re satisfied.

Well, in typical ASP fashion, God uses this time to bless us and perplex us.

At our age, we can all look back over our days and find regrets. Actually, the older I get, the more prominent the regrets stand out in my mind. I had an opportunity for a second chance today, and I took it.  I struggle here with the words to describe the setting and circumstance without crossing a personal line. Let’s just say that for 24 years, I’ve needed a “do-over” and while I didn’t exactly get that…I was able to hopefully help someone like I should have helped all those years back. It’s funny how God brought me to this place to resolve conflict and hurt in my heart. It’s a miracle to me that he led me to be placed on this trip, on this team, to meet our family, to hear her story, and to guide me through a conversation I so wish I could have had long ago with my own mom. Thank you Lord for giving me some resolve. I hope mom was standing with me there today and knows that those words were for her.

Magoffin County – Sunday…. Day 1

Well praise the sweet and wonderful Lord! We have FINALLY arrived. After yet another tire blowing out on the exact same trailer, our day was off to a great start. Thankfully, we were able to find a place to replace both of the spare tires and so…we at least have two more chances. And so…we trekked on….

Truly, the hills of Kentucky are breath taking. In every direction, the mountains rise to meet the sky. We hear of  “Kentucky blue skies” and wow, now I understand why. We drove up and over the mountains, around and down in to the hollers, and could see our own taillights in the hairpin turns we were maneuvering around. What a day.

Eventually, the tornado destruction from March 2012 came in to view and our reason for being here was apparent. The tornado must have come through and settled for a time in the valleys (hollers). The ASP center (Magoffin County High School) sits amidst much of this damage.

Our sleeping quarters, our home away from home, will be in the gym for the next five days. Boys are on one side – girls on the other. Our privacy plastic is quite the décor. We expect to see it on HGTV next season. Showers are in the locker rooms and are certainly a step up from last year. However, we hear there is no hot water. What?? I’m choosing to BELIEVE that there WILL BE hot water tomorrow morning when I awake!

Being in the cozy quarters that we are, lights-out is a big and total blackout! We’ve been put in to darkness and so…I must close. The laptop light is illuminating the entire girls’ wing!

A reminder…

Today dawns with cool morning air and a peaceful sunrise. What a day we have ahead. With great anticipation and perhaps a bit of nervous apprehension, we will soon know where we’ll be sleeping, the jobs ahead of us, and the situations of the families we’ll serve. As I read my devotion this morning, the prayer hit home as a wonderful reminder from our Lord…

“O Lord, help us to have forgiving hearts. May we love you as you love – without judging or condemning.

So as we leave the Red Roof, I pray to keep an open heart to all that is ahead today. I pray that the young people that are with us will see the blessings in everything we do and in all that has been prepared for us. I pray that we’ll all realize how blessed WE are in the opportunity to be here.

Strap in Magoffin County….we’re coming in!

All the Way to the Red Roof

We have arrived in Knoxville, TN at the Red Roof Inn. What a fun day. We left home this morning before 9am and of course, promptly stopped 45 minutes later for a stretch and snack. We were rewarded this year at our first stop with a sweet note. The cashier had been given a “warm fuzzy” for our group by a beloved ASP alum that had come through only hours before as she headed out of town. She knew we’d stop in the traditional places and so….left us words of encouragement that brought tears to our eyes. We miss you “Dirt Road”!

Traveling on … we enjoyed a food court lunch in Chattanooga and we were off AGAIN! Well, as every ASP must be cluttered with adventure…we didn’t get too very far before the rubber was flying! Our van was about fifth in line of our long procession. We weren’t sure where the rubber was coming from but it was seriously soaring by us. The little mini trailer, being pulled by one of the trucks in the procession, had blown a tire. No worries! We have handy, dandy, daddies on this trip. Half of the hdd’s helped jack up this tool-filled metal trailer while the other half of the hdd’s kept the trailer from falling over. Nicely done guys! We were back on the road in less than 15 minutes.  A little sad though to have our adventure cut short by their handiness as our junior handy dandies were entertaining us with a roadside acoustic concert. A harmonica and guitar is all we needed to pass the time.

The team about to embark on a spiritual week.

So thankful for handy, dandy, daddies!

“Nobody knows….the trouble we’ve seen.”

Just a little roadside entertainment.

Time to Go! ….Appalachia – Here We Come!

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The trailers are packed and the tools are stacked. It’s hard to believe another year has passed since the last group rounded up to head to the hills of Kentucky. We’ll leave out early tomorrow morning to meet our new friends in Magoffin County, Kentucky. The anticipation level is high as we know we’ll receive a blessing unlike anything we could actually expect. With six vans, two trucks, and two trailers, we have more people than ever before seeking to serve. I find it incredibly heartwarming that not only are 42 people willing to give of their time next week, but our entire church and community cover us in prayer as well as to fund the entire trip.

So….it’s time to go! It’s time to realize what it really means to be the hands and feet of Christ.