There are days on ASP that reinforce why we come, why we serve. Of course there are also days that make us scratch our sweaty heads and ask, “what was I thinking”. Today was simply a day of good. Simply satisfying…simply hot…simply pleasant…simply fulfilling – you get the picture. It was a good, good day! Our team arrived on site in a timely fashion and went straight to work. Our wheelchair ramp and flooring job is well underway. We actually finished laying the laminate flooring in the bedroom and we’ve been given permission to finish the baseboards tomorrow while the guys tackle more of the wheelchair ramp.

Our special home-owner is already becoming a friend. As best as he is able, he stays right beside us all throughout the day. We’ve tried to encourage him to get off his broken hip and badly injured leg, he still stays. He’s so thankful and appreciative for the work we are doing. It must be hard for him. He was in construction for 30+ years and knows how to do everything we’re attempting. Mr. Floyd is lending a hand hauling heavy concrete blocks with his lawn mower and even let one of our team members drive his tractor. Mr. Floyd is genuinely a nice gentleman. I hope he feels cared for and a little less alone this week. I don’t think he has any family within a 3 state distance so if we can offer extra love and care, it’s our mission to do just that!

Some tidbits from our home away from home:

-the library air-conditioning did turn on Sunday night (Monday morning) around 3am.

-we did freeze (but survived)

-our guys moved from the basketball court to classrooms due to a basketball camp going on this week.

-food has been good but the high school and college guys say serving size is enough to feed a Kindergarten child – lots of bartering and begging.

-culture night tonight was entertaining as we had a husband and wife come play true Appalachian music for us.

-ice cream runs every night are marathon in length due to the team number (49) but we’re happy to be together either at the ice cream shop or here at the center.

-showers…hmmm….we are showering outside in hand-made plastic covered showers. We have been blessed with lukewarm water and ample plastic this year. Having enough plastic is important. Great wind gusts and not enough plastic make modesty impossible (as we found out last year).

-staff here is both friendly and efficient. Our supplies have come as needed and the staff have been awesome with the kids as well as our adults – not an easy balance.

Wednesday looms in front of us so it’s time for bed. The “lights out” patrol are very serious about their duties and have already left me in the dark.

Feeling blessed and thankful tonight for our entire community and church as well as this team of God’s servants here. It makes my heart skip a beat to hear these children share and pray and to be excited to go out and get after it again tomorrow. I am certain there IS good in this world – our children are proof positive!

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Sunday – Fun Day!

It’s been a great day in so many ways. God has been shining brightly since we left Alexander City and today was exceptionally super sonic. Around 6am opening the curtain in the hotel room, the sunrise was stunning – enough to make you smile with anticipation for the day. God never disappoints and neither do outdoor worship services (at least in my experience). We made an impromptu visit to Knoxville First United Methodist Church worship service on the Tennessee River. The breeze was perfect, just enough to rustle the trees and cool us off. The birds were singing beautiful, perfect pitch praises. In fact, the pastor stopped to note the melody. From our seats in a perfectly situated pavilion, the river flowed in the distance with green hills as the backdrop. Sound perfectly picturesque? It was. Adults and youth alike were in awe.

We were back to tradition for breakfast with stops at Waffle House, Dunkin Donuts, and some braved Taco Bell (for breakfast??). The team at Waffle House is so engaging and remembers us from year to year. This year, in fact, we were reminded of last year’s silly picture out in front of their building. Apparently, we promised to send them a copy of the picture and never did! They actually remembered! Of course, when 40+ people come in on a Sunday morning each June, all dressed the same, for 10+ years…we’re a sight to behold. Rest assured, we have righted our oversight and sent the team picture from last year as well as the one from this year. What a fun group! Go visit a Waffle House – great folks!

Time to turn in for the night. We are settled in the center. I’d like to add that we are in the Taj Mahal compared to last year. This elementary school is quite nice and the showers have lukewarm water – woo hoo!! Currently, the girls are sleeping in the library where the air conditioning doesn’t turn on until midnight on Sunday evenings. Through sweat and minor frustrations, we have been promised that the air automatically turns on and will freeze us before morning. We welcome this plight! The boys are all in the gym nice and cool. That’s all I will say about that!

Thank you for the support and prayers. Please continue to cover us. We go out tomorrow morning with the intention to “Become”. The theme for ASP this year is to “become” more like Christ. From 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to believe in Him, must walk as Jesus did.” It’s a pretty tall order for Christians…we certainly claim to believe in our Lord; how certain are we that we walk as He did?

…and the Red Roof stands tall

For all concerned parties…we have arrived! It’s 6pm (Eastern time – or fast time as David Hand likes to refer to it) and we have been on the road since around 9am. Suffice it to say that large bladders are not with us on this trip. We have stopped just short of 800 times. Kidding, just four times between home and Knoxville but why not, we aren’t on a schedule today.

Tradition does not disappoint as the Red Roof is still here and is just as welcoming and accommodating as ever. We’re making a quick stop and then heading to dinner – all 49 of us. Won’t Outback be glad to see us?

ASP – 2015 Begins

Good intentions of writing more often have fallen short as life tends to take precedence. I think often of posts and memories I want to preserve via this blog but never make it to the actual “post page”…sometimes because I can’t remember the password. Oh well…

It’s ASP time again and this trip stirs my heart and soul every year. We will load up this morning and head to Newport, Tennessee. I’ve not been to an ASP center in TN, only KY, not that where we are would matter once we get there. We’re excited and have been praying for our future families for the week and this ASP team. Last year, I wrote a post about how much could change by this year, and it has. Graduations, jobs, and family will change the face of our Alexander City ASP team but our hearts go with the same intention – to touch lives and show someone the love of Christ.

Time to pack last minute items and figure out how to get this extra coffee pot on a van without too much grief from Jimmy or Chad. 😉