Category Archives: missions trip

My Wonderful Mission Trip

I’ve been back from an absolutely wonderful mission trip for a little over a week now.   To say I had a blast, would be a gross understatement.  I think it’s better to say that the week of the Mission Trip was one of the best weeks of my life (short, though it be :).  I’m not exaggerating either.  
This is for many reasons.
1.  The people I was with.  They were all wonderful, all happy and all brought their own personalities to the group.   Quite a few of them were downright hilarious which just made everything more fun!   The entire week I did not hear one word of complaint from anyone on the team, which I think is amazing and proof of how wonderful they all are.  :)
2.  I got to tangibly be the Hands and Feet of Jesus to the Appalachian people.  I never actually witnessed to anyone on the entire trip but I loved knowing that I was meeting a need and serving Jesus (and others) at the same time.  
3.  I loved watching the Body of Christ work together.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Christians work so well, so happily, and so efficiently together as I did on this trip.  Everyone was always smiling or laughing.  By the end of the trip I felt like the people on the team were my family.  We had grown so close through working together, sharing our stories, playing jokes on each other, and having fellowship in the Lord.  When we arrived safely back home, I had a hard time wanting to leave them all. 
4.  I formed a relationship with some of the people.  The last day of work (which I’ll talk more about later in the post), I think we really connected with the people we were building the ramp for.   The older lady, Mrs. Bessie, invited us in for some true Southern biscuits and gravy.  While we ate inside, her daughter, Ms. Dorothy, sat and talked with us for awhile.  At the end of the day, as we were about to leave, Ms. Dorothy came over, gave me her contact info and told me to keep in touch and drop by if we ever were in the area. :)  She was a really sweet lady and very appreciative of everything we did.   I was very blessed by knowing that she actually wanted to keep in contact with me, and the other people on the team.
4.   Appalachia is just gorgeous.  Rolling hills, steep mountains, sheer cliffs, wide open fields, quaint little farms, Appalachia has it all.  I rarely tired of looking out the window on our drives to and from the work sites, and admiring the beauty God created.

But on to what actually happened on the Mission Trip! :)

Sunday and Friday were the traveling days.  Monday-Thursday were the work days.

Sunday morning we woke up around 5 A.M., grabbed our last minute stuff and headed to Hanover Evangelical Friends Church.  Mama, Lexi, Caleb, and Seth woke up to come with us and say goodbye.  We met the team in HEFC’s parking lot around 5:50 A.M. and, once everyone arrived a prayer was said.  Then we all said goodbye and Hannah and I hopped in Mr. Reynolds Jeep.  Mr. Reynolds was the lead car, so we were in front *almost* the entire time.  There were 4 cars in our little convoy.  There were 16 people on our team and each car had 3-5 people in them.

We headed off down the road, did our devotions, journaled, talked to Mr. Reynolds and Amber some, and then stopped for breakfast around 8:30 A.M. at Country Cook’n.  We were going to stop at their annual breakfast “mission trip stop” (Aunt Sarah’s) but there was a sign up saying “Coming Soon:  —enter here some Mexican Restuarant name”.  So, we definitely decided to find somewhere else.  We stopped for gas, and then someone asked about a breakfast restaurant and we were directed to Country Cook’n.

Breakfast was buffet style so, of course, I ate too much.  I had this wonderful chocolate chip pancake at the end of my meal.  It was as big as my plate and absolutely wonderful.  I also had some biscuits, breakfast casserole, fruit, french toast, etc.  It was delicious!

After breakfast, we got back on the road again and soon entered West Virginia.

 We stopped at a rest stop and I loved the little view they had.

 West Virginia’s state capitol building.
Mr. Woodson said that the roof is plated in real gold.  That’s pretty neat!

 We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch.

Hannah and I were still full from breakfast that we just split a delcious salad:

After lunch, we stopped at a nearby Lowe’s and picked up something and then we got back in the cars and drove some more.

During all the driving we read books, talked some more, and just looked out the window and soaked up all the mountain beauty.

We also kept satiated with some snacks:

We were going to stop for a “quick sandwich” for dinner and ended up going to Cracker Barrel and hanging out for an hour and a half. :) 

Rocking outside after dinner.

After Cracker Barrel we stopped at a gas station to refuel and Amber, Hannah, and I went and walked around for a bit.  Your body just wants to move after sitting for hours on end!

 Amber during our stretch break! :)

I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer beauty of the mountains.  It was amazing!

After leaving Sunday morning at 6:15 A.M., we finally made it to the Christian Appalachain Project building where we would be staying:

 This is the building where we stayed.  It was right off of the road.

 This is the girls room.  The guys were staying in the next room over that was almost exactly identical.  We didn’t have enough beds for all the girls, so 3 of them stayed across the street at another house CAP owned.

We went in and made our beds, got our stuff settled, and then went to the house across the street for our briefing and safety video.  Jen, the lady in charge of us, told us what teams we were going to be on and what project we would be working with.  Then we all headed to bed.

Making breakfast Monday morning.

Everyone made their own breakfast.  I had instant oatmeal every day.  They had over 5 flavors and I tried a different one every day.  I also had toast or some fruit.

Hannah and I were up between 6-7 A.M. every morning.  We would try and do our devotions but sometimes we got a little distracted. :) 

Breakfast every morning was around 7 A.M. and then we would try and do our group devotions.  Some mornings were more rushed than others, so if we didn’t get our group devotion done in the morning, then we did them in the evening.

Here’s a view of what our work days were like:
6-7 A.M.:  Wake up, get ready, do devotions, etc.
7 A.M.:  Breakfast
7:30 A.M.:  Get ready to leave for the day.  Pack lunches and drinks in coolers.
7:45 A.M.:  Leave for the work sites.
8-something A.M.:  Arrive at the CAP meeting site, pray, and then head to the work sites.
9:30 A.M.:  Arrive at the work sites and get to work!
Noon:  Eat lunch
3:30-3:45 P.M.:  Clean up everything and go back to CAP meeting site.  Once at CAP meeting site and back together with other team, head back to “home”.
5-6 P.M.:  Get home, rotate showers (we had 3 showers for 16 people :), get ready for dinner.
6-6:30 P.M.:  Dinner and dessert!  After that we would play games, talk, relax, go on walks, etc.
10:30-12 A.M:  Go to bed.
Now back to what happened on Monday!

I was originally in a group that didn’t have my sister, Hannah, in it.  Then our two groups were combined so I was with her 3 of the 4 work days!

Our work site was about 1 1/2 hours away from our “home”.  Our task was to build a 40 ft. deck for a man named Mr. Teague.   A group that came before us tore down his old deck that was unsafe, so we got to build a new one!

This is Mr. Teague’s home.

As soon as we arrived, Mr. Teague came around and gave everyone a hug and told them he loved them.  He was a sweet, older man (I’m guessing that he was in his 80’s).  He came out and helped us every now and then too!

I had really hoped I would work at a work site with horses nearby and God answered my unspoken prayer!  I got to feed them some grass every day.  They were sweet little ponies!

Hannah and Amber.

The post hole diggers. :)

Brianna W. making sure the holes are 16 inches deep.

 Some of the framing and posts in.

Lunch break! 

We made our lunches the night before, so  all we had to do in the morning was grab it.  We had sandwhiches and snacky stuff like chips, fruit, candy, etc. 

Hannah measuring.

Mr. Woodson getting ready to put a post in.

Mrs. Juanita W. cutting some wood for us.

Measuring…it seems like we did this all the time!

This is all the work we got done on Monday.  We dug all the holes for the posts, put up wash board, put the posts in, built the frame, screwed the frame, put the braces in and cemented the posts. 

All the teenage/young 20’s people would screw and nail like crazy.  The adults would usually do the more experienced work like measuring and cutting.

As we were about to leave that day, Mr. Teague took his girlfriend (who he had picked up that morning) home on his ATV.  It was a rather cute spectacle.  I think Mr. Teague even said “Yee-haw” on the way out! :)
We got home around 5 P.M. and started rotating showers through.  It wasn’t extremely hot outside the entire week and humidity was virtually non-existent (a nice change from VA weather), but the sun was rather warm.  A nice breeze kept us from getting too hot, though.
Dinner Monday night was burrito night, so we all made burritos or nachos, or whatever we wanted with the ingredients Ms. Jen set out for us.
Eating dinner.

 This is the deck after  work Tuesday.  We spent the entire day just putting decking boards on. 
Amber, Hannah, and I were the ones who put most of the screws in.  Mr. Woodson estimated that we screwed in around 1400.  Yeah…  We spent most of the day crawling around on the deck to put the screws in, so our knees were very sore after that!

 We had some storm clouds Tues. afternoon, but, thankfully, we didn’t experience any rain during the day the entire week.

We had these delicious rolls for dinner Tues. night.  We also had Swiss Chicken Casserole, steamed broccoli, and some salad or fruit, I think.

After dinner we went to the house across the street and did our devotions.  Mr. Reynolds brought a keyboard for Hannah to play, so we sang some songs before Mr. Lee led us in a devotion. 

 Singing together.

After the singing and devotions, some people shared stories of God’s grace in their lives.  Jessica V.’s story, which involved my daddy, made me tear up.

Afterwards, we played Catch Phrase with some people on the team.  It was so much fun!!

Wednesday I was back at Mr. Teague’s house putting up the railings.  Mr. Donnie, the CAP group leader, called Hannah, Amber, and I “spindle queens” because we put up all the spindles on the deck!  I did manage to hurt Hannah though…she was holding a spindle up for me and I slipped with the screw gun and made a little gash on her thumb.  :-(

After the spindles were done, the steps were built.

The four in this picture were the ones who principally built the hand rails.  I just took pictures. :)

 Hannah screwing in.


 After all the screwing we did over the entire trip I’m almost shocked that my hand wasn’t stuck permanently in the screw gun position. :)

 Spindle queens!

 Mr. Teague walking on his fancy new deck!

This was the last picture I got of Mr. Teague’s deck because the next day I went with the team I was originally on, to work on a wheelchair ramp.

This is Mr. Donnie, our CAP crew leader.  He was a very nice guy.

We left a little earlier from the work site on Wed. because we had to get home, take showers, and eat dinner before 7 P.M.  We were going to attend a church right behind the CAP house after dinner.  The mission team had gone the year before and really enjoyed it, so they wanted to go again.

One of CAP’s employees made us an Italian dinner.  It was delicious!

After dinner we walked across the street to the church.  The sermon was very laid-back and full of insight.  I really enjoyed it.

Once back at home, we got the entire team to play Catch Phrase.  It was so. much. fun.  I hope these pictures below give you a good idea of how much fun it really was.

 Mrs. Pam was hilarious during Catch Phrase!

 I was amazed how much everyone opened up when they played Catch Phrase.  I saw many good sides of people that I’d never seen before.

 Mr. Woodson (left) acting out the Congo Line.  Mr. Reynolds couldn’t stop laughing!

 Mr. Lee (middle photo) was constantly making Mrs. Juanita W. laugh really, really hard.  It was so funny!

 Mr. Hare (far left pic) made Mrs. Wrenn laugh really hard too.  I got a little worried she was laughing too hard, but she ended up calming down after a few minutes of intense laughing.  :)

It was one great night!

After Catch Phrase, many people went to bed but some of us stayed up and played Sequence.  Then we went to bed.

Thursday morning I woke up and wished the missions trip could’ve been longer.

Mr. Woodson asked me to go with his crew to work on the wheelchair ramp on Thursday and I agreed. 

The people we made the ramp for were very sweet.  The ramp was being made for Mrs. Bessie who was having trouble getting up the stairs due to getting older.  She invited us in for some biscuits and gravy that was quite delicious.  Her daughter, Dorothy, sat and talked with us for awhile.

After the biscuits and gravy were gone, Brianna W. and I, washed up our dishes and then went back out to work.

I helped screw the deck boards in and put the railings up.

 This was all we got done from two days of work.

Around 3:30 P.M., we cleaned up, prayed with Mrs. Bessie and Dorothy and then said our goodbyes.  Ms. Dorothy gave me her contact info and I’m hoping to write her soon.

It was kind of sad leaving the work site that day.  I knew our mission trip was practically over and I wished it wasn’t.

We had a super delicious dinner of pizza Thurs. night.  There was also some juicy watermelon that was simply amazing.  Thursday’s dinner was my favorite out of all of them!

 Eating dinner.

After dinner, our team and Ms. Jen went to Camp Andrew Jackson (a.k.a. Camp A.J.) to watch a talent show.  The mission team had worked on Camp A.J. a few years before, so they wanted to go back and see it put to use.

Long story short, the talent show was long (we left before it ended) and it wasn’t the greatest.  I’m not talking about the kids performances…some of them were really good…it was just the counselors and adults.  The skits they put on were not God-honoring or even mature.  There was a lot of questionable material but I don’t need to go in to that.

Once back at the CAP “home” Ms. Jen asked us about the week, we shared some stories and then filled out a little survey.  Lastly, we got our CAP t-shirts!

After that we played some more games.  I stayed up til 12 A.M. playing Sequence with Mr. Lee and Amber.  The game ended up being a CAT, not a single one of us won.

I went to bed and Hannah woke me up close to 7 A.M. on Friday.

The men fixed everyone breakfast Friday morning. 

 Mr. Reynolds cooked the bacon to perfection.
Mr. Woodson and Mr. Trusty made some scrambled eggs and I think Mr. Lee cooked the biscuits.

 Eating breakfast!

After breakfast, we stripped our beds, packed all our stuff up, and cleaned the CAP facility.

I swept the floors, others put chairs and tables away, washed dishes, dried dishes, etc.

We gathered everone, including Ms. Jen, together for a group picture before we left.
 Isn’t that one lovely bunch of people?

 This is a closer photo.  I set my camera up on my bag, set the self-timer and then ran into the photo. :) 

I’m going to try and tell you who everyone is.  I’ll divide it into two rows for you.  Here it goes:
Top row:  Mr. Trusty, Mr. Lee, Mr. Hare, Ms. Jen, Jessica V., Amber R., Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Woodson. 
Bottom row:  Hannah, Me, Mrs. Wrenn, Brianna W., Mrs. Wharff, Mrs. Pageant, Jessalyn, Mrs. Pam, and Mrs. Trusty.

After the group photo, some people stretched in anticipation for the long car ride home:

We said a group prayer and then our little convoy headed away from the CAP building and towards home.  :-( 

We took a much shorter route on the way home, and it seemed like we stopped less frequently.

We had lunch at a Pizza Hut near the VA-KY border.  Our next stop was at a rest station in VA with a beautiful view of the mountains:

Mrs. Trusty and Mr. Reynolds talking at the rest station.

Isn’t that beautiful?

We made it back to HEFC around 8:30 A.M.  We grabbed our stuff out of the trailer, said one last prayer as a team, and then we left with Daddy.

All in all, my first mission trip was absolutely amazing!  I left a good amount of details and funny stories out because this post is long enough already!  I hope you enjoyed the little overview I’ve given you anyways.

Kimber :)

My Upcoming Mission Trip

One of the things my sister, Hannah, and I wanted to do after graduation was minister to others.  Schooling takes up a good portion of a student’s day, so, once we graduated and had more free time, we wanted to go on missions trips!  After all, we’ve spent all this time learning, why should we not go and help others?  
So, I’m excited to say that my sister and I are going on our first mission trip!!  And it’s 15 days away!!!
The whole “getting to go” part of the missions trip is really an answer to unspoken prayer.  The Lord knew that Hannah and I wanted to go on a missions trip but we just didn’t know where and how to get involved (that didn’t involve lots of $$).  God brought the opportunity right to our doorstep!! 
If I haven’t told you this already, our home is currently undergoing a kitchen addition.  Years of bumping each other constantly in the kitchen is about to end!!  Anyway, we have a missions team from our old church building the addition.  The way it works, is that we pay a certain amount of money for one (or two) qualified builders/contractors to come build the addition.  There are many other people who come and volunteer as well.  The money we give the team for a full day of work goes, every dollar and cent, to their “mission fund”.  Their mission fund goes to funding their missions trips (duh! :).  So, none of the people who come out to build the addition are gaining any personal benefit…they are working for the purpose of glorifying God and blessing others through ministry.  It’s wonderful.  
What makes this team even more wonderful is that I know 90% of the people who are working on our addition.  These people were part of my lives for 10+ years and many of them I don’t remember not knowing.  We went to church together on Sundays, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, as well as for picnics, potlucks, softball games, VBS, etc.  I loved all of the people at our old church and they loved in return.  I have some wonderful memories from our old church, that I just haven’t been able to experience anywhere else.
All warm, gushy feelings aside this missions team was going on a missions trip in July.  Mr. Reynolds, the leader of the “mission team”, invited Hannah and I to join them.  Plain and simple.   We thought about it off and on and when we had to commit we said yes!  We never really prayed about it but I think we both knew we wanted to do this and that the Lord had brought this opportunity to us.  Plus, we didn’t have to pay anything to go, we would get to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people we’d never met but who were in need, and we’d get to spend 6 days with people we loved and knew!!  It was a no-brainer. :)
Needless to say, I’m excited!  The only *very slight* damper to my excited state of mind is that it will be HOT and HUMID on this missions trip.  We’re leaving July 22nd (at 6 A.M.) and getting back Friday, the 27th.   I have noticed that July is not the coolest month of the year and I have this amazing capability to sweat through anything and everything I’m wearing if it’s above 80 degrees. :)  So, I know there will be some long, hot days but overall I’m excited!
Like I mentioned above, we’ll have to leave our house around 5:15 A.M. on July 22nd to be at our old church by 5:45 and ready to leave by 6 A.M.  Hannah and I will be riding with Mr. Reynolds and his daughter, Amber (who’s my age), for the 10 hour trip to Kentucky (they say it takes them 12 hours due to the stops for gas, food, and the restroom :).  Then, Monday morning we’ll begin our first work day with the last full day being on Thursday.  Our group of 16 will be split up (probably in half) and then taken to different work sites where we’ll help people in need, whether it be painting, fixing things, or just building relationships with them (many of whom don’t know the Lord).
The missions trip is done through CAP or Christian Appalachian Project.  I love how this missions trip is in the U.S.A.  I think many people (and myself sometimes!) forget that there is poverty around us (even in “prosperous” America), so we think we always have to go overseas to reach the needy.  That’s simply not true…there are always needs and there will always be people in poverty (John 12:8), no matter where you live.  We just have to be willing to open our eyes and look.
Anyways, just wanted to share with you about the upcoming missions trip!!  I’m way excited and would appreciate any prayers.  Some specific things to pray for being:  that God would move mightily in our hearts and the hearts of those we’re working with, that any attempts Satan makes to thwart our efforts will be destroyed, that people will see Jesus in us, and that everyone will be safe the whole week.
Thanks so much!
Kimber :)