It’s happened again. The Lord blessed me with an incredible week. I didn’t know that I was capable of growing so close to a group of people in only one week. Hinton is changing me. God is changing me. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
This week at Hinton was a “SHYM” (Senior High Youth in Mission) week. That means that instead of having one work team from the same church’s youth group, I got a mix of kids from different churches. David and Curren came from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston Salem. Ms. Sherri, Hayden, and Brendan came from Midway Locust Grove UMC in Missouri. And Mr. Ben, Ericka, and Caroline are from Warner Robbins First UMC in Georgia. I knew from the moment we all sat down to dinner together on Sunday that this group was going to be awesome. Each person brought something to the table that created an incredible group dynamic. Ben Lee is one of the coolest guys I’ve met in my entire life. If I learned anything from this week, it’s because of that man. Warner Robbins’ youth is lucky to have such a strong leader. Sherri Perry has such a big heart. Her positive attitude and smile kept my spirits up throughout the week. I can truly say this with all my heart: I love each and every one of y’all. You gave back to me more than I could ever give to you.
I really could brag on my group for hours. Caroline, your go-with-the-flow attitude is inspiring. You are so mature! When I was talking to you, I seriously felt like I was talking to someone my own age. And don’t ever give up on your dream of film studies. I honestly think that you will rock at WHATEVER you do. Curren, let’s be real. You drove me crazy this week. But you have a good heart, and a good sense of humor. You kicked butt at putting up those shelves, and please know that I truly enjoyed having you on my team. Ericka, I wish the best of luck to you in college. And the best of luck to you as an athlete! I know you will be awesome. Thank you for all of your hard work. I rarely had to ask you to do something! I witnessed such a huge change in you this week. I know this was very hard for you, and hearing what you said Thursday night brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Hayden, I’ve never had such a hard worker! I can tell that you’re a guy of few words. But when you have something to say, I noticed that it’s something that you really mean. I couldn’t have put that stupid door knob on without you. And you really made this week a whole lot brighter for me. Good luck with pole vaulting, I think that’s such a unique sport and it is seriously so cool! David, I know I got onto you about the amount of work you were doing in the house. But you said to me, “Isn’t it just as important to be outside playing with the kids?” And you were right. On the last day I had a gung-ho attitude and wanted to get everything done. But you helped me to realize why we were really at this home. To love on the family, especially the kids. And you did a great job at that. Brendan, you did too. You were CLEARLY Sean’s favorite. That boy looked up to you and wanted to copy everything you did. Thank you for your work this week. And thank you for your positive attitude and for your great sense of humor. You made me laugh so many times this week.
The home that we worked on this week was easily the most emotional site compared to all of the others. This family needs us. Not just to put paint on their walls, or to put on new doors. They need our presence. They need to know Christ’s love. The sweet woman who lived in this home is a hoarder. Six other people live with her, including her two children and their children. There is not physically enough space to house seven people under this roof. This family has experienced such pain and holds onto anger and resentment. I hope that Hinton can help ease all of these things.
Each Thursday night, the families that we are working for are invited to dinner at Hinton. Afterwards we have a worship service and communion. Julia and Hinton have been involved with our particular family for over ten years. In all of these years, the grandmother and the daughter have never shown for the dinner. This week, the grandmother, daughter, and three children came to eat and even join us for worship. This is mind blowing. And clearly the work of Christ. How lucky am I, and how lucky is my team, to be able to witness such a change in the hearts of these family members. Seeds have been planted. And amazing things are happening. I can’t believe that I’m getting to be a part of it!!
This week set the bar high for the rest of the summer. I’m afraid that I’m not going to have any youth as awesome as I had this week. All of these guys better come back next year! I saw God in each one of these kids, and especially in my two adults. I was truly blessed to be able to lead and serve this team. Oh, and I forgot to explain the title – on a scale of good to phenamenal, my group was phenamenal. (That would be good, great, phenomenal, phenamenal).
This week I really grew closer to the staff also. I was so happy to have Bekah back! (Even though she’s gone for two weeks again. I’m so sad!) A special shoutout to Mike, because he was extra awesome this week. He really reached out to me, and I am so glad we were able to bond with the Warner Robbins group together!
You know I can’t have a blog post without talking about Jake. He didn’t get to come out to see me this weekend, which is okay. But I miss him so much! I was incredibly busy this week, and rarely had time to even text him. I felt awful, but it’s comforting to know that he understands. This summer has been so good for us so far. We are growing together, not only as college kids trying to mature into adults but also as Christians. And our relationship gets stronger every day. I’m lucky to have him, and while I’m having a great time here in Hayesville, I seriously can’t wait until we are back in Raleigh together!