There are amazing things happening at Hinton, and I want everyone to know all about it!! I want to share stories about our week and the family that we are working for, so I am going to use pseudonyms. I think this is important, because I want their identity to be protected. I know that those of you who have worked on their home (like the Warner Robbins bunch) will be able to tell who’s who! And hey Ben, the names I’ve chosen might sound a little familiar to you.
My new team came to Hinton yesterday afternoon. This is an AAIM (All Ages In Mission) week. So unlike the SHYM week, I have a work team of people who all attend the same church and youth group. This bunch is from Versailles, Kentucky! My adult leader is outgoing and hilarious. In the day that I’ve known the man, I can tell that he walks with the strength of the Lord. This isn’t his first time at Hinton – he actually has been coming for years!
Before I get into the crazy amazing not-coincidence-but-God-given story, there are some other things you should know. Last week Jane’s son Bob wasn’t around a whole lot. And when he was…things didn’t go so smoothly. I’m not sure if we were stepping on his toes a little and he was protecting his pride, or what was going on, but my work team last week had an unpleasant interaction with him. Well, this morning Bob came home with his girlfriend and a friend I’d never met before, and greeted us with a smiling face. He stayed and chatted for a little bit, before heading on out. Before he left though, Mike (my awesome leader) talked to him about putting in a new ceiling fan in the living room. He said he’d be more than happy to help, which is so cool! I’ve said it before, but we are not here to put paint on these walls and vinyl on the floors. We are here to serve. And to love. And that means extending ourselves as Christians into uncomfortable situations to help this family. And that’s what Mike did. I really hope that Bob and Mike get to work together to put that ceiling fan up. It would mean a lot to Bob I am sure.
Bob coming around is an incredible thing in itself, but wait until you hear this! I mentioned that Mike has been to Hinton for years. Well, he was actually here about ten years ago, and he built a porch out in Murphy. As the day went on, I guess things started looking pretty familiar to Mike. Suzy, Jane’s daughter, started working with us while we were ripping up the kitchen floor. The two of them got to talking, and then a big sparkly light bulb went off! Mike built this actual porch on this home in the 90’s. There had been a snake up under the porch, and Mike remembered some guy trying to pour gasoline and throw a stick of dynamite under the porch to try and blow it away. That’s something that someone doesn’t forget I guess. It was actually Suzy’s brother, Bob, who tried to pull that stunt with the snake! Suzy and Mike shared this moment together where they realized that they were far from strangers. They had actually met before! Mike had even met Carl, who must have been about five years old at the time. This just blew my mind. I mean, what are the chances that ten years later, Mike gets placed at the same work site to work with the same family? This is powerful stuff. God is creating these little miracles all around me, and I am thrilled that I get to witness it all happen. Is there really such thing as a coincidence? I do not think so. Friends, there is a stronger force that brought Mike back to this family.
This moment that Suzy shared with Mike must have been enough to make her comfortable with this new group. With the last group, it took nearly all week for her to warm up to us. But here she was, laughing and sharing stories with us all in the kitchen with primer drying on the walls and half of the floor ripped up. This woman is very broken. She has had a very hard life. I knew that she had a lot of anger and pain held up inside of her, and I wasn’t quite sure why. But today she began to share her story with us. She explained to us how she has lost two of her own children. The entire time she was talking, I was in disbelief. I could not believe that she was opening up to this work team when she had only known them for a few hours. I am not sure what all of this means exactly. But I know that something awesome is happening. I heard Suzy say that her and God “just aren’t on the same page,” and that she is sure that they “probably never will be.”
I know that I cannot understand how much pain Suzy has experienced throughout her life, and I know that she is hurt and broken. But I do understand and believe 100% that there is nothing that God can’t do. And I know that there is healing that this woman needs. I hope that God will be able to use not only myself, but my entire team as a vessel for His love, so that Suzy may come to a place in her life that she has never been before. Suzy isn’t the only one in this family that needs healing. Carl needs to get back to school and take his GED classes. Jill and Mandy need guidance and role models. Jane has diabetes, and has a viral infection this week, and so she needs physical healing as well. I want to ask anyone who is reading this to pray for this family. Pray, pray, pray. Ben Lee assured me last week that prayer works. And I couldn’t agree with him more!