Week 7!

I was able to bring a third work team back to the same home thanks to Julia! It was truly a blessing to be able to go back once more. After spending a month with this family, my life is forever changed. My eyes have been opened much wider, and the lens that I view my life through has been focused to make things a little clearer.

This week, our main project was staining the porch and wheelchair ramp. But we didn’t just do that! We decided that adding an extra step to the bottom of the staircase would make traveling up and down easier for the grandmother. And we also built two new gates to put at either end of the porch to keep dogs and other creatures off! But above all of these tasks, we made a solid attempt at going through our homeowner’s belongings. So many things were piled up on the porch, and we were able to get rid of a good chunk of it. And hopefully, we organized things to the extent that the family will actually be able to find and use them at some point!

I had a great group this week! It was the smallest group that I’ve had so far here at Hinton. There were three youth and two adults. This made it pretty difficult at the beginning of the week for the youth to open up. All three of the youth were definitely out of their comfort zones. Each of them seemed pretty introverted, and I’m impressed by how far they came throughout the week. Both of my adults were first-timers, while each of the kids had spent summers here before. Warren was one of my adults, and he rocked! We had opportunities throughout the week to get to know each other, and talk about some really cool stuff. Thank you so much Warren for all of the wisdom you offered me, and the great job you and Sean did on the stair and the gates! The youngest kid at the house loved playing with you, and it made me smile to see you reach out to her. I can see how great of a father he is, and hopefully he’ll be coming back to Hinton in the future! My other adult was Clarice. Thank you for everything you did. You were a very hard worker, and multiple times I had to ask you to stop working so that we could eat lunch! I hope that you and the rest of Bartow had a great experience here this week, and hopefully you will bring your group back again next summer! Kasey came to Hinton from the same church that Warren is from. She worked her butt off this week, and really impressed me when she took charge in organizing all of the belongings on the tarp. Thank you for being amazing and funny and cute Kasey! Abby, you rocked too. Your positive attitude was what I needed this week, so thank you for that! And Sean, you were great this week too. I know that you could have done a great job at a site that involved building a porch or doing some larger construction site, but I loved having you on my team! It was cool to see you working with Warren and getting to know him. You remind me a lot of my younger brother Zack. And trust me – that’s a huge compliment!

While I am very sad to leave the family that I’ve been working with for the past few weeks, I know that there are other sites that need work. There are almost two hundred families on the waiting list that need help. I will continue to visit this family, and will keep them in my prayers every day!

I want to give an extra special thank you to everyone on the three work teams that worked on this site! You have truly been God’s hands and feet this summer. I prayed to have volunteers that could help the family know what it feels like to hope again. Hope for a better life. For happiness. Hope that God is real, and that he hasn’t forsaken them. So THANK YOU for touching their lives, and for instilling hope into this family. I may be your leader here at Hinton, but none of this would be done without you. I couldn’t do ANY of it without y’all!!

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I want to take a minute to talk about a few of the people I get to work with this summer.

Bekah Herum is the one of the cutest, most optimistic girls that I’ve ever met! We share a room, and we pushed our beds together :) We’re adorable, I know. But seriously, this girl has such a big heart, and she is already maturing into an amazing woman. I am going to miss her so much whenever I go back to school. She’s the kind of friend that you’d like to spend a lazy afternoon with. I feel like Bekah doesn’t expect anything of me, and she accepts me for who I am. And that is so rare to find in a person! I fully expect you to come visit me at NC State next semester. You would fit in perfectly with the group of girls that I am living with. Thank you for all of the fun nights, and the deep conversations. You rock.

Bobby Craig, you are probably the funniest guy I know. You have the gift of making people laugh. Sometimes your jokes are inappropriate, and you make me uncomfortable… but I still love it. Having that sense of humor is going to make life a lot more enjoyable. My grandmother is in love with you, and your entire family. And now I understand why! You are going to be an incredible English teacher someday. And Shay is a lucky girl! We’ve had some pretty cool conversations on nights that I’ve spent with just you and Matt. You’re a real person. I know that I can always get an honest answer out of you, even if it’s not the answer I want to hear. That’s such a desirable characteristic, and I hope that you never lose it. I guess what I want to say is – thank you for being you. And you’re awesome.

Out of all of us working on staff this summer, Mike Horn easily has the biggest heart. Your compassion for people and animals is infectious. After the second week, I felt like we were already best friends. I’ve enjoyed all of the times we’ve hung out one-on-one this summer, whether it’s walking Cinder or checking out groups all over the hill. You’re a great friend, and I hope you know that! You and Matt are the only people on staff that truly understand how awesome Ben Lee is, and I CAN’T WAIT for the day that we make that trip to Warner Robins. Please know that I love you, and that we are definitely keeping in touch when we leave Hayesville! Thanks for being such a good friend, Mike. Those are hard to find.

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