Week 7 was a very long week. It was good, but VERY long. Every time my mind drifted from the work we were doing, I thought about the upcoming weekend. Jake finally got the opportunity to come to Hayesville and visit. And even though it seemed like it took forever to get here, Friday night FINALLY came! I drove out to Asheville to meet Jake for dinner and then he followed me the rest of the way to Hinton. Every moment with him was perfect. I stressed out and tried to plan the weekend minute by minute. I’m a little bit of a control freak, and in some situations it is hard for me to go with the flow. But despite all of my worrying, this weekend was amazing. And it was just what I needed. I think it was what Jake needed too. Being away from him this summer has been so tough, but it’s comforting to know that I’m on the home stretch! Just three more weeks, and I will be moving back to Raleigh to start another great semester at NC State, WITH Jake! He told me that this weekend just seemed like a tease, and that’s exactly what it was. I have a boyfriend that every girl should be jealous of. This weekend, I wanted so badly for all of the staff to see how great he is. But that would be impossible to show to someone in just one weekend. Basically, I just want all of you who are reading this to know that he is incredible, and I wish that everyone could see the Jake Sipe that I see!
I know that I just said how excited I am for school to start back in the fall. But I am torn. I really do love Hayesville, and I love working at the Hinton Center.
That being said – the last work site that I was at took a huge toll on me emotionally. Some days were great, while others were very discouraging. Honestly, those rougher days were very hard to get through. I am learning every week what Jesus meant when He told us to love our neighbor. Because I have learned that my neighbor may not always be appreciative. My neighbor may choose to sit on the couch smoking cigarettes all day long, showing no signs of motivation to get anything done. But Jesus told us to LOVE our neighbor. Even if they curse at us. Even if not one thank-you is muttered.
This work site that I’ve been blogging about for weeks was a case of extreme Appalachian poverty. To some, the knowledge that people live that way can be too much to handle. Over the past few weeks I have poured myself into this family. My mind is made up that whatever I offer to heal this family will never be enough. And on some days I would get frustrated and just try to work harder and harder, but then on others a wave of peace would come over me. This is God’s work. I am simply a vessel of his love, and I need to trust that God is doing what needs to be done in this home. There is a balance of what I can offer to this family, and what they will accept. And I don’t know that I will ever be able to find that balance on my own. I think that stepping back and moving to a different home for a while will be a good thing for now. I will never stop thinking about and praying for this family. God is in control. I need a reminder of that every second of every day.
So this week, I am working at a different site. We are going to power wash a mobile home, stain the deck and wheelchair ramp that is attached to it, create a walkway from the deck to the gate, rip up and repair a section of flooring inside, and hopefully repair a mildew infested shower! The man we are working for has had a plethora of health setbacks. He is one of twelve children, is married, and has two children of his own. He has already thanked my work team many times for the work that we are doing for him. He is a sweet, sweet man. He has many stories to share with us, and is great to talk to! I know that the youth on my team will bond with him and have an amazing week.
I forgot to mention how AWESOME my work team is this week! Jeff and Betty are my adults. Betty has been here for years and years, and it is Jeff’s first. Jeff is also the only guy on our team – an added bonus for him! All of the girls are great, and after the first day I can already see how well we are going to work together. I can honestly say that today’s lunch devotion was the best devotion I have had this summer so far! I know that I have a great group here, and it is refreshing to work for someone that shows so much gratitude. Oh, and the man we are working for breeds Great Danes. So of course, I’ve decided that this is my new favorite type of dog, and I want one!
More updates to come from Week 8 at the Hinton Rural Life Center!!