WV Trip 2011 Blog
Here are the contents of our trip blog from July 2011. They're posted in reverse chronological order, so start at the bottom to read from beginning to end.
Sunday - Final Day
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I’m writing the last post sitting at home and glad to be here. Sitting among a lot of bags papers and various other stuff from our trip. We made it back safe and sound with a very exhausted team. I think I speak for all of us that we had a great week!
We left Sunday with a very diverse group of individuals and returned Sunday with a family.
In our times both in the morning and the evening we shared a lot about our connection to God and to others. Craig challenged us at the beginning of the week to love the unlovable and what that looked like. As the week progressed we talked about being better lovers of God and that our faith should not be a set of beliefs but rather a lifestyle.
As we progressed toward the end of the week we discussed where we would take things from here. When we are in an environment of community that embraces our faith it’s a lot easier to live it out. Friday night I challenged each one of us to not have shallow relationships and posed the question “How can we continue this when we get home?” That is the question we need to continue to ask and pursue wholeheartedly. I believe the answer to this question as we discussed is to remain connected with each other and to have deep honest relationships. This is the beginning of our journey together, not the end of our trip.
I feel honored to be a part of such a great team and such a great trip. The highlight of the trip was having the privilege to see and be a part of our unique set of people mesh and grow to love each other as a family.
- Aaron Stetson
Day 7 - Saturday
Saturday, July 23, 2011
This morning, we got up and had a quick breakfast, loaded the van and trailer. We were on the road just before 10 AM. Our journey was slightly interrupted by a broken down trailer truck on the windy roads just south of War, WV. We made it to Chambersburg, PA before 5:30 PM and checked into our hotel. We ate dinner together at Cracker Barrel and enjoyed some relaxing time in the pool. I think we are all pretty wiped out from the week of hard work and looking forward to getting home tomorrow evening.
Day 6 - Friday
Friday, July 22, 2011
Today we all came down for breakfast around 8 o’clock and indulged ourselves in customized omelets. After breakfast we made and packed sandwiches for lunch. Our job today was simple. We set the beams for a handicap ramp for an old couple, Lawrence and Jackie. Jackie (in polka-dots) was a sweet old lady who was unable to leave her house because she is only mobile with her walker. Lawrence (in gray) has been blind for over 30 years due to cataracts.
After we finished at the house we went to one of the first coal mines in the area to take a guided tour of the Pocahontas coal mine. We learned many interesting things in the coal mine but the coolest thing was that the outside temperature was 90 and inside the mines was 45.
When we returned home I grilled burgers and hotdogs. Then we all walked to Jesse’s house to say goodbye to our new friend but he didn’t answer the door. On the walk back i stopped to say hi to a dog that has been chained outside the whole week. The dog looked like a vicious wolf so i inched forward very carefully. The dog was very intimidating but i came to find out that it was one of the most lovable dog i had ever met. it was so glad to play with someone that i sat on the dirt for over an hour playing with it in the rain. i brought it water and a burger which it loved. Tonight we played mafia and scheduled a 3 am pillow fight.
Day 5 - Thursday
Thursday, July 21, 2011
So today was our 5th day in West Virginia. In my opinion it became probably the most memorable day yet. Expecting a 90+ degree day, we woke up for breakfast at 7 and started out with some pancakes, which after a little delay in preparation, were really good. After our morning devotional where we spent some more time on the theme of loving. We focused on how to love God and went through different methods of how to improve our relationship with Him. One of the methods I particularly liked was to abstain from asking God for things and just give thanks instead. (I plan on trying that one out myself).
The workday started with each group going off to their respective houses. My group finished the roof on the house we have been working on since Tuesday, which was a real accomplishment. We ripped through the second half of the roof much faster than the first when we found a more efficient method that used everybody as one big team. (The name of the team was Nighthawk Dream Team 4.6, which comprised of all of our previous team names). After that the roof was finished much faster.
Lunch went by quickly and then we headed back out to visit the landfill and dump all of the trash we’ve collected this week as well as the shingles we took off of the roof. Luckily, we didn’t have to empty the 3-ton load by hand since there was man with a backhoe that took care of the tough stuff for us.
Next, we all headed to an old drive-in restaurant where Craig treated us all to milkshakes. We got back to the house hung out for a while and had a healthier dinner of stir-fry vegetables, rice, and pork. (Steven almost had a coronary when he heard we were having rice. He has gone a whole 5 days without rice and was fading fast. I’m convinced that when he offered to buy the sodas for us at dinner that the euphoria of the rice got to him).
Following dinner, some of us enjoyed a couple games of “Catch Phrase.” When that finished up, our group of youth had a full-blown dance party! We almost broke through the floor into the kitchen. We taught Stephen how to “Bernie” (ask your kids about that if you’re unfamiliar with the move) and had a great time. We were even able to get Aaron to join in for a short while.
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that if we our summer ended today, we’d be satisfied and say it was well spent. I’d say I can’t wait until tomorrow, but that means today would have to end. Hope all is well back at home. May the Lord keep all of us safe on our last day of work tomorrow as we continue to do his work here in West Virginia.
- Colby Putnam
Day 4 - Wednesday
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The conclusion of today not only marked the end of day four but also the halfway point of this trip. We started with a fantastic bacon, egg, and cheese casserole prepared by Becky and Kitty. After our morning talk the group split to the three work sites, two consisting of roofing and the third siding and sheet-rocking. We are all thankful to say that the yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets finally compromised with us and took the day off. Another key point to the day was Barry finally getting his truck back and all fixed up.
All the work sites really put our stamina to the test. Thankfully, today was the first day we brought along ice thanks to Jim Morton. On top of the roof we broke ourselves into teams, one ripping up the previous shingles, another felting the bare wood, and last one team with a nail gun placing the new shingles on top. The group working on siding completed a wall and a half while also finishing mudding. The third group tore up and replaced the roofing on a back section of the neighboring house.
When everyone came back from working we enjoyed a delicious dinner cooked by Jim and Aaron. After that the majority of us hung out and either played cards or apples to apples. It’s amazing how easily this group can come together and have a good time even after a long and hard day at work.
Even at its halfway point this trip has really impacted most of us. I’ve learned to challenge personal integrity and live each day wondering how I can improve not only my life but others. More importantly, no one is here for an individual goal, it’s about making a difference whether it’s big or small.
- Brandon Cole
Day 3 - Tuesday
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Today, we started off the day with a delicious breakfast made by Tyler and Brandon. Homemade waffles was a great start to our morning! Next we broke up into two groups and began working.
The first group was the roofing group. We tore off and re-roofed one side of a roof on a house up the road. Though this task was dangerous, we all managed to not fall of the roof. It was very hot and we are planning on finishing the rest of the roof tomorrow.
The other group had the task of finishing the addition next door. We finished the insulation and installed the storm doors. We also sheetrocked the ceiling.
After dinner, we took a walk to the Hill Billy Throwdown! We all learned how to flat foot dance. There was live entertainment from the guys with guitars. There was a girls verses guys singing competition, and obviously the girls dominated.
Finally, we finished up the day with games and fun activities and mostly everyone crashed at 10:00.
Day 2 - Monday
Monday, July 18, 2011
Hi Everyone! Yes, we are all alive and well.
Day one of construction began in earnest as we set off to work... in our own backyard. Almost literally. Volunteer groups devote one day to working on the Hopeforce house that we stayed at and slowly make it better and better. We broke off into three groups that worked in the same general vicinity of the house we stayed at.
The bulk of the group was tasked with siding the far end of the house, which required that they set up 3 stories of scaffolding (seen above). No simple task, compounded with the abundance of bee nests that we encountered while twenty feet in the air. “It’s like playing Minesweeper with hornet’s nests”, one person joked as the group scraped the wall. We fortunately made it through without incident and the end of the house was almost completely sided. Only 2 more to go!
The ladies were asked to contribute to their own room by painting it. The task went well enough for them to sleep in the same room that night. By “well”, of course, I mean with enough diversions to keep anyone busy. The group had plenty of fun leaving handprints on the walls (and even on a few people) and took the liberty of writing their own names on the windows. A certain *someone* was alleged to have doused one of the painters with lighter fluid...
One final group worked on an addition to an adjacent house that had barely been framed. In the course of the day they managed to cover it with Tyvek wrapping, install windows, and get rudimentary electricity running. As a member of said group, the (least) fun part was putting in insulation. With no hazmat suits nearby, we improvised to cover our skin as we worked with the irritating material. Those who were covered with paint or fiberglass were the first to dash for the showers, I might add...
All in all, it was a productive day for everyone and a great opportunity for our group to come together. I’m looking forward to heading out to other construction sites to meet new people!
We are Here!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
After just short of 17 hours on the road, a series of vehicle troubles, traffic and road construction we are finally here! We left at 4:25 AM had 3 gourmet meals at Subway, McDonalds and Hardees, drove 856 miles and got here at almost 9:30 PM.
Everyone is exhausted, but very glad to be here. Tonight Craig welcomed us and briefed us on what our week is going to look like. Looking forward to a great week.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
It’s 5 minutes of three on departure day. The week has consisted of lists, getting forms, triple checking, picking up the trailer and dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.
I would be lying if i said I wasn’t a little overwhelmed at a 16 hour ride staring us in the face. Soon I will be leaving for church, people will start showing up in a groggy half asleep state. Some i’m sure will not have slept yet (probably what I would have done if I wasn’t the driver.)
We have a great mix of people going on the trip (check out the “who’s going” page). This morning we will be praying for safety on the roads, for our team to begin to build some camaraderie and for mental preparation for a week of work ahead.
I have seen few things that have nearly the impact on people’s lives as a trip away from home, out of one’s comfort zone with a focus on God. For that I am most excited about this week to come.
Aaron - Sunday morning 3:00 AM