Editor’s Note: Last week seven middle school students and two leaders traveled to Winchester, Virginia to participate in a Jeremiah Project (JP) mission camp. Students help with a wide range of home repair opportunities, from painting to building wheelchair ramps. The following is a blog post from two of the students, Audrey Kim (A) and Grace Horner (G).
Where did you do good work on this trip?
A: On Thursday, we cleaned some stairs at our homeowner’s house with bleach. It was kind of nasty since all the moss that was there started to ooze off and drain down the steps. We also had to do some skirting work on the trailer, and while a lot of us were afraid of what was underneath, the adult leaders on our work group took charge and crawled underneath the trailer.
G: On Tuesday we went to our homeowner’s house. We had an original job list to do when we arrived, but we ended up doing much more at our worksite. It wasn’t because our homeowner, Mr. Hess, was demanding but rather because he was such a nice and passionate man that it was very easy to say yes to him. We managed to finish the latticework on his desk, weed and mulch his flower beds and paint a flower planter in front of his home. We also push-mowed his entire yard.
Was there something memorable that the homeowner said to you?
G: Mr. Hess had a lot to share with us while we were on the worksite. He shared a lot about his love for trains and also about his wife. One thing he said stuck with me: “Life goes by in an afternoon, and it goes by even quicker when you have someone special to share it with.” It was really clear to me that Mr. Hess loved his wife, and while his wife passed away four years ago, he still talked about her as if she were still with us.
Jeremiah Project invites homeowners to a dinner on Thursday night, and Mr. Hess was able to join us. He shared a few words with the camp that night. He said that every time he is able to share stories of his wife, she comes back to life for a few moments. Even though we were only sitting there listening to him, it was really cool to help share that with him.
Where did your faith grow?
A: My faith grew during this trip, especially trusting in not only God but also other people. I received so much support from all the campers, the JP Staff and the adult leaders, which made it easier for me to step out of my comfort zone and do adventurous things.
G: I think I saw my faith really grow after dinner on the last night. I felt that I was in an emotionally vulnerable space because of what Mr. Hess shared with us. I was in a place where I was exactly where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be doing anything else, anywhere else.
During worship, I sang along with all the songs because I knew them so well. And during the message, it felt like our speaker was speaking directly to me. Our topic last night was putting on the helmet of salvation from Ephesians 6:13-17. Even though I have been told my entire life that “Jesus died for my sins,” it actually clicked for the first time during worship. It was such a profound moment, and it was so amazing for it to happen at this place where just an hour before, I was splashing around in puddles in the pouring rain.
What was fun about your service?
G: While we did not get to see our own progress day-to-day on one particular worksite, it was amazing to meet the homeowners each day and see how much they appreciated the work we were doing.
The goal of our work wasn’t to get pats on the back for what we did, but it gave me such a great feeling when I saw with my own eyes that the work we did was really important.