Kentucky Mission Trip Fall 2022 | Update #4

October 9, 2022

By Todd Zeiger

"A Place for Bailey"

Mission trips are filled with various acts of service; as team members apply their talents and gifts to help those placed in their path. A capstone project often fuels the push at the end to stay engaged and strong as effects of the work accumulate on a body and spirit. Both of these are unaccustomed to such stretching. It points a team to examples of lives changed.

Mission trips are inconvenient; they disrupt normal routines of the lives of those who go, and also the family members back home. Kids still must get to school. Dogs need sitters. Spouses pick up the slack. This disruption clears out the daily noise to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice focus us on others. Everyone is forced outside their comfort zone.

Team members learn new skills. Experienced members knowing they could do it faster without the “help” from other teammates learn humility and patience growing those teammates’ talents by mentoring their work. I’m struck by how much this must reflect how Jesus feels about us. He is the ultimate mentor who could certainly do it Himself – faster and certainly better; but he chooses to mentor.

Examples of this uncomfortable zone abounded during this trip. Ogden Memorial Methodist Church has transformed its Sunday school rooms into ad hoc dormitories to house teams. They give the key to the building to strangers who take over for days at a time. That is uncomfortable no doubt for some members of the church who may cling so tightly to “their” building; but the amazing kitchen is perfect for such service. The temporary shower truck is a great set up as well.

It's also in the in between times that team members work through questions and grow in their faith through conversation with others. Some on this team are still trying to come to terms with how the projects are picked and how the people served are determined. We may never know. But we DO know that God selected Joe Workman in Dawson Springs to carry out that connection. This week we left it in Joe's, and God’s, hands. It would be nice to say everyone leaves here satisfied – all doubts arrested. That’s not the case, but God will continue to find ways to work that all out in His time.

Our final full day here brought the entire team to the block house – affectionately named after the first project assigned there, which expanded to include other desperately needed things. Talking with the owner, we learned that the grandmother’s bad knees made getting in and out of the house with its four steps almost impossible, except when absolutely necessary.

The front deck was completed, the yard transformed, but in a fit of Holy Spirit fueled (delirium?) energy, two new projects, one of which involved building a ramp to the back door. The other project grew out of the evening de-brief, where the team decided to apply the unexpected and gracious donation towards something for the granddaughter, Bailey. The Holy Spirit opened team members’ eyes to see she needed a space. As soon as we cleared away the front deck Thursday, she was out playing and making it her space with a tiny bit of chalk and those well-loved Barbies. The team decided to build her a playhouse. And so, we did. It will cause us to modify our schedule on Sunday a bit to finish up. Energy and daylight simply ran out; so, we’ll get up a little earlier, shorten the lunch stop and maybe get back a tad later. An inconvenience for sure, but this is something that stretches those (me) who have “stick to the plan” wiring.

Through the morning devotionals, the Holy Spirit challenged us to serve others and multiply our talents. The team mission verse focused us to be “rebuilders of people and places.” We can check those boxes as accomplished. Some leave here newly committed to future service; others renewed in their next steps in their walk with Jesus. While others remain unsettled, as they wrestle with this notion of how and why God puts people in our path for such service.

This team is amazing and was a blessing to lead. We leave here knowing Buddy has a shower he can use and has been challenged to get right with God. Delinda can close a troubling chapter in her life and begin to heal and grow her faith. We leave knowing God has placed Joe, a man of faith, to carry out the task of helping the community rebuild. It is clear from our conversations that Joe is rebuilding not only the houses, but the spirit of those with whom God places in his path. We would do well to do the same. And we leave a place for Bailey.