Roy’s trailer is loaded, which is a clear indication that our work here is almost done. The only thing left is to hand over the keys to Perry and Jan tomorrow at 10am. All the volunteers agree that this year has been a blessing. The food was terrific, the home has come along without a hitch, the housing has been comfortable, and the fellowship has been extraordinary.
Tomorrow, we’ll head home with a rejuvenated appreciation for all that we have. We’ll be reunited with our loved ones who we’ve missed so dearly. Despite our joyful reunion, we’ll also be sad to say goodbye to old and new friends. It’s all part of a this beautiful work that so many have been called to carry out.
Thank you, Lord, for using us.
I had an errand to run today a few hours away in Shawnee Kansas, so I hadn’t seen the progress for the day until after the devotion tonight. A few of us headed out for some trim work to get a head start on tomorrow’s agenda. When I walked in, it was hard to hold back the tears. My mind was taken back to earlier this summer when I came to Solomon to do some filming for the project kickoff.
I drove down Perry and Jan’s lane that day through overgrown weeds, past debris slung throughout the lot. What was once their home was nothing more than a few walls covered with moldy drywall. A smoke alarm eerily chirped through the otherwise silent remains. There was little or no signs of hope on this lot. That was then, and this is now.
Tonight, you cannot enter a single room in this beautiful home without seeing hope. Hope of new memories. Hope of grandchildrens laughter. Hope of new friends visiting from far away. And most importantly, hope in Jesus Christ. These walls, securely braced by His hands and feet, serve as a constant reminder of the hope we have in Him.
Maybe it’s the beauty of the home that made me tear up when I walked in tonight, but I dont think that was it. I think it was the beauty of His grace.
Not everyone involved in this ministry serves on location at a relief build. There are thousands of people who support the cause through prayer and financial contributions; Many of whom, for a variety of reasons, will never step foot on a building site. Some are not physically able. Some are restricted by work schedules. Some just don’t consider themselves gifted in the construction trades (I can relate). The fact that these people don’t attend does not, in any way, make them less of a part of this amazing family. They are of no less importance to the work being done than those who spend the entire 14 days bending nails and rebuilding walls over and over again until they get them right.
What saddens me about these valuable members of our family not coming along with us, is that they don’t get to experience the intimacy of our devotion time in the evenings here on a build.
I would love to have one big 1000+ chair circle that includes everyone from the prayer warriors to the drywall hangers, to the spouses of the volunteers who selflessly serve back at home so their loved ones can come and experience it. What a circle that would be! I’d love to walk around that circle and give 1000+ hugs.
Some day, I suspect I’ll have that opportunity, and it will be in the presence of our Father in heaven. On that day, it will all be made clear how each and every one of us was connected, and for what purpose. By the time that circle happens, we’ll likely have to add a few thousand more chairs.
In the meantime, until the 1000+ hugs begin, I’ll have to settle for a big “thank you” over a blog post to all of you who inspire me every day through your selfless commitment to Gods work. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life to tell the story of how God is using you, through the lens of my camera, and through the words in my heart.
Perry and Jan have now been officially kicked out of their house to maintain the surprise of seeing the finished product for the first time this coming Saturday at 10am. So don’t expect to see many pictures of the house over the next few days. Sorry Jan, no peeking online!
I love this time of the build because I get to focus the camera on OFOP’s most treasured work–the people. The house is nice, but the bond between volunteers is a priceless work of beauty. The Holy Spirit has united brothers and sisters from at least six states to participate, and helped forge unbreakable bonds. These people are more than just friends. They are a family that can rely on one another to weep, laugh, celebrate, praise, and petition the Lord on their behalf. One cannot say enough about this bond that the Lord has forged.
Here’s a few shots of Gods handy work.
Our friends at First State Bank of Illinois are holding a bake sale in their lobby of the LaHarpe branch on Friday, December 2nd from 9am – 5pm. We encourage those in West-Central Illinois to stop by the bank that day to show your appreciation and support. No need to bring baked items–they have that covered. Just come and buy some good food for a good cause. As always, all proceeds will go towards building materials.