James and I are home and nearly recovered from our week away. We are sponsors/teachers for the middle school class at our church and this past week we went with them and the youth ministers to Indianapolis for a mission trip. The program we attended is called Mission Indy. This was my second year attending Mission Indy and James' first. What an awesome program! Groups come to Indianapolis to help with various construction-type projects while being encouraged and motivated to find ways to serve God and others when they return home. I was really challenged throughout the week through the daily devotionals and speakers to find ways I can further God's Kingdom here in Knoxville. I really like the model of Englewood Christian Church where we stayed for the week - several groups worked on homes owned by the church that were only one or two blocks away. Other groups worked on converting an old school building next door to the church into a residential facility for people with special needs. Being in an urban neighborhood, the needs are sometimes a little more obvious than those in our neighborhood. In fact, as I write this, news is coming out about a fatal shooting in a neighborhood only a few miles from where we were. However, things aren't perfect in our area, the problems just look different here.
Anyway, my group worked on gutting an abandoned house (actually one unit of a duplex). This entailed removing the furniture as well as paraphernalia left by squatters, one of whom I hear came by to remove some things while this work was being done. Then we removed carpeting and flooring before being assigned to tearing down the walls - primarily plaster walls with wooden lathe boards underneath. This was very physical work involving lots of hammering and prying. One night, I woke up and realized I had been hammering in my sleep! James was with the other part of our group, who worked on re-hanging plywood and Tyvek on one side of a house to prepare it for siding. They then dug, framed, and placed gravel subbase for a walkway along the side of the house to prepare it for concrete placement. We all ended the day filthy and exhausted, hit the showers, and then stuffed ourselves on outstanding food prepared by the host church. Dinner was followed by worship and then group discussion and games. It was a great week of learning, serving, and fellowship. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our church and how He leads us to serve here in our community.