As a member of Smoke Rise, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to choose which mission trip I would like to experience. For years I have gone to NYC to work with inner city kids during their Clue Camp. For some time I have wanted to experience another mission trip and a few weeks ago I went on The Appalachia Trip.
My five days in Kentucky proved to me that there is still love and hope in this crazy world we live in. We spent time at two public housing complexes, a senior center and at the GAP (God’s Appalachian Project). Many came as we were prepared for haircuts, manicures, crafts, distribution of eyeglasses and food too! It was so obvious to me, as “the new kid on the block” how much they loved just spending time with this group of ladies from Smoke Rise. As each one of us offered a listening ear and often prayed with them, I could see their eyes light up and I felt a sense of hope in the room. If it was only for that one day, it was such a good thing…but just maybe that love and hope will make an impression for a lifetime!
I personally experienced several times when I knew God was in that place, working with us and through us. As I was talking with a young man, I learned that he was a lay minister in the community. He shared with me about his experience when his life was changed by God. The conversation started in a hope that I could witness to him and in return, he witnessed to me. This stayed with me all week!
When the day was done and we were tired, but so full of the experiences of the day, we went back to the lodge. This was a time when we shared our individual experiences of the day and I will always cherish this time as well. We prayed, cried, laughed, and ate some delicious meals together! I was once told that “it is better to give than to receive”, but what a blessing when you can experience both!
I still see the faces and eyes of the women, men, and children that I was fortunate enough to spend time with on this trip. I still see the loving and caring faces of the 10 women that I served with on this trip. I can’t wait to go back!