Week 1: Meet my new friends from Caswell Springs, in Mississippi!
This group of 30+ teens brought their southern grit to work down here in the blistering 100+ heat.
They finished TWO home demo projects, pulled insulation from another AND helped clean out a fourth home as that family prepares to get the final work done inside their living space.
When many hands come together, a lot can get accomplished.
I was so proud of them for showing up with willing hearts to get the work done & their desire to grow closer to God while here.
When they first arrived I asked them to think about how they wanted to grow in their faith this week. They wrote things like “I want to see my youth team grow closer together”, “I want to grow in patience”, “I want to help others”, “I want to grow closer to God”, and many more similar thoughts. At the end of the week every youth and leader was able to testify their growth in their relationships with God from the week!
I felt so blessed to hear how God was working in them and to be part of their journey this week.
I really hope to visit them in Mississippi one day!
Until then, I’ll pray for blessing in their life just as they prayed the Numbers 6 prayer over me.
This group showed me and reminded me that I am right where I am supposed to be here.
Week 2: I got to lead TWO amazing groups from Iowa and Ohio.
We tackled two full muck & guts this week. That means when we opened the doors of these houses, they still had furniture, refrigerators, bathrooms and other household items inside. These homes have not been opened since Hurricane Ian 10 months ago. We saw furniture displaced, lamps tipped over and refrigerators on the floor.
We had to first remove all of the insides of the homes before we could rip out old walls, floors and bathrooms. It’s eye opening to think these homeowners have been displaced for months. With lost hope of what can be done in their homes. Yet we got to come in and do the dirty work for them, reigniting hope for their lives to return to this place.
One of the neighbors of these homes brought us popsicles a few times this week. It was such a blessing to receive this treat in the heat of day. We later found out when visiting her that she does not have completed walls or flooring in her home. She is living in the shell of her home while she waits for funding and good timing to finish her home. She is a testimony of the people who came before us who helped gut her space and rebuild the sub-flooring so that she could at least use this space though it’s incomplete.
On our final work day this past week we got to hear her story about Hurricane Ian and the volunteers who have helped her get where she is today. We were then able to sing for her and pray for her as she continues to walk through the hardship of rebuilding her home.
Though she doesn’t have it all together, she was willing to share what she did have with us. What a beautiful picture of God’s community at work. Each person sharing what they are able for the encouragement of all.
That night we headed to the beach to celebrate all the work we had accomplished this week and to thank God for moving in our midst throughout the week. We worshipped during the final moments of sunset. We had onlookers and people who came up to talk to us about what we were doing there and to thank us for being in their community.
Before each group left I was able to ask them about what their takeaways were this week. Here are some of their responses:
“Seeing God work through my group encouraged me to keep going when it was hard.”
“I felt God come upon me and ask me to pray for the first time”
“I grew in patience and obedience this week”
“I was able to see true selflessness through people we met while working that showed me how Christians need to be even if they have nothing. Also doing worship on the beach was awesome!”
“My faith was renewed by seeing so many people come together to help those less fortunate.”
I am so encouraged and uplifted by getting to witness others step out in faith to build up their relationships with God. He has been so faithful to show me His goodness in each participant and in each situation I find myself in.
I can’t thank you, my supporters enough for your investment in what God is doing here in Ft. Myers. It is such a blessing to be a blessing.
Lots of love!