“It’s all about the relationships.” I heard this over and over again from Restoration’s West Virginia trip veterans as I prepared last spring for my first church mission trip. Last July 4th weekend marked the fourth year Restoration has sent a team to partner with Appalachia Community Care, an organization committed to supporting the small community of Chestnut Ridge in Philippi, West Virginia.
I learned first-hand the value of relationships after just a few short days with Chuck and Nicky, the warm-hearted couple my team would help during our time in Philippi. To say that they welcomed us into their life and home is an understatement, and the significance of their hospitality was not lost on our team, since just six months prior, a fire had destroyed Chuck and Nicky’s trailer. Fortunately, friends and family had donated to help provide the couple with another trailer. One of our team’s projects consisted of building a foundation to support their new trailer and burying a drainage pipe to protect the new foundation from erosion.
Hours of laying in the mud under the trailer left us dirty and achy, but Chuck’s quiet smile and Nicky’s hearty laugh made it a joyful experience for all of us. I’ve never met two people so grateful for what God has given them, even after they watched their possessions disappear in flames. And despite all that they had lost, they gave of themselves abundantly in spirit and friendship. I felt like I had made two lifelong friends by the end of the trip.
I have stayed in touch with Nicky via Facebook and was thrilled to see that she and Chuck tied the knot just a few weeks ago. I look forward to visiting them and celebrating the beautiful life they are rebuilding together when Restoration makes its fifth trip to Philippi this July.
The 2014 West Virginia team is now preparing to re-engage old relationships and forge new ones on this annual trip that has become an integral part of Restoration’s story. On June 1st, we will host a spaghetti dinner immediately after the service in the Fellowship Hall to raise funds for our lodging and building materials. We are asking for donations of $10/person or $30/families. We will also be hosting a skills auction and prize raffle throughout the dinner. We are excited to share this experience with you and hope to see you all on the 1st!
– Jessica Payne