The West Virginia 2014 team is back, safe and sound. For the sixth time, a team of 17 from Restoration (and one Falls Church Anglican member!) spent four days last week in Chestnut Ridge, a community near Philippi, WV. We partnered with Appalachian Community Care (ACC) to serve and build relationships with the community there.
Our team was divided into four crews and worked on five construction sites. The projects included painting the basement of a church, staining a deck and painting a porch, building a greenhouse and planting some crops in it, framing the flooring and walls of a 12′ x 16′ addition to a home, and assisting with the demolition of a trailer on a property where a new trailer has been installed. By God’s grace, everyone was safe, despite working with power tools and climbing ladders at times, and the projects were really successful.
While the hands-on projects are important in and of themselves, their main purpose is to facilitate building relationships. It’s amazing what kind of conversations you can have, even when you spend just a couple of days with someone. I loved hearing the stories from team members at the end of the day: about being able to encourage a local pastor in a struggling congregation, praying with an individual who is just entering recovery from substance abuse, and hanging out with teenagers and offering them perspective on life. Weber Ivy and I had a conversation with a person who was convinced that she had blown it too many times for God to still love her, and we were able to give her a message of hope that God’s grace goes beyond anything we can imagine because of what Christ has done.
I was also really pleased to see the affect that the trip had on the team. I heard a number of comments about the benefit of being in a place that hasn’t fallen prey to idols like materialism, busyness, and success at all costs in the way that many of us in the DC metro area have. It was a great time for us to learn how to care for one another as we processed and reflected on our experience. And several of the team members shared that this trip was a significant step forward in their sense of belonging at Restoration.
As a team, we’d like to say thank you. Thank you for a lovely sendoff the week before the trip (pictured above), and thank you for your support at our spaghetti fundraiser and in so many other ways. Also, we’d like to say please join us next year! It’s a great experience where you have fun and grow spiritually at the same time. We’d love to have you.