21 June 2012

What I Wore

 Shirt: A thank-you gift for applying to a college. You can tell how much I treasure it.
Jeans: I've had them since high school.
Shoes: Steel-toed work boots that my dad bought me.
Not pictured: My most important accessory for the week, my wrist brace!

Last week, I called my brother Isaac to find out if he and my sister Lizzy could join Angel and I for an outing to an amusement park the next week. He said he couldn't, because he would be working on a missions project with his church during that time.

As soon as we knew about the missions project, we knew we had to go. Angel didn't have work scheduled for the first three days of the project, so, while we wouldn't be able to stay for the whole thing, we could stay and work for a good chunk of it. So, we were going. That is, if the people in charge would let us. Since, ya know, we didn't fill out any forms ahead of time or get signed up during the appropriate time period so that they could accurately plan on how many volunteers they were going to have.

Thankfully, the man in charge was happy to have us, even though we blatantly ignored all the deadlines and rules about signing up. This church is located in the inner city, and they host a yearly week-long work project for the purpose of doing mini home-makeovers for homeowners in their neighborhood who don't have the resources to do the necessary work on their house. This year, the church took on projects for about 8 houses--including several roofs, repainting jobs, and drywalling projects.

This was our house after the first day:

At this point, we had torn down the rotted railing and stairs for the porch, and begun rebuilding. We had also scraped and painted all the windows on the house, done some stucco repair, and chopped down all of the vines and shrubs that had taken over the backyard. Yet to be done was finishing and painting the porch, painting the house, re-roofing the porch, and painting the eaves.

After hours of rolling and painting, we officially renamed stucco "yucco." Christians that we are,  we weren't thinking too charitably about the inventor of stucco by the end of the third day, when we decided to call the paint job good, even though there were, inevitably, a number of stubborn pink spots that our brushes and rollers hadn't been able to reach.

This is the house when we left, so the rest of our team still has a lot of work to do by the end of the week:

 The homeowner was out working with us during the afternoon of the first day, helping paint windows. He was excited about all the work that was getting done on his home, but during the afternoon he shared that his only son had died just a few months before. He had been murdered, shot at his own 18th birthday party. I couldn't even imagine what that father must have been going through. Here we were, helping fix his house, but we couldn't help at all with the fact that he'd lost his son.

I am so glad we went. Many of the volunteers working on this missions project are retirees--they work eight or nine hour days in the hot sun, just so that they can give some of the people in their community a slightly better living situation. Their strength and ability to work shamed my weakly 20 year old body that was ready to quit hours before they were. Angel and I will be back next year, and next time we'll hopefully submit the right forms at the right time and I'll be in better shape!

Unknown said...

Awesome! Yeah!

Jessica Ooi said...

Wish I could join you guys next year! Sounds like a good missions field...

Unknown said...

This was such a great post! My daughter, son in law and grandson are moving to Austria next month for full time mission works. I loved this post because anything like this is near and dear to my heart.


Anonymous said...

Nice post Rachel!

Annie said...

You applied to Calvin? In GR? Where do you live?! I'm 20 minutes away from there!

The porch of the house looks so much better! That's awful about the man's son. You may not have been able to help the fact that he lost his son, but I think the fact that you and the group were willing to serve working on his house might encourage him and lift his spirits in the midst of that loss.

No(dot dot)el said...

Wow. Rachel this is awesome. I love how you posted WIWW with what you actually wore. SO great! I have been thinking for a while that there needs to be a person brave enough, and funny enough to post what they actually wear instead of what is out there. Bravo, brave sweet girl!

No(dot dot)el said...

Btw I love what you have done with the place here... the house yes, but your blog as well. :)