"Every man leaves a lasting influence... that will affect future generations for centuries to come. But let's face it, not all legacies are the same. Some are productive, others are destructive. Some are illustrious, others are infamous... what kind of a legacy will you leave behind? A spiritual legacy is one that money can't buy and taxes can't take away, it is passing down to the next generation what matters most."
Steven J. Lawson

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Blessing of Community

This is my first post in over a year! I think I finally found a purpose or direction to go in with my blog, so I am going to keep it updated every week or every other week from now on. Well, I have gotten a job working in Tennessee at a rafting company called Eagle Adventures for the summer, and I have been here for about two weeks. I spent this last week training, doing activities such as our climbing wall, indoor games, spending time with elderly, and interacting with mentally and physically challenged adults.
It has been a challenging week both mentally and emotionally. Being away from the things that I am accustomed to has been hard, but phone calls help alot! Also, working with mentally and physically handicapped people at a place called Industrial Opportunities Incorporated was heart breaking. We saw some adults with severe handicaps some of whom are told by their families that they cannot do anything, yet here they are being useful making medical supplies, bags, belts, and even car parts for the military.
So on Tuesday, we took a youth group from Pearl, Mississippi to work with the people at IOI and interacted with them, ate lunch with them, and we trainees supervised the youth as they interacted. Then the next day, IOI brought people to Eagle Ranch and they tried the climbing wall, ate lunch, and they kids put on a puppet show, which everyone from IOI loved. it was such a blessing to see the smiles on their faces.
On Thursday, we went to the community center nearby and danced to Bluegrass music with the elderly who come there every Thursday. That was fun and the kids really got into it! Then we ate lunch and interacted with them. One man I spoke with named Doug, was a WWII verteran and told me that he had been captured by the Germans who then burned his arms sdo that he could not use his weapon. He continued gto talk to me and I learned much aboiut his life.

Then on Friday and Saturday I had a chance to go whitewater rafting for the first time and it was awesome! I ended up going two more times on Saturday when the river was very high. Even though I'm not training to be a river guide, I am able gto spend alot of time with coworkers who are, and so far it has been a great experience getting to know people from all over the country. In fact, the guy that I room with is from Savannah and he know four people that I am friends with! Talk about small world... His name is Matt Holland, and we have had many good conversations not only about our Christian lives, but also about music we like, people we both know, etc.
The other guides that Iam becoming friends with are Joe Carroll, Sam Hovan, and Justin Boldt, all three of whom go to school in Texas, Virginia Brown from Arkansas(we call her Pepper, but that's another story), Steven from California, and Elizabeth Heck from Massachusetts. All of us but Steven are Christians and live on the ranch, but Steven is hoping to move onto the ranch this week and bunk with me and Matt. He is open to Christianity, but doesn't attend church or spend time around Christians, so it is our hope that we can get him involved in a bible study that us guides are starting on Wednesday. Please be in prayer for that!
It is through these simple interactions that our group is able to share the love of Christ to those we come in contact with and learn more about what it means to love others in a fallen, and broken world. It is a remendous blessing that there is a small Christian community with us guides here and we have already become friends. What a great start to the summer!