Where to begin? With Alan almost completely recovered from his surgery and Alisha well on the mend from her emergency surgery, we marched right into summer! On June 6th both girls flew to their respective places: Alana to Kentucky and alisha to North Carolina for now. The very next Friday night our mission team arrived from Springdale, Arkansas... and our lives will never be the same (hopefully theirs won't either!) Although it was late, they were all exhausted, but in good spirits and everyone pitched in to unload supplies for the week. It was an awesome sight! Saturday they hit the ground running, passing out 100+ invitations door-to-door from Saltese to DeBorgia. Sunday morning they led the worship time in services and then did a concert for us that night.
Loggin' in Haugan--These phenomenal teens were hard workers and seemed happy to do it! It was truly a wonderful experience and a great encouragement to us and to our small band of believers. Yet, God spoke volumes to the people in this community, especially several business men as they observed the work going on. Monday and Tuesday, these young people worked hard labor to clean and clear up the church grounds. They were divided into work teams for clearing trees, clearing slash, burning and spreading clay on the parking lot. Monday evening we passed out of more invitations for a Free Concert and Ice Cream Social for Tuesday night.
One of the amazing things was the response and cooperation of several men in our community. Vern and Chris were the only church members who worked with the youth, but John, Pat, Ozzie, Mike, and Bill also came to assist in different tasks. Three of the men, non-members, and two others who had come to special events assisted. And for one of the men this was the very first time he has stepped onto the property! The kids forged a bridge for us to build relationship with him--his wife already comes to services when they are here for weekends--but he never has. The other gentleman, a hard core businessman in the area, from which we purchased 4 loads of dirt for the parking lot, returned after lunch with his dozer to spread the remaining dirt and saved the kids hours of work they had been doing by hand. He did not charge for this labor, he could have and normally would have! This was certainly a blessing from God. Then this same businessman brought his wife to the Tuesday night concert! God was at work. The shadow of the enemy's darkness was turned just a bit more this week and we are greatly rejoicing!
From St Regis to Haugan - By Tuesday the group had met and made contact with several teenagers in Haugan and finally caught up with two of our own youth from St Regis! This was a HUGE blessing. Two local teens also showed up at the concert along with 26 other folks from the community. This was a good turn out for a "church event" in this valley! (28 from community + 18 from New Hope = 46) Oh, yes, and one family who came did not get out of their car except to get their child some ice cream. One of our church members went over and visited with them for several minutes. They were shy but excited that the father had a new job and was doing well. This was our third time to have a "touch" with this family: first on Easter Sunday morning, then through the Food Pantry a few weeks later, and this concert/ice cream social. God is at work. Please pray for this young family.
Showers of Blessing - Wednesday it rained and poured! But the young people kept working: one team "harvested" rock, loaded it from 5 miles up the mountain and unloaded it into the soon-to-be prayer garden! this was hard work and not for the faint of heart. It would have taken our small band of believers months to get this done, if at all because most of us are not able to life heavy objects. To say these kids were a gift from God is a gross understatement. And some of the girls helped go through donated clothes to check their condition, size them, and prepare them for display in our new Resource Center in the Fall. This was a tremendous help.
Parting is such sweet sorrow - Shakespeare was pretty much right on! Wednesday night we reluctantly bid farewell to this special group with a cook out and games at Vern Herman's fire pit! Everyone ate burgers, hot dogs, venison, and smores to their heart's content. But, it was really hard to say goodbye. Two young men from Haugan even showed up for the cook out and games. Please pray with us for the teens this group befriended: Ty, Chance, Tyson, Juliana, & David.