Annville Mission Trip Moments
by Merry Morris
Our kids worked in the thrift store organizing donations and participated in the archery camp that’s happening on campus and interacting with some of the youth from the area. A group went to a nearby town called McKee to a gymnasium-turned-thrift store/multi-use area. We insulated walls and hung dry wall. We are staying in the campus guest house which means air conditioning, Wifi, beds and bathrooms. They feed us breakfast at 7:30 a.m., lunch at noon and dinner at 5:30. Everything is organized and made as easy as possible for us to help. It rained off and on this afternoon, but all in all, it has been a great day!
We put in another day of hard work. There was another truckload of donations to unload at the thrift store. By 9 a.m., there was a line of people waiting to get in. People in town know when there will be deliveries and it brings people to shop. It is clear that the thrift store serves as a major resource for many people. The kids went to archery camp again and improving on their bow skills. Damien earned the rank of Robin Hood as he was able to pop a balloon on a target. He beat all the other campers!
I found Arv and Pastor Don on campus at least 30 feet in the air tearing down scaffolding. Rufus was receiving and carrying the pieces to be stacked in their proper places. The scaffolding was huge (and heavy), and they were able to complete the job before lunch. After lunch, the scaffolding went back up on another side of the building. The ministry is siding a school building from the early 1900s. Lincoln Hall, as it’s called, has touched many lives of many generations of the local people. Rather than tear the building down due to its need for repair, they are renovating the inside and outside. Their goal is to turn it into a cultural arts center. We found ourselves back at the thrift store at closing time to help straighten for the next business day. We helped load tree limbs into a truck bed and weeded the gardens at the front gate. As a group, we can say that it feels great to contribute to the community here and to the work of Jackson County Ministries.
It’s day 3 of our Annville mission and we are helping where we can. Today this group cleaned more toilets than we ever thought possible. One of the common themes this week is teamwork and these kids were volunteering for different chores, maybe just to get the work done faster, but the bottom line is that they were motivated to work.
The rest of the scaffolding went up and lights were installed in the newer school building. We tidied up at the trade store again and we spoke with one of the workers whose name is Olga. She has been working at the store for more than 20 years, works every day, and is 92 years old. She shared a little of her life story with us. The thing she loves most about her job is talking with people and making connections with others. We ventured to Flat Lick Falls for a view of a waterfall and a hike in the woods. The Kentucky hills are beautiful! Our evening event of sharing reflections was around a campfire complete with s’mores. It was delightful!
Our goal for our final day was to finish strong. We started with a tour of a couple of the buildings on campus. The first building we went in was the new addition on the gymnasium. Tommy Miracle is the person in charge of construction on campus. They have added a long corridor onto the existing gym that will have a catering prep room, and also handicap accessible bathrooms. Tommy is also the person who told us what we would be doing each day. His son, Calvin, delighted us with his presence each morning and also attended archery camp with the kids.
The next building we went to was the church on campus. The church looked more modern on the inside, compared to the outside, complete with a baby grand piano, and it has, perhaps, the original bell in the tower. At Stevie’s request, Tommy pulled the rope to let us hear what it sounded like, and it was beautiful. At the end of the work day, Pastor Don, Arv and Tommy went to a nearby town to look at another reformed church. We are surrounded by reformed churches in this area, which is a different feeling compared to being in Lenexa, Kansas.
We worked, sweated bullets and I believe we did finish strong. The kids ended their day with another trip to the pool. Jake Moss, he’s the person in charge of this whole place, surprised us with t-shirts. It has been a peaceful, busy, eye-opening, harmonious week and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve others in this community.
Learn more bout Jackson County Ministries – Annville Institute.