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Hard to believe that our week in east Tennessee has come to a close. Five days of sawdust, sweat, and service always seem to escape before we can truly reflect on the importance of the work we are doing here.
Both our work crews, the Jellyfish Hunters and Muscle Bob Buff Pants, finished up on our respective projects with plenty of time left over for enjoying a pulled pork lunch (Jellyfish Hunters) and line dancing and snuggling with the new born puppies (Muscle Bob). It was great to see our teams have time to celebrate the relationships we built with the families on both of our work sites.
As a reward for the crews' hard work, and as a way to wash the stink and grime off them before heading back to the center, we took a side trip to Jacob’s Creek, a beautiful beach in the Cherokee National Forest. We may have scared the locals with our intense farmer tans, but I don’t think any of the teens minded at all.
We finished our day with the evening gathering where each work crew shared their God moment from the week. The importance of the relationships built with families and strengthened between our teens was powerful to see.
As always, we thank you for all your support this week. We truly appreciate you allowing us to come and represent First Church in this important ministry and look forward to returning again in the future.
Yours in Christ
FCC Mission Team
Does the temperature ever get below 90 in Tennessee? Another day of plus ninety temps, sweaty work crews, and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from making Appalachian homes warmer, safer, and drier. Or maybe that is just the humidity.
We had another productive day on our respective projects, and even started adding on some additional tasks to get a jump start for next week’s crews. We also were able to spend time in fellowship with our families, learning more about the struggles and joys of life in the mountains.
After we finished for the day, we traveled out to Steele Creek Park, a picturesque park with a beautiful lake. Unfortunately the lake is extremely toxic, filled with mercury and other industrial waste, so we took a pass on swimming this year. But it was one of the better family picnics in recent memory, as multiple families showed up to take part in the evening activities. Everyone shared a meal of burgers and hot dogs, and enjoyed a gutter sundae for dessert. Yes, they actually fill a rain gutter with ice cream and toppings and let the group gorge themselves. Those with more delicate sensibilities choose to spend their time playing bags, washer toss, frisbee, and volleyball.
Hard to believe that tomorrow will be our last day here in Tennessee. We have all worked extremely hard, and can see the evidence of that hard work as our families homes are transformed into warmer, safer, drier places to live and raise their families. We look forward to reuniting with our own families and friends in just a few days.
Thanks again for all your support and prayers. We could not do this work without each of you.
Another hot couple of days in the mountains. The groups have been working so hard, taking breaks to stay cool and hydrated. The progress on both of our projects, compared to the previous week’s crews, has shocked some of the staff and family members. A credit to our teens and their Wisconsin work ethic.
Tuesday Culture night has always been a great experience for the group, and last night did not disappoint. The band Alathea played, which everyone enjoyed. Their delivery style, laughter and message were a great ending to our day.
Tomorrow we have our family picnic. This event is time for us to share a meal and celebrate with our families. It is always a hit - grilled burgers and dogs - held in a local park.
The group has settled into Sullivan county very well. We are staying at a wonderful facility, Celebration Church, with 135 fellow ASP’ers. We think this is the largest ASP group ever in the history of ASP. That said, we are just one part of an overall community that is helping over 650 families this year with a total impact of over $17 million in Appalachia.
Our teams have completed their first day working on each of our two family sites. One of our projects is building a porch, while the other is repairing the exterior of a home. The weather today was hot and humid, so plenty sun screen was applied and hydration breaks taken.
The teens are doing an incredible job representing our FCC family - be proud parents.
Good weather for the start of the trip as our team headed out.
Our team of 16 youth and adult members in their matching tie dye travel shirts gets word of encouragement from Pastor Bill, who then gets a matching shirt, along with Pastor Barry, to show support while they are away. Watch for more posts with photos of our journey and working together with the welcoming residents of Appalacia.