This is going to be a long one...and not very relevant to veganism...sooo here's the link to the recipe. Keep reading if you'd like to know more about my summer!
So far this summer I have helped another crew set up camp in Bradenton, FL and ran a camp in Valdosta, GA with my awesome crew, the City of Valdosta (INCREDIBLE cosponsor; incredible people) and the most amazing MC, director, and volunteers anyone could ask for.
Here's a little bit about Valdosta: This community is full of so much love it is overflowing. The City has made it their goal to eliminate substandard housing by 2020. They have been doing Workcamps since 2005 and have a team dedicated to this cause. They are extremely organized, know the city like the back of their hand, and love its citizens.
We knew the camp would run smoothly from the first day we arrived. The school we were staying at welcomed us with open arms and the cosponsor was always a phone call away. Once setup was over and campers arrived, I assigned crews. Before program even started, they all ran to their crew number and started mingling with their crew (for those of you not in the workcamp world...these people have never met before and this is a BIG deal). It was so moving to see their eagerness to get to know each other and to see how well they got along. The first two days of work were less than ideal...tropical storm Debby was bringing buckets of rain and 16 of the 17 sites were exterior paint projects...the 17th was a wheelchair ramp. Nonetheless, the crews worked through it in the rain and mud to complete whatever little projects they could...painting under overhangs, making minor repairs, and even cleaning one resident's entire house! These kids were seriously dedicated to serving Jesus and the people of Valdosta.
Besides some very minor finishing touches (i.e. painting around electrical wires...installing a vent cover...), every crew completely finished their project by the end of the day. The crews are only asked to work from 9am to 3pm each day (only til 12pm Wednesday), however, most of these crews didn't finish up at their sites until 5 or 6 on Thursday and Friday...simply because they wanted to finish (even though they knew the City/Habitat for Humanity would take care of it if they couldn't). Considering the weather, these crews completed 4.5 days of work in 2.5 days. I have never seen Jesus more than I did in these campers. Their dedication the past week reminded me of the year Group Workcamps' theme was from 1 John 3:18 "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth"
Love out loud.
Something I still strive to do everyday. I still believe this is the best way to win people to Jesus. I am still in awe when I look back on the past week. I formed some relationships that could not be formed in a year outside of the Workcamp world and learned so much about myself and God. I look forward to continuing to grow in these relationships and my faith in the coming weeks and beyond.
The only thing that could have made that week more perfect would be is my home state was not being ravaged by wildfires. If you were not already aware, I hail from the great state of Colorado and I LOVE it with all my heart. Every little thing about it. To read the news that my two homes in CO [Colorado Springs and Fort Collins] were experiencing the most devastating fires in Colorado's history hurt my heart. I wanted to be there helping the people affected in any way I could. I wanted to bottle up the motivation shown by the youth at our camp and spread it to everyone who had the ability to help. I know there is nothing I can really do, but if you have the ability to help in any way, here are some ways to do so.
More than that, it was brought to my attention last night that Montana is experiencing similar destruction. However much of the tragedy will not make national news because most the areas affected are reservations. Please take your time to educate yourself and please pray for both of the states. Prayers for rain, peace for the families evacuated/without homes, and the amazing firefighters working tirelessly are much needed and appreciated.