Servants at Work (SAW)
Faith without works is dead. — James 2:14-26
For more than 30 years we have been doing a week long summer mission trip, usually traveling to various areas of the Appalachians of West Virginia. There we help restore homes and minister to the people of the region.
The home repair that we do is important and essential. What’s even more important is the time we get to spend with the homeowners. We demonstrate that our faith and belief in Jesus Christ leads us to help others. We keep in touch with homeowners going back 5 and 10 years, often following each other on facebook.
Also important are the lessons that are learned and the relationships that are formed. Adults learn as much as the youth; whether it’s how to side a house or hang drywall or the grace someone with little can offer to someone with a lot. Participants – adults and youth – often say they feel that they have gotten more out of the trip than they’ve given. It’s a two-way blessing.
We introduce our youth to the importance of mission and establish solid, long lasting relationships with adult members. Coming face to face with those who have far less provides some perspective and reality that is sometimes missing. The annual mission trip is centered on the four tenets of patience, flexibility, understanding, and focus.
We do quality work and, working with local missions, ensure that the homes we work on are safe and dry. We typically have some very skilled adults who are both patient and eager to teach. We’ve worked with a number of local missions in W. Va over the years, including Psalm 23 Camp, McDowell, and Upshur Parish. In 2011, went into Philly and worked with the Center For Student Mission (CSM).
We start our days with a hearty breakfast and a morning devotion. After breakfast we pack our lunches and head out to the homes where we’ll work. After a hard days work, we get cleaned up and enjoy a great, home cooked meal. After that, we’ll hang out, play ultimate frisbee or monkey ball (a game created during a SAW trip). We usually knock off early on Wednesdays and head to a public pool. On Thursdays, we have a cookout where we invite present and past homeowners.
This work is meaningful in many ways and PUMC looks forward to continuing this service to the Lord for years to come. Paoli UMC’s annual mission trip and trips like it, do more than just help a community in need. The act of traveling to a distant place to help new friends sends a message about the power and result of faith. The youth and adults alike learn about themselves and each other and grow in many ways. Please prayerfully consider how you can best support this mission.