In July a group of 12 people from the Parish of the Holy Family traveled to Louisa Kentucky for the annual mission trip to the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission. This was my second time going on the mission trip. Cindy, the volunteer coordinator at the mission stared the week stating that two goals for the week were spreading the Word of our Lord and doing home repairs, with the repairs being the second priority. I have a variety of experiences to share with you.
Each morning we started the day with 7 am mass. At the church (St. Jude’s) there were stained glass windows stating some of the corporal works of mercy (Feed the Hungry, Clothe the naked, Visit the sick etc.) This was a glimpse of what our week would hold. During the week our group repaired floors, doors, and windows. We painted walls and ceilings. We sorted clothing and supplies for thrift stores and addressed mailings. We worked on digging a drainage trench and replaced a door lockset. These physical tasks were only part of our experience. Every day at the job we started and ended with a group prayer, which was not only appreciated but encouraged by the residents.
The people we helped were Otis, who was bedridden and his wife Loraine who used a motorized chair and they were cared for by their grown son, Clifford, who was legally blind. We helped Ollie and his family by repairing their floor and painting. We spent time with Sylvia who was a 93 year old lady who lived alone and needs companionship.
They also encouraged other missionary work. We visited people at a nursing home, where we socialized and played bingo with them. We went to blue grass sing-a-long at a thrift store and participated in a mini ‘flash mob’ at a local Walmart where we read a psalm from the bible. We also met and socialized with two other groups from Pennsylvania and Michigan. The reason to go on a mission trip is to give to others, but in reality, more was given to us through the power of Jesus. We received the gifts of new friendships, exhaustion, appreciation, compassion and the voice of Jesus.
As I mentioned we visited with Sylvia, who lived alone. He husband died twenty years ago and she had no children. She only had a brother who lived in Florida who would call her. We sat with her for three hours listening to her stories and she shared with us remarkable songs and divine poems that she wrote. We heard the voice of Jesus through her. I will try to have the poems posted on our church website and I encourage all to go and read how moving they are. We realized that she is, and we are, not alone in our life’s Journey. Jesus is there with us step by step.
Craig L. Augustyn Subject: Parish of the Holy Family, Thank You for Our (My) Growth
When it was first put on my heart to follow, I had no idea what was in store four years ago. These mission trips, these projects, the people truly aligning with God’s design. God the creator, the conductor, director, Shepard; is the beginning and knows the ending; God’s loving interest is what lies within this moment of time.
My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, July 28th, entitled God’s Purpose or Mine?; it states, “What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.”
With the lightness of our projects this year, it allowed my eyes to watch, see, observe; it allowed my ears to hear, listen, retain. The evening time, working together in dinner preparation, to recap, to share our day’s events of what we seen, heard, felt in our hearts. This trip was special, hearts softened, connected, bonded, blossomed, bloomed and opened up. This group, team, flock deconstructed the protective worldly facade, opened up, revealed, shared inner thoughts, concerns and joys. In doing so, it let other in to their hearts, making for a deeper connection, personal relationship. The service FBAMC provides, offers, gifts, is twofold; it offers local residents physical and spiritual assistance, it gifts volunteers with a sabbatical, allows God to work through the individual, harrowing and plowing for opening then sowing joy and peace. This refers to Fr. Mike’s sermon, St Jude Louisa KY, ‘We sow seeds of tears, offering them to God, and He blesses us, resulting in an abundant harvest that reaps joy.’ At Friday evening fellowshipping when completing the exiting form was enriching, it disclosed the week – “the goal itself”.
My most memorable experience happened on our last day when my group went to help a woman named Sylvia She was 92 years old, and lived alone, so she was very lonely. She really just needed someone to talk to, and there were only a few minor problems that she needed fixed, so once everything was fixed, we stayed and talked with her. She shared a beautiful book of poems, and even sang us a song. She had been through alot, losing her husband, some of her siblings, and having no children, yet she was so happy. She found something to make her happy, and this was her faith in God. This was a memorable experience, because it taught me more than just how lucky I am, which is an important lesson that I think everyone learned from every house we went. Sylvia really taught me a deeper part of that lesson, she taught me to really keep my Faith close to me, because knowing that you are lucky, and privileged, is humbling, but having faith through whatever is troubling you is what will make you truly happy.
FROM KENTUCKY MISSION TRIP - JULY 2017 - POEMS BY SYLVIA SAVAGE
Teach me how to wait on you
God teach me to be patient,
Teach me to go slow.
Teach me how to wait on you,
When my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance
When things do not go right.
So I remain unruffled
When others grow uptight.
Teach me how to quiet
My racing, racing heart.
So I may bear the answer
You are trying to impart.
Teach me to let go Dear God,
And pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled
With inner peace and I
Will learn to know your will.
LET US PRAY
Oh won’t you spend a moment
Though busy be your day
To think about some soul in need
And for that dear one pray.
Sometimes we never realize
How great that cross they bear
And that perhaps this very hour
They desperately need a prayer.
It may be at that moment
You lift them up in prayer
That faith will reach the heart of God
And he’ll stoop down with care
And gently ease the burden
This one has carried long
Replacing all despair and doubt
With hope and joyful song.
They’ll feel his presence near them
In a most blessed way
And all because you took the time
And cared enough to pray.
Oh, friend there are so many
With troubled hearts today
For whom we ought to pray.
The problems are so varied,
Some graver that the rest
But every precious heart that aches
But Jesus needs be blest.
Let’s set some time aside friend
Today and every day
To think about these souls in need,
Oh let us care and pray.
I’m Sure God Knows
I’m sure God knows that we would need
A reassuring touch
When he made the friendly hand clasp
That warms our hearts so much
I’m sure he knew that skies of blue
Would oftentimes turn gray
He put the sunshine in a smile
To chase the clouds away
God knew, I’m sure, that you and I
Would need a helping hand
Or a kind word, to let us know
Others care and understand
God must have known our hearts would need
A special kind of cheer
I’m sure that’s why he sent dear friends
To journey with us here.
When I am sad or so depressed
I turn to God in Prayer
And always when I search within
I find him waiting there
His love is filled with bounty
Of good things that I need
It is His will His children
To shelter and to feed
So why should I sit downcast
And spend my time in fret
I know so will I have a God
Through whom my needs are met
My task is therefore first to seek
I’ve found no cure for ailment
Like I’ve found through prayer.
Trust and Believe
Trust and believe my gentle friend
In all you say and do
For Christ will take you by the hand
And he will see you through.
Trust and believe my gentle friend,
No matter what’s in store.
The Lord will be there at your side
As he’s always been before.
Trust and believe my gentle friend,
With all your heart and soul,
The Master will take care of you
And help you reach your goal.
Trust and believe my gentle friend,
Reach out to heaven above,
And God will smile down on you
And touch you with his love.
God Open My Eyes
God open my eyes
So I may see
And feel your presence close to me
Give me strength
For my stumbling feet
As I battle the crowd
Of life’s busy street.
And widen the vision of my unseeing eyes
So in passing faces, I’ll recognize
Not just a stranger unloved and unknown
But a friend with a heart
That is much like mine own
Give me perception to make me aware
That scattered profusely
On life’s thoroughfare
And the best gifts of God
That we daily pass by
As we look at the world
With an unseeing eye.
Follow in His Footsteps
Follow in His footsteps
And let Him lead the way
He knows just where the path will go
And won’t lead you astray.
Listen to the Master and His words of love
Don’t think about your doubts of fear
Just come now as He calls
Raise your eyes toward Heaven
Look into his face
Let His brightness cover you
With the goodness of His grace
Follow in His footsteps
Give Him your storms seas
He’ll make of them a flowing stream
Of happiness and peace.
Today I stopped dear Lord to think
Of all the things you’ve done
Of all the tears you’ve dried for me
And all the battles won.
Of all the times my head hung low
Without a friend to care
Now looking back, I clearly see
That you was always there.
You’ve heard my prayer when no one knew
The pain I felt inside
So many times no words would come
And I just knelt and cried
Sometimes it would be easy Lord
To give into defeat
And let old Satan have his way
Admitting I am beat
But somewhere deep inside of me
I heard your gentle voice
That circumstance is not excuse
And victory is a choice
There’s one more thing I ask of you
I may somehow repay
May those I meet where ever I go
See Christ in all I do.
And may all my deeds and all my ways
Say, Lord how much I love you.