Friday, June 19, 2009

Mission Work

So it's confession time:

I, Bethany J, have never been on a mission trip.

Now this may seem strange as I like Jesus and helping people and hanging out with church folks... but I'm totally fer reals... I've never been on a mission trip.

So it's been kind of a strange experience... having never gone on a mission trip and now having my entire summer be one long mission trip.

It's been really good, though. When I applied for this internship I applied with the knowledge that I am called to serve the "least of these" but in a more administrative way as that's the best way to use my gifts. I knew, though, that to better serve the least of these I needed to know what it is like to be in the "thick of it" working with and for the least of these.

So it's been kind of amazing and eye-opening. Oftentimes we white liberals tend to think we know what's best for others when really we have no clue. Once we start serving the least of these, though, and getting into the thick of things we understand much better what the needs of the community are and how to best serve and work with the communities that we wish to help. It's been very neat.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind lately. I hope all is well and the summer is going fantastically. I feel like this summer is just flying by... I can't helieve I've been gone for four weeks already! Holy cow!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Yesterday I learned how to mud drywall.

When hearing about the process folks kept on describing it as "tedious" and "boring." Therefore, when given the opportunity to do it yesterday, I was somewhat hesitant. It was obvious, though, that if I did not start mudding with a few people then I would have very little to do... so I said "okay."

When I finally learned how to do it and started in... I loved it. Absolutely LOVED it.

To me it was so relaxing and it's great project for me, the perfectionist. I found that when I was mudding time would fly by... to where I even missed the time for us to go to lunch and we were a bit late.

It's so cool because when I found out that I got this job, I started to panic a bit because I didn't know how to do ANY construction. I also know that I'm not the strongest of folks and so it might be difficult for me to do some of the work.

What's neat though is to come here and find out that everyone can lend a helping hand. If you don't have the strongest muscles, it's okay... there are other jobs that suit your skill set. We can all be the hands and feet of Christ we just have to discover what gifts we have and can use to do God's work.

Cool thing, eh?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So I have to say that being in this internship has helped to refresh my spiritual life quite a bit and has given me many thoughts to mull over.

I've been thinking about what it means to fight the good fight and how God can and does give us rest when the fight makes us weak and weary.

I've also been thinking about blessings and where we find them. Today one of the groups shared that they found a lizard while clearing out brush from a backyard and noted that they really saw God in that situation. Generally when thinking about blessings, somone might think of a new baby, or a raise or promotion at work, or an undeserved gift... but how awesome it is that we can also find blessings in finding a lizard in a pile of debris and weeds?

I've been thinking about how God talks to us... in the crashing, roaring ocean and in a still small voice. What a challenge it is to us that we are called to listen to both and to be attentive to God. And what a blessing it is that we have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with our creator.

I've also found myself thinking about Rob Bell's Nooma video, "Kickball." I know what things I want in life, but I'm wondering if God is saying "Yes" or "Not right now" or "No." How hard it is to discern that sometimes.

I've also been thinking about all of you. How I miss you and wish you were here to experience just a small taste of what's going on here. There's incredible work being done and such amazing people have stepped up to do it. I wish you could all meet the incredible long-term volunteers here doing work, and all of the short-term volunteers, and all of my awesome intern homies, and Carl (my boss) and his wife (and my second mom while I'm away from my own :( ), Robin.

But as you all cannot be here with me, I thank God that I have not only the opportunity to be here all summer... but also to tell the story. To let you all know of what the church is doing to relieve some of the pain in the world. It's a beautiful story.

Anyway, as I'm exhausted and my head is full I'm going to go listen to some music and crash. Thank you all for your prayers. I have felt surrounded by your love since I've left Kansas City. :)

<3 Beth

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Plea for Help

So here in Galveston there are two DOC churches... one is Central Christian Church (the one we're staying at and helping to rebuild) and the other is Second Christian Church.

Today's story is about Second Christian.

Second Christian Church is a small African American church here in Galveston. I worshiped with them today and I cannot even tell you how wonderful it was and how beautiful the people there are.

When Hurricane Ike hit, their building took on 5 feet of water and it basically destroyed everything within the building. Unlike Central Christian Church, who only took on one foot of water, Second Christian has NO insurance to cover this kind of disaster. Therefore, they have NO money.

Since Hurricane Ike, they've been worshiping in the fellowship hall of Central Christian and have spent that time trying to get their own homes back in shape. The pastor this morning even told all of us that after Ike hit, he didn't even want to try to fix the building until each member of the church was able to move back into their homes. He thought it was most important to have the church family all reuinted before fixing the church building.

This summer we'll have approximately 200 volunteers come through willing to do work, but we don't have the funds to fix this church.

Therefore, this is my plea to all of you: If you can help, PLEASE DO. Helping can happen in a lot of ways. It can happen by you donating money, or telling someone you know who might be willing to donate to this cause about this issue. Another thing you can do is donate your skills. For example, if you're an electrician, a plumber, or someone who fixes foundations... we could use you. Or, if you know someone who knows these things and would be willing to donate their time... that would also be fantastic.

I'm not certain what all the needs are quite yet as Carl's still getting that all together. But please, you have the resources, help. This chuch is so ready to move back home.

As for other things, tonight two more groups come in so I'm sure I'll be busy. :) Also, tomorrow two more long-term volunteers will be joining us for the rest of the summer so that'll be neat too.

So yes. I'm off for now. I hope you all are having lovely days!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


There have been many thoughts in my mind this past week.

I've been examining the concept of "home"... what does it mean? Where does it exist?
I've also been thinking about the idea of "family"... what does it mean? Where does it exist?

It's been an interesting week.

It was the first week of having groups here to start the rebuilding process. We had four different groups and we were worried that it might be difficult to be a community within those four groups. However, we discovered quickly that we had four super awesome groups this week and the idea of being "one body" was not difficult to accomplish.

Me, and my work partner, Joel, were on the worksite this week and the other two interns working here, Rindi and Will, were in hospitality. On the worksite I was mainly working inside the air-conditioned church helping to put up endless amounts of drywall. At the beginning of the week I knew NOTHING about putting up drywall... but now that this week is over I feel like I know enough to where I could even teach someone else if needed. That's a pretty cool thing... something to certainly be proud of.

We also heard stories this week of people who attend the church, walking in for a bible study on Wednesday and almost becoming moved to tears to see the work we had done inside this week. Their church finally has some walls outside their sanctuary and they voiced that they felt extremely blessed.

It is obvious to me that many people in Galveston are finding new hope from us being here. We've had several people just walking by the church stop and say "thank you"... we've had people watch us from their porches as we load stuff in and start working on a house nearby... and we've had those we're directly assisting be speechless when attempting to express their graditude.

In my mind, if nothing else, we're not only rebuilding churches and homes... but giving people a fresh sense of hope. Hope that the younger generations of this world have not forgotten what it means to serve others. Hope that folks from all over the world have not forgotten about them and the tragic reality they face within rebuilding their homes. Hope that someday their homes will be in good enough shape so they can fully return to living a "normal" life.

That's a beautiful thing.

Also wonderful this week is the amount of compliments I have received... especially from the groups that came. I sometimes forget that I have been called. In the midst of all the craziness this week... the frustrations and the hurt feelings... God still called me to this place. To hear the thank yous and the "I really appreciated when you did ______" was so encouraging and gave me just the right boost to know that I was on the right track.

I hope that those feelings and reminders continue for the rest of the summer... I think I need them.

Oh, and today Robin treated Rindi and I to pedicures. Oh em gee. So good.

I think that's about it for now, though. Talk to you all later!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


This is mostly just a quick apology because we don't have wifi yet in Galveston. Luckily, the church computer is available for us to use but we have to take turns.

Therefore, I won't really update now, but I promise I will later. I just wanted to let you all know that I didn't forget about this. :)

I'll update as soon as I can!

Loff to you and you and you and you.

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