New Construction: New Day

My name is Sarah Renfro, and although I have been on a lot of mission trips, this is my first time to the Housing Development Alliance in Hazard, KY. I feel like I have come a little bit home since my mom grew up not far from here. The meal we had tonight was something she had regularly growing up in Pippa Passes, KY at Alice Lloyd College, where her dad Will Hayes was the president. I have loved working with these young people, sweating alongside them, as we work on a new build. Today was so great because we finished the front porch to the home for Molly and her family, and we wrapped the outside of the house. The students work so hard and well together, and our crew motivates, teaches, and is patient with us as we learn new skills. And we got milkshakes! Hammers and nails have become our friends even as our relationship as a group has grown. I was also fortunate enough to spend time at the other site removing mortar from reclaimed concrete blocks. Tough work but necessary to make a strong foundation for an existing home. The projects we are working on this week are much more than a side project for students during the summer, but are the literal and figurative building blocks to a life of stability and hope.

Appalachia Wednesday

My Name is Trevor Huettig, and this is my fourth mission trip. Tonight for dinner, the members of First Presbyterian Church in Hazard, Kentucky made us soup beans, which is part of an Appalachian meal. They also made us corn bread, fried potatoes, and peach cobbler for dessert. It was my first time having soup beans, and I have to say it was a lot better then I thought it would be. The best part was how grateful the members of the church were that we were here to serve their community and how they were very excited to feed us.

New Construction: Foundation and Fun

My name is Fiona and this is my third mission trip, my name is Sophie and this is my second mission trip, and my name is Hannah and this is my third mission trip. Today we started a new construction for a family. We started by digging a trench to pour the concrete for the foundation of the house. We put in metal beams to keep the concrete straight. At the site, the family who we were building for had puppies. When we took breaks, we got to play with the puppies. During our breaks, we also got to know the homeowner. The three of us got to tie down and lay down the rebars (which are metal bars) with wires all around the perimeter of the house. The homeowner was really kind to us. He brought us chairs, a fan, and popsicles. When we waited for the cement truck to come, we got to try out the caterpillar, one of the big machines. We also were able to watch the cement truck pour cement into the trench. We learned about patience waiting for the cement truck to come to the site.

Rehab: Demolition Day

My name is Caroline Driskell and this is my fourth mission trip. The thing I have liked most about this mission trip in particular is that we get to do something hands on and that we get to progress everyday. This week, my group has been working on repairing a house. So far, we have helped put in floor joists and nailing in subfloor and getting another room ready to repair. I thought it was really fun to use some of the power tools and getting to do demolition. By far, my least favorite part was having to clean out the crawl space and getting bug bites. I have really liked learning new things and getting to experience how life is in Hazard. It is very different from Indianapolis and it’s shown me how fortunate we are. Overall, I have already learned a lot this week and I can’t wait to learn more.

It’s 6am…let’s build.

Song of the Builders by Mary Oliver

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

to think about God –

a worthy pastime.

Near me, I saw

a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble its effort.

Let us hope

it will always be like this,

each of us going on

in our inexplicable ways

building the universe.