The MyAdventures Blogs are part of the Adventures in Missions Network
July recap! (bismarck & mayfield edition)
Hello friends and family! I hope your summer has been full and exciting and restful all at the same time. Mine is winding down nicely and it’s been so great to look back on all the things the Lord has done, all the places He allowed me to go and all the amazing people I had to privilege to meet.
I spent July serving and leading trips to Bismarck, North Dakota and Mayfield, Kentucky. Both of which I’d never been, with groups and ministries I’d never met. It was truly an amazing month in so many ways. Here’s a summary of both trips!
When I first learned about potentially leading a trip to Bismarck, I thought ‘where even is that?’ Honestly, I had no clue. I can easily say, after spending over a week there, I fell in love with the community and their heart for helping others and being a driving force for change.
I, along with my co-leader Becky, led a youth group from Michigan through various ministry opportunities for the week. We served at a local soup cafe called ‘Heaven Helpers.’ Their mission is to provide a hot meal to anyone in need – you don’t have to be, or prove you’re homeless to be blessed with free lunch and groceries. They reach far and wide within the community. They want everyone to feel like they’re at a restaurant; worthy to be waited on and have their food brought to them. All of us LOVED it here! We spread out and served in various ways – some waited on tables (me!), some helped prep the food, cook it, plate it, clean dishes, tidy up and mingle with those in the dining room. It was heartwarming to see hospitality, mercy and full bellies occurring all in one small space. ‘Heavens Helpers’ also has a free clothing store for anyone in need of nice, refurbished clothes. We served by organizing and hanging clothes, talking with customers and encouraging the volunteers that have been there for years.
Bismarck has a Dream Center that is newly opened and planted in the community. They are a network nonprofit organization whose mission statement is ‘Find a need and fill it. Find a hurt and heal it.’ We were able to spend our evening’s here, engaging with anyone that stopped in for a hot meal or resources. We did prayer walks within the trailer parks nearby and got to pray with people in their front yards. We attended an African church service and truly felt the Holy Spirit move within the congregation, worship and teaching. We ended our week by hosting an ice cream social for international students and refugees in the surrounding neighborhoods. It was a hit and a fun way to close out our week together!
Bismarck, and my Michigan family hold some of my favorite memories I carry with me. It was a week of deep relationships, late nights, rich worship and forever friendships. God is so good!
Imagine it’s 9pm, you’re getting ready for bed, it’s been a long day and you’re eager to fall asleep. You hear the rain and thunder outside but pay it little attention because, ‘it’s just another thunderstorm.’ Quickly you realize it’s not ‘just another thunderstorm.’ A tornado with 200 mile an hour winds and a funnel cloud 1 mile wide rips through your town, destroying everything you know and love. That’s what happened on December 10, leaving Mayfield – along with countless cities and towns throughout Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee devastated and in ruins.
God entrusted me and my two co-leaders, Pat and Carol, to lead two teams into this disaster zone for the week ahead. One was a youth group from Minnesota and the other an adult group from Iowa. We put in some hard work and it was a joy to see everyone working toward the same mission. We helped in building a house for a man named Mr. Teddy, who lost everything in the storm. Several of us got to help with the plumbing, laying electrical wires, hanging siding and many other things that were quickly coming along throughout the week. We painted Ms. Dorothy’s home and got to put some finishing touches on her first ever house. She’s lived her whole life in a mobile home. We helped renovate a new, upcoming women’s shelter. The previous was destroyed in the tornado. We got to work by removing layers and layers of wallpaper, ripped up old carpet, primed and painted several rooms. The local county animal shelter was beyond it’s capacity with over 100 dogs and 120 cats. We walked dogs, cleaned cages, bathed kittens, washed laundry, shopped for cleaning supplies and dog and cat food.
The 90 degree heat and humidity was definitely a southern slap in the face in the afternoons, but you wouldn’t know it by the determination and joy everyone had in doing the work. We heard story after story of loss and grief. We were overwhelmed by the level of injustice and pain. Mayfield is a tightly knit community that is choosing to remain hopeful. I was inspired by their confidence and steadfastness in the Lord. “We’re rebuilding!” they’d say with enthusiasm. And they are!
I look at these faces, in front of this building, with a smile on my face. I loved everything about this week. All the sweat, late nights, early mornings, southern food, dusty shoes, and sweet spirits are stored up in my heart. This was truly a week I wished would never end. Thank you God for immediate and *soon to be* long lasting friendships!
Isaiah 58:11-12 ‘The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.’
Praising God for a summer that tells His stories, not mine! I am so encouraged by all the redemption I witnessed and all of you that helped, prayed and supported me along the way! I’m eternally grateful for you! May you feel like a well-watered garden and be a restorer in the spaces you’re called into.
- REST! I’ve been home for about a week and am seeking intentional time to rest mentally, emotionally and spiritually as I debrief this summer with God.
- Support raising! By God’s grace I’m 81% funded by monthly supporters! (again, thank you anonymous supporter! You are a LITERAL answer to prayer!) I currently have $620 to raise monthly to meet my goal!
- For everyone on trips this summer to continue to be on fire for God and bring their boldness back into their everyday lives!
Let me know how I can be praying for you!
Thank you Abby, I always love your encouragement! I hope your summer has been great! 🙂
Great update! So excited about all that God is doing in your life. Praying for your rest sweet friend. You’re awesome!
Comments are closed.