Crew 8: Wildcats (get your head in the game!)
Under the wise and strong leadership of Next Step Ministry leader Ian (pronounced eye on), our group was assigned with the task of tearing down an old, rotting shed and building a brand new shed for a member of the Joplin community.
Miss Betty is an elderly individual in her 80s who is wheelchair bound and requires assistance with her activities of daily living. When we first met Betty, she rolled up to us in her wheelchair and greeted us with a warm, hearty smile that melted our hearts. We introduced ourselves to Betty and set off to begin our work.
We started off by carefully removing pieces of the old shed and preparing the blueprints for the new shed. Demolition proved to be an easy task, but leveling the ground was time consuming and meticulous. After preparing the groundwork, we set the foundation woodwork for the floor. The students were eager to get their hands on various tasks, such as hammering nails into the studs, cutting boards, and raising the walls of the new shed.
On several occasions, we were treated to slushies, cupcakes and a delicious lunch set up by Miss Betty's caretaker, Pamela and her daughter Melanie. Betty thanked us every time she joined us and always offered us a pitcher of ice cold sweet tea. If I had to describe Miss Betty in one word, I would say "sincere". She spoke with a soft but firm voice, and her presence was comforting. Although she was physically limited, her words and heart reached out to each and every one of us.
We have made great progress on the new shed so far. The foundation is sturdy, the floorboards are set, and the walls have gone up. Thursday we wrapped up our work and finished by completing a few trusses before leaving our worksite. We went inside to say goodbye to Miss Betty, who was taking a nap. I could see her eyes twinkle as we said our farewells and left the house.
The shed is not complete, but this is not the measure of God's love that was present through the last four days of work. Our crew connected with Miss Betty and her loving presence. We found ourselves growing closer, more intimate, through the grace and mercy of God, who rooted us in his love. Our physical work is temporary, but the relationships formed during this time will remain in our hearts.