a vestige of thought...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Stop #4: Williams Memorial UMC; Blountstown, FL

Our fourth stop has been the hardest for me so far. This was mostly because of a bit of culture shock. I never realized how much of a city girl I am until reaching Scott's Ferry (near Blountstown), FL. This church is near the borders of both Georgia and Alabama and (according to Ashton, the resident country expert) is about as Southern country as you can get. The church had a regular attendance of about 40 people and the roads to most of their houses are dirt. We went to the Sunday night service/dinner as soon as we arrived, and I'm not sure I made a terribly good first impression. I was never quite able to figure out what I did wrong the first couple of days, but I think it was mostly that the nuances of being polite are a bit different there than what I am used to. I wasn't really sure how to act around them, and they weren't really sure how to act around me, and the first day or two was very awkward.

I don't really know what changed, but all the awkwardness vanished by Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday were wonderful, and then we had to leave. It's so sad that we always have to leave just as we're starting to get really comfortable with the kids.

Our schedule was the same every day. We had the mornings free to plan or do whatever. This mostly consisted of sitting around in the Fellowship Hall and either sleeping, playing guitar, or planning devos. It was a lot of time, but I was able to have some really good, looong quiet times where I could pray. I'm really grateful for that time. In the afternoons we had the kids (anywhere from one to five at any time) from lunchtime until 4:00 or 5:00. Then we had a two hour break before doing something in the evening. All three days we were supposed to do a service project. The first day, however it was 102 degrees outside, so we decided it would be best to stay in. The second day in rained (poured) all afternoon. The rain was beautiful and much needed, but it prevented us from doing our outdoor service project. Finally on Wednesday we had time to do two of the three projects that we had planned, and neither took as much time as we had expected.

Tuesday afternoon during our break Erika (one of our two regular kids) and Ashton took me 4-wheeling through the mud after it had rained. It was a blast. We came back filthy, but it was completely worth it. Ashton says that I've now been initiated into the South. :P Perhaps my favorite part, in a funny sort of way, was when the ATV stopped and we couldn't get it to start again so we had to walk barefoot down the dirt roads to Erika's house to get her brother to start it for us.

Wednesday evening was probably the highlight of my week. We did the evening service, which this time consisted of Allen and Wes leading music, us doing a skit, and then each of us giving short testimonies. I don't care how many times I've heard the testimonies of my teammates (I could probably tell it for them by now), I love hearing them again. God has been so faithful and so incredibly good to each one of us, even though our lives have all been so different. At the end of the service the pastor had all of us come up to the altar and everyone at the service prayed over us. I love it when churches do that, and I always feel most unified with my team during those moments. After the service the five of us went to the parsonage (where the guys stayed) and talked with the pastor and his wife for several hours. They are amazing people. One of the hugest blessings of SMT is being able to meet so many great Christians. It's incredibly humbling and a great spiritual challenge as well.

The woman Ashton and I stayed with, Miss Joyce, was amazing. She had to be close to 80 and had never been married. She lived in a house with her best friend until the friend's death in 1999. She spends a huge amount of time in prayer and studying the Bible. When she's not doing that, she is driving people to and from the church so they can participate in activities, or taking people who need it to doctor's appointments and such. Wow.

Thursday morning we left around 9:00 in the morning and, because we had some extra time, stopped to get Andrew's hair cut. He wasn't sure if he was actually going to go through with it, but Allen said that if Andrew cut his hair, he would dye his red to match Wes's. (Photos to follow. I didn't have time to upload them this time.)

Wes, getting comfortable to play his guitar.

Andrew and Larry Beans the wonder dog (who belonged to the church's pastor)

Look out, Christy has a gun! (I did not hit a thing.)


After 4-wheeling... you can't really see how muddy we are

Three of the team with our two regulars, Erika and Jared.
posted by Christy at 5:56 PM


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