My time in Appalachia, Kentucky was an experience that I will never forget.
I was gone for a week, departing on November 19th and returning on November 26th. During my time there, I was able to help and serve the community. My small group consisted of six students and one chaperone. While we were part of the community help team, other groups were in charge of construction.
We served at nursing homes and participated in playing bingo with the patients. The people out in Kentucky love their bingo! We packed food boxes at the local community center, packing a total of 70 boxes, and had the opportunity to do two house visits.
Our first house visit consisted of helping an elderly couple. The husband had suffered from a stroke. The wife gave us a tour of their house. Before visits, Big Creek Missions warned us about the houses not being what they used to be--they could smell or be dirty. This first house, sadly, did have a smell and was cluttered. However, walking through the house made me grateful for what I had back home. We helped the couple chop wood and gather coal for their heater. This was an eye-opening experience considering back home we go to our heater and turn it on while the people out there have to work and gather things to stay warm. The couple was very thankful for the work that we did.
On our second house visit we visited a woman who was sick and lived alone. I was able to sit down with her and hear her story. Her husband had passed from cancer. Sitting and talking with her was such an amazing experience because I was able to pick up on how grateful she was to have company visit her. She needed help picking up large sticks off her front lawn, a tarp to be placed over her roof, and her gutter to be cleared. It was such a nice experience to see a smile on her face and she enjoyed that. Once we finished, we prayed with her. On Sunday we were able to visit a Baptist Church, and that was something new for me. After the church service the congregation held a Thanksgiving lunch. We sat down and visited with everyone. We were very thankful that we were invited.
Overall, my experience in Appalachia was something that I will cherish forever. I grew closer to God because I was able to experience how the people here are so loving and thankful for all they had, even if it was not all that much. I had such an amazing experience during my time in Kentucky! Being with the community and talking with them is something I will never forget. Although the people of Appalachia aren’t as fortunate as us, they still had a big smile on their face and were so grateful for all that we were doing in their community, even if it was something so little. God’s love was present throughout the whole trip and the work of God is changing so many lives in Appalachia. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in the name of the Lord! My relationship with the Lord grew stronger and I am beyond blessed for the things that I have! A bible verse that resonated with me, and will always remind me of my time in Appalachia, comes from 1 Samuel 12:24, “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.