A couple years ago we had a class at church to find out what your spiritual gifts were. We also talked about our passions. I found out then that my passion was women and children, especially in missions. It was then that I decided that someday I'd like to take a group of just women on a mission trip. I asked a couple ladies that had gone on the family mission trips if they might be interested in an all female group and I think we had 6 or 8 at the first meeting. That was 3 years ago and it has been such an awesome opportunity to serve.
In the early spring, I start getting excited for the next trip. I usually try to encourage many different women to think about going along with us, knowing that God will organize our group in due time. As women, it is sometimes hard for us to plan the time to be away for a week when our families especially need us at home. I think everyone ought to want to come but realize that it isn't for everyone. I think of some kind of theme for the week which mostly helps with planning the devotions. I like to have different things each day that go along with the theme and I like to make alot of them surprises even tho everyone soon figures out or knows from the beginning who is doing it. I hope it makes it more fun but also gives us some extra things to think about.
We have always gone to Henderson Settlement in the southeast corner of Kentucky. We have the opportunity to do the usual construction job which is one way for some women to serve and in the four years that we have been going we have done lots of neat jobs that some people can't believe that women want to do. I think that is one of the cool things about only ladies going in our group. A few ladies that usually have to follow the men get to be incharge. The first year we went, the men in the other groups wondered if we could do anything and each year we surprise them by accomplishing our goal. I myself am a go-fer and the photographer at the jobsite. I'm also 'the porch sitter' which every group needs. The porch sitter is the person that will sit with the family members to visit and watch while the others work and occasionally run and get something or pick up a paintbrush for a little while. It is a very important job.
At Henderson, they know now that we can do what we set out to do and do a fine job of it!! We have the last two years worked along side one of the groups we have become good friends with from Charlevoix, MI , even a few men. Mike, their electrician, ran the electricity in the rooms we were working in both years. This year we even worked at the same jobsite. It was really cool - we thought it was one of our 'God moments' for this year. There was an outside and an inside job to finish off a room addition. The MI group had chosen the outside job but had too many people, they also did not have enough money to take on the inside job. Well, we went down without a job chosen because we only had four ladies that were planning to work construction and all the jobs required more than that. We had money, tho. So as it turned out - this is the cool part - when we put our money and our people together it was the exact amount of both needed to finish the job for Willard and his family. It seems kinda minor maybe but we thought it meant we were supposed to work together. The four ladies from our group and the four ladies from the MI group worked together on the insulation, inside and then the siding and skirting, outside.
We also started setting up a beauty shop, 'Frakes Frills', as we call it, since the second year which has turned out to be another awesome way to serve. I think it has surprised everyone at how successful it has become. The first year we were only going to have it for one day but it was so well received it went two days then the last two years, we have done it all four work days. Last year we served almost 100 people and this year we served 165. That is unbelievable to me!!! We take for granted the opportunity we have to go to the beauty shop whenever we need to. Many of the women have a family member or good friend cut their hair and feel very pampered coming to get a hair cut, a manicure, their eyebrows waxed, and a goodie bag of shampoo, lotion, and soap at Frakes Frills. (all of which was donated by many of you!!)
As I reread this, it tells all we do but it just doesn't begin to convey the feelings you get from being there and helping wherever you can. The poverty level is so low, even the ones working are desperate. The Settlement helps people in so many ways and you get so much from being there to help, even if you are only insulating a small room addition or doing a manicure. While we are there, God has time to work on our heart and I believe you come away blessed more than you are able to give. I believe God calls us to go out in the 'world' and for some of us that means Henderson. It has become very special to me and I believe a few of the ladies that have gone with us now several times. We have made some good friends there and love many of the people we work along side of and now, the ones we have served as they return to the beauty shop every time. I wonder if someday you'll get to meet some of those people...if God puts it on your heart to go along. If not Henderson, find the place that God calls you to serve and you will be blessed beyond measure. Amen.