God Moments This Week in Kingfield Maine

I recorded several of our devotion times together to share the God moments we experienced… enjoy…Pastor Amy

God moments:
Monday: …saw God at the job site, watching everybody working.
…felt God’s power when I had the huge hammer in hand while tearing out the old porch….
…finding peace by listening to God and doing it…
…after working all day, going swimming in the river and finding peace sitting in the river letting it flow by and over me…
…saw God in Thelma’s face coming back from lunch and seeing Thelma and Mikki and Sonya sitting and happy…
…the simplicity of the town and the people, reminiscent of Chesapeake City and Cecilton 40-50 years ago. Feeling God in the simplicity, the stores without air conditioning are like days gone by…
…this town makes you feel at home…
…see amazing people all around- who else but God could bring this all together?…
…can see the Holy Spirit in the people…can feel it…
…being out of the rat race…which we all long for…
…met a man who goes to Florida every year and we stood and talked a while… this evening I talked to neighbors on his porch and he said “it sure is nice to see you folks come here on a regular basis”…
…work well done..pain scraped, caulked, limbs and brush cleared out, primer painted on, roof over doorway worked on…
…Doug volunteering to lead a second project to replace a front porch…
…11 year old Dakota coming out to join in the work of the front porch of his home all geared up and excited to work…
…feel God in the warm welcome of the team- didn’t know most folks before coming…
….discovered miracle water in the river that washed paint off of skin and clothes…
Tuesday
Scripture Romans 15:13 and Romans 5:3
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit
…joy in good friends today…
…rain falling on us was joyful…
…dancing in the rain…
..praise from Sue for painting made me fell like I had accomplished something…
…felt joy in Dakota helping al day, showing his furs and bee bee gun…
…at Thelma’s when she said “I missed you today” because I was at the other site- felt welcomed…
…could see joy in Thelma’s face…
…felt like in the sewing project we passed a torch to Ashley…not many people know how to sew…Mikki and Barb K. showed her how to sew curtains…
…delightful day of groups working all over the site…
…meeting Simone, Leslie, and Dakota and second site, enjoyed talking with them…
…calling Doug to lead the porch building team in Strong…good leader…
…got a lot of work done despite taking breaks…
…Thelma prayed this team from our church would come again and God answered her prayer…
Wednesday
Scripture James 1:2-5
…finding joy in life by serving…
…lost wedding ring 3 weeks ago…today while folding clothes when I reached the final garment I looked down and it was sitting on my knee….
…Thelma sitting smiling during music time after the pot luck supper. She enjoyed Danny and Sue leading music and it showed on her face…
…Linda went with Sonya to the dump and began talking with a man who recognized them as you church people..said “its so great that you come up here”…Linda asked if they could pray for him..he shared he has prostate cancer and hasn’t told anyone yet…he raised his hands as they prayed with him… as he walked away from them he said aloud “wow!”… they returned later to give him a cross and he was thrilled they were back…
…woman at the dump who is very impressed with all the people who come up here to work…
…they stopped at the store and met a woman collecting pictures of military personnel and learned her husband is deployed…they prayed with her for her husband and she had tears in her eyes
…we’ve gained a lot family in Thelma, Dakota, Simone, and Leslie…really awesome…
…amazing how quickly we can make friends family…
Thursday
Eccl 9:1-4
…Jess celebrating her birthday with us…feeling grateful that we made it a special day…
…seeing Thelma in her chair, looking at her finished house with tears of joy saying how she is so proud of her house…
…seeing Bridgette come down off of the ladder for the last time…
…getting the pick up stuck in the soft shoulder and getting out again…
…seeing Peter and his daughter at dinner, what a joy to have them with us…
…watching relationships grow among us..
…voluntary suffering of our team members, following the cross of Christ, and pouring out selves completely to finish a job, especially Rick…
…laughing deeply and crying deeply together this week…
…the clearest water I’ve ever swam in that wasn’t a swimming pool … in Strong with Dakota he was proud to have his friends there…
…went out for lunch with Dakota and Simone to the White Elephant..they said it was the best place in town…nice to eat together like a family… Dakota and Simone shared an Elephant burger: 2 pound burger…
Friday
Scripture Eccl 3:1
…relationships have their seasons…
…you can go back again!…this was just as good as last year…
…you can get by with a little help from your friends…
…image of grace in the river… can walk beside a river or let it carry you…
…Sue, Gina, and Andrew going out and buying perennials for Thelma and planting them in her garden…tried to find a replacement cement Jesus statue without success…seeing them on their Sabbath day continue to give of themselves…and to hear how pleased Thelma was by their gift

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Bridgette’s Reflections on VIM in Kingfield Maine

I am thankful for this experience because it has changed me. It is hard for e to explain in words, but I know I’m a better person because of this. I’ve realized that I need to see joy in other people in order for me to be happy. I don’t need material things, although they make me feel good, but for me as long as I can put a smile on someone’s face then I can make it through the day filled with joy. In this small little town of Kingfield, Maine people don’t have much, like I’m used to at home, but they are happy and welcoming. Plus, they seem to stick together. Back home I’m used to the cold shoulder from most people and here it’s completely different. They’re glad to see you.

When I was younger, I would get everything I wanted and I’m still growing up in what people would consider a rich area of Elkton, MD. Here in Kingfield its relatively poor and filled with people that have huge hearts. Staying in this town for a week showed me that I don’t necessarily need the expensive, nice things I have back home, I just need to be surrounded by those I love and care for.

Also, this trip has brought me closer to God. I can actually feel him inside me, where I used to not be able to. I am still on my path to God, but I am definitely closer than I was.

Thank you
Bridgette Doughten July 2010

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Kiingfield Maine 2010

Our week in Kingfield Maine is beautiful. God is all around us, even if the internet is not! Andrew discovered yesterday that the library has open wifi. (I didn’t even realize there was a library.) I am now sitting on the front steps of the library. Although it has open wifi, the hours are Wednesday and Saturday. There are two lovely trees providing me with shade, and front porch steps that remind me of my grandmother’s house.

We have been making it a priority to focus upon relationship building- with God, with the people here, and with each other. The tasks are taking care of themselves.

We are working with Miss Thelma here in town. She is an elderly widow who has also buried a son and survived breast cancer. As we work on painting the exterior of her home, she sits outside with us and chats, directs, and generally makes us smile. Our team also did work for her last year, and she says that she prayed that we would be the team to work with her again this yea

We also have a site in Strong, Maine. Dakota is 11, and he lives in a trailer with his mother Leslie and his grandmother Simone. They are really lovely folks. Simone was laid off last year and is still looking for work. Dakota is home schooled. He is already like a little brother to the folks on that site. The first day they got out there, Dakota arrived home near the end of the work day. He immediately went in and strapped on a tool belt, and returned ready to work. Dan says that he can hardly swing a hammer without Dakota offering to do it for him. They are building a new front stoop. The old one was so unstable Simone had fallen on it; a piece of plywood was covering a hole.

Mikki put brought her artistic talent to good use by painting the apex of Thelma’s back door entry way with a lovely floral design as well as a table on her back porch to match. In addition, Mikki, Barb Kelly, and Ashley have been working on sewing curtains. They made some for

Thelma, and now they are working on the church curtains to partition the fellowship hall from a storage area. It currently has a king sized sheet tacked up. Their curtains will look amazing. It’s really wonderful to see God using each person’s talents, and how Barb, Mikki and Ashley are bonding over the sewing machine as much as Andrew and Rick bond over the high ladder painting.

At evening devotions, we have been sharing God moments every night. God has been present with us in wonderful ways. I am going to ask the team members to share some of these in their own words.

Pastor Amy Yarnall

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Volunteers in Mission Needed in the Southeast

United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
May 5, 2010

The Mississippi Conference received significant damage during April’s tornadoes and most recently from last week’s tornadoes and flooding. We are in need of teams for a recovery that will take several months to one year minimum.

Teams are needed throughout the state for debris removal, flood cleanup and construction.
Below is a listing of places in need of assistance along with contact information:

Yazoo City
Debris removal is being coordinated through the MCVS VRC located at the DRC in the National Guard Armory in Yazoo City. There is a site to host teams already and we will be opening a site projected operational in two weeks. This present operational site is provided through a VOAD partner the Episcopal Church, and has a capacity of 100 and is already in operation.
Camp Swayze (Boy Scout Camp)
1655 County Barn Rd
Yazoo City
Contact Person: Butch Jones, Cell# 228-234-5169

Ebenezer
There is a VRC, volunteer reception center, located at the VFD in Ebenezer. They have presently close to 100 work orders. This is within 20 miles of Yazoo City and is serviceable from the host sites there.

Mill Springs
Debris removal is needed in this area and is being coordinated from Mill Springs Missionary Baptist Church.

Weir
Debris removal is needed and is being coordinated from the DRC located at the Gymnasium at Weir.

Corinth
Relief efforts are presently coordinated from the Crossroads Arena. The needs are for flood clean up. There is a question as to who, what and how. 74 rental units were impacted which are rental assisted. There is a possibility that this is contaminated by raw sewage and will be deemed hazardous waste. Volunteers will need to check before responding.

Walnut
As of yesterday there were 35 needs identified for debris removal in the Brownfield area. This is being coordinated from Harmony Baptist Church by MCVS. Harmony Baptist is located just north of highway 72 on highway 15.

Ashland
Debris removal is needed at Ashland and the response is being coordinated from a facility located at the crossroads of old highway 370 and new highway 370.

Abbeville
Debris removal is needed in the Abbeville area and this is being coordinated by Rev. Jim Peterman phone # 662-816-3985.

Note that there will be an ERT training May 15th at Wheeler UMC.
Hot line for info and offers/needs in the Mississippi Conference: 1-866-647-7486

UMVIM, SEJ
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
404/ 377.7424
sejinfo@umvim.org

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Wesley College Trip to Biloxi..Chaplain Mark Pruett-Barnett

If you go to Biloxi, Mississippi, you would find it hard to believe that Katrina had mauled the lives of so many people. Everything is brand new within walking distance of the Gulf Coast beaches. However, when you go a couple of blocks inland, it is hard to believe that so little had been done in 4 ½ years. People’s homes and businesses stand in dire need of repair. However, a different kind of flood – volunteers – has been in Mississippi helping people get back on their feet since 2005.
Over spring break, six intrepid Wesley College students – Yong Duan, Amanda Fetterolf, Amanda Hudson, Sydney Kahan, Nicole Oyola, Bryn Warner, – and I were privileged to go and play a part in the ever-ongoing recovery from Katrina. We met the Volunteer in Mission leaders for our trip, the Rev. Dr. Richard Vance and Linda Culp, at BWI for our flight down to New Orleans. After a pleasant flight, we “vanned” it to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi where we would stay.
For four days, the Wesley Crew worked on people’s homes. They worked at spreading pesticide on studs and beams of a Katrina-devastated house in order to get rid of mold. Everyone wore respirators in order to keep the smell down. On the second day, the Crew had a very “concrete” experience. They hauled bags of concrete; drilled holes in which to place rebars, placed the rebars; finally, they mixed, poured, and smoothed out the concrete. Wednesday saw us back at the first house, painting the studs and beams. That was all there was to paint. The entire inside of the house had to be gutted after Katrina. Eventually, future crews will put on new siding and finish the inside of the house. Thursday saw us at a house owned by Frank. Frank is a waterman who we got to know very well as the Crew painted the exterior of his house. He had many stories of his family and life in Biloxi.
The Crew ate as well as worked! One place was D’vine’s, a wonderful BBQ place. Norma is the owner who has been on The Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible. She shared about that adventure as well as her Christian testimony about how she obtained her restaurant. Her sister Brenda shared her testimony about how her family narrowly escaped death in Katrina by going up through the roof of their house and getting into a tree. Before we left, we had a chance to go by Brenda’s house and see the famous tree. It was gigantic – a true tree of life for her family. We had a rollicking time at the Shed, which had also been on the Food Network. The wonderful congregation of Prince of Peace Baptist Church also fed us one evening on some down home Mississippi cookin’. What was even better was the times of fellowship and worship we had with this congregation.
When we left, we were tired, we were ready to go, but we would miss the people we met and we were happy with the work we had done. Pastor Darrell Taylor of Prince of Peace told us he thought that the volunteers (which now included us) who gave their time, energy and skills had done more than all of the government agencies combined. One of the things that really gratified me was the comment that Jimmy Travino, our site supervisor, made. He said that out of all the groups with which he had worked the Wesley crew was his favorite. I could not ask for better than that.
I grew so much from this experience and if I had the chance, I’d do it over and over again. I guess I know where I’m going every Spring Break from here on out… I can’t wait to go back! Bryn Warner, Wesley Crew member.

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It is finished!

Posted by Anne Pruett-Barnett Friday, April 23, 2010

It is finished: the first VIM (Volunteers in Mission) trip for adults of Grace Church that anyone can remember. Before driving to the site this morning, we reminded each other of what we hoped to accomplish today; finish the painting of the house; complete the trimming around windows and doors; and finish the deck.

As we drove to the site, the threat of rain was in the air; but we believed that it would not rain until the work had been completed. While it sprinkled some during our break for lunch, the rain held off until all we had said we would do was done. Thank you, God.

During our lunch break, as we ate from brown bags, we discussed issues of faith, openly sharing with each other our thoughts. Serena was in the mix adding her perspective, giving us a glimpse into her faith. After we had finished eating and conversing, I asked each team member to take a turn sitting in the middle of our circle so we could share something positive about him/her that we had discovered this week. As I listened to the sharing, I was touched deeply by the insights of the full team into each individual on the team. Since a large part of the VIM experience concerns the forging of relationships, I was delighted. We go home from Mississippi knowing nine other persons in our church family much better than we did before this mission trip. We go home from Mississippi knowing a great deal about the couple who will be living in the house we helped to build. Serena’s willingness to be an active part of the building of Joseph’s and her home was a real gift to us; a gift that we will continue to open in the days to come.

When we had done all we came to do, we packed up the vehicles and then walked the property, once more, taking pictures to help preserve the memories of our first mission trip together. Paul Miller, who was the project leader on site, and I had the privilege of shutting the door on the house for the last time. It was a moment I will cherish. Serena was not there because she had had to drive her husband Joseph to work.

As I finished taking the last pics, I had the sudden urge to pray over the house. I asked the team to gather so we could pray a blessing on the house. As everyone was coming to pray, I asked who was going to pray. No one offered. Just as I was going to appoint someone, Edwin Brown began singing. I started singing; but somewhere along the way I realized that Edwin’s song was the prayer of blessing and stopped. As I listened to the words of an oldie but goodie, tears came to my eyes. It was a God-moment in which our hearts were touched. Below is the meaningful prayer that Edwin sang:

“Bless this house, O Lord we pray; make it safe by night and day;
bless these walls so firm and stout, keeping want and trouble out:
bless the roof and chimneys tall, let thy peace lie over all;
bless this door, that it may prove ever open to joy and love.

Bless these windows shining bright, letting in God’s heav’nly light;
bless the hearth a’blazing there, with smoke ascending like a prayer;
bless the folk who dwell within, keep them pure and free from sin;
bless us all that we may be fit O Lord to dwell with thee;
bless us all that one day we may dwell O Lord with thee.”
Helen Taylor, words/Mary Brahe, music

This prayer song came to Edwin’s mind because it is a song that he has always wanted to sing after building a new house. God moves in mysterious ways, don’t you think?

After the prayer, we moved quietly to our vehicles and returned to Camp Hope to spend our last evening together with the other team who has shared this week with us, a team from Waynesboro, PA.

Tomorrow we return home to our regular lives. Sunday is coming when I can express my gratitude to Grace Church for supporting us in this life-altering adventure of kingdom building.

In the meantime, I’m grateful to Jan, Kim, Paul, Neil, Edwin, Carol, Maryke, Glen, and my friend Penny who gave up a week of her life to lead us in this adventure, for making this a mission trip to remember! It was a lesson in team work, nurturing relationships, belonging, participating in the building of God’s kingdom, and being the Church of Jesus Christ. It was a reminder that the best thing going in The United Methodist Church is UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission).

It is finished! I am coming home tired but filled with great joy for the gift of this team and the last six days together.

Once again, you can see the work accomplished by the team on Facebook by going to http://www.gracechurchum.org/, and clicking on the FB link.

Now off to bed in the Camp Hope dorm for the last time. Sweet dreams.

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“Let’s Build Something Together”

Posted by Anne Pruett-Barnett Thursday, April 22, 2010

I’ve been to Lowe’s three times today. Before breakfast, our team leader Penny drove me to pick up paint chips for the home the team is building. Homeowners Serena and Joseph had decided they wanted a baby blue exterior. My task was to choose colors in the blue family and bring them back to the couple. That trip was successful.

Once the homeowners had made their choice, it was time for another trip to Lowe’s to pick up the paint. Team member Maryke, homeowner Serena, and I made our way to the Lowe’s in Pascagoula which was slightly closer to the work site than the one we had been to earlier that morning. Forty-five minutes later we were in the store picking up 10 gallons of paint. As we made the trip, we were able to hear more of Serena’s story. This time we learned how she met her husband Joseph. How good it is to connect more intimately with the homeowners of the house which we are helping to build.

As we left Lowe’s, I commented that it was the last time on this trip that we would need to visit a Lowe’s store. For a woman who would rather do almost anything than go to Lowe’s, two times in one day is enough. That said, after dinner tonight, I found myself in the van with team members Penny, Paul, and Neil, on our way to, you guessed it, Lowe’s! Earlier in the afternoon, when we were packing up to leave the work site, one of the project staff had asked if we would pick up several things from Lowe’s for use on our site tomorrow. We did.

While we were in the store, one of the workers saw the green VIM shirts worn by Neil and Paul, wondered aloud that she didn’t know that we (translated VIM workers) were still here in Mississippi. She thought that the people in the green shirts had left the area. When we shared that we were here doing work, she expressed her gratitude. Before we left the store, we discovered that her own home had been damaged in Katrina and she needed help. Happy to share the good news of Camp Hope, I offered to call her with the phone number of the caseworker. She gladly gave me her cell number, eager for assistance, and then threw her arms around us and hugged us. Very touching.

The “motto” of Lowe’s is “Let’s build something together.” Isn’t that a delightful slogan? In the short time our team has been in Mississippi, we have worked with the Volunteers in Mission on site coordinator, Steve, a very skilled and wise builder, to build a house for Serena and Joseph. We have learned the art of team work; of pitching in where help is needed; of supporting and encouraging the homeowners and others on the team; of seeking the collective wisdom of the team; of building community and friendships even as we build a physical structure.

“Let’s build something together.” Today the team finished the siding on the house, got part of the way through building a deck or porch, and began painting the exterior of the house. When Neil and Paul put up the last piece of siding with help from Glen and Kim (pronounced in Mississippi as Kee-am), as Carol, Maryke, Serena, and I painted, as Penny, Jan, and Steve constructed the deck, as Edwin began to put the trim around the windows, I experienced the goodness of God in each part of the work project. It was a mountaintop moment.

“Let’s build something together.” As important as the work projects have been this week, one of the most exciting things we have done has happened at lunch. Each day, as we have sat together on the porch of the house, eating from our brown bags, each member of the team has shared his/her thoughts about a question of faith which I gave them earlier. Today’s conversation was exceptional and leads me to believe that we are building a community together at Grace where we can discuss the ideas and beliefs that we hold without fear.

“Let’s build something together.” As God’s people called Christians, we are called and commissioned to build God’s kingdom here on earth. I hope that is what we have done here in Mississippi this week.

Don’t forget to look at the new pics posted on FB so you can see some of what happened today on the work site. Pray for us tomorrow as we complete our part of building the house for Joseph and Serena.

Time to go to sleep. Sweet dreams.

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