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West Virginia --- Missions Trip - Summer 2002

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By Brenna Verhoeff

There was just something about West Virginia!  What a place to visit!  I was enamoured by the time we had arrived.  And I was even more lost once I got familiar with the area.  For those of you who have never gone - I highly recommend you find a way to visit this incredible state.

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This was a trip for the youth from my home church.  We were going to help  people who needed us to help them.  I'm not sure how it came about that from Colorado we traveled all the way to the hills of West Virginia - but that's where we went.  

It was incredible!  I packed everything up the day before I was leaving - I'm not the most organized person in the world - and I don't require a lot of stuff .  So, it was pretty easy to throw my clothes into a duffle, a back pack, a tote along (with rollers) and a couple of boxes (had to have the comforts of home), a big tool carrier and my skill saw (I stole it from Mom's closet).  

Of course, Mom warned me about all those strange people I would meet when I got there.  She's already been there, loves it and loves the people, so she was trying to convince me it was all bad - so I wouldn't fall in love with it too.  But, she didn't get the job done.  I started falling in love with it as we left the dry arid fields in western Kansas.  The green trees along side the road impressed me all the way across the Mississippi Valley - and beyond.

The first night it rained - all the Colorado kids got up and watched the rain out the window.  It was awesome.  We were totally mesmerized by the drumming rain pelting the windows of the school - and it just didn't stop!  It kept on raining for the longest time.  We felt so special - enjoying rain like that - while our families were home suffering in the heat and drought!  Prior to leaving Colorado - we had experienced drought so drastic that forest fires were literally burning up the mountains, much of the prairie had burned, and one fire actually came to within five blocks of my home in Lamar.   Rain was a real treat - even if people from other areas didn't appreciate it as much as we did!  
 ME - scraping away!  

 Some jobs --- I can really get into - and this was one of those --- I just really enjoyed scraping that wood, cuz I could get in the dirt and play around a bit --- and EVERYONE thought "I" was WORKING!!!  Imagine THAT!!!

Boys - will be boys!!!
Now --- I wouldn't go so far as to say they didn't get any REAL work done --- but they sure seemed to be playing - everytime I looked their way.   What would YOU say?

First Baptist Church of Lamar - the whole CREW
In case you are unaware of this fact --- I just want to let you know --- the better things in life - come in groups of way more than two or three!!!  This is our youth troup with leaders --- aren't we a motley crew!!!  That's me, Brenna, with the sticky outy tongue!!!  We were all supposed to be funny for this picture - or was THAT just ME that heard that part?
Working our little hearts out.
Oooops - must be an error --- We caught them working --- ON CAMERA!!!!  Those trees are SOOOO Green!!!  I thoroughly enjoyed my time in West Virginia - because everything was SO green.

In front of our Home Sweet Home away from HOME!!!
There we are again - in front of our Home Sweet Home Away From HOME!!!  We really appreciated the folks at the school providing us with a place to stay and live while we worked!!! It was great!!!  Eastbank Middle School - WE SALUTE YOU!!!
Our Fearless LEADER!
Normal folks have normal youth pastors --- boring and steady as rocks... But, NOPE, NOT US -- we have Terry - the lop eared youth pastor!!!  Isn't he wonderful!!!  And he's a great leader as well as --- can I say this --- so good looking.
Significant Partner in Crime
Held at POLE POINT --- our Partner in Crime - another Leader Jane.  Always one grin away from a smile - no matter what is holding her up...  And trust me -- we've seen her pretty worn out and tired - and she is still a fun leader to have around!
My Crew --- we look GOOD working together, too.
I'm the one in the sunglasses on the right --- This was my team --- we did it all and kept on workin'!!!  It was great working on a team with these people.  They are much more than a bunch of pretty faces - they are hard workers too.  

Before we did the work.
It looks like this place could use a coat of paint or two.

After the work was done.
A few hours of hard labor and some white paint makes a house look like home again.  It has a great setting, and many great amenities (those trees in the background did it for this 'prairie flower'), so making it look good again was a pleasure.  
Brenna in STRETCH --- I can DO it!!!
Just painting my little heart out --- love that WHITE paint!!!  It matches my shirt...  And I brought plenty of it home - in case you are wondering!
Emily on a Ladder
Emily does details and precision --- around the window in 8 days!!!   Those ladders weren't just for show - we had to climb them - and actually WORK while standing on them.

Chase --- sitting on the porch...
I wonder if Chase actually PUT any paint on the WALL?  Do ya think?  There was actually some doubt about how close he actually got to a paint brush --- but I guess - the paint on HIM proved he got too close a few times.
Up on the Porch top -
If you step back just a bit further --- I can tip you off this porch and you can just lay there on the ground in the sun for a while...!  Or...WAIT!! is that a polo malet you are using to remove that decking?

Before - Back of the House
Pretty windows and pretty flowers need a nice new back ground!  

After -- Back of house
Something like THIS!!! Yeah --- that works... A pretty white back drop for flowers to grow on.  Nice yard... I really enjoyed the trees there.
The Paint the House Gang!
Working with people makes you a special kind of friends.  It gives you opportunities to get to know people on a level that is deeper than just an acquaintance but not yet friends - because we didn't have time to choose to become 'friends' yet.  But, with an opportunity to build more - I think we became more than co-workers, and someday, I think we'll become much better friends.  I enjoyed working with these people.  The memories of this opportunity will live long in my heart - and I will build my life on who I've become - because of this experience.  Keep those emails coming!  I want to get to know you all better.

Working hard.
Working harder --- scraping, scrubbing, getting it ready to paint.  Working as a team made the work go so much faster.  It was fun sharing the experience - and learning something new.

Shakey places.
Scrubbing and brushing and scraping and peeling the paint so we can put it all back on.  Uhhhh, hey.... Wait a minute --- what are we doing this for again?

The Boss!
Our gracious hostess, home owner, and boss.  She was a great encouragement  to each of us, and she was so appreciative of our work on her home.  I want to especially thank her for sending photos of the work we did - I do appreciate her photos and being able to add them to my website.  

Crow's Nest Waterfall -- and the troup!
Waterfall at the Crow's Nest.  How many kids does it take to make a crow's nest?  The amazing part - it's at the base of a water fall.  Coming from Colorado - where we are rationing water on a daily basis - not watering our yards - and praying for rain, since we didn't get snow last winter - it was surprising to find so much WATER and so much GREEN in West Virginia.  Delightful change in the middle of a drought ridden summer!  Thanks to those who provided for this trip so we could experience it!!!

Looking out over the Misty Mountains
Looking over the edge into the Smokey - Misty Mountains is like standing in heaven and looking down at the earth.  It's a wonderful feeling - there in the green of West Virginia - hanging onto the edge of the mountain.  Coming from Colorado - where it is common to see landmarks as far as 150 miles away - I was surprised at the views.  The visuals of hills that were only twenty miles away on a clear day shrouded by fog was an interesting perception for me.
Hanging out with the GANG from First Baptist Church in Lamar, was always fun.  They just sat there and smiled innocently looking for someone with a camera to shoot their pictures.  Amazingly enough, at almost every spot -someone pulled out a camera and started shooting.  It was fun hanging out with them.


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