Thursday, January 5, 2012

How I spent my Christmas Break - By Avery Ory

Dear Friend,
"A week of service and showing God’s light to the people of Joplin was an amazing way to spend my Christmas break!" Is the response Avery gives when asked why she spent her Christmas break in Joplin, Missouri.

Avery is a Freshman at Texas A&M.  As a frequent volunteer with drops of grace we have come to know that Avery has a passionate heart for service to others. This Christmas, Avery, along with 16 others (a mix of college students & adults), went to Joplin, MO to continue to help with repair & reconstruction in the wake of the devastating tornado that blew through in May 2011.

Avery brought JOY & hope, and some pretty amazing mudding, taping, and painting skills, to people who were holding on day-to-day as they were facing Christmas for the first time since the tornado whirled through their home town.

We have been blessed with fantastic volunteers and thank Avery for sharing her story..."But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5:22,23)

 Be Blessed. Peace.
Wall Art - Joplin, Missouri 2011
When most people think of holiday vacation, they think of ski slopes or white sand beaches. Know what my family thinks of? Sheet rocking. Well, that’s what we thought of this year when we found out about drops of grace’s college Christmas mission to Joplin, MO. All four of us jumped at the opportunity to do something we love during the holiday season.  
After a long day of driving and sing-a-longs in the car, the group of 17 arrived in Joplin with our good lookin’ trailer full of tools, gear, and Christmas gifts for 2 families in tow. I worked on the “Sib” team with my brother and another set of siblings: hence the clever name. We worked on Mrs. Irma’s house, a small 1000 square foot home that had been heavily damaged in the storm. When we first pulled up the first thing that I noticed was the lack of Christmas decorations. Madi and I discussed that we needed to fix that for her. Mrs. Irma is an elderly woman who is currently living in the half of her house that wasn’t damaged by the storm. All of her belongings were boxed up and stacked in different rooms, needless to say a very crowded space. The ceiling in her living area was in terrible shape, the wood was rotting and insulation was popping out of the cracks. Did I mention that the insulation was infested with some kind of mold? Not the kind of environment that is good for an elderly woman to be living in! The closet in her bedroom needed a ceiling so heat wouldn’t escape out of it; the bedroom needed to be painted, and the bathroom needed a LOT of work. That bathroom was my challenge this trip. It needed mudding for all of the drywall, the bathtub needed to be secured to the wall, siding for the bath needed to be put up and the window needed to be framed. Oh, and the entire thing needed to be sanded then painted. It was overwhelming to see that so much work needed to be done in such a small space. But when drops of grace sets their mind to help someone, that someone gets helped! We had 3 full days and a half day on Thursday to complete the job and it took every single second to get the work finished, but after all the challenges and difficult situations that arose from the week, I became closer with the people I worked with (thanks Tanner, Madi, Diane, brother, and Bobbers! You guys rock), made an impression on a woman who was devastated from the storm, and got to see God working in the midst of destruction.

There is one more thing that I want to tell you about my trip. Like I said before, my work site got together and all agreed that Mrs. Irma needed a little Christmas spirit in her home. When I asked her if she was excited about the holiday she simply responded with “Well dear, I hadn’t thought much about it”. OKAY, NOW WE DEFINITELY ARE GETTING THIS LADY A TREE. I say that sentence all in caps to show you how much determination we had to give this woman a good Christmas. Bobbers, Madi and Taylor went to the Walgreens, who so graciously let us use their bathroom 5 times a day (thank ya’ll for the hospitality!), and picked up a tree and some ornaments. Now what’ s a tree without presents under it? On the next potty break we bought Mrs. Irma a small gift. The whole group helped decorate this 3 foot tree at dinner that night. It wasn’t much, but we all thought the tree was pretty and would bring Irma some cheer. As we left her house for the last time on that Thursday we all presented her with the gift and the tree and Mrs. Irma was so overwhelmed. “I’ve never felt this way before!” she said over and over as she cried and looked at our offering. We all gave her hugs and left with a smile on our faces, knowing that we had helped to make her Christmas just a little brighter. If you’re reading this, I hope you had a great Christmas too, because I sure know I did. A week of service and showing God’s light to the people of Joplin was an amazing way to spend my Christmas break! If you’re thinking about doing some mission work, call up drops of grace because those people can make it happen!

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. –James 2:26

Team 2: Avery Ory,Tanner Dendy
Madison Dendy, Taylor Ory, Bob Eskridge
Miss Irma, Diane Bouchard

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