Dec 4, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: John 21

Happy Tuesday SHINE girls! Have you started memorizing your scripture yet? You better! ;)

I have heard from several of you that have it memorized already! (show-offs!) (just kidding!) I am proud of you...just a little jealous that you are so fast. ;)

We have just a couple more SHINE girl serving stories left. Boo. I am sad about this. I LOVE hearing these stories and being inspired daily by them. Don't you?

Today, Kimberlee Blazina is sharing her story. Kimberlee is a long, long, long time friend. I remember when we were in elementary school, she had the most beautiful long hair. She always had a big cute hair bow in her hair. I envied her gorgeous locks. And bows. :)

Now, she (we) are all grown up. Kimberlee is passionately pursuing Christ in her life and it's a beautiful thing!

Be blessed by her incredible story, sweet SHINE girls.

My story
by: Kimberlee Blazina

So Jill sent me a text in October asking me if I would write about a mission trip I went on over the summer.  Of course I agreed because who would turn sweet Jill down J  I have to admit though that I have been very nervous ever since she asked because I don’t write real well.  Writing is certainly not my strength in expressing my thoughts but I certainly will give it a try. 

A little back story for you.  I grew up going to church but only with my best friend and her family.  My parents never went to church except on holidays and only then it was just me and my mom.  My best friend that lived across the street went every time the doors were open and I always tagged along.  I remember the day I took Jesus into my heart we were on a retreat and my best friend looked at me and said “I don’t want to go to heaven without you” and I was saved right then and there and got baptized soon after.  Now moving along over the years I didn’t attend church as often and then got to where I wasn’t attending at all.  After I got married and my husband and I had our first child we started looking around for a church preschool for my 2 year old to attend.  We visited First United Methodist Church of Covington and we got sucked in pretty quick not only to the preschool but to the church also.  Now we are official members and both of our boys have been baptized there.  Praise God!

Okay so moving onto our mission trip.  My husband and I had done several Tuesday night studies at our church and we both had felt like we were being called to go on a mission trip.  Around the same time we had been talking about doing the study “Beyond Your Backyard” in our Sunday school class which is about stepping out of your backyard in areas to serve.  We approached our Pastor about a mission trip to Honduras that our church does every year.  He said being that neither one of us had gone on a mission trip before he suggested doing the Red Bird Mission ( trip that would be coming up over the summer. Within this mission they help the community with housing improvement.  The people in Beverly, KY are very very poor and are typically older and don’t want to leave the area because they don’t know any different.  By going on this trip we could get a feel for a mission trip without having to leave the country.  We talked about it and signed up almost immediately.  I was very excited, nervous and anxious.  I am one that doesn’t like to step out of my comfort zone and I knew this would be doing just that like silly things like not knowing where exactly I’d be sleeping, being away from my kids for a full week, knowing cell service was very spotty if I got service at all (selfish silly things). 

Kimberlee & Kevin
So on Sunday, June 17th, we loaded onto our church bus and headed to Beverly, KY.  We arrived and before we could even get unpacked they had already changed our accommodations and all the women (14 of us) got put into a little building with bunk beds and 2 bathrooms.  Same with the guys but I believe there were only about 8 of them. Either way we all got a laugh at what we’d be spending the week in.  On the same camp there were about 5 other churches that came that week also totaling about 103 volunteers.  My thoughts after wandering around that afternoon were “am I actually going to be useful helping do construction/remodeling?  What have I gotten myself into?”  I was seriously nervous about the days ahead.  That night there was a service on the grounds with songs and some scripture reading.  After the service we played some games within our church group and headed to bed.  My hubby went one way and I went another.  There were some older women in our group and every night when I’d come in after leaving Kevin (my husband) I felt like I had been on a date and was coming in late lol. 

So each church group had their assignments for the week that was either onsite or in homes near the area for families in need.  Some examples were a new roof was being put on a building on the camp (the camp had like mini condos for long term volunteers), bathrooms were remodeled, stairs were put in, windows and doors were fixed etc.  Our daily routine consisted of everyone on camp coming together for a morning devotional, breakfast, then we’d split up and worked, came back for lunch, worked and then came back for dinner.  We’d be working 4 of the 5 full days we were there.  On one of the days we had an “off” day where we ended up going to a National Park and grilling out and playing some good ole’ cornhole.  After dinner each night there was always an activity together with all the church groups (talent shows, worship, communion). 

For the actual work that we were doing our church group broke into 3 different teams.  My team actually worked onsite and we remodeled 2 bathrooms making them into 4 bathrooms.  These bathrooms were in rooms for volunteers that stay on the camp for long periods of time.  Our other 2 teams within our church went offsite and actually worked on homes right down the road for families that were in need that didn’t have the money for the work that they needed done. 

Making a big bathroom that was shared by 2 women into 2 separate bathrooms.

Me sawing the old pipe to put in new PVC piping.

Kevin had to go under the house and take out all the old pipe so he could
put in new PVC piping also.
I'm putting in a fan in the bathroom and Kevin (below) has the new PVC piping in for
the toilet.

 When I first found out that I would be working onsite I wasn’t sure what to think of that because I really wanted to make a connection with the people in the area.  After sometime though being there I realized we were making a difference for someone else that was also making a difference AND I got to meet some of the women that were waiting for the bathrooms to be remodeled.  After talking to them and seeing their anticipation for what was being done and their thankfulness my heart was full. Remodeling these bathrooms involved me cutting PVC pipe, putting in bathroom fans, drilling holes, taking out old pipe etc.  It was quite a sight to see me handle power tools ha. 

On our last day our team did get to go offsite to finish up a project that one of our own teams had been working on.  They were making steps up a huge steep hill for this women’s daughter.  Her daughter has MS and the mom has custody of the daughter’s little boy because it’s hard for the daughter to take care of him with her illness.  Anyway, when the daughter comes to the house she has to crawl up this huge steep hill.  Can you imagine?  I was speechless hearing about this.  We take on own health for granted so much this certainly put things into perspective.  On this last day not only did we get to help with this project but I got to meet the family and to say they were thankful is an understatement.  Just seeing the joy they had for what was being done for them was simply amazing.  And all the while they were thanking God and I am so blessed to have met these sweet people.  Not only did we touch their lives but they touched all of ours also. 

The family we built the steps for

the steps :)
To try to really tell you all that happened that week in a short note is just not possible.  I can tell you that God was everywhere.  Between having a deeper appreciation for all that God has blessed me with… even the little things like steps, being able to make a difference for people in need and seeing their sweet faces and all the gratitude they had and meeting and making new friendships with people within my own church who I had never even talked to was amazing.  I’m so grateful for that week and my husband and I plan on going again next year.  I also still keep in touch with the sweet family that I got to meet on our last day. 

One thing I learned is when you don’t think you can make a difference you really can. You’ll will be amazed at the blessing you receive in return for helping someone in need.  I felt like I definitely gained more out of that trip then the people that we helped.

 Acts 20:35  “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

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