You know it is quite scary to have this kind of telepathic influence. But as Peter Parker said in Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility." (Though I think that Peter's uncle said it first.) Never-the-less, I hereby vow to only use my power for good. ;)
Okay, on with the show ...
In today's episode of "What's Been Keeping Me from my Blog This Summer," I'm featuring my internship at Trinity United Methodist Church. It has been a wonderful experience, but it has been keeping me busy. Within a week of reporting for duty, I was on my way to my first Youth mission trip. Really, it was the first mission trip that I'd ever been on. I've wanted to participate before, but the timing had never been right. Things seemed to fall into place with this one.
We loaded up a mini-bus with a total of 23 participants to help a lovely woman, 87 years young, to fix up a lot of things at her little house in Marion, VA. Ms. Mackney is the lady on the far left.
We kind of felt like we were working on "Curb Appeal: The Block." After we had been working a couple of days, other people in the neighborhood began fixing up their own houses.
Here's the before and after. Let's see if you can figure out which is which ...
There was a lot of interior work as well, which included both a hole in the kitchen floor, and a hole in the ceiling that allegedly was the access to the attic, but it was spanned by a tree branch!
This was the first week of June, and quite frankly, the next week was dedicated almost entirely to recovery.
I've also been very involved with the Youth program (7th-12th graders), and teaching the 6th grade Sunday school. From the very beginning of my time here I knew that I would be involved with the church's Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, but what exactly I'd be doing kept switching from day-to-day. One day I'd be asked to do the music, then doing a science demonstration (Who said that church and science were incompatible?), and then finally two weeks out, I was asked to teach the Youth Class. "And oh, by the way, we don't have any Youth materials in the program that we've selected, but you can do anything you want."
The translation of that is that while there is a committee of about 15 people helping each other with all the related aspects of VBS, I would basically be a "one man band," so to speak. The good news is that I found a wonderful curriculum that I was able to get on-line for free, and I was able to develop some great lessons. The bad news was that it was very time consuming, and left me completely exhausted. I did have one parent volunteer that did sit in the class with me, and while she didn't have many specific responsibilities in the class, just her presence was a great help. I didn't realize how much that helped until she was called away for about 10 minutes. The Youth smelled the blood in the water, and they got considerably rowdier than usual.
The bottom line is that the class was great success. We actually had at least five other small churches participating in our VBS, and the Youth class was the largest of all of them. The Youth also has the biggest age range, but teenagers can chafe at what they might look at as a childish thing. I was very pleased when our numbers actually went up through the week! I had a max of 22. (I had been told to expect between 10 & 15 per night.) That might not seem like much, but for a person who, with the exception of that Youth Mission Trip, had zero experience with teaching Youth, I was amazed. For me it was a true case of, "God does not call the equipped. God equips the called."
However, neither of those things are the most time consuming items on my internship agenda this summer. I have been creating a website for the church. I'll admit that I have some experience customizing a platform, like Blogger, or MySpace, and message boards. I'll even go so far as claiming that I can do a better than fair job, and that's what I thought I was volunteering to do with the church's website. However, they had different plans.
Most of the time that I've spent with the church is designing and learning to build a sophisticated website. The good news here is that I just about have it, and that's a good thing too because the summer's almost over. I have about a week to finish everything, including content, so that I can have the following week to teach the church's administrative assistant to update it after I leave.
I have had a wonderful time working with the people of this church this summer. They are very genuine and loving. I really needed that environment after the emotionally straining year that I had a school. I will be able to go back at the end of August fully recharged and ready to plunge myself fully back into my studies. And the members of this church have been kind enough to express that I may have left a similar impression on them. It has been very gratifying.
You might think that all this would keep me busy enough for the summer, but it's just the beginning. Think that I got to take an absolute break from my studies over the summer? Guess again. But I'll tell you all about that tomorrow.