Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wilsey, KS :: Eastern Iowa Photographer

As I sit contemplating how I am ever going to write about all the extraordinary things [and not-so-extraordinary things] that happened on our mission trip to Wilsey, Kansas, I remember my journal. "Hey, why not just share what I jotted down in my journal when I was there?"  So here is what I wrote on July 13:
I am here in Wilsey! It has definitely been an interesting trip and I have learned so many special things. I don't want to be here just because and I know I am not here just because. God put me here to learn. He gave me an opportunity to not only serve Him, but the time and ease of spending time with Him and learning of how wonderful He is. Even now as I write this, there is noise everywhere and such crazy teenagers! =) But spending time serving Him, worshiping Him, and learning more about Him, has brought me so much joy and peace. It is hard, though. It is humid. There are giant bugs. There is hard work, noisy people, and uncomfortable sleeping quarters. But, God has been teaching me to except the trials and obey Him. The verse that He has given to me is this, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that he testing of your faith develops perseverance." That is something I want. To be able to say that it is through Christ that I will not give up. And now, being willing to go back out and work even after I have showered and put on fresh clothes! It is so wonderful to have an open, pliable heart that is willing to serve and love.
Some may wonder why we would go on a mission trip somewhere so close to home. Let me tell you, most people don't know that Wilsey even exists. It is in the near exact center of the US, but, ironically, [or maybe not so ironically] it is in the middle of nowhere. This place is barely a town. It is in shambles and none of the stores are even open. Our mission in coming here is to build up this town and share the love of 
Jesus with the people. 

The mission trip started bright and early on Tuesday when we started off on our seven hour drive. We were to meet teams from many other Calvary Chapels from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Kansas. We arrived at Wilsey in the evening and got settled into the dorms; the boys in theirs and the girls in theirs. Each evening we were there, we had a time of worship and teaching. During the day we worked on all sorts of different projects. The gas station, General Store, and 'beauty shop' needed to repaired so someday they could be reopened. Weeds needed to be pulled [there were quite the overabundance of those]. There was an elderly couple in the town who needed yard work done. There was even a widow who's roof caved and she wasn't able to get it fixed. But, not only did our crew fix her roof, the weeds in her yard were removed, the garage was cleared out [that was quite a job], and some people went to help her out with the inside [which needed serious cleaning].  

 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."  -James 1:27

Friday was a day of fun after all the hard work, but it was also our last full day there in Wilsey. All several hundred of us loaded up in our buses, vans, and whatever else we rode in, to have an excursion. Our first stop was a prairie, where we listened to a short talk that Dr. Rick Oliver gave on Creation. Then we headed over to a museum of a huge, old barn, where we were told that the early pioneers built it with their hands. Stop number three was the lake! Lakes can be a little sketchy to swim in, but after all the heat and hard work, I doubt many people thought twice. Dairy Queen was our last place for the day. Every year the DQ in Council Grove gets hundreds of orders... all on one day! The special thing was that Pastor John [the main organizer of the mission trip] bought ice cream for everyone!

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