Throughout the week, my group and I were able to complete all the construction projects given. Initially the ASP staff gave us a project of replacing a band joist of a section of the back wall of the home. While getting ready to replace the joist, the team noticed deterioration in the insulation and wood. We proceeded to remove the siding to see how far the deterioration has spread. Unfortunately, it spread all the way from the top to the bottom of the exterior wall, centralized about 5 feet wide. The first step we had to take was to remove all the deteriorated wood and insulation in the wall. Once it was all removed, we were able to install sister wall and floor joists. Sistering a board is a way to repair a compromised joist by attaching another board of equal or
larger size to the questionable joint for critical support. Since the needed support is in place we were able to install brand new insulation and set the old siding back in place. To finish of the project we just needed to cover a small portion of the roof back up and protect under the house with a corner of underpinning. I was very thankful that we could complete this project for our homeowner. With all the hardships she has endured, she has continued to stay strong and hopeful. Seeing her as happy as she was that week and getting to spend majority of Friday with her was a perfect end to a great week!
My name is Meghan and this was my first year of ASP. I’ve always wanted to go on a mission trip, but it just never worked out. This year when Sarah told me about ASP I had to do it. I knew this would possibly be my last chance to go on a mission trip before college. So I signed up and I never regretted a single moment of it.
Before the trip Howard kept saying how ASP is a relationship ministry with a little construction on the side, it was not until we pulled away Friday morning that I would soon learn how true this statement
actually is. Not only building a relationship with your team but also the homeowners. Walking into the house on Monday I was a little unsure of how to build a relationship with the homeowners. However, it was not hard. The first relationship I felt was with Rodney, one of our homeowners, when he would jump into help us, give us tips, and work alongside us. Rodney continued to do this every day. Rodney wasn’t the only one who we built relationships with, within the first few days Marion, Rodney’s mother, and Rose, Rodney’s wife, would start or join in on conversations with everyone. Rose would also show us and tell us about all the pictures on the walls in the living room.
As the week went on we had removed the kitchen floor and put it all back together with new OSB. Thursday is the day that we would lay down the new floor tile. We used vinyl plank flooring. Now the kitchen wasn’t perfectly square so as a team we thought long and hard on how to make it so the floor didn’t look diagonal. After lots of collaboration, the team figured it out. After we had our game plan, it didn’t take long at all to get rolling on the floor. We all worked together to finish the floor that day, and after we laid the last piece of flooring we took a step back to look at the floor. But it was more than just a floor, it represented our teamwork and determination to finish the floor for the family, and the family was so happy, you could tell just by looking at their faces. When Friday came we knew it was our last day walking in but it wasn’t until we were pulling away that afternoon that it actually hit that we were not coming back. The relationships that were built are something I will never forget and I am so happy I decided to do ASP this year.
Going into ASP, I didn’t really set any expectations for the trip. Tons of my friends kept insisting how amazing and life-changing this experience would be but I knew better than to idealize something I only knew a little bit about. Things I knew were that we’d be driving in a van for over eight hours to a state I’ve never been to, I’d be spending most of my time with a group of seven other people I hardly knew, I’d be cutting, carrying, and drilling various materials to improve our homeowner’s house, and that I’d supposedly form a relationship with said homeowners whom I would only get to know for five days. I was a little skeptical about all the hype surrounding this ten-day excursion. What I didn’t know, however, was that during those long van rides we’d be cracking jokes, laughing, screaming
the lyrics to songs we haven’t heard in years, and talking about everything from AP classes to new inventions that could make Alvin rich. I also didn’t know that, in that slightly cramped van with a window and A/C that were previously broken, I would form such strong friendships with all seven of my team members. I would have never guessed that on Wednesday we’d be crying while telling each other how incredible they are and that I’d love each and every one of them by the end of the trip. I thought working with 2-by-4’s, circle saws
and drills would be easy work, but what I didn’t know was that by the end of each work day my skin would be a shade darker from all the sawdust and dirt and that only then would I find out that I have never sweat so much in my whole life than I did in those five days. The one aspect of this trip I really hadn’t anticipated was how I was supposed to interact with the homeowners. By the end of the trip I knew I’d miss the four homeowners who I’d always remember for their funny comments, lunchtime banter, and all six of their chihuahuas-- even the one that tried to bite me. It’s crazy to think that over the course of ten days I could meet so many new people and grow my friendships with the ones I already knew, and yet the relationships I built over a little more than a week are the reason why I can’t wait to go back next year.
Hi my name is Alvin and this was my 4th year of ASP. Being my 4th year I tried to go into it with no expectations, but that was very hard from the beginning of the work week because I felt like I had talked to the family and contributed to the overall group effort way more on the first day in years past. But like those who’ve gone on the trip before have said, every year is different. The first couple days had the same type of flow to it: we would be working in the kitchen, some of us inside, some of us outside cutting, and our family would watch us or the tv saying a few things here and there. As one of the family members named Rodney would jump in and do the work alongside with us. The moment I feel there was a change is when one of our group members, Meghan, was taking out a piece of the existing floor and she fell back trying to pop up the floor and I didn’t catch her and everyone just laughed and made fun of that moment and me the rest of the week. It’s small things like that throughout the week that make the trip a whole lot better. We continued taking out the existing floor and then put in new insulation and sub-flooring. On Thursday, our group was a machine as we got the process of laying the floor down and finished it up by the end of the day. It was amazing how a group of people who haven’t had any experience doing this before, can work together and make an impact in someone’s life as simple as putting a new floor down. Friday being the last day, having to say goodbye it’s one of the hardest things to do, to get back in the van at the end of the day knowing you’re not coming back anymore. But every year all the families in all the groups I’ve been in haven’t failed in making it harder to leave when they say to call or write or stop by anytime. Like how is it that you become so close and connected and loved by those who at the beginning of the week you didn’t even know. That right there fits the theme for asp this year perfectly we are being the peace to them just as they are to us. It was truly an incredible year and I’d like to thank the orange team and everyone in the group for making it such a great one, and I can’t wait for next year.
I’m Anne and this was my first year on ASP. I wasn’t anxious about the trip in general, but the feelings I was told I would encounter. How can I experience the “indescribable feeling” if I expect it? Fortunately, some group of 55 people alleviated the stress weighing on my shoulders and taught me to live in the present. In retrospect, I wouldn’t contemplate taking a summer class over going on a trip that would eventually change my perception on topics I had no connection to. If sacrificing a study hall gave me the option to go on ASP, I’d have no free time. Arriving at the center on Sunday and hearing “Here Comes The Sun” provided me with the anticipation that maybe I’ll have that feeling that others said they can’t fit into words. Maybe I’ll build a strong relationship with my homeowner in the 5 days we have together. Maybe I’ll even learn to make a sturdy ramp. And maybe, metaphorically, the sun will come. As a matter of fact, the sun came; in the physical form of our awful farmer’s tans and in the spiritual form of Charles’ ability to make us laugh even with the sun beating down on our fourth layer of sunscreen. Charles taught me a lesson similar to that of Eleanor Roosevelt’s: “Happiness is not a goal... it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” As we pulled up to his home every morning that week, he sat on his porch, in his wheelchair, waiting
to greet us with that smile he’s perfected from a life well lived. A happy life doesn’t request good health, popularity, or wealth. Rather, a happy life is making connections: the relationships made and lives changed. ASP gave me the opportunity to affect lives, I just didn’t know one of them would be my own.
This was my first year on asp and it took a lot of mental preparation. I met a lot of new people with a ton a different personalities either from this church, the other church from Pennsylvania, the staff at the center or the families we served. All of them unique, but there was a common goal among everyone: to come together through the love of God and each other. It took a lot of convincing to get me to go on this trip because I had never done anything like it before, so the uncertainty about the experience kept me uneasy. But after you get over the “is this really happening?” feeling, you fall in love with the atmosphere of everyone around you, especially those you spend 90% of the trip with in the van. ASP brought me a new outlook on life and people from different backgrounds and I learned to appreciate it. I learned more than I ever could've expected about myself, my friends, and God. We were told to look for miracles while on our trip, and personally I didn't have a specific moment that I could say was a miracle, but I believe if a bunch of people that barely knew each other can come together for a week and change someones life for the better without anything in it for themselves other than the experience, that's more than a miracle.
When I was writing this a couple days ago, I was trying to explain how amazing and life changing ASP is, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. But then I got a text from Annicka that said, "Look at this quote that Sarah sent me," so I read it and it was like a God moment for me because it put what I love so much about ASP into words. It said, “You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you will also miss the person you are at this time and place because you know that you’ll never be this way again.” I couldn’t stop thinking about how this quote is exactly the way I feel about ASP. Last year, the reason that I loved ASP so much, was because I was the best version of myself while on the trip. This year was no different. My homeowners, Dan and Renee, showed me how powerful love is because although they have gone through so much, the love and care that they have for each other is unbreakable and it was truly amazing to watch. Because of them, I became so full of love for everyone around me, especially my group members, Dan, and Renee. This made me realize that no matter how much repair we do or how much we serve our homeowners, they will always give us more than we could possibly give them. This trip really helped me find my shalom and I know that even though I’ll miss the person that I am while on ASP, I know there’s always next year.
Hi my name is Sarah Narske. This year being my 4th year of ASP, I thought I knew what to expect from the trip. I would meet my homeowner, hopefully bond with them while working on a project to help make their home warmer, safer, and drier. But as Howard always says, everything you think you know, you don’t. The week was full of surprises and things I considered to be out of the norm for ASP. The first surprise came on Sunday night when I went on the home visit. I was expecting to drive up the side of a mountain and down a holler to get to my home, but it was in a metropolitan area. The second big surprise was finding out that the community was a little weary of us. In past years, the community was always very welcoming to my group. Slowly as the week went on people started to welcome us. People driving by would honk to let us know
we were doing good work while others would come up and talk to us. They told us that what we were doing was making a difference and that it was important. The area had experienced some ups and downs but what we were what we were doing gave them hope. The amount of hope and wishful thinking in the area was unmatched. The theme for ASP this year was “be the peace” and that’s exactly what we were doing for the community. The week flew by and before we knew it Friday was here and our group was stressed because we wanted to finish our project, but that wasn’t a very realistic goal at that point. I think I can speak for my group when I say we were all a little disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to see our homeowner, Charles, reaction to a finished project. At the end of the day on Friday we said our goodbyes and Charles told us that he was so happy with what we had accomplished. All the hard work had paid off, he was happy and that’s all we could have asked for. Charles was the peace for us in that moment. He put all our stress and disappointment to rest when he told us he was proud of all we had done; he continued to tell us that we are the future and he couldn’t can’t wait to see what the world has in store for us. This year was very different in all the best ways possible and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Hi! My name is Annie Gibbons, and this was my second year on ASP. This year was different from last year in a lot of ways. Last year, my best friend was with me on the trip. Since she couldn’t go this year, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I decided to do it again, though, because I had such a great experience. At the beginning of the week, I was nervous about how everything was going. It was just different from last year which I think was hard to adjust to. As the week went on, it got better and better. Last year, my group had a hard time connecting with the three older women who were our homeowners. This was unfortunate because forming relationships is what ASP is all about, and I didn’t have an opportunity to really do that. This year, our homeowner, Charles, was the funniest and most outgoing man I’ve ever met. Whenever I had a break, I felt
comfortable going over to talk to him or his son, Aidrian. Besides the two of them, there were a lot of people from around the community who came to talk to us as they were interested in our work. Charles’ nephew, Leland, who has special needs, hung out with us and helped us most of the week. Not only did Leland make all of us laugh with his magic powers and jokes, but he also had a way of making us feel truly appreciated. I don’t know how much he really understood about our project or purpose there, but one day he came up to me and said, “You’re a really good person.” This showed me that he understood enough to see that we were doing something good, and it really warmed my heart. By the end of the week I felt good about the work we did for Charles. When we were leaving he started tearing up which showed me how much he cared and appreciated us. It’s amazing that while we were the ones learning something from him, we were also giving him a feeling of hope and love. Even though this year was different from last year, I had an equally great experience, and I look forward to going again.