Missions Trip to Cherokee NC

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Here are the details and some pics of our recent missions trip to NC.  We had no idea until we arrived that we’d be replacing a roof on someone’s house!  What a week!  Nine ZG members joined us!!

Monday – we got here about 5 yesterday and got settled into our rooms and had dinner. We went to our first chapel which was very motivating. We met the team leaders, had a time of praise and worship, and heard a great message on getting rid of the material baggage we carry around. After a very warm night’s sleep, we were up early as we are one of the first team’s out for breakfast at 7. Then to work!

All of the guys except John, Matthew, Sam, and the two Brandon’s worked at one home on building an awning off the side of the house. The rest of us went to a home to give it a new roof. We worked until 4 taking off the old shingles, tar paper, and pulling up the roof nails. After cleaning the roof of all debris, we nailed down the Tyvek paper. Tomorrow we shingle the roof. We actually only got one side of it done today and so we start on the other side of the roof tomorrow. Some of the boys from the other site will come to help as they’d like us to have the entire roof done by week’s end. The leaders are awesome teachers. Teaching a bunch of women and kids how to replace a roof has been nothing short of a miracle. And everyone worked so hard and did everything that was asked of them. What a blessing to see Karen McLeod up on that roof hammering away! And Patti who’s so afraid of heights.

There are 3 kids who live at the house and they finally all came out at the end of the day. We gave them books, the bunnies we made, and the soap and wash cloths. The kids took a break from roofing and played with the kids some too. The homeowner was sweet, despite their distrust of white Christians. We’re off to a cookout at a nearby park with the other teams for dinner. We are all exhausted and sore, but God was glorified in each of us today. When the going got tough, we sang praise songs.

Tuesday – only 5 guys went to the awning site today. They ran out of materials and so went back to the campus early. 15 of us continued work on the roof! The other side has been stripped and the Tyvek paper put down. Shingles are going on in an assembly line fashion and we really found our groove by the end of the day. Wes caulked and we put tar down where needed. We have some sore fingertips from the hot shingles and tar and fiberglass knees and hands,  but our hearts are happy and our attitudes great. Our devotion this morning was from Ephesians and we know without a doubt that we were created to do this good work long before the creation of the world.

Miss Jessica, the lady of the house we’re roofing, brought us out homemade cupcakes today. They also provided a cooler of water bottles and chips for our lunch. Some of us met the husband today and they are very appreciative for our help. David, one of our crew leaders said teams are usually not treated so well and generously by the families they serve. So we’ve made some new friends! Today is taco Tuesday and so we’re headed to a Mexican restaurant after showers. Another long, hot, but God glorifying day!

Wednesday – Still shingling today. The 5 guys at the other site finished the awning they were working on and arrived at our site to a standing ovation.

We were so thankful to have all 25 of us working together on one project. The roof is about three quarters of the way shingled, but it’s been slow going as  shingles need to be cut in certain areas because the roof is not an exact rectangle. Tomorrow is supposed to be our half day, but we’ve been told we may  have to work later if we don’t finish.

The other campers here are all great too. There are 2 other Florida groups here. One of them goes to Pastor Rick Cabot’s church. Small world.

Last night’s chapel message was on how our words hurt other people as much as physical abuse and turn into baggage for the offended person. A few of the kids with heavy hearts asked others for their forgiveness for past hurts. It was awesome. We ended last night in the common area they call the wigwam with Josh leading us in praise and worship songs.

Tonight for dinner is Indian tacos at a park.  Then to Unto These Hills, an outside theater show where we will get a better understanding of the history of the Cherokee Indians in these parts.

Only injury to report is Ben who stepped on a roof nail that went through his shoe and into the bottom of his foot.

Thursday – Another a long, but gratifying day,  we finished all but the peak of our roof, which requires more skill and time than we had.  We learned that Gojo is your best friend when you are covered in tar.  It was a half work day today.  For lunch, we went to a park where the kids ate and swam in a creek.  Then we went shopping in the Indian Village.  Then it was back to the college for showers and pizza and some down time before chapel.  We were surprised by  a visit from Pastor Billy and Mrs. Donna who are visiting friends and relatives in the area this week.

During chapel, we met Miss Cherokee and she shred some of their culture with us and even taught us a dance and invited Sam, Matthew, and Kirsten to perform it with her.  The kids were reminded then of this week’s theme from Hebrews12:1-2 and we saw a powerful drama and heard a great closing message on leaving baggage at the cross so we can run the race God has for us.  We were led outside then and up in the hills where tiki torches lit places we could sit and pray about our individual baggage.  We were given luggage tags to write our baggage on and then, after praying, we nailed them to a wooden cross set up nearby.  It was a very powerful.  A great way to end our time here as missionaries.

Oh yeah, we also celebrated a birthday today!  Chris Toro turned 16 today and we surprised him with a cookie cake, gifts and singing.  I’m pretty sure with all that’s happened this week, this is one birthday Chris will not soon forget!

We get to sleep in tomorrow until 7 as it is our free day.  Pray for safety as we go Whitewater rafting and tubing, enjoying some much anticipated and needed fun and fellowship after all our hard work this week.  Also pray for Jason’s finger that he cut while roofing today and for Wes.  Wes sprained his ankle after breakfast this morning and had to supervise our roofing from the yard below as a result.  He also turned in before the end of chapel tonight because he was not feeling well.  Pray he is better for our fun day tomorrow.

Friday – Today we slept in til 7 and then after breakfast headed to the NOC for Whitewater rafting. We were in 4 different boats and had such a good time. There were two noteworthy highlights. One was when Jonathan, who was in the back of his boat, wouldn’t stop splashing Mrs. Amber in one of the other boats. Finally, the guide behind Jo grabbed him up by his life jacket and threw him overboard into the icy cold water. His eyes were the size of golf balls when he came back up. Then Dustin fell overboard, snagged his bottom on some rocks and came up with about 6 inches of his bathing suit shredded. Let’s just say there were a lot of jokes about Dustin being cheeky after that! Mr. Wes saved the day with a spare pair of shorts.

After lunch we went to Deep Creek for tubing and the kids had so much fun climbing nearly a mile up the mountain and then tubing back down over the rapids.

After changing back at the college, we went to Ryan’s steakhouse for dinner. We reserved the banquet room and had a great time of reflection over our week here. We shared what we felt God did in our lives and hearts. It was a special time for all.

Friday nights in the wigwam then are a time for the kids to hang out, spend some time getting to know our week’s team leaders and more about their lives and vice versa. We rewarded the kids with a night of choosing their own roommates too. We assigned rooms for the work part of our week to ensure kids were getting enough sleep so they could do the job God had for them here. Good thing too. Tired kids on a roof? No! It’s been a memorable week here for all of us. The kids bonded and taught so many of us adults through their great attitudes, hard work, and willingness to do whatever God asked of them. Please pray for safe travels home tomorrow as we close out the TPCC Cherokee, NC missions trip.