Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What a week

A big "I'M SORRY" for all of you expecting blog updates and more.  We've been having an incredible week but the logistics of moving into new space and working around other groups while getting our first two days of service in have been a challenge.  I'll do a formal update tonight with team names, who's on what team, and a summary of what they are doing later tonight but this afternoon I thought I'd give you a brief history and story behind why we're living in Chester, VT this week and what that means for future SERVE trips.

In the fall of 2008 it became very clear to us that SERVE needed a new identity and a refined purpose.  After praying and talking to a lot of people we decided it was time to return to Mandy's hometown and the home of SERVE 2002,2003, and 2004.  The VBS at First Baptist of South Londonerry needed some reviving and we made new connections with other organizations, homeowners, and churches in the area.  We were greeted with open arms and we decided to make a five year verbal commitment to return to South Londonderry every summer.  The gift of coming back every year has been incredible and has helped students gain identity and purpose in this area.  When our returning students come into town every summer they are greeted by local community members who know their names and are so thankful for the work ethic, maturity, and excitement that our students bring to town.  During our fifth summer in 2013 we asked ourselves the questions: "What now?" "What is God asking us to do?" "What can we do to further the growth of our students?" What can we do to further the impact of SERVE in South Londondery and beyond?" It's been clear to us since that point that moving to a more central community like Chester would allow us to continue to serve South Londonderry and Weston where our work primarily is but would open up new communities like Cavendish, Chester itself, Andover, Springfield and Bellows Falls because we'd be closer to them driving wise.

Through a series of events the opportunity to try out Chester became available this year.  Huge thanks to Tom Charlton and Chester Baptist as well as Susan Moody and the Chester Congregational church for opening up their doors to us this week and giving us the opportunity.  Other doors have opened up left and right for us this week including tonight's outing for free to the Chester town pool.  We havent' decided if this is a long term move or not yet for SERVE but it is clear that we are exactly where we're supposed to be this week.

Thank all of you too including those of you that are local supporters as well as those that have students here.  Thank you for your trust, prayers, and help in so many ways!