Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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ASP 2014 Reflection - Erin Larkin

July 13, 2014

Recently I participated in my first ASP trip. Before the trip, I have to admit I was a little nervous. I was not sure what to expect. I was unsure what my project would be, and who I would be working with. Also, to top it all off, I do not go to this church and I didn’t really know many people in the group that I was traveling with. Despite, all these uncertainties, I was excited to get to experience something that I had never done before and to help others less fortunate than myself. This experience definitely changed my life forever, and it helped that I was surrounded by such wonderful people throughout the week.

The ride to North Carolina was a great one. I had the pleasure of being in the car with Kathy, Papa Joe, Kristen, Erin, and Sarah. Along the way, we laughed a lot and sung along to every song we heard. It was a great time getting to know Kathy and Papa Joe better. When we finally arrived in Watauga County, I was speechless. The view of the mountains from where we were staying was beautiful. We stayed in a school with two other churches, one from VA and one from NC, and we slept in classrooms. I remember thinking, “How are all the girls going to fit in here?”, but we did it. Throughout the week, it was great to get to interact with and get to know the people from the other two churches more. Each church consisted of many different work crews, and different work crews worked on different houses. My work crew consisted of 5 people: Myself, Nathan, Papa Joe, Paul, and Brigid. Papa Joe and Brigid were our group leaders and they were awesome.

Although we might not have been the loudest group we still had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed lunch every day and sharing stories with everyone (especially about items on our bucket list). By the end of the week, we were talking more and growing more comfortable around each other. On the last day, instead of peanut butter and jelly, we had pizza. It was really fun to get to talk to the people on my work crew more. We learned a lot about each other and the different things we watched on TV and the activities we all enjoyed.

My work crew had the pleasure of building a wheelchair ramp. It was for Betty, the mother of the homeowner, Linda. Unfortunately, Betty is basically bed ridden and has congenital heart failure. This ramp, would allow her to get outside more with her daughter and do some of the things she had been missing out on, like gardening. It seemed that this ramp meant a lot to them. Linda and Betty were two of the nicest and sweetest ladies that I ever met. In fact, one day, Linda brought out 3 huge watermelons for us as a thank you. I thought that was really sweet. She didn’t have to do that for us. It was at that moment that I realized how much this ramp meant to her and her mother. That day, we even got to have lunch with Linda under her shady tree. It was really nice because we got to share stories and learn more about each other. On the last day, we met Betty for the first time. When we walked into her room, her face lite up. She told me, Paul, and Nathan that she wanted to adopt us, and I thought that showed how much she really cared about us, and how much we meant to her. When we were talking to her I couldn’t help but think about how happy she was despite her situation. She was very sick yet she never failed to smile. This visit with Betty made the whole trip worth it. Before we said our final goodbyes to Linda, we had a little gift for her: a bird feeder and a welcome mat to go on her porch. When we gave them to her, she was practically speechless, and gave us all a big hug. It was a great ending to a great work week.

To finish, I would like to give a special shout out to my crew: Papa Joe, Brigid, Nathan, and Paul. Thank you so much for putting up with me when at times it may have been frustrating, like when I was using power tools. Paul and Nathan, awesome job on the decking boards, you knocked those out in no time. Brigid, thanks for helping me with the circular saw and for the encouragement, and thank you Papa Joe for the help digging the many holes and for always making me laugh. The best feeling was when we finished that ramp for Linda and Betty. I think the coolest thing we did was when we signed our names underneath the ramp that we had built. It was like we left our mark on our work site. Now Betty and Linda would never forget us and would hold a piece of us with them. This is an experience that I will never forget and my I truly learned a lot this week about myself and my abilities.

~Erin Larkin

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