As you may know, every summer since in 1982, Covenant’s Appalachia Service Project (ASP) Team has spent a week in Central Appalachia bringing transformational experiences to participants by way of home repair. The summer of 2020 has been drastically different for all of us. We had planned our trip and were well on our way to our 39th summer with ASP, when we hit a roadblock. Unfortunately and understandably, due to the pandemic we were not going to make the journey to Central Appalachia this summer.
While we continue to support the Appalachia Service Project – the families ASP serves in Central Appalachia are still there and in need of help – our ASP team still wanted to get out there, use our hands and serve others. So, we started looking for another route. Other summer service programs were dealing with the same problem. Is it possible to continue mission trips in a pandemic? No! Every alternative also chose, very wisely, to stop operations. There would be no hosting of volunteers.
Okay, how about a day trip – no overnights? We came across a local outfit which was willing to try single day service projects close to home, coronavirus conditions permitting. Good Neighbors Home Repair is a faith-based organization that was started 26 years ago by Jay Malthaner after he volunteered for ASP. Their service area is Chester County, PA and northern New Castle County, DE. This seemed like a great fit! We took a detour and scheduled some Mini Mission Days with Good Neighbors.
On July 9th, we held our first Mini Mission Day and it went rather well. A crew of ten of us accomplished a lot for a wonderful homeowner, Mrs. Jones in New Castle County. We removed an old roof and started the installation of a new one (in standard Covenant ASP team fashion, we got much more done than they had expected!), all while doing our best to follow coronavirus guidelines. We took separate cars, wore masks when necessary, and did our social distancing.
Mrs. Jones has lived in her neighborhood, south of Wilmington, her whole life. She’s retired and now helps her grandson and great granddaughter who live with her. She’s glad that her sister still lives across the street. Family is important and she likes to make sure everybody is okay.
A few weeks later, we were fortunate enough to return to Mrs. Jones home to finish her new roof. It was nice to be able to see her new roof installation through to completion and to spend some time talking with Mr’s Jones. She was grateful that she would no longer have to worry about rainwater leaking in.
We have scheduled a couple Mini Mission Days at the end of August and hope to schedule additional days through the fall. These volunteer opportunities are not for ASP team members only! We welcome anyone who is willing to give about eight hours to helping someone else, no home repair skills required. We’ll learn as we go. The real skill is in bringing relief and hope to others, even when there’s a roadblock and you have to take a detour.
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