Ashleigh and Jordan, World Changers Mission Trip

June 9-14, 2014

Ashleigh and Jordan were part of a World Changers mission trip to Dallas, Texas.

The descriptions of the photographs were written by Ashleigh Nave.

This is Jordan's group, with Jordan at front left. The lady whose house their group worked on is at the center in front.

We arrived in Dallas after a long, 8-hour drive from Slidell, Louisiana. We would be staying at Cliff Temple Baptist Church, a church founded in the 1800's with magnificent architecture and an interesting history. They graciously allowed roughly 15 youth groups to stay in their classrooms for five days, and provided us with meals.

This beautiful area where we held our worship gatherings is only the chapel; the sanctuary is five times as big! Our theme was "pivotal", and explored the pivotal role that God plays in our lives.
Our first evening there we played several games to get to know each other. Here are two girls from our youth group, Danielle Stazney and Grace Balli, trying to decide who won
Cliff Temple had a large cafeteria area where we ate breakfast and dinner. The food was very good, which was relieving.
Our first day before leaving to go to our separate projects we had a Great Send-Off. Nicole Cherrie and Grace Balli were as excited as everyone else.
We sang a couple songs- including "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", before leaving with our crews.
Every night after worship we would gather with our youth groups and do a devotion. Here's Jordan and her friend Drew Turner.
At my work site we had a run-down, paint peeling, boards rotting house that belonged to an elderly lady with Alzheimer's. Her daughter, who was in her late fifties, was pleased that we had arrived. My youth pastor, Luis, set to work immediately, at one point climbing on the back of Michael Stazney to cut a useless wire tangling with a dead tree branch.
As you can see, the house looked pretty dismal when we first started on it.
My crew consisted of three members of my own youth group, Luis, my youth pastor, and then a mixture of several other students from different youth groups. Here you can see Sherman, Mr. Jason, Luis, and Katie, a girl who I became good friends with by the time we were done.
Every house and crew got a sign like this: "labor provided by World Changers". It was partially to encourage questions from people who passed by. It was great to see how amazed people were when we told them we had paid close to $300 to come up to Dallas and fix houses for free. It was a great opportunity to witness.
The first thing we did was nail insulation up over the cracked, rotten wooden siding. Sherman and Luis had to put their heads together and use a little sine, cosine and tangent math to figure out the angles, since the house was slanted on its foundation.
We had to scrape the paint from the trim around the windows so we could repaint it. Masks were required when scarping paint because it had lead in it.
We worried about the window frames because they were so rickety you could feel the air conditioning leaking from the house.
By the time we started painting the trimming, most of the extension ladders were being used to put insulation up. So my youth pastor unceremoniously boosted me up onto the steeply slanting roof to lean over the side and paint the trim. It was probably the most unpleasant job I did, since the sun was brutally hot and I had to hook my leg over the peak to keep from rolling off. It did make for an interesting picture, though.
Lunch was our favorite part of the day. A church in the area brought us food every afternoon that we worked. They were wonderful ladies, and knew the only way to feed hungry teenagers: in bulk.
Although some things weren't on our list to do, they needed to be done. Like replacing the window frames, or tearing up the sagging boards of her wheelchair ramp.
Our project coordinator, Mr. Russell, came to our site in time to help them pry away the rotting wood and replace it.
Katie was a painting machine. She did most of the porch herself. The house had already started to look better with the mint green trim.
The guys finally pried away the boards after about 20 minutes of hard work.
Sherman screwed the new, sturdy planks in once the old ones were gone.
The house was coming along nicely, but we still had a lot of work to do. The whole front of the house needed to be insulated.
The girl in the middle of the frame here, Kelsie, also became a good friend of mine. She and Jacob were from a Korean church in Austin, Texas, and taught us how to say hello in Korean, annyeonghaseyo.
The man in the background came around to our work site a lot. His name was Kerman, and Jacob spent several hours over the three days we were there talking to him. Kerman had a mental disorder and, we agreed, possible schizophrenia. But like Jacob said, God is above any worldly problems we may have, and he poured himself into talking, witnessing, and listening to Kerman.
Meanwhile, we finally began to cut siding for the first side of the house.
Kelsie, the shortest in our group, found it funny that she could only nail up so far before it became to tall for her. She was the first person to get a ladder.
Michael, Kelsie, and another amazing girl I got to meet, Vicki, nailed the siding up like pros.
Luis checked on our progress frequently to make sure we were doing it right.
Kelsie and Vicki worked hard to line up the pieces correctly and overlap them the right way. I never knew siding was so complicated.
Vicki was an incredible person. She came from Kenya when she was five, and speaks Swahili. She told me hujambo means hello. I learned two new ways to say "hi!" on my trip! And she plays soccer, which gave us a lot to talk about.
The garage doors were big and heavy, and also bent in at a bad angle. We felt that we couldn't leave them in the condition they were in so the boys took them of their hinges, reconstructed the backs, and put them on new, more heavy-duty hinges. We also replaced the lock so it couldn't be broken into. Once it was painted green, it looked a lot better.
With the insulation on, the house looked completely different, and we couldn't wait to see it with the siding on.
A couple of us stayed late one day and I went ahead and painted the bottom of the ramp. That's when her son decided to stop by and visit, and I ran up to him yelling, "Wet paint, wet paint!!!" before he could step onto it.
The siding itself turned out to be almost the same color as the trim, and our homeowner did not like it. That was disappointing. Even more disappointing was on the last day, when we were told we were going to be pulled off our own project, so our supplies could be distributed to other crews. It was either finish our house, or finish three others. We were all very upset, but God had other plans.
Here is Stephen and Jacob on the site of our new project. As you can see in the background, they were done with the front of the house, but had two sides unfinished. They were thankful for our work and, because we had already learned how to place siding, turned out to be a big help. Their homeowner was extremely pleased and very grateful.
This is Ms. Shelby. After lunch our group decided to do our devotion out front, because the other crew was in the back. Ms. Shelby just happened to be walking by and asked to join us. Luis got to have a long talk with her about her relationship with Christ. She was a hard-core drug addict and struggled.
Luis reminded her that she had the power of Christ inside her, and that He gave her the ability to say "no" to anything. I also wrote down her address and her needs on a card that would be sent to a church near her so they could contact her when we were gone.
We easily finished the house with both groups there to work. We had been upset to be pulled off our project, but I was reminded of my favorite verse, Job 42: 1-3.. "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." God obviously made some plans that were just too wonderful for us to understand.
The other crew got the chance to pray with their homeowner once the house was finished. It was amazing to hear them all praising God for his help.
Grace Balli, who had been part of that group, said goodbye to the family living next door. Their crew had made good friends with the people in the neighborhood, especially the kids.
The morning we left Jordan and Grace posed for me in front of the World Changers sign, and sang the song we'd learned: "You can be a.. wooooorld chaaaanger, shining your light for those in danger! Sharing the love of our Lord and Savior! You can chaaaange the wooooorld. Go on and change the world!"

Jeff and the girls come for a visit

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