Open Arms – Day Four

So, Zach, a middle school student on our team, has this stuffed squirrel that he brought with him that has no face. Apparently his dog literally ate the face off of his stuffed squirrel. It’s name is Steve (the squirrel, not the dog). Apparently the fact that the squirrel has no face, although slightly bizarre, has no bearing on the fact that Steve is very much appreciated and valued as a stuffed squirrel.

Before the week started many of us on our team had expectations of who we might meet here at Open Arms. We had prepped our team to know a little bit about the work that happens here, and had even heard some testimonies of some of the past students who have lived at Open Arms. We thought we knew what to anticipate, but the people we had envisioned that we would meet, still didn’t have faces. Now they do. Not only do they have faces, but we’ve gotten to know their names, their dreams, their hearts, and their passions… and we love them all the more for having allowed us to be able to enter in to their stories, to know them, to relate to them, to live with them for the week, to learn so much from them, and to love them.

Today we continued our painting efforts, which Steve Campbell, who among many things heads up maintenance around here said that it, “looked like a job done by professionals! ” We had some additional help this afternoon when Kathy, Lauren and Morgan Murphy drove down from Indy to assist us, and they even brought some great afternoon snacks that really hit the spot! We also started and completed one of our outdoor projects that led to students learning new skills with a circular saw and an air nailer. Our crew is simply amazing! Our day was rounded out when Ann Huebel came and led a really great time with the girls complete with the experience of a facial and skin care tips. Afterward we presented each girl with a little goodie bag that was appreciated by all, and tonight we spent a relaxing evening watching a movie and winding down after a long fun filled day.

Tomorrow we have our last big day of work ahead of us. We’ve been getting up a little after 6 AM each day and putting in some long work hours, but everyone is still excited to get going and push through to hopefully meet our painting goal for the week of six major areas of the Miriam house. There’s even talk from a few students of getting up even earlier to get a jump on the day! We can only hope that this enthusiasm carries forward beyond spring break… It just goes to show how much students can accomplish when the bar is set high, they are passionate about the mission, and they can see a direct impact on the lives for which they are serving.

We’ve learned a ton this week. We’ve learned to see a lot of things and people from a different perspective…even a faceless squirrel named Steve. We’ve laughed, and loved, and prayed, and learned, and have been challenged physically, emotionally and spiritually. Above and threw it all we’ve caught glimpses of the face of Jesus in the lives of our team, in the lives of the girls here, and in the amazing staff and all those who give of themselves for the sake of the mission of Christ here at Open Arms.

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