The Copperheads! Ahh!

Crew 5, aka the Copperheads was helping at Lynn’s through out the week in Rosedale. While there, we were building her a new house. The current house she lives in is starting to cave in from the hill that is right behind it. The new house meets the definition of a tiny house that is budgeted to come in at under $15k, which is more reasonable “Tiny House Hunters.” It was cool to be apart of this site to realize we do not need material possessions to have a good quality of life just shelter, bed, kitchen, and clothes.

We had many different projects to accomplish during the week. Upon our arrival the house had the outside walls up and wrapped and the inside walls studded out. The outside walls just needed the siding to be finished. We had a stack of boards to stain before we could start nailing the siding. We were able to side two of the sides during the week.

Another project was digging holes and trenches. The holes are for the deck that will be built in the coming weeks. The trench is for the waterline. While digging the trench, some of the guys on the crew were laying out some awesome beats for us to jam to.

We also had some inside projects that we helped complete. We put up the venting on the roof. We also put insulation between all the studs. A few of us also helped to build the storage loft and utility closet. We ran the plumbing and electrical wiring as well.

Overall it was a great week and we are happy to report that we did not come in contact with any snakes after being alerted that they were around the property. The crew was able to get to know each other better during all of the tasks. We got a chance to talk to Lynn and hear her story, we found out she has a phobia of large groups so we took shifts talking to her when she was outside to see our progress. Lynn grew up in the community and is living on the land that her family has owned for many years.

We are excited to get home to share more of the week  and find ways to impact the Madison area with our faith that changed for the better this past week. Continue reading

Surprise Encounter

We had a lot of fun in West Virginia. My name is Ian Armstrong and the group that I was in worked on a house in the town of Clendenin we gutted the house we were working on. During one of our lunch devos a man named Andrew who was helping us on our worksite shared his story. After lunch and devos I went and talked to him and we talked about the similarities with in our lives and our     stories. He then proceeded to tell me that he would put me in his prayer journal and then he prayed for me. Then through out the week we got to know each other better and work with each other a ton. It was great meeting a guy that was so open about his story and was willing to talk to me.

Day Two

It’s day two at West Virginia!

We have a daily routine here in which we wake up at 7am- getting ready, eat breakfast, and make our lunches for the day. At 8:10 we have a morning devotional. We are off to our worksites by 8:30. Some groups have a 30 minute drive to their sites and some have close to a hour drive. Our groups generally work until noon and then we break for lunch and a lunch time devotional. Students get the chance to lead this devotional time and it has been so sweet to see the leadership and vulnerability come out of these students evening he beginning of the week! After lunch we continue to work on our sites until around 3:30pm. Some groups shower at a community center and others back at the church we stay at. Dinner is at 6:00 and worship starts at 7:30. We have “church time” after worship in which we meet again in our groups that we work with at our work sites and have another devotional time. Today we also started sharing our stories with each other. This further increases vulnerability and fosters deeper relationships between students and leaders. Our schedule is packed and rigid. We are exhausted already, but know that God is proud of the work we are doing and that we are honoring him by the hours of labor and the busy schedule. Please pray for energy and perseverance at our worksites, pray for the leaders of the trip, next step interns, pray for the other churches that are with our group this week, pray for the people we are coming alongside and all of those people and communities that were affected by the tragic flooding that happened here a few weeks ago. Thank you for being patient with the blogging and can’t wait to update y’all soon!!

Greetings from from West Virginia!

We have just finished day one at our worksites. These worksites look a little different for different groups. Two of our groups are currently working in Rosedale, the community we originally planned to serve with, doing basic construction projects. The other two groups – including ours – are spending the week doing relief work in Clendenin, a town severely affected by the recent flooding in West Virginia. The damage there is shocking to see; many residents lost everything to the flood, including their homes. The man whose home our crew was working on, Mr. Wolfe, had some interesting insight on the situation. In conversation with members of our crew, he was asked if during or after the flood he shed any tears. He responded that no, he had not, because it was the not the material things that held value in his life, but the meaning behind them. This can act as a reminder to us all that it is not material wealth that matters, but spiritual wealth.

We miss you all at our homes, please keep our Blackhawk crews, the groups from other churches,  the NextStep leaders, and the residents of both Rosedale and Clendenin in your thoughts and prayers throughout the week!

With love,

Hannah, Mariana, Adia, and Mia

Closing Words From Will

Rosedale, West Virginia is a place full of Jesus.
Between its natural beauty, loving community members, Next Step staff, and students, God is really doing something incredible there.
Throughout this week we served but were also served countless times. Sure we built things, but the perspective we gained and relationships we built will be what stays with us forever.
This was my third year going back, and the way in which I experience the Lord here is like no other.
All the staff live their lives for God and His light is shown through them every day. The beauty of the landscape is but a glimpse of the enormity of God’s creation. The way the community members touch your heart and ultimately change your life are gifts from God.
Serving in West Virginia this past week was, yet again, life changing.
God is good and it is so evident in Rosedale.
-Will McMillan

A Shout Out to Next Step Staff!

Starting from the moment our bus pulled to the front of The Pulse church, our team was welcomed openly by the Next Step ministry staff. Immediately they hopped on the bus dedicated to giving our leaders a moments rest, after a seemingly unending bus ride. They soon took the time to learn every name of the students on this trip, including the Blackhawk team and our friends who joined us there from Pennsylvania. As the week began our team was astounded by the leadership and maturity that these college age students had to offer. In addition to appearing ready and waiting early each morning, preparing supplies for work sites, feeding us, and just about everything in between they created an amazing environment surrounded by Gods love and grace. Despite the fact that this was the Next Step staffs sixth week of serving the community of Rosedale, they were still so enthusiastic and energetic about serving on the work projects we did. It was so amazing this week to see the connections each staff member has made with the residents and how well they have shown God to Rosedale. One example of this super  great leadership was the staff member assigned to our group, John (more affectionately known as “Chick-Fil-A”). We spent our week building a sidewalk for a women named Cathy who will likely be confined to a wheelchair later in life due to a traumatic car accident. John like all of us had little to no experience with pouring concrete. Luckily he turned to this amazing resource some call “YouTube” to prevent numerous disasters that may or may not have occurred on site with the concrete. Each day he stayed late to make sure the concrete dried smoothly, and everything was done to make it as nice for Cathy as possible. It was really amazing to see John’s dedication to watching the concrete dry. On our last day our whole team got the opportunity to pray over the staff to encourage and lift them up for weeks ahead. Needless to say leaving them this morning was not an easy task, and we will be keeping them in our prayers for much longer.

-Abby and Bria

Crew 2 – The Concrete Mixers

Greetings from Rosedale!!

It’s the end of day 3 at our worksites, and projects are in full swing. Our group has been working on building a concrete sidewalk for an elderly woman named Kathy, who recently injured her legs in a car accident. The sidewalk will stretch between Kathy and her daughter’s home next door. There have been a few minor setbacks due to rain, but we are happy to say the worst of it has held off while we worked, and we have made great progress.

Our crew has had a great time so far this week both working hard on the sidewalk and building relationships with Kathy, her family, and each other. Kathy’s house has provided endless entertainment for us, including  one horse, one dog, seven cats, various other creatures, and especially, her daughter’s five foster kids.

Even beyond the worksite, our team has had the opportunity to bond on deep and humorous levels. We’ve been able to have great conversations together about the purpose God has given us in this earth and how we can live to glorify him. Despite the somewhat severe exhaustion, we’ve had a blast with everything from meals, car rides, and digging in the mud.

Signing out with a cheer from Yours Truly, the Concrete Mixers… We’re here to mix *clap* YOU UP!!

– Hannah Metzger and Mia Radix

Another successful day on the site!

Thankfully there wasn’t any rain today so we were all able to work hard on the house.  Mr. Gooch made us lunch which was amazing!  We worked on scraping the back deck of old paint, so we can hopefully repaint it tomorrow and Thursday. On the front of the house the crew worked on building a roof that hangs over the front ramp to keep Mr. Gooch dry when it rains. We had a very successful day and spotted many deer in the beautiful back yard. We saw God today in the generosity of Mr. Gooch who made us dinner and gave us Popsicles after our long day of work. He spoke to us through the stories we heard at lunch devotional time and the beauty we are surrounded by.

~Kailey and Kristi