A couple of years ago I looked around and noticed there's a whole week between Christmas and New Years and all the kids are out of school with nothing to do but program various electronics they got under the tree. So I declared a holiday and signed them all up to go on mission trips. Two years ago we took the college kids to Mississippi to work on Hurricane Katrina recovery. We built a deck in a week and had lots of fun. Last year we took two high school kids to the Texas coast and worked on Hurrican Ike recovery. We met a lady who told us how to skin an alligator and had lots of fun.
This year we're staying home and doing a smorgasboard of stuff with the loosey-goosey approach. We have a variety of projects for a variety of skill levels and the best part os everyone gets to sleep in their own bed at night. No bedrolls in tents or on church floors.
And a variety we have had. We've had three handymen from our church who did some electrical work for the local free health clinic. And they learned that if you're going to slice your hand open putting in an electric box and need stitches, it's a really swell idea to do it while you;re working at the local free health clinic.
We had the kids from high school to elementary working together which was cool, especially having my own two grands involved.
One of our best projects has been taking hot coffee and sack lunches to the Day Labor Center. This is a place the city built for all the miscellaneous day labor workers to assemble and look for work. It helps the contractors, too, to be able to go to one location to get guys for the day. On Monday the kids were startled to see how many men there are there at a corner nobody ever pays much attention to. The guys flocked over when they saw what we were doing. Today, they started lining up when they recognized our cars. Tomorrow will be our last day and I already hate to think of Thursday coming and the guys will miss us.
We've done other things: clean the church sanctuary, help pack boxes at the local food bank, visit the shut-ins, visit a nursing home, etc--you know the drill.
After we finished taking the sack lunches on Monday we came back to the church to talk about what we'd seen and done. One of the things we discussed with the kids was whether or not to put the church magnetic signs on our cars.......advertise what we're doing or go anonymously? The kids all voted to remain anonymous so make it a totally selfless endeavor. But what I realized was the real essence of what we are doing........it's not really changing much with the guys. We feed them one lunch for one day. We're not changing them. We're changing ourselves.