“Did y’all pay to come and work on my house?” Dave asked incredulously. “Yes Dave, we did” one of the youth answered him. “But why in the world would you do that?!” he exclaimed.
Jason turned to Dave and explained “Well, Dave, it’s like this. We know that Jesus loves us and gave up all that He had to come to earth and live for us. We also know that Jesus died on a cross to give us a new life and faith in Him. We are able to love other people because Jesus first loved us.”
This explanation led to a week long conversation about the church, Jesus and faith. Dave was my first resident with Group Mission Trips and he was full of life and love. He had suffered an injury years ago and lived in a home that truly needed a fresh coat of paint. The paint that he chose was dark green for the house and burnt orange for the shutters. That house looked good when we left, but it was very obviously not in the same motif of the surrounding houses for at least five towns.
Dave shared with us that he absolutely loved us, and loved the color of the paint. He said that his neighbors would now be using his house as a reference point when giving directions as it was the only non-white or grey house in the town.
That week we were able to give Dave’s house a new coat of paint, develop a friendship with him, witness to him about the love of Jesus for all of humanity and pray over him for healing. Dave in turn welcomed us to his home and cared for us during the week. The impact that he made on our lives and we on his was evidenced by his request to us on Friday as we were packing up our tools to head back to the school.
“I need you to do something for me. I’d like you to paint your names on my house somewhere.” Dave said to us.
We all looked at each other. Really?
“Where, Dave?” I asked.
“I think on my back porch. This way when I sit out here, I can look at your names and remember y’all by name.”
Who can turn down a request like that? We all dug out a paint brush and some green paint and decorated the inside of his porch with our names and Bible verses to encourage and build him up long after we had gone. Funny, I think it’s still doing the same for us as well.
Tara Wolf has been in youth ministry for the past 12 years and lives in Williamsburg, VA with her amazing husband and Hungarian hunting dogs. Her first youth mission experience was in 2006 and she continues to encourage the youth and adults in her congregation to connect with God and His people through mission trips.