Care [The Oaks] | Diana
Today, when we first arrived at the Oaks some of the residents were playing Bingo in the activity room. A few of the volunteers joined them and helped them play. We had about 15 or so volunteers this week.
The first person I visited was Becky. Me and a volunteer named Sam started talking about our involvement with missions and [Becky] kept mentioning that she wished we could have met her brother who was apparently a missionary. Next I visited a resident named Peggy. She ended up being a real encouragement to me. While we were talking she told me about all of her health concerns, and then she started crying and said that none of it mattered though because God gave the best gift anyone could ever give, salvation. It really brought joy to me to see that even though she was going through so much she was still rejoicing in the gift of God’s love.
A couple of the volunteers visited with James. Apparently when they first went to his door and asked if he wanted visitors, he was quiet. When they asked again, he invited them in but told them he wasn’t feeling well and that’s why he hesitated. He ended up being really glad that they came and visited him and it really cheered him up. According to the volunteers Hazel and Russel really need prayer because they are having some really bad health problems right now.
One of our volunteers Lauren, who visited for the first time with us this week told me that she talked to a new resident named Lilly and that they really related well. This volunteer was nervous because it was her first week visiting the Oaks, and this resident was also struggling with adjustment because she was new to the nursing home and didn’t know anyone.
At the end of the day we all got together and sang a few well-known hymns to the Residents while they were getting lunch, including, Come Thou Fount, Blessed Assurance, Power in the Blood, and Amazing Grace. It was so exciting to see some of the residents even sing along with us! We concluded the day by praying over their meal.
Greenfield | Elisa
Our sixty-some volunteers and Greenfield kids successfully transformed our snowy field into a puddle of mud today and I couldn’t be happier! The lesson today was how we are to be light to the world and based on the feedback from the volunteers, the children were able to grasp it fairly well. Once again we had [a girl] help out with the snack and she delegated a few of the other snack-related jobs to a few of her friends. Of course we did have a few LU students oversee this whole operation, but the kids did fairly well! The changes that I have seen in [her] since I first met her a couple of years ago have been incredible!
Dearington | Danielle
We told the kids about Jonah and his disobedience to God. So many of the children had never heard this story and their eyes almost bulged out of their heads when they learned that God saved Jonah’s life by sending the whale to swallow him! The kids learned that in the end “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went…” and many of them were able to retell the story to the volunteers.
It seemed that a lesson on obedience was well-suited for today, since some of our older elementary children decided to throw snow/ice balls at a few of the four-year olds. It took a while for the kids to listen and stop throwing snowballs. The kids finally obeyed, but not without some tears, unkind words and poor attitudes.
We were able to see God working in many of our community relationships today. Corey was invited into one of the family’s homes to wait on the little girl while she got ready. He was able to connect with Nadia’s family for the first time. I returned to Ms. Dorothy’s house for a quick visit and she invited me inside. After telling me a little about her family and showing me some of her favorite trinkets, she gave me a teddy bear, a loofah, a shirt and some apple pie bites. She blessed me tremendously and said she would be my Lynchburg grandma! Some of our kids who haven’t been out all semester made an appearance today so it was exciting to catch up with them!
College Hill | Scott
“Grace, we found sleds! There are five kids that we’ve never seen before, and [boy] has only had two emotional breakdowns.” Most of our regular volunteers showed up ready, and with fairly high spirits. However I had a feeling the midst of my heart that we would have a fruitless day, or at least a difficult day. Although today we encouraged the average CampusSERVE volunteers to understand what a successful day of ministry would be, I still had a lack of zeal to accomplish this mission. “Exchange in relationship, demonstrate the gospel with their lives, intentionally disciple, and meet needs as they confront them; in order to see the community grasp it and change, not just to know more.”
Something Grace and I began to work on is beginning to change the way we “do CampusSERVE.” Intentional volunteers are effective volunteers. I believe our volunteers are effective, however as a leader I know I must step up the initiative to go beyond the efforts of what was accomplished the week before. Needless to say I was not expecting greatness today. With the team ready, to pile up in the vehicles, and beginning to wake up, I was beginning to feel a sense that today may be a little bit different.
We slit up into two groups. One for the homes on the south side, one for the north side (the far reaches) each with specific goals in mind. I asked them to knock on the door of every single home we have every had kids come from. “Come play basketball. Come out and play with us… lets go up to the community center.” More and more I began witnessing each volunteer take upon their own responsibility to make an effort to develop relationships. One by one it was becoming a reality. Other than that the come and see part of the morning was beginning to go beyond expectations. The kids’ morale was extremely high, so we matched it. One thing better than a hyper nine-year-old is a hyper nineteen-year-old.
To our surprise we found two cheep long plastic toboggan sleds. It was absolutely, beyond any other explanation a gift. The cry of the day soon was, “me next! ME NEXT!” With the occasional “it’s my turn!” All smiles. The remaining nine inches of snow/ice on the basketball court became prime ingredients to make a snow “castle.”
By far, what was most glorious to witness, was when I saw the hearts of most of our volunteers being poured out on certain students. Not many high school students enjoy hanging out on Saturday mornings, but the ones that do linger around are interested with us Liberty Students.
Yoder | Alyssa
So, today was better than last Saturday! Praise the Lord!!!
We had a few new people and lots of familiar faces, which is nice. We split up and headed down to Yoder… We brainstormed through the 4 objectives of volunteer success. It was good to hear the ways they want to do them and then for me to give them some ideas as well. We split up into about four or five groups and went door to door. The objective was to have conversations with people and to play inside with kids if they got the opportunity. The playground was very icy and the basketball court wasn’t cleared off.
Some students took a shovel and helped some houses out.
I went with two students that had been there before and we went to Jonelle’s house (last week I left her a note saying that we would stop by around 11 the next Saturday.) She was home and let us in. Her sister, Nancy, was there. Kyle, one of the volunteers with me, had met Jonelle with me and then, Kendra, the other volunteer, met Jonelle and Nancy today. Both woman are strong believers seemingly. Jonelle is always giving glory to Jesus 🙂
Jonelle had been in the hospital the last 2 weeks so she talked about how wonderful the Liberty nurses were to her. They talked about life and we read Scripture when it was brought up. I shared from James 1:2-5 and told them what my teacher had taught me that week. It was good fellowship and they both hugged and kissed us when we left. And Jonelle was craving to pray together so towards the end we prayed for them and some people they wanted us to pray for.
I think that my favorite way to disciple my volunteers is to take them with me and show them how to start conversations and encourage people and then push them to take ownership of it…
Birchwood | Kailey
Birchwood was so great this week! We had 30+ volunteers, which, coming off of last week where we had very few kids, that felt very intimidating.
However, we had a lot of kids, so it worked out well! It gave us the opportunity to pick up trash, and it allowed me as a site leader to interact with volunteers, since all of the work was being done. We did a lot of sledding again, and the lesson was well delivered and well received. I reviewed some of the information from last week, and they really responded well! 😀
Because CampusSERVE defined the four goals/successes for the volunteer, I think people had something to guide their actions and approach. I challenged the team to pick their strength and weakness from the list, and walk in both of them intentionally this week. This opened up a lot of room for conversation and growth among our team. Overall our week was fun, productive, and encouraging! We had a great turnout of kids and volunteers, and I am so blessed to have a team of 30 people who come out consistently.