Farmville Presbyterian Takes Part In 'Mission Possible II”
When they arrived at Farmville Presbyterian Church after worship on Sunday, June 24th, they were relative strangers to one another.
When they came back to Farmville PC three days later, they were like sisters and brothers.
They were a group of nine 12 to 16 year olds from churches in Cluster One of the Presbytery of the Peaks. They joined eight adult advisors on a three-day experience called “Mission Possible II.” The first mission experience was a year ago, with visits to local programs. This year representatives from Appomattox Court House, Buffalo, College, Cumberland, Farmville and Guinea Presbyterian churches made the trip to the western side of Virginia to help in recovery efforts for those who lost their homes in the tornadoes of 2011. Additional financial help was provided by the Bethlehem and Douglas Presbyterian Churches, and traveling was made much easier by a van provided by the Eureka Baptist Church in Keysville.
They were housed at New Dublin Presbyterian Church, where the Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman and the congregation there greeted them with a cook-out and a presentation of other mission programs the church was working on. The group then was led in a series of icebreakers to get them better acquainted and to start working together.
Sleeping in various classrooms in the church, they awoke on Monday to travel to Pulaski, where they received their instructions to work on a house that needed landscaping and garage foundation work. For two days the young people and their advisors shoveled dirt, moved it to the foundation of the house, spread it around, then planted grass seed and covered it with straw. Others worked on the garage foundations, which involved a two-day process of cutting through concrete to put in footers, and filling up areas with more dirt. It was work that was dirty, wrist-throbbing, sweaty; and it was work that brought them together with an incredible joy and fellowship.
The work the second day was interrupted by the sad news of a stroke suffered by the husband of Presbytery Executive Nancy Dawson. They gathered in prayer for Nancy and her whole family.
The event was not all work. The group took in a minor league baseball game, fellowship activities which provided opportunities to bond together. Worship permeated the event as Biblical reflections were shared each night, and the culminating event was a series of skits based on II Corinthians 8:1-9:15. The event concluded on Wednesday with the celebration of communion.
After the communion service the group enjoyed the cooling waters of the Randolph Park swimming pool before the ride home. All involved felt the strong and sustaining presence of the Spirit of God, bringing them together, empowering them to do activities they could hardly have imagined doing before, and blessing them with a fellowship that each hoped will be shared in other activities in the future.
“We got a lot done,” Dr. Tom Robinson of the Farmville Presbyterian Church said. “But what made this special was the enthusiasm for the work and for each other from the group. Everyone got along so well, and really enjoyed being together.”
“I don't think I have ever seen a trip of this nature go so smoothly,” the Rev. Loren Tate-Mitchell of the Appomattox Court House Presbyterian Church wrote on her blog, Preaching Thumbelina. “The truth is I felt the Holy Spirit as she took the form of calloused hands and aching muscles … I saw the face of Christ in each person as we worked side by side. We didn't have enough tools all the time for everyone to be working at once, but we all made sure to take turns to give each other a break. As we worked we cheered each other on for a job well done and we laughed and talked the entire time, which made the work seem light.”