“The harvest is abundant but the labors are few so ask the master of the harvest to send out labors for his harvest”. Matthew 9 37-38
I have been a part of the PV family since 2001. In the past I have always gone to West Virginia by myself but this year I brought two of my grandsons with me. Over the last couple of years my grandkids have shown more interest in what I do with the PV program but until this year I felt that they were too young to participate. Kyle and Garrett both turned 12 in July and I felt that it was time to show them how other people live that are not as fortunate as they are. I also felt that getting them indoctrinated with only one week in WV would be a good start given that I wasn’t sure they could stand Grandpa for more than one week.
Our trip from Northern Virginia is about 6 hours and the first stop was the demonstration coal mine in Beckley. We took the tour through the mine and saw the houses the miners lived in and the exhibits in the museum. I felt this was a good way to start the trip as it gave them some idea as to the history of the area where we would be working.
Just before we left home we got an email from Jill telling us that we would be staying at the Way so after the mine tour we headed for Mullens. I had worked at the Way a couple of years ago but when we arrived I was surprised that it had actually been completed and was a functioning youth center, complete with a pool table, ping pong table and a full basketball court. I had been a bit anxious as to how the boys would do once they got back to home base at the end of the work day but as soon as I saw the Way facility I was sure the boys would be able to entertain themselves.
My other concern with the boys was how they would do at Reflection but that worry turned out to be groundless as both boys fully participated each evening. They interacted seamlessly with the other PV volunteers and spent time talking to the homeowners that we served during the week- I was really proud of them. We led a Reflection one evening and used the Martha and Mary bible story as the example of how important it is to spend time getting to know not only the volunteers but the people we meet in WV. Both boys did a great job at the job sites and had meaningful conversations with the people we served.
The boys got to work on a number of job sites including St. Vincent de Paul, a drywall site, a porch site and a stairs and flooring site. They learned how to snap drywall and how to operate a cordless drill. It was hot in WV so they learned the importance of taking water breaks and at the end of the day when they felt a chill coming on they learned to head to DQ for a blizzard!
During a Reflections one of the PVs made the very important point that it is vital that the younger generation participate in the program in order for it to continue. We do have a significant number of young folks involved in the program and it is important that more be included. In retrospect I probably should have gotten my grandsons involved earlier and recognizing that I will invite more of them to come with me next year – I have 6 : )
The PV Volunteer organization won’t survive unless we the volunteers continue to provide time, treasure and prayers. Also important is a growing volunteer base that can provide the energy to continue building, serving and believing.