On Saturday afternoon, 18 teens and 5 sponsors from various churches in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida arrived at Cornerstone URC. After they registered and got settled in their rooms, it was time for a delicious supper of roast pork with all the fixin’s. Then the TASCers played games and got acquainted with one another.
At the end of the evening, there was a brief meeting where each sponsor and student was told which work crew they would be on for the week and to which sites they would be headed each day. Soon after this, it was time for prayer groups and lights out.
Sunday morning after a treat of homemade cinnamon rolls, everyone got ready for church. (For those of you who are not aware, all the TASCers sit together during each service near the front of the church to be a visible reminder to the host congregation). After the morning service, it was time for a potluck style dinner with many of the Cornerstone members.
During the afternoon, the students had time for showers and games and just relaxing. At 5:00 it was time to head back upstairs to greet the congregation and attend the evening service. The title of the sermon was “New Life Makes the Gospel Attractive” (Titus 2:9-10). At the end, Pastor Vos challenged the TASC group specifically with these questions: “What message do you want your work to communicate this week? How will you communicate this message through the tasks you do and through the activities in which you participate?” Excellent food for thought!
After church – lasagna and garlic bread for supper, and more free time to play games and practice for the Talent Show. Before long, it was time for prayer groups and lights out again. Hopefully everyone will sleep well and be fully prepared for their first day of work on Monday.
Today was an interesting day. The farmers were blessed by rain, and the TASCers rearranged their schedules accordingly.
One of our work groups put off an outdoor painting project (did we mention the rain?), and headed instead to work in a horse barn and arena for a woman who had recently broken her neck. They will do the painting tomorrow or Wednesday.
A different work group started out by delivering and moving carpet and furniture for Family Promise in Grand Rapids. Some of the students were a bit shocked to see that so close to our homes, others live in a way that is completely different from what we are accustomed to. In a sense, it is like a different culture from ours. This same group then went on to help with painting and repairs at Grace Legacy, headed up by Rev. Bruce Kuipers.
One group started out at a Cornerstone’s elderly gentleman’s home to clear a large pile of wood from his driveway. They got soaked, but everyone had great attitudes, and they had a great time! The group finished before their scheduled time, so they went to assist the crew at Maggie’s Flowers (see below) until the time scheduled for them to go to H.U.G.S. Ranch. While at Maggie’s Flowers, the girls helped Maggie’s grandma tie information cards which explain what Maggie’s Flowers is about. They tie these cards on plastic bottles that are used for vases. We were able to talk to her about how it all started – which was really neat to hear! After enjoying lunch with the other crew, we headed for H.U.G.S. The girls began stuffing bags with tickets to be used for their Fall Festival. The boys did some work in the barns. When it had dried up enough, the team began to work on the project, removing the siding from the director’s house. This is a lot more difficult than we thought it would be, but we were able to get a lot accomplished!
Along the same lines of ‘culture shock,’ the young ladies who are cleaning and organizing at In the Image this week were given some interesting facts. In the Image helps approximately 5,000 families each year. The average household has twelve members, and a budget of $5,000.00 or less. Our TASCers are helping prep the store for the annual shoe giveaway where many children will receive the first pair of shoes they have ever owned.
Last but not least is the group that outworked the lumber truck. This group of young men is working at Maggie’s Flowers. (Look her up on Facebook, and find her flowers at Chick-Fil-A.) Today they hung some drywall in her basement office space and tore down many old pallets (in the shelter of the garage to avoid a deluge) to use for making a picket fence and a pergola to help with her flower business. And just how did they outwork a lumber truck? The truck got stuck. The TASCers kept going – and went to the neighboring farm to borrow a tractor to pull out the truck. =)
This evening, some dear friends who live on a lake hosted the group and fed them supper. This gave our food warriors a well-deserved break. Some of the students swam, and others played games. We then sang some hymns and had our first evening session with Pastor Vos. After this, it was time to head back to church for prayer groups. Lights out was late, and the wake-up call will come early. Back to work tomorrow to make the gospel attractive.
Tuesday, or Day 2 on worksites, was drier than Day 1. This was helpful to the TASCers. The group that had to switch their agenda yesterday was able to work at their outdoor painting project. The home is now halfway painted and is on schedule to be completed tomorrow.
The group at H.U.G.S. Ranch was also grateful for better weather. It was nice to spend the whole day at one worksite. They continued to remove the siding on the old farmhouse and install house wrap to protect the house from the elements on the areas where the siding was removed. They too were able to get this job halfway done. Tomorrow afternoon they will move the scaffolding and get back to business.
The all-girl team at In the Image has accomplished much! The store has been emptied and cleaned. The storage units and bins have been moved. The floors have been mopped. The windows are clean, and the furniture is set up for the customers who come in next week to receive their shoes. A unique thing that they have seen was a machine that bales clothing to be shipped overseas to third world countries.
The TASCers who had been at Grace Legacy returned to complete the tasks that they had begun yesterday – but not until they first helped Kids Food Basket by harvesting vegetables from their garden (near the corner of Leonard and Plymouth).
Last but not least, our all-guy team at Maggie’s Flowers was able to get all of the posts for the picket fence set in the ground. They hope to complete the 200 ft. fence tomorrow and then move on to another project involving the salvaged pallet wood.
After the work day, much needed showers, and a steak dinner, it was time for session 2 with Pastor Vos. It was once again an interactive talk, but this time the TASCers were hit hard with a few personal questions: “Is the Gospel attractive to you? Or are you a convenience Christian, a carnal Christian? HOW attractive is the Gospel to you? Is anything standing in the way of you drawing nearer to Christ? Get rid of it.”
Switching the order from the past couple of updates, the all-guy crew at Maggie’s Flowers almost has the 200 ft. picket fence complete. They will finish this and a drywall project tomorrow. Sound boring? Don’t worry. They also found time for a manly contest or two. =)
The group at New City Fellowship has discovered that busting out old concrete is rather fun – especially when you use brains and brawn together. They also cleaned up a parking lot, pulled weeds, waxed church pews, and did some painting.
How about the girls at In the Image? Did they run out of work? Not quite yet. Today they sorted hundreds of pounds of linen, and bagged clothing for the Salvation Army and women’s resources. After this they helped with the house painting.
The H.U.G.S. group began their day at Marcia Pluim’s home where they were able to help her with yardwork. They cleaned up many MANY pinecones along her driveway and trimmed tree branches. Then they travelled once again to H.U.G.S. where they removed more siding, applied polyurethane to a horse stall, folded and organized horse blankets, and mucked out the sheds.
And…the group that was painting this home? It is finished! Yippee! They will head over to Love, I.N.C. tomorrow.
Supper tonight was at the home of a friend again – this time with the added bonus of a swimming pool. Everyone had a great time hanging out and then sang hymns together and listened attentively to Pastor Vos.
A few soundbites from tonight’s session:
• Sovereign pressure should be greater than peer pressure
• Sacrificial submission: when God’s plan differs from ours
Our last work day. The group at New City Fellowship got the sidewalk poured. The group at Maggie’s Flowers finished the fence and the drywall, and they also built a pergola (in 3 pieces) that cannot yet be put up. We are waiting for the owners to prepare the spot in the yard where they would like this placed. In the Image is more ready than they could have imagined for their shoe giveaway. More yard work has been completed. Love, I.N.C. has a new shelf and has some clothing sorted, and at H.U.G.S. – most of the siding has been removed from the director’s home, and a few barn chores are complete.
All in all, it was a very productive week.
Thursday is always the evening for the Talent Show. This relatively small group (18 students and 5 sponsors) has an incredible amount of talent. The audience was treated to quite an assortment: original music, piano and organ solos, a rap about the incredible kitchen crew, and a lot of singing – both with accompaniment and acapella. After the show, all were invited to the church basement for ice-cream.
Session time with Pastor Vos was very brief tonight. He summed up the week and then gave each participant a copy of Contagious Christian Living by Joel R. Beeke.
Friday & Saturday
This year, instead of having all of Friday for a day away, we tried something different. The TASCers were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 went to Presidential Estates to play with the children on the playground. (Cornerstone has a connection with these kids through the Bible Club/VBS outreach every Thursday evening.) Group 2 went to Harbor House, a home for disabled adults, and did activities with the residents. Group 3 went to New City. They intended to do street evangelism and hoped to play with the neighborhood children, but their tutorial went a little long, and they did not accomplish as much as they desired. However, the tutorial on street evangelism was very helpful and enlightening, so all is well.
After this, everyone headed to Tunnel Park for lunch, bubble soccer (it was warm, but fun!), and swimming in the lake. A few of our singers even managed to do some acapella singing at the beach – a new form of evangelism. =) Dinner was at Beachwood Grill, and then — back to church for T-shirt signing, prayer groups, and free time. Many pulled an all-nighter, a few got a couple hours of sleep, and all were exhausted on Saturday morning.
Saturday breakfast was donuts and leftover fruit. Everyone pitched in to clean the church and then said their good-byes to one another. Good-bye ‘til the next TASC.