One of my favorite parts about life as a missionary is doing work projects. In work projects, we get to build, fix, and maintain this beautiful camp we call home. I’ve always loved getting dirty and using my hands whether it be through sports or hard work. So every Tuesday when we get ready for a day of physical labor, I just can’t wait. It’s one of those things that just gives my body great joy.
This year our leader Michael Barry decided to deviate from calling it work projects and instead call it work formation, to build us up as missionaries through physical labor. We would find greater meaning in the work we were doing. Driving a truck around camp collecting sticks moved from boring and mundane to symbolic of examination of conscience. It’s easy to see the giant branches in the road (big sins) and pick them up. It’s a lot more taxing getting all the little ones, but hey a stick’s a stick no matter how big or how small. It’s the same way when we look at sin. It’s still a sin and brings us away from God and our eternal salvation. When we gathered up all the sticks and took them to the burn pile, we had clean, clear roads. It’s the same with our souls after a good examination of conscience and confession, we get a clean, clear soul. Like that clean road for us, a clear path to Christ.
I think the project I saw the most in was building our back porch and awning for our beautiful home, the double wide trailer. It made me think of ministering to teens that don’t want to be at Covecrest. For the most part their hearts and souls are empty, barren of Christ and without love. Kind of like our back yard, it was plain, ugly, and empty. We spent the whole day building an awning to protect our patio from the elements, to guard and to make it a lot more esthetically pleasing to the eye. At the end of the day after all that hard work, we had something beautiful and useful. It was a lot like youth ministry. We spend time with these young souls building them up in love, and after all that work they find that love for Christ in their hearts. It’s gone from something ugly and empty to something of true beauty and grace. It all pays off in the end. So next time you’re working on a project or a chore, think about how its building you up to be a better person, how it prepares you to be a better follower of Christ.