The Bellew Family
Kevin, Sarah, Hannah, Nathan, Margaret, Courage, Tessa, Lydia
Hannah, age 15:
The week my family was at Good Works was one of the highlights of my summer. Two of my favorite parts of the trip were the relationships that were formed and the Timothy House. It was crazy how we got to Good Works Sunday not knowing any of the staff/interns, and left Thursday saying goodbye to our new Good Works family.
My favorite activity was visiting the Timothy House. Before arriving at the home I had the assumption we were just going to a normal homeless shelter to help, but that was not the case. What I experienced was totally different. I was the one who was served. That was awesome to me. When I went, there was a new family hosting dinner, and the mother just started sharing her story with me. It was phenomenal. It really inspired me and showed me a perspective of life I’d never experienced.
I believe Good Works is impacting not only the neighbors being served, but also the neighbors serving.
Thank you for having our family! Hope to see you all again!
Nathan, age 13
Spending a week at good works was personally just what I needed to complete my summer. It was a fantastic experience that involved fun projects to do from building a deck to working in community gardens to even just simple kind acts such as spending some time getting to know a neighbor in the community. Good works is the perfect opportunity to get up of your couch and give a helping hand. Thank you good works for the great experience!
Our time at Good Works was full of heat, hard work, and lots of grace. Good Works provides a wonderful opportunity for families to engage in relationships with people in situations of need and to serve together. We appreciated the plans that were make for us and being able to easily step into well established programs to learn and serve. Other opportunities such as this are simply not affordable for our family of 8. Good Works makes space and welcomes families for the purpose of providing training and family growth opportunities. The interns modeled community living and whole-heartedly welcomed the Bellew and Brown families into their space and lives. One of the most meaningful routines to me was taking time to share moments that we saw the work of the Lord in the everyday activities and encounters. This is a discipline that I hope to cultivate in our family. We hope to return and bring new friends to Good Works!
The Brown Family
Kevin, Maria, Cambel, Oliver, Ada
Our favorite part about being with Good Works:
Cambel (11): Building the deck. I liked that we were all working together to do it.
Oliver (5): Making Summer Lunch (especially pizza rolls:)), playing with the kids at Summer Lunch
Ada (8): The day we had to work in the rain and the woman we were working for had dogs to play with.
Maria: Working alongside our friends was such a great experience and we loved getting to know new friends as well. My favorite work project was preparing and serving Summer lunch.
Kevin: Fellowship, experiencing Good Works’ commitment to relationship in ministry.
What we learned at Good Works?
Cambel: How to work with other people as a team. I learned to follow Jesus more and have a deeper relationship with Him. I felt closer to God when I was with everyone.
Ada:That helping people is hard work.
Oliver: How to weed, how to cook, and how to play with friends.
Maria: How forming a relationship is the most important part of the work (even when a physical project needs done or a real need needs to be addressed).
Kevin: The “ethic of inefficiency”
How we saw God at Good Works?
Cambel: Through the people.
Ada: When I played with the kids at Summer Lunch.
Oliver: When we were eating. We prayed. I opened my eyes but I was praying in my head.
Kevin: Good Works showed what it looks like to apply the “ethic of inefficiency” and demonstrated why this ethic is a Kingdom ethic.
Maria: Through fellowship and working alongside friends, and through watching Keith share his vision. I felt like God was especially present when we were at a worksite and all stopped to pray with the woman who owned the house we were working on. She was waiting on test results and was afraid about her health. I also felt like He entered into our conversations in the evening with the interns.
God Works in Mysterious Ways by Julie Cummings
Since my university required me to complete a missions trip for my education, I was overwhelmed to find one that would fit my family lifestyle and needs. I was given the name of Good Works as a possible place to complete my missions trip requirement. After researching the program and speaking with Keith about his program, I decided that it would be a good option for me and my family. I was able to complete my missions requirement and also keep my children with me, so my husband could still work at home.
I informed my family about the good deal that we were getting! My family was a little reluctant, as was I, about the whole thing. Since we didn’t know what to expect, this was not unusual. I reassured them that everything would be OK and that this would be our best option to complete my missions requirement. In my mind, I was thinking the same sort of things: Will this be boring for the kids? Will they be around “strange” people? Will they make them sleep with the men in the house? Will the people that are there or come to the house be nice? I created a back-up plan for me and my family. My back up plan for anything that made me uncomfortable for my children was to stay in a hotel and return in the mornings or just leave and never come back! Fortunately, these back up plans were unnecessary.
When we got to the Hannah House, we were greeted by some nice people. The faces were very unfamiliar and the ages ranged from older (73) to young (6). We were immediately shown a couple of rooms that we were allowed to choose from (my boys sleeping in the same room with men that we didn’t know – averted!) for all of us to share. We started to unpack the car and I was asked a couple of times if I could use some help. Of course, I could do it myself, so I didn’t take them up on that offer, I should have! After settling in, we met the other kids in the house. Their ages ranged from 14 to 6. Since my boys were 10 and 7, I felt that they may have someone to play with (children being bored – averted!). Some of the interns started playing with the children right away, which made them feel really welcomed and me, as well.
The first day of our service, we were painting a deck for a widow. Not only were we painting for her, but she had grandkids that wanted to play with my children so when my boys were “bored” with painting, they played, we painted. One of her grandchildren was a vibrant little 3 year old girl who was so pleased to have a new deck to play on. I felt a God moment when she stepped her little 3 year old toes on the newly painted deck and she was so happy about it!
Throughout the week, we completed more chores for people who had a loss or had a need that I didn’t have. I have mostly been a very independent person and I wondered how it must feel for these people to not be able to take care of things for themselves. I think that they may have felt frustration, aggravation, and embarrassment because they couldn’t keep up with these small chores that are difficult for them to complete on their own. It was my pleasure to help these people, not only, complete their tasks, but visit and talk with them for a little while. I feel that all of this made their souls feel better because they were all very thankful and their faces were bright and cheery when we left.
One night we visited the Timothy House to eat dinner, relax and play with the kids. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The host family made a small, but adequate dinner. We ate together and just talked and enjoyed the time together. After dinner, we played games with the kids. There was a heated game of Uno in the dining room where the kids were having such a great time! It made me feel really good that these little kids were laughing and smiling and having a great time in the midst of a possible horrible situation for them. As we were wrapping up the session for that evening, the staff at the Timothy House made a comment that the evening had been the liveliest evening in a long time. This made me feel really good because God knew that there were going to be kids there and I and my kids were coming that week to help them feel a little better.
One day, I was asked to do a presentation for the Kids Discovery Club. Since my education is in Pharmacy, I thought I would teach them a little about it. I held their attention during the short PowerPoint presentation and then they wrote their own prescription and filled their own prescription with M&M’s. The kids were so sweet and active with the activities. One little boy said that he would see me next year! This filled my heart with love and joy. His innocent little sweet heart was a blessing to me.
On the last day, my boys and I helped Darlene in the kitchen with the summer lunch program. I was surprised at how creative Darlene was with the meals. She is very blessed with an intuitive mind for her menus. There were many fresh vegetables that we used for the lunch. She blessed me by allowing me to create a salsa with her supplies in the kitchen for the leftover burritos that they were having. I love to cook and I have made the type of salsa that she had ingredients for, so I so enjoyed creating that and sharing that with the people for lunch.
Later on in the day, we got ready, with the church group that was visiting for the week as well, for Friday Night Life. It was a lot of work, but the kids had a great time with the other kids. I had a lot of fun with many of the guests as well. I was blessed again when asked about my profession and again when a few people wanted to play Euchre. I love that game and have a difficulty finding anyone to play with me! When we finished the game, one of the guys commented on how much fun he had in the game! That was a God moment for me, because I had a lot of fun as well.
To wrap it up, my week was amazing. The church group that was staying in the Hannah House that week was very warm and welcoming. They shared their food with us and put me on their chore list as I was one of their own. They each had their special component to bring to the table, but one common thread was their love for God and his children. Our children played together like they were cousins. We all laughed, struggled, sweated, and enjoyed together. It made me feel like we were part of one big family. The interns at the house were amazing little gifts. They each are wonderful and amazing in their unique ways. I am excited to see how their lives play out! All in all, it was a perfect week. I am very grateful for being a part of the mission for one week and I would recommend it to anyone.
Julie is from Cedarville University School of Pharmacy. She participated in a Family Work Retreat during the summer of 2015.