Monday, June 25, 2018

MTN TOP 2018 Final Post

Dear Faith Partners,

Friday and Saturday at Mountain T.O.P.  were very emotional. The physical strain from the work week combined with all the fellowship and faith we had shared led to many tear-filled eyes as we prepared to leave the mountain. Many groups spent Friday morning on half-day yardwork projects or finishing their two-day projects. These were quickly knocked out and many groups went out to celebrate the end of a good week and exchange presents with their YRGs in the county. There were many YRGs that ended up in the Mountain Goat Market, a local sandwich/gift shop. The food was good and spirits were high. This lightheartedness continued when we returned to camp and played through free time and scarfed down dinner.

After Dinner was the closing campfire which was dominated by St. Barnabas. We sang Amazing Grace, chanted Slocomb's mighty prayer, and acted out one of my favorite boy scout skits involving an Italian and a blind horse. Then the Fish Hook worship began. Rumored to be tear-jerking, this final worship was both powerful and saddening. It truly marked that camp was coming to a close. Many of the St. Barnabas youth spoke at this worship and moved everyone.

We woke up extra early the next morning to pack our vans and have breakfast. Many hugs and weepy goodbyes were exchanged before singing the Mountain T.O.P. song one last time. I expected the ride home to be a quiet and restful one, however we stopped for second breakfast at Bojangles Chicken N' Biscuits. This was only to prepare us for lunch at the famed El Cazador Mexican restaurant. All the youth who had been to the mountain in years prior to this trip were pumped to return to the restaurant along I-75 heading back to Cincinnati. These were the most devastated when we arrived to find it had burn down. A replacement Mexican joint was quickly found and the rest of the ride home was quiet.

With our mission complete I am joyful to announce that the St. Barnabas youth were all leaders on the mountain and our adults received many compliments on them. This life-changing week would not have been possible without all of your support. Thank you so much for this opportunity and God Bless.

As Always,

Rob Spellman

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday: Last Day on the Mountain

Dear Faith Partners,
Wow, what a week. I have gone on a crazy adventure full of laughter and fun. I have to admit, I had a hard time committing to this week of service. I didn’t think I had the strength to put myself out there to a new group of people and to let myself go. And guess what, I was right. It was extremely hard for me. I didn’t know how to find myself and connect with others. But I pushed through and really found a connection with God. I made friends that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t come and now they’re friends that I am extremely grateful for.
This is my first year coming to Mountain TOP and my one regret is not coming sooner. I wish I had the guts at the time to answer God’s call, but doing it late is better then not doing it at all. I saw God in so my places this week. One sweet old lady I worked for was talking to me about how her brother had just died. It was at that moment that I realized that I am not here to just build a staircase or porch but to fill the need of love and to spread the love of God as well. I am not a big person on praying openingly, but at that time I felt like this was it. I prayed for God to give her strength in this time of need and at the end she told me how no one has ever prayed for her. It was at that moment that I started to cry and embraced her in a hug.
I feel we take a lot of things for granted. My biggest guilty pleasure is a nice shower and a working toilet. When traveling from home to home I realized a lot of places don’t have this. But what they do have is love. They love their families and the ones willing to help. They love in simple gestures like the icey pops from Mrs. Griffins or the welcoming arm of Ronnie and his family. They love by not being afraid of letting others help them and when others helped them they were full of joy. That joy that gleamed off of their faces said things that words could not and I will never forget the silent gestures.
I can’t believe that this is the end of this chapter of my life but it is definitely not the end of my story. I hope to continue in finding myself through God and being willing to open up even if it is hard. And in the words of the campers, adults, and staff, I’d love to live on the mountain top, And someday I hope you will join me on a fun filled, crazy, fantastic ride.

-Emma Thomson

For Saturday:  O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go:  Preserve those who travel; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday: Last Full Work Day

Hello Faith Partners!

Today is Thursday and it feels like it’s only Monday! I feel as if the week has flown by, and honestly, it makes me kind of upset. This has been such a good week, and such a good trip. One of the best MTOP trips I’ve been on. Today we were originally going to stain a porch but it was pouring rain so they changed our project. By the time we drove 30 minutes to our new project, they found out the homeowner of the house wasn’t home. So they changed our project again and we ended up arriving at a new location at 10:00 (an hour late!) and we read our task. We had to pull weeds and fix up the woman’s garden. It was pretty rough, but the rain helped plenty. The garden was super hard to fix. The tall grass made the task brutal, and we had to find her garlic plants in the mess. However, we came across a nest of baby bunnies and made sure they were safe! They were the cutest little things, and they made my day a whole lot better. Eventually, we completely removed all the grass, kept her garlic sprouts, and stirred up all the dirt (even tilled it by hand!). It was super tiring, but we finished and managed to go out in the county! I did the Yo Yo challenge again (just like last year). It’s a giant cookie and you have to eat as fast as you can, and it took me 3:12 to finish it (just for reference). In case you were wondering, Slocomb finished in 36 seconds. We also went to Beersheba Porcelain and I bought another bracelet to add to my MTOP collection.
I really saw God in the way that our YRG has become close. As we scavenged the Family Dollar, I found myself laughing at all the things I could purchase as gifts for my YRG. It made me realize how truly blessed I am to have the capability to make friends and become close to people quickly. My little family for the week has turned into a deep bond, and I will be sad to say goodbye on Saturday. However, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the faith partners! I am so so sooo thankful to have people at my church who can provide such an amazing spiritual journey that I can experience.
I am so thankful for you all, and I can’t wait to come home and tell you all about it!

Margot Hammons

For Friday:  Almighty God, who has promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in your Son’s Name:  We beseech you mercifully to incline your ear to us who have now made our prayers and supplications unto you; and grant that those things which we have faithfully asked according to your will, may effectually be obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday: HUM Day (Halfway Up the Mountain)

Dear Faith Partners,

    Today was a good day. Me and my YRG group went and helped finish a job that we started yesterday for a nice old lady named Mary, she was quite inspiring because she was pushing 80 and she wouldn't stop working, we had to keep telling her it was alright and we could do it for her, eventually she started mowing the lawn and that kept her busy. We build Ms. Mary a fence to keep her grandsons 2 weiner dogs in. Back behind the barn, my new friend Cole and I spotted that there was an old school bus and we wanted to look in it so we asked Mary if we could and when we went inside I found a really old welding helmet and I asked her if I could buy it off her for $10 and she said that I could just have it which was pretty cool. It is an old brain bucket type welding helmet and she says it used to be her husband’s when he welded for the company “Almco Steel” in Bluffton Indiana back in the 50’s-60’s, which I find really cool. It seems to have been spray painted black but that is mostly peeled off and under it is a nice red color and written across the top it says “CRASHMEN.” I couldn’t find anything on that so it must be his nickname or something, when i get home I am going to clean it up and I am going to give it a clean coat of red, write “crashmen” in white across the top where it was, replace the glass, and give it a new inner headpiece. I want it to look how it did.

I saw God today in Ms. Mary because she prayed with us when we prayed and even though Mountain TOP is a charity organization to help people out, she insisted on paying for the fence material because she knows that MTN TOP Is scarce on resources and conserves, and she wants to help out for us and I thought that was pretty cool.

I'm so happy that I have had the chance to come to Mountain TOP and meet the people I have met and help the people I have helped. Thank you so much for making this possible for me.

-Jack Spellman

For Thursday:  Lord Christ, when you came among us, you proclaimed the kingdom of God in villages, towns, and lonely places:  Grant that your presence and power may be known throughout this land. Have mercy upon all of us who live and work in rural areas; and grant that all the people of our nation may give thanks to you for food and drink and all other bodily necessities of life, respect those who labor to produce them, and honor the land and the water from which these good things come.  All this we ask in your holy Name. Amen.