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Kentucky: Day 3

Day 3 was one for the books! We woke up early to head back to finish the home we started working on the day before. As we were preparing for the day, we had been keeping an eye on the forecast for the next day and discussing the need to be flexible with our plans. A storm was in the forecast, and it was continuing to look more concerning as time went on. More on that later.

While we made a lot of progress the day before, we still had a lot of work in front of us to complete removing the several layers of flooring, checking under the house for insulation, and cleaning up from the day before.

While most of the crew began tackling the floor inside, a couple of our volunteers suited up to go underneath the house to check for insulation.

If there was insulation underneath the house, we would need to remove it. Thankfully, they were happy to report there was no insulation! So the rest of the crew joined together inside to continue removing different areas of the flooring! This was a tedious task, that included chipping away at some of the flooring, most of which was very wet or crumbly. Needless to say, it took longer than we thought it would, but our team worked well together to get it done.

Around lunchtime, we took a break to visit with the homeowner, Billy, as we were nearly done with the project. It was nice to visit with Billy. He shared some stories of how the tornado had impacted their community and about the evening that it happened. It was truly a blessing that everyone was safe, and we could tell that he was thankful for all the work that we were doing. We were able to present him with a Bible, that we had written messages in, along with some gifts inside from the team at Eight Days of Hope. We also took some time to pray with Billy, for him and his family, as they rebuild and move forward.

We heard stories from Eight Days of Hope staff and volunteers about how the people that were served would sometimes ask "Why are you doing all of this for us?" Just the idea that someone would want to help with nothing in return is hard to grasp sometimes. There are many ways that God is using this great organization to step in and "serve as the hands and feet of Christ – providing light in the face of darkness, restoration in the face of destruction." Simple acts of love and kindness go a long way!

After lunch, we went back to work to finish up. One of the last tasks we got to do was write bible verses on the posts of the house. We really loved the opportunity to be able to share the love and hope in God's Word with Billy and his family in this tangible way. We hope that these messages are encouraging to their family and that they will find the hope and peace they have in Jesus in the midst of this storm they have been going through.

When we finished the project at Billy's, we headed back to the "home base" to get our next assignment. Unfortunately, there were no more jobs for the day, as some of the families they had assessed had already had their projects completed by other organizations. It's a wonderful thing that there were several organizations there serving the communities affected!

At the same time, the weather situation was continuing to develop. While we were awaiting news of plans for the next day, we went to get cleaned up. This is when things began to move very quickly. Within about an hour of returning to the church, we had learned that the storm coming in had a forecast of developing icy conditions as well and that work would likely be canceled the next day. As the next day (Thursday) was our last day to work, and we were scheduled to drive home on Friday, we began to grow concerned about being stuck and not being able to get home on time. Several other people and groups were packing up and heading home to beat the storm. So, we made the decision to do so as well. Our last task before hitting the road was stopping by the merch counter and picking up some Eight Days of hope gear, all for a good cause!

Ready to hit the road!

We ended up leaving around 5pm on Wednesday evening and drove through the night to make it back to Wichita around 4am on Thursday, thanks to a good rotation of drivers! While it was a bummer to cut our trip short, we were still at peace that we were able to help a family with their whole project, and have two full days of work!

We can't say enough how much we loved working with Eight Days of Hope! They are a great ministry that not only helps with Rapid Response after disasters, but they do a lot of other great work, including helping with rebuilding in communities after disasters and building safe houses for victims of human trafficking.

Also a really big thank you to the 9 friends who came on our trip. Thank you for giving up your winter breaks, work schedules, family schedules, and other commitments to serve and love on a community going through a really tough time. While we have the chance to impact the lives of others through trips like this, it is often the case that the lives of those who serve are equally as impacted. We look forward to our next opportunity to hear the call to serve! Thank you as well to those that prayed for us as we served! We are so grateful for our Fairmount family!

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