Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What a day

After weeks and weeks of getting things ready and organizing projects, talking to residents and searching for sponsors...we finally made it.

Yesterday, it was such a joy to see so many faces coming in ready to work hard. It's always a nerve wracking process, worrying the week before if we will have enough volunteers or enough projects to send them on or enough money to buy supplies.

But yesterday, just as every day if every year, God provided exactly what we needed at exactly the right times. You'd think trusting Him would get easier, but it's still a struggle.

Thanks to all of the volunteers who came out! Thank you for partnering with us in this journey of restoration and renewal. We just plan everything an hope that those who are called will show up. You guys do the rest.

I can't wait to see what else The Lord has in store for OFPA this week. I can't wait to meet more residents and encourage more groups and group leaders.

I hope you can come and be a part of it!


Monday, April 22, 2013

2013: Day One

Today was so inspiring; over 50 volunteers joined us to serve on our first day. Some were friends, but many of them were people I had never met or even seen. They were strangers, but we all shared one purpose: restore the city of Anderson.

I watched them pick up trash, trim hedges and even demolish an old bathroom that will be remodeled throughout the week. These volunteers served with such kind and open hearts. It was not about them.

Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

I am so thankful to be a very small part of this endeavor.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's almost here!

It's so crazy to believe that in just five days, OFPA 2013 will begin! For the past several months, we have been planning, calling, writing, and knocking. On Monday, it will be here! We will be in the area of 15th Street and 21st Street and Central and Jefferson. Meet us at Operation Love for some serious service.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 3 Reflections

Here is a reflection from Wednesday's work day: 

Operation Foundation 2012: 
I had the opportunity to serve through OFPA twice this week. I was so impressed with the organization of the projects and the sweet attitude of all the volunteers. It was clear from the start that the heart and passion of the projects were not just focused on the work to be done, but the people. 
We were prayed over and sent out, map in hand, to find the place where we would scrape, paint, pull weeds, cut branches, and remove trash. But most importantly we would meet new friends and take the time to learn a bit about their lives. 
I'm always amazed when I work alongside AU students while they serve. I'm humbled by what I observe: Sincerity. Respect. Interest. Unassuming curiosity. Acceptance. Willingness. Love.

Bobbi has lived in her home for longer than some students have been alive. Her husband, who was always in charge of re-staining the deck, died a few years ago. She had the supplies, but not the man power. I loved how Bobbi showed her appreciation, not through words, but by offering sandwiches and drinks to us. My reaction was to graciously refuse her offer and continue on with my work. Everyone else followed my lead, but two. When they accepted her gift (really her thanks) of a ham sandwich I saw something change in Bobbi. I think she felt appreciated and respected. This small action really spoke to me. It taught me that it's important to make others feel accepted and significant in a way that will resonate with them. Re-staining the deck was the task, but reaching out to Bobbi in a way that made her feel special was the goal. 

Mildred has also lived in her home for years. She worked hard at a minimum wage job to pay her house off completely. She was obviously a work horse- getting her hands dirty and doing things a woman of her age should not be doing (even though she is in poor health). She probably would have climbed up on the roof if she needed to. Mildred has had some hard life situations handed to her and her family has grieved her. We repainted her shed and helped clean up her back yard. Mildred was so easy to talk to and very quick to open up about her life. My favorite part of this experience was watching students invest the little bit of time we had in learning enough about Mildred's life to connect with her and show her Christ's love. When Mildred hugged me as I left, I prayed that she would learn what I have learned: that the purpose was not a newly painted shed and a cleaner back yard: but meeting new friends who serve and love with no strings attached. 

My hope is that has we serve the Bobbi's and Mildred's of our community, that what remains is God's presence. I pray that has we clean, scrape, fill, lift, replace, and re-make, that God is doing similar things in the souls of these individuals, as well as within us. We are called to be His hands and feet. To me, this means that we should work hard, but with the intention to share God's love and make HIM look good. 

This experience has left me amazed, filled, and energized. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

-Beth B.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3 down / 3 to go

Thinking through our service week thus far brings up many fond memories. We have had an estimated 300 volunteers, served all over the community with a wide range of projects, and we are still receiving projects daily that we can tackle as the week progresses. The last three days have exampled what we do and why we do it. Check out the pictures to see what we mean.

Yet, through the excitement of the past 3 days, breaks the anticipation for the next 3. If you have not yet come out to Operation, we totally recommend that you do!!! We are in full stride and if you would like to see how great of an impact we can have on this community, together, I strongly encourage that you come volunteer.

If you have any pictures, stories from this week, or questions, feel free to email us at operationfoundationPA@gmail.com. Thank you everyone and God bless!!!

-David H.

Day Two Reflections

Tuesday was fantastic! The Urban League was booming with volunteers eager to spend their time being the hands and feet of Jesus. The following are reflections from Tuesday's work day:

"Today a few of us from South and Tara (apartment buildings on AU's campus) helped out with Operation Foundation. I expected to go into one of the rougher areas of Anderson, just from helping the past two years, but was unsure what exactly this project would consist of. My group was went to the Rickers on 22nd and MLK where we would pull weeds for about an hour and a half. When we asked a store worker what he needed done, and if he had weeds to pull, he responded "Weed?! We have no weed!" After our minor misunderstanding, we started working. During this time we were able to talk about a lot of thing, but also goof around and have fun. This project, along with other events recently, have allowed me to realize the joy that exists while helping our community with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Anderson is a broken town. As I learn and see more about it, I want to do as much as I can to show the community God's love. Thankfully, this can be done with joy. I absolutely love coming together and serving with others and truly seeing the impact we are having on this town, for Him. It's something that should, and will, extend after this week is over.  As Habakkuk 1:5 says "Look at the nations (Anderson) and watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."        -Justin B.

"Today, our group started out by going to an elderly woman's house who needed her garage scraped and painted. Unfortunately, she wasn't ready for our help quite yet; she wanted to get the roof replaced before we started painting it. When we asked her if it would be better if we came back tomorrow, she was astounded that we would even offer such a thing. She couldn't believe that we had walked "all the way there" ("all the way" being less than 2 blocks) so she insisted that she would pick us up tomorrow.

Once we got back to the Urban League, we headed out for round two! We headed to Bobby's house where we were able to help her stain her deck. The group of students dove right in, but it was cool to see Bobby come out numerous times to offer to help. Mind you, this is a fairly old lady who would probably end up hurting herself more than she would be able to help, but nonetheless her heart was in it!

Though it was really great to see the first lady so pleased that we were more than willing to come back when it was more convenient and to see Bobby so passionate about helping, my favorite part of the day (and Operation Foundation in general) is getting to see Christ shine through my peers. Despite all of the hurdles that came up today, there wasn't a SINGLE complaint out of anyone. As soon as we got to each work site, everyone grabbed some paint and a brush and just dove right in. To have a student orchestrated event based solely on volunteers run so well and help so many people in Anderson is truly a blessing. Nice work everyone! Way to grow His kingdom!"      
 -Ellen C.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day One Reflections

Yesterday was the first day for Operation Foundation 2012, and what a day it was! This is my third year involved with OFPA and even though we are still growing as an organization, we have learned so much.  I am so excited to see what else comes our way this week, as well as seeing the Kingdom of God shine through the work happening. 

-Megan W.

This is a story that one of our volunteers sent us from yesterday.  Please give it a read and let us know what you think!  If you have a story, please send it to operationfoundationpa@gmail.com and I'll do my best to get it posted. 

From Kevin S.- "What a profound impact rolled up sleeves and a few buckets of paint can do. The work of Operation Foundation is so much more than that though. This semester in one of my classes we have been talking about social capital: What is it? How do we create it? What does it do? Operation Foundation is an incredible project that is doing plenty of good for the city of Anderson.  However, in the long run, what does a new coat of paint do for a community? That might be hard to tabulate or show on a graph, but undoubtedly it makes a difference. It restores hope and a sense of pride for those living in this community. It opens doors for communication and bridges social barriers. I met a boy yesterday, Trevion, who has dreams of becoming a professional, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, and soccer player. Of course the impossibility of this is obvious, but that didn’t matter to Trevion. So I asked him, why did it matter for him to be a professional at all of them? 
“If I did all of those things I would have enough money to get my family and everyone I care about into a better place.”
God moment.  
It would have been so easy to trivialize the work that was being accomplished. But in God’s hands it makes a profound impact. Through that opportunity we were able to reach out to that boy and show him that people do care, and that we believe in him. The work of Operation Foundation is so much more than restoring buildings, it’s about restoring hope in the hearts of people and reviving communities one person at a time.  And that’s not just for those being served, but for those serving as well. I know my heart was changed by meeting Trevion. "