Spring Break in Allendale

We have had one full week in Allendale as a family. Now it’s spring break in Allendale, so we are back in the Upstate. We’ll spend the week with dentist appointments for the kids, more packing, meetings, HOG Day on Saturday, and relaxing. But last month, a group of young men and women spent their spring breaks in a much different way.

Really? These were the best roofers we could find?

In March, about two dozen college students (mostly from Grace Church, in Greenville, SC) came down to Allendale for a mission trip during their spring break. They did yard work, painted, worked with young kids, and more. It was our church’s first mission trip solely for college students, and it was a success, not so much for the work that was done, but for the relationships that were made.

I was glad that I got to hang out with them, and particularly enjoyed the last night. One of the adult leaders, Jason McCall, shared from Philippians 2. He pointed out that Paul did not find joy in prison. He took joy with him, no matter where he went. This truth was a great reminder for me, that I can have joy in Allendale, if it is rooted in Christ and His church.

During this final night, Jason had the students share some of their superlatives about their time in Allendale. Here is a sampling of what was said:

  • Most memorable. “Meeting all the kids at [the after school program], from the well-behaved to all the troubled ones. They might not respect all the time, but they accept and want to be with all the leaders, even the new ones.” This was a great observation. Even times when I’m in schools and talk to children I don’t know, I’ve never heard a child ignore me, even though I was a stranger asking them to do something.
  • Biggest Take Away. “Every little thing you do affects people.” It’s about continually pouring in good, clear water.
  • Appreciate the Most. “How good my teachers and parents have been to encourage me in education. These kids don’t regularly have that.”
  • Most Shocking. “The reading, math, and discipline problems in school. But I also met people that have passion and hope to turn things around.”
  • How Can You Be More of a Living Sacrifice. “Give yourself away (whether painting a house or working with kids) and stay faithful to the end, even when it’s not in your main gift set.”
It was encouraging to hear all of these things. Then, I was asked what God has been teaching me. In the previous couple of days, God had impressed a couple of terms on my mind:
  • Isolating. My personality allows for me to survive being alone, but it’s still really hard. But God is showing me that above all, I really just need HIM. When I had the chance to clear my head and process this more, I learned that I was never really alone; God was drawing me to Him.
  • Sacrifice. I echoed some of the other students that I am called to just be used up, even when it’s hard. It is God’s story, not mine. We are called to stand firm in what God has called us to.
Gotta’ give them credit. They did great (working with pros).

My family was blessed by these college students. My kids got to see a model of what it looks like to be a teenager who grasps the idea that life is about worshiping and serving Christ. These students could have been doing a lot more fun things than spending half their spring break in Allendale, SC.

In 10-15 years, when Hannah, Elijah, and Sender are in college, I want them to think back and remember the example they saw in these students, so they could be encouraged to give their lives away for the sake of God’s kingdom.

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7 responses to “Spring Break in Allendale”

  1. Anonymous says :

    A very inspiring post. I think of all those spring breaks wasted making a buck.

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