By Doug McCarty
Being rather new to the Fuller Center Bike Adventure family, today was my first “build day.” I’d heard from others that build days can be a lot of physical work but also quite emotional as we interact with those residing in Fuller Center homes.
I was hoping these projections would prove true; that I would experience firsthand the true purpose of the bicycling miles and the generous donations of many. I was not disappointed! Allow me to share a brief synopsis of this most impactful day.
Our small collection of 13 souls was divided into three groups and sent to separate locations. One group worked a nearly finished “full build” home to paint the front porch, install exterior lattice, deploy some new soil around the driveway, and repair some vinyl plank flooring.
Another group was sent to a home currently being rehabbed that needed significant landscaping enhancements. And the third group installed 150 linear feet of exterior siding and 50 feet of trim and fixed some weed trimmers. We were asked to pray for residents (or join in prayer offered by residents), who shared their personal stories of challenge and triumph. That’s just a quick synopsis of “the work.”
But on a spiritual and emotional level we were forever changed. Yes, we had pulled, lifted, clipped, painted, planted, pounded, power-washed, and a myriad of other little “helpful” tasks.
But when the residents shared their personal stories of challenge and triumph and expressed their thanks to us, it became clear that they didn’t perceive our sweat equity as just “physical work.” They described our efforts as blessings, as love, as heroic, as Christ-sent, as angel-like… that (to them) our faces and our efforts were personal gifts sent to them from God … their Good Shepherd who knows them, loves them, and cares for them.
As we listened to their hearts my hands quivered and my tears welled up. It is an awesome thing to realize that a just few hours of your moderate physical exertion are counted as answer to prayer and evidence of God’s faithful loving kindness. If you haven’t experienced this, you should. It will change you.
Our group arrived back at the host church tired and a bit stunned/overwhelmed as we processed the day’s events. After a quick clean-up we drove out at Middendorf’s Restaurant for dinner and share “build day blessings” to close out this amazing day.
We are extremely grateful to have been hosted at the Woodland Park Baptist Church, and the wonderful Student Center accommodations extended to us by Connections Pastor Colby Rimes. Many thanks to April Hayden and Tamara Danel from the Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing, who greeted us at the host church with a welcoming committee (and cool posters!), for feeding our group catfish, TONS of crayfish, pastalaya, and a splendid dinner out! And a hearty shout-out to construction guides JB Lovelady and Louie who guided us to project completions.