After a few days break here is my update on my favorite day in Providence — demolition day. This is the fifth installment in a series of what I did on my spring break mission trip.
Breaking away from evangelism for a day, the mission for the middle of the week involved our hands — with some sledgehammers and crowbars too. Kim, Hannah and Travis escorted our ten-person team to Providence Rescue Mission where we would spend our day in a basement kicking down doors, tearing down ceilings and shoveling out debris. The non-profit that helps the needy and homeless with food and shelter had recently purchased a foreclosed home that had been split into tiny apartments, and an inspection of its plumbing loomed in the near future. To expose the ancient pipes and wires — some of which we found out were connected to nothing, much like the Christians by name but not at heart that filled the city — we pulled down sodden walls ignored by the greedy owner. The moldy insulation and monstrous amount of rat droppings that fell from the ceiling showed his lack of care for the tenants, a fact that sent many of us dirty laborers into an uproar.
To descend into the dust-laden basement, we had to equip ourselves with paper breathing masks, thick gloves and goggles. All the equipment on my face brought out the claustrophobic tendencies in me. I know many jobs — including living Christian life — require loads of equipment, but that does not mean you have to like it. Fortunately, I persevered and once below in what quickly became a disaster zone I was appreciative of the tools I had earlier wanted to rip off my face. Life is often like that, making you glad for the pieces you once wanted so desperately to discard.
After throwing heavy hammers and yanking on old boards all morning and afternoon, the ten of us weeklong missionaries were tired and covered in gritty filth. Before dinner our separate host homes allowed us to clean up from the fun yet exhausting work much to our delight. Our meal was shared that evening at my home base, and after filling our bellies with choices from a Mexican smorgasbord we joined together in laughter-filled, artificially competitive rounds of Catchphrase. We were so joyful spending time together — both New Englanders and Southerners — that Julie, the Tennessean in charge of us students, had to interrupt the bellowing and remind us all that bedtime for our host was quickly approaching. The instant connection with fellow believers and unstoppable laughter in their company healed some of the cynicism in my heart. Not all Christians must conform to one mold. While we all claim the same creed in some form, there are different flavors and we can actually be delighted with each other’s company instead of arguing our differences.
More adventures to come…