For many of our campers, a week serving alongside the people of our community can be a life-changing experience. Going home after that week of service, community building, and having the opportunity to get to know families, can be a difficult transition. I know it has always been difficult for me. My first year as a camper I was 14 years old and painfully awkward. I went because one of the ladies at my church said that when her son went to Mountain T.O.P. he made a lot of friends, and I was all about that. I was all about service and making a difference but what I really wanted was to take BFF pictures with a bunch of new friends. So, I went.
Yep there I am, airbrush shirt and all
My first trip was at Baker Mountain. Over the course of that week I grew tremendously in my faith, as well as developed a new view of myself. Not only was I awkward, but I was a child of God. I realized that I was important in God’s eyes. That week when I used a power saw for the first time, and I saw the end product of our work, I couldn’t believe what I was capable of. Doors seemed to be opening right before my eyes.
Mrs. Jones, the lady we worked with for our two day project was 95 years old. She moved slowly in and out of her house. Her steps were too step for her to walk down and since she lived alone she spent most of her time sitting on the front porch sewing. We were there to build her a ramp so she could get out of her house. During those 2 days she sat on the porch and sewed 110 pieces of fabric together to create a pin cushion. Every so often we would stop and help her rethread her needle and she would continue her work. At the end of the 2 days we bought it from her and it still sits on top of my bookshelf in my bedroom. For a long time that blue and red pin cushion has reminded me of the importance of caring for my neighbors. Mrs. Jones sat out in the 100 degree weather just to be with us. Just to talk to us. Just to thank us and to love us.
My 14 year old self was completely overwhelmed by that kind of love and kindness. From that moment on I just wanted to be at Mountain T.O.P, or talk about Mountain T.O.P, or look at pictures from Mountain T.O.P, because the mountain symbolized restoration in my life, which I think is true for many of our participants. I wanted to forever give back what I had received that summer.
When I got home from that trip I sat in my driveway for hours, not wanting to unpack. I figured if Mrs. Jones was living without air conditioning, I could too (that didn’t last long). How could I be at home and still be involved at Mountain T.O.P?
I’m sorry to say that this post does not reveal how a person is able to be in two places at once. But through my involvement in Summer Staff and now full-time staff I have learned ways to stay involved throughout the year. Things that our community can do to help continue these opportunities for restoration.
You can provide resources to the ministry, so that we are able to provide resources to our community. As Ed said in his letter sent out earlier this year, every dollar given is worth 4x that. For every dollar given you are contributing to the restoration of homes, families, campers, children, churches, and the community. You are providing resources that would not be available. You are showing love and compassion, and providing hope. You are providing the opportunity for 14 year olds like me to realize that they are capable of amazing things.
$10 will make a difference. $25 will make a difference. $100, $500, $1000, any amount makes a difference for Mountain T.O.P. and our community. It is a way to participate in the various ministries throughout the year even when you are not up here on the Mountain.
Give a gift at Razoo and your gift will immediately help Mountain T.O.P.