The power of helping hands

First Posted: 6/25/2009

Three families in Surry County had one dream, and 308 young hands helped them to accomplish it.
When the WoodsWork mission crew from Maryland set out to build three homes in nine days in Dobson, it probably didnt dawn on them at first that they would also be building three new futures.
One of those being a single divorced mother looking to start fresh, another single mother looking to take in foster children and a couple hoping to provide a home for their four children.
One dream. 308 hands. Three homes. Nine days. Three new futures.
As I stood in the blistering heat Thursday afternoon, I listened to a group of more than 100 youth fellowship and share their experiences about what it meant to build these homes for deserving families through the local Habitat for Humanity.
It was the final worship service for the group that traveled all the way from Severna Park, Md., on a youth mission trip to help build the three homes in Dobson.
I was momentarily annoyed as I swatted bugs off my body and wiped sweat off my face and arms for more than an hour, but as I listened to these kids talk about their faith and their willingness to help, my annoyance washed away.
I gave a little more than an hour of my time to tell the story of what these kids were doing, but they gave almost 10 days of their summer to make a difference in someone elses life. They had sweated and blistered their skin every day for the last week spending more than eight hours in the heat.
Clearly there was no comparison.
In a society where youth seem to be consumed by television, iPods, the Internet and other technological contraptions there are still teens out there longing to make a difference and doing it led by the power of God.
One kid truly moved me as he talked about how his experience reconnected with Jesus Christ and redefined his lifes purpose to serve others. He said his relationship with God was more powerful than ever. As tears streamed down his eyes, he said that he reconfirmed who the most important person in his life was Jesus Christ.
I found myself shedding tears in unison with the crowd.
The tears didnt end there.
The families came up and tearfully expressed their gratitude. One mother was so overwhelmed with tears, she could only muster up enough verbal strength to say, Thank you so much.
The foundations of these homes are more than just concrete, these homes were built on love, faith and respect for those less fortunate.
The homes are more than just walls and roofs composed into a place of shelter, they are also a symbol of great youths with big hearts.
I hope that our local youths take a page from the book of these giving teens and help to give to their own community and reach out to others as well.
Its been said the greatest form of flattery is imitation, and I believe imitation of giving hearts and hands is needed greatly in Surry County.
Erin C. Perkins is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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