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Kentucky Blue and Strawberry Blonde

JUNE 2019

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by Riley Shannon Riley is a member of Experience Mission Summer Staff leading trips in Pike County, Kentucky.

Brokenness. There comes a time in everyone’s lives that they realize the brokenness of the world and of themselves. When spouses leave, people that we love get sick, or we tell a lie – it’s all brokenness. Christians believe that brokenness entered the world through man’s selfishness, and from that first act of selfishness, all of humanity has inherited brokenness. But the beautiful story of the Gospel is that Jesus came to the world to die for our sinful brokenness, and he is restoring all of his creation through the hands and feet of broken people. Our only hope each week as we remain here in Pikeville is that Christ’s restoration would take place in our own lives and the lives of the people we interact within the community.

Kentucky Blue paint was the requested color for Jimmy and Carmella’s porch. Actually, it wasn’t just the requested color, it was the required color. Jimmy and Carmella are two of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. Jimmy was born with Cerebral Palsy and is wheelchair bound, but his face shines with the smile of a man who knows and loves the Lord. His mother, the beautiful Carmella, takes care of his every need. She would disagree if we suggested that she was an extraordinary person by claiming that she is just doing the duty of a mother who loves her child. As we got to work on repainting the porch, Carmella fluttered in and out of the house proclaiming that she had the best group of people working on her house and that she couldn’t be more blessed. Jimmy sat in the living room and nodded in agreement with his mother as he watched the painters patiently.

Throughout our time at Carmella’s house, we learned of the many things she does every day to take care of Jimmy, often neglecting her own needs. She consistently serves with a sacrificial love daily. Jennifer, a member of the Compass Church team from Illinois, has been blessed with the talent of doing hair. She offered to do Carmella’s hair for her, refreshing the color and giving her hair a trim.

Although hair color fades and paint chips, it brought Carmella and Jimmy so much joy. The things that we did for them were small, but we have been saved from death through Christ’s work on the cross. Therefore, we should use our talents, able bodies, and minds to bring restoration to the broken and joy to the afflicted. This wasn’t a one-way exchange. Carmella and Jimmy touched our lives beyond what they even realize. We learned from them the power of sacrificial love and what it looks like to cling to Jesus for strength every single day. Our work here in Pikeville is not focused on us “helping” people. It’s about coming along-side of people to learn from each other and sharing in joy as we wait patiently for Christ’s return.

Bring a team to serve in Pike County, Kentucky next summer!

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