Thursday, May 14, 2009

His Hands and Feet

I am rather ashamed to confess that I have not been involved in any service projects since ... ummmmmmmm ... I don't really remember when. However, I have been longing to do a missions/service trip for quite some time. As I see folks around me traveling to New Orleans to assist with rebuilding the city - or to Jamaica to build a school - or to Africa to build a clinic ... you get the picture, I think - how cool is that?! To impact others with good, old-fashioned hard work?

Imagine my excitement when I received a cry for help from professional organizer, Nancy Rothwell of Eau Claire, to be the hands and feet of Christ for the Bergemans, a family in need of help with their backyard - practically in my backyard! Nancy directed me to the youtube video posted above featuring WWIB radio personality, Matt Selvig. Matt described how this young family had a little girl (4 months) with brittle bone disease - and a little boy (22 months) who'd suffered a heart attack which led to brain damage. These two precious children required that their home be adapted to suit their unique needs - an undertaking which had been underway - but unfortunately led to a great need for assistance with their yard which had been neglected as home renovations, doctor visits, and real life (Dad is gone all week for work)kept these folks too busy to do anything. (Check out the above video for the details.)

The project was initiated by Ron and Michelle Lovelien of The Living Room coffee house in Eau Claire. These warm-hearted folks rallied their friends, provided free coffee for volunteers, and then closed shop for the day so that the Bergeman family would receive the help they needed.

I had SO much fun helping with this project. I was one of about 100 present to help and it was so heartwarming to witness the outpouring of love. I was given the "job" of shopping for landscaping plants - I couldn't have gotten a better "job"!!! Seriously - it never occurred to me that shopping might be a part of serving others, but COOL!!! My friend, Shelly, and my new pal, Sara, took a complete stranger's truck and headed to Down to Earth garden center (which was mighty heavenly for a place calling itself "down to earth"). The center blessed us with a free truckload of mulch - and discounts and freebies all over the place!

We returned to the Bergemans feeling like victorious warriors, grabbed free lunch on the lawn, and put our plant treasures in the ground. Shelly's littlest girl - I think she's two? - even helped pack dirt around the plants.
The home's external transformation was magnificent! New landscaping brick, mulch, plants - new driveway - new swing set - newly placed garage (it was lifted right up and relocated in order to provide more play space for the little ones). Inside, the home was getting a hand, too - I don't know what all was done there, but Nancy was in the basement organizing - and others were inside doing carpentry stuff. WWIB provided music in the yard.

It was awesome!! So good to be part of a whole! I LIKED being the hands and feet of the Body - or even just a toenail - or toe hair - or whatever!!! It was awesome. I think I may become a "Service Junkie"! I highly recommend it.


The backyard at "The Living Room" coffee house in Eau Claire. WWIB's Matt Selvig emcees.

The scene when we arrived on May 9.

A volunteer cleans beneath the new handicap accessible deck.

Sara with our haul from Down to Earth garden center.

Me, Shelly, and Sara.

Shelly shares her sit in the cab with a fuschia to hang in the front of the house.

Sara shares her seat with a hanging plant I bought for ME!

BEFORE: Street side of the house.

AFTER: Street side of the house.

BEFORE: Shady side of the house.

AFTER: Shady side of the house.

When we left, the home was a startling contrast to the first view I had of it on youtube!

Click the link below for news coverage of the event (you can see me on the sidewalk to the left of the frame at about the 1 minute mark on the video - I'm teeny and wearing a bright yellow jacket, but there I am!!).



  1. Awww how fun to see the pictures from that day!
    I especially like the one of us girls at Down to Earth. That was definitely the highlight of my last few months.
    Lit a fire in my heart for sure.
    Thanks so much for sharing that day with me.
    Can I steal some photos?

  2. Shelly, I LOVE how you pop up as "Todd" on the comments!!! teehee - And by all means, steal away!!!

    This was a high point for me, too! It was so fun to share it with you and the girlies!!! :-)


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