Today’s update from Larry…
More pictures from the Panama City team
Here’s a report from Paul in Panama City:
All is well. SP staff and hospitality is wonderful. PCB is remains in state of crisis. This morning it stormed and many of the streets were completely flooded because the storm sewers are inoperable. About half of the businesses remain empty, probably abandoned. At least a third of the homes remain tarped waiting on repairs.
Last Saturday we accomplished all that we had planned at the Pippin’s home! Thanks to all that were able to come out and help! Here what we completed: we were able to install gutters on the front of the house so that rain wouldn’t pour onto their front porch; we were able to replace the kitchen ceiling light/fan (thanks to Scott Ingraham for donating the new one!) so they don’t have to use a table lamp on the kitchen table to do homework; we were able to repair the electrical short circuit in the living room so that all the outlets work once again and replace the thermostat so that the HVAC works again.
Also, thanks to your generosity, we were able to purchase about $180.00 of fresh fruit, vegetables and some other necessary groceries.
Our next service project will be on Saturday, August 31 (I know, it’s Labor Day weekend). We’ll be serving with Samaritan’s Purse in Florida on our normal fourth Saturday. BTW, there remains plenty of time to register for the Hurricane Michael Rebuild trip to Florida August 18-23! We need volunteers!!! Let me know if you’re interested.
Here’s some testimonies from the recent Appalachian Trail visit.
From Paul: Everyone that participated changed lives and enlarged His Kingdom. What a great example of sacrificial service to those needing comfort and grace in the name of Jesus!
David, Mike, Larry, Tracy and Tim, job well done!
This last weekend I helped James Evans feed and care for “thru hikers” on the Appalachian Trail. We set up a big canopy and prepared dinner and breakfast for the hikers, feeding 30+ for dinner and 50+ for breakfast. As James greeted all for dinner and prayed for the dinner, he introduced himself as a flawed and needy person who has found Jesus, and that he is a “praying man”. during and after dinner several of the hikers sought him out to pray. The rest of us hung out and talked with the hikers getting their stories and encouraging them. A couple of hikers bailed at this point and I shuttled them out. While out I picked up 3 other hikers and took them to Walmart and a Pizza buffet before returning them to the trail
I want to say this was a highlight event for me. Many of these hikers are facing significant life challenges and using the trail as a chance for inner healing. And here at the start of their adventure we had a chance to remind them that God is willing and wanting to walk with them thru this time in their lives.
I want to commend James Evans and his ministry to you – please review his website and consider engaging him/his ministry to come along side you – I believe it is something the young generation will be drawn to. I was taken by his humility, passion, and faith. I look forward to serving with him again.
I will amen that. Larry Orton, Tracey Phillips, and I from Grace also attended some/all of the 4 days and 3 nights of this annual Spring event. All 2-3 dozen volunteers that engaged in this service had a love for God, the outdoors, and others. As David indicated, it was a significant event for all. To see a hikers face when we met them on the trail and offered them an apple and sent them on a day with “have a blessed day” was one of those priceless moments in life. And, James had such a wonderful heart for both volunteers and hikers that was wonderful to experience and be inspired by. I look forward to continuing support of this ministry. As David suggested, this would be a worthy ministry to partner with and involve our outdoor folks in.
I spend a good bit of time on these events ‘in the kitchen’, and don’t get as much time to talk with the thru-hikers. This is my 10th year to participate, and here’s my story. I’ll forward a few pictures I took from the event via separate email.
We had two unexpected volunteers show up on Saturday morning. Emily and Samara, both women in their late 20’s from Atlanta, had somehow found the Benchmark AT Outreach event on Facebook. They prayed about the event and decided to come up Saturday morning, not knowing any of the other volunteers or James Evans from Benchmark. They said they didn’t know what to expect and that they would simply leave if we — the Benchmark volunteers — ended up being a bunch of weirdos.
Upon arrival, Emily and Samara immediately bonded with our group. Samara is from Brazil and just finished med school in metro Atlanta. She speaks both English and Portuguese. Emily is a teacher in metro Atlanta and actually worships with an English-Indian congregation that meets on the campus of a church in Lilburn. Both women went hiking with a group of other 20-something women from our team to greet hikers and hand out apples. The group included the two adult daughters of Robert Poole, a multi-year volunteer who works in the produce business and provides our amazing salad bar that we offer to the thru-hikers who have dinner with us. Robert was raised in Brazil, and he speaks fluent Portuguese.
Benchmark Adventure Ministries
For more information on Benchmark Adventure Ministries: https://benchmark.org/
Click on the gallery to see larger images.
Here’s some photos from the recent Florida trip.
More photos here: Trip to Florida Album