I knew I’d have plenty of parking lot time to kill, so I figured I’d save an inspiring snippet for an inconsistently rainy day like this one. Probably on account of the weather - Plattsburgh, NY has me thinkin’ ‘bout the ‘burgh I just left; and I’ve yet to tell you about another couple I met there – just before the big launch. Is it OK to declare a ‘Throw-Back Saturday’? I’m carrying some GREAT memories right now, so – yes, absolutely! Hey, when you’re unemployed and ‘wandering’ – you can do whatever you want. . .
. . .mostly.
Straight to the point - Scott and Sue Branderhorst. (Yes, that was a statement.)
It's hard to know where to begin regarding these two. The org they’ve started is so broad in its reach, that I’m not sure I can even outline all the ways they roll up their sleeves for the Aliquippa, PA community. So – I’ll just describe my experience working with them one morning, and you can feed your own curiosity here: Aliquippa Missionaries.
When I first pulled up to the isolated street where we’d work on the day’s project – I was surprisingly hesitant. One way in and out – of the oldest, most dilapidated neighborhood that a desperate Aliquippa could offer. Any new face would be suspiciously out of place, and good intentions aside - the last thing I wanted to be was an intruder. Needless to say, I remained parked at an empty lot until all the troops showed up. In drove Scott (just like he was well-welcomed), complete with a visiting, excited South Carolina youth group.
“Ready to go to work?!” he shouted through the window. . .and in we all drove.
Three vehicles. . .fifteen people deep. . .we approached a home where they’d apparently worked before. The morning’s task was to paint the porch – right after we scraped it. Oh yeah - and fixed the lawnmower.
Steamier and sweatier than a hot-oil day cooking funnel cakes (see more here); I worked alongside a dozen teens whose teamwork and investment goes unrivaled. Before we left, Scott drummed-up some future work for a neighbor in need, and then we sat down to pray with the gracious old woman who owned the place we'd finished. As she led us, her spirit transcended, and ‘infected’ the team with an energy I, for one, feasted-upon – for the balance of the day.
Amazing how such a simple ‘coming-together’ can unite a group in a powerful energy that pervades and persists long after a time and place. But that’s what Scott and Sue are dedicated to fostering. . .And – it’s exactly the stuff I’m chasing on this journey - for all of us to relish.
Keep up the GREAT work, you two! And thank you for inviting me to be a part of it. . .