March 19, 2009

Henderson Settlement Day 2 & 3

Day 2
The weather was much better than the first day. The group spent a lot of time outside doing all sorts of random work around the settlement campus. We had people working in the greenhouses, filling trenches, cleaning out the public pool, replacing a gutter, riding around on the back of the truck with Rodney doing all sorts of random stuff, drywalling and who knows what else. Either way we all felt good about the day and especially the weather. It became clear at devotions that night that we had all gotten some sun that day, and for some of us it was the first real sunlight our skin has seen for a number of months now. We were also given a presentation in the evening from one of the staff members that shared some statistical information for the surrounding 4 counties. A couple I found especially powerful:

-Of the 100 poorest counties in the US, 29 are located in SE Kentucky.
-2 of the counties where Henderson does a lot of their ministry are ranked 20th & 76th poorest.
-The median annual income per household in the county where the settlement is located is just above $22,000, compared to that of the US around $45,000. Keep in mind that the federal poverty level is $22,050.

Devotional Challenge Day 2:
When we decide to follow Jesus, we are not given the choice of whether or not that means we will be His disciple. Being a Christian and being a disciple are the same thing and require us to obediently deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

Day 3
We spent our free day hiking in beautiful, sunny 70 degree weather in the Cumberland Gap National Park about an hour away from the settlement. There is one point in the park where you can stand and look out over Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Needless to say, it was a great day of hiking, laughing and being outdoors. We had heard some good things about this little "mom & pop" restaurant just over the ridge from the park so we headed there after our day at the park. We found ourselves in Cumberland Gap, TN where we enjoyed some down-home cooking that did not disappoint at a place called Webb's Kitchen. The food was great and the service was even better. For whatever reason, us 'Yanks' are not nearly as nice as our Southern counterparts, which I'm always reminded of whenever I am in the South. We were all pretty beat when we got back to the settlement but despite ourselves had a good devotional time as one of the IU students spoke for our evening worship.

Devotional Challenge Day 3:
Following Jesus and being involved with ministry requires more than words, it requires those words being lived out day to day. 1 John tells us to love "with actions and in truth." This is not a choice if we desire to truly follow Christ in the things we say and do.

2 comments:

Holly said...

so fun to be on this experience with you, matt!
thanks for posting!

Matt said...

Holly: thanks for the read and comment. my pleasure, i'm glad you're enjoying it. wish you could be here to check this place out in person, it really is pretty cool.