Friday: Day 7

So, we’re leaving WV in 4 and a half hours now and Aaron says, “How about we write a blog post!”

Our morning started out with cereal and oatmeal, however, some of us were too asleep to remember it… *cough* Miranda *cough* From there we split up to go get mulch for the Teachers’ Village and start work on Craig’s house. Miranda struck again with a flying shovel at Caitlin (don’t worry, she’s fine. it wasn’t hard, and Miranda felt TERRIBLE). After that terrifying adventure, we headed over to the Teachers’ Village to spread mulch, rocks, and stain the deck, which we did for the whole day with a trip to McDonald’s around lunch. Returning after lunch, we completed the landscaping for one of the houses and around 4:00 sat back, very pleased with ourselves. While we were doing this, the other members of our team worked at Craig’s house to put up blocking to prepare for insulation and sheetrock, which they completed after working on it for a few days. The rest of them put up house wrap to prepare for siding on the front of the house. After our very last day of work we reconvened at the house and ate April’s DELICIOUS boneless ribs and mashed potatoes. We packed our things and threw them in the U-Haul to get ready for tomorrow morning. And here it is, about an hour later and we’re going to leave in… very soon. We had better get to bed. See ya on the flip side guys.

Caitlin, Jillian, Gracie, and Miranda

Thursday – Day 6

Ponytails and Power tools

So today started by dragging ourselves out of bed to make pancakes at 6:45 (or at least Grace made pancakes, while Jillian succeeded in making a sticky, soggy lump of half cooked pancake batter after failing to light her burner). Jillian was soon demoted to heating up the frozen sausage patties. She didn’t kill them, so kudos to her. After finally making it through breakfast, it was time to start working. Our project for the day was to take down a fence at a house two doors down, and with the help of George we became fence removal masters. After some instruction, George left us on our own, power tools in hand. Despite being known for playing strenuous hours of stupid games (*cough cough* COW ON MY SIDE) it was learned that we could indeed be trusted with the power to slice through metal poles with great, vigorous speed.


After demolishing the fence and finishing up the yard work, we went over to the Teacher’s Village to join the majority of the group. We helped sort through the basement of one of the houses to prepare it for incoming guests while others worked on finishing up the gravel paths and staining the decks of the other houses. While this was fun, the definite highlight of the day was meeting our new friend Alex. Miranda introduced us to him once we were done clearing out the basement, and he was a lot of fun to play with.

Oh ya, forgot to mention- he’s a snake.


After heading back to the team house and hitting the showers, it was finally time for an another amazing dinner made by the one and only April (let’s here it for taco Thursday whoop whooooop). In addition to our lovely dinner, April served up some killer homemade peanut butter fudge. Following dinner, everyone gathered around the campfire (with some possible campfire songs) for smores and a moving testimony by April about her walk with God. Overall, we had “a good day” (- Miranda Eckerman) and we look forward to our last day of working here in WV tomorrow, then to our seventeen hour van ride back to the 603.

Gotta blast 🙂

Grace and Jillian

Wednesday – Day 5

“Today is a good day” – Miranda Eckerman

I think everyone was slightly relieved when we were told that today would be a rest day. We learned that shoveling pathways results in pretty sore muscles and a break was nice. For our rest day we went to a town named Bramwell. There we went to a National Park where we enjoyed a giant baby swing and a fake mountain. After walking up too many stairs, we came to a beautiful mountain overlook. It was actually worth it this time. After our ten minute hike up to the overlook, everyone felt a bit too lazy to do any hiking, so we hopped in the van and drove five minutes to Bramwell. It was a picturesque post-card town, completed with B & B’s and white picket fences. We walked around the town and Amanda and Miranda (I know confusing) met two of the best cats in existence (Amanda’s opinion/true fact). Amanda contemplated taking one home. They were adorable and very friendly, and even tried to follow us across the street. We then went to the Corner-Street Diner, where Miranda downed her milkshake before food arrived and her burger in less than six minutes. They had delicous old-fashioned milkshakes, finished with a cherry on top. After everyone ate their weight in food, we went back in the van and drove to the Pocahontas Coal Mine. When we first got there it was closed much to our dismay, however the nice that people in charge opened it just for us and gave everyone the AAA discount. One thing we found pretty crazy is that if a coal miner died, the family had to either send a child to work in the mines or pack up and leave in two weeks time. Inside the mine it was a cool temperature of forty-eight degrees, which was “refreshing” in our shorts and tank tops. Walking in, we could not imagine a ten or nine-year old walking through the mine’s dark and damp tunnels, with less safety and less light than we were provided. Then we headed back to Caretta to chill and eat dinner. It was burgers, and much to our amazement Miranda beat her lunch record and ate her burger in one minute and fifteen seconds. Later, we went for a hike that came to a coal dump site. It was fun but exhausting, especially with most of it being uphill. We are ready to sleep and prepare for another day of work.


Halle & Amanda

P.S. My name came first 🙂

P.P.S. I’m also a lot better than Amanda

Tuesday Day 4

Our day started off with a glorious bowl of oatmeal, and as much as we wanted to chillax, we knew that we had a job to do so we headed out to our designated work spots.  When we arrived, we were instantly sent to stack/throw bricks in the back of a trailer. Throughout the brick tossing, we saw many different insects mainly consisting of slugs. In which we started a slug collection. At the end of our brick tossing, KAPOW, we found a ringneck snake. We even asked a local and she said, “It’s not poisonous, but if it bites you, you’ll get sick!”. That advice was spot on. After our brick tossing adventures, we moved on to the walkway, where Greg decided to attack my foot with a shovel, not kidding. Throughout the foot incident, we did manage to finish the walkway. With the help of some of the hope force members we make a huge dent on the landscaping. We noticed as we were working today everyone that drives by waves and everyone who walks by starts a conversion. Also we visited the greatest store ever, Grants! We NEED these in New Hampshire. Also for dinner April prepared us some awesome brisket and potatoes. That pretty much sums up our productive day here in West Virginia.

Jillian O’Connor and Greg Migliozzi ( Partially Sam)

Monday Day 3

Today was the first official work day of the week. We met a lot of new people today while working. They all had true southern hospitality, they were all very kind. We started the day with pancakes and getting our assignments. Jess and Caitlin stayed at the house and worked on organizing the workshop and shed then we went into Welch to pick up supplies. The Jillians and Mrs. Eckerman helped clean up and paint the house down the road for a new couple who moved in tonight. Sam, Greg, and Mrs. St.Laurent painted at PJ and Aprils house down the street. Halle, Miranda, Amanda, and Aaron’s jobs today were scattered between the Teachers village and Craig’s house. Dinner which was made by April was AMAZING, she had made her famous chicken with a side of salad and peas. The evening was filled with card games, a beautiful sky with the sun shining through the clouds and a rainbow after a rain shower. After dessert, which was an incredible apple pie made by April, we met for open discussion. We talked about putting our trust in and loving God and what is means to do that. Overall it was a fun and productive first work day and we all gained new insight into ourselves and the environment/world around us.

Jess and Caitlin

Sunday Day 1

We slept HARD last night. And BOY did that feel good after that car ride. From there we took sustenance in the form of eggs and biscuits very graciously prepared for us by Grace and Jessica. We dressed for church, most of us in dresses and skirts (with the exceptions of the boys in polos and khakis) and attended to a minor injury (“Hostile Bee Attacks Miranda”!!!). At the church we experienced a service very unique from our usual church experiences. The people were very vocally passionate about their faith (including many “P-uh-raise Jesus”s) and made us feel as though we were part of a huge family, even including us in their discussion on whether or not to hold the church barbecue at the lake or in the church parking lot. Around 12:30 we headed back to the house and ate assorted sandwiches including peanut butter, grilled peanut butter, and Aaron’s “grilled-ham-and-cheese-peanut-butter-and-fritos”. To be honest, I have no idea how he managed to get it down his throat without gagging. We took a trip to the park that made most of us flash back to times at Griffin Park (or other assorted parks) and braved the merry-go-round. Jillian took a mud bath in the area around the merry-go-round (thank goodness she can do a split!)


We walked around the nearby pond and witnessed Aaron catch a fish (Is that a large mouth bass??!! And you caught that with which bait?? Man, if you set your mind to something, you can accomplish anything!!) We hopped back in the van and took a trip to Grant’s (if you don’t know what that is, it is the best grocery store on the face of the Earth!!! $0.79 for a Powerade!!!!) We left with assorted ice cream, candy, coffees, and another minor injury (“Aggressive Bumblebee Attacks Sam”!!!) What is up with all of the hostility in bees, man??). I think a lot of us will have a huge wakeup call for eating healthy foods. After getting back to the house, we split up and some of us went on a hike and the more tired (*cough* lazy *cough*) of us stayed and played various intense card games. We (Sam and Miranda) have no idea what happened on the hike because we did not go, but we heard stories of a “vertical mountain” and “butterfly poop” (do butterflies even poop??). The people that came back said it was worth it though, so maybe we should go next time.


Back at the house though, we played a VERY competitive and aggressive few games of spoons and go fish. We really adjusted to the no wifi by actually tALkiNg (OH MY DEAR GOODNESS IT’S A MIRACLE) and coming up with more creative ways to interact with each other. April cooked us a scrumdiddlyupmtious meal (yes it was THAT good) of meatless spaghetti, salad, mushrooms and peppers. A good solid while after that,  some of us went for a run and saw WILD HORSES (WHAT??!!). Aaron did mention that he was going to “sprint home and tell those jerks it was WILD horses and not butterflies!!!” That was pretty awesome.

Overall, today was a very chill day mostly of all of us getting to know each other even more than 17 hours in a car will do for you. We learned in only one day through seeing small parts of West Virginia how we should treat everyone around us with the same respect and courtesy that we would want regardless of their circumstances. The church congregation demonstrated that for us by making us feel a part of their family. They hoped for our successes almost more than we did. One last thing we learned is DON’T EVER LEAVE AARON IN CHARGE OF KILLING SPIDERS!!!!!!!

~Sam and Miranda

Arrived Safe and Sound

After hitting the road at 4AM, we arrived safe and sound just after 9PM after a long but good day on the road.  Everyone got the tour of the house and then we met up together for a debrief in what we saw today and a challenge by Jesus from John 15 about Love.  It was a great first day, everyone is exhausted and is heading off to sleep.

– Aaron