Story by Chris Meehan. Indianapolis photos by Cathy Walters. Evansville photos by Mary Timler
The northern Virginia branch sent 23 workers to tackle projects in Indianapolis and Evansville in mid February. The trips built on a successful trip last year which drew 16 people to one location, the South Side of Indianapolis.
Bill Sjoberg and a team of northern Virginia branch members organized the trips. They invited the whole branch to support them, and many branch members found ways to help. “Some people prayed. Some gave money. Some made us food for the journey. Some took it upon themselves to shovel the driveways of team members who were in Indiana when over a foot of snow hit Virginia,” Bill said. (For their part, northern Virginia volunteers shoveled walks for local neighbors in Indy, which was hit by five inches of snow.)
Nick Holovaty expressed his thanks to everybody. “The northern Virginia teams got a ton of work done in Indianapolis and Evansville, and definitely helped improve our properties. We hope more branches can make short trips like this in the future.”
In Indianapolis, much of the work focused on Cornerstone Commons at the corner of Meridian and Karcher. Some People of Praise members have purchased this 10,000-square-foot property, which includes eight apartments, a small office space, a warehouse, a launderette and a retail area.
On the February trip, workers helped to convert the retail area into a space for community meetings. They moved a heavy machine which makes change, cut out space for a new door and installed it, tore out an old staircase and installed a new one, among many other things. Pat Baldwin says, “Mary Dohrman and I cleared out cobwebs, especially from the basement ceiling.”
Margaret Crimmins worked at Cornerstone Commons and also set out into the neighborhood with Naomi Coney. They carried boxes down from an elderly neighbor's attic on Union Street so she could organize them, then moved her (small) piano for her.
In Evansville, the day began with some safety instructions from Paul Hommes, then the team got down to work renovating a house. “It was a bit strenuous for an economist like me,” noted Jim Lecky. “But I was happy I was able to do it. I did painting and wall repair, worked on ventilation in a basement and helped put in a new subfloor for a bathroom. It was good at the end to see the progress we’d made.”
Contact with People of Praise missionaries was a huge part of the experience in Evansville—and not just via eating lunch or supper together. For example, four people went out with the missionaries door to door. “I was impressed by the energy and dedication of these missionaries. They are making a difference in the neighborhood,” Jim says.
In addition to branch volunteers, Bill arranged for five men from outside the community to join the work crews—members of a monthly men's prayer breakfast that he organizes in northern Virginia.
Keith Colella, who attends the monthly prayer breakfast, noted, “It was super to see the impact on the immediate community—from the youngest on up. I helped out with the boys’ group in Evansville on Saturday morning. There was one boy who was so excited that he came an hour early and just kept riding his bike around the block waiting for it to start.” Keith added, “I enjoyed the way we integrated praise, mission and home repair.”
Mike Ryan, one of the prayer breakfast men, invited his friend Jim Fogarty from Chicago, who works with gangs. Jim went to the campus meeting in the Indianapolis Triangle, where Walt Seale gave the Servant School talk on hospitality. Jim told Pam Seale later, “Hospitality. You preach it. You teach it. You live it!”
Northern Virginia branch member Carolyn Hornbuckle, age 77, came down to Indianapolis from Chicago, where she lives on assignment. She’s also a veteran of two trips to Allendale. “I always rejoice for the opportunity to be with brothers and sisters, and watch them lay down their lives. Praise God, I’m able to get up and go!”
Bill summed it all up: “The trip exceeded my expectations. The level of enthusiasm was really encouraging. Near the end, one team member said simply, ‘I’d like to work longer. I'm not tired.’”
“We’re so grateful that Bill took the initiative to organize these trips,” Nick says. “It was very inspiring to see so many brothers and sisters take time off work and travel such a long way in order to help us. We were all built up by their sacrifices.”
Celina Vicknair says:
March 3rd, 2014 at 9:48 PM
terrific job! Praise God for you all. I am praying for you daily in my intercessory prayer time. Love to hear about what's happening around POP.
Carmen Fraga says:
March 3rd, 2014 at 11:12 PM
Way to go NOVA! Glad you went where the help was needed!
We're so inspired by your example Bill & Carolyn! Don't let us be deterred by age! Let's not quit. Let' continue to support our missionaries and go where the Lord calls us to build his KIngdom! There are so many folks thirsting for the Lord right now! We're so inspired by all of you and are renewed in our efforts in Portland!
We are united in the Holy Spirit!
Jack and Haidy Busekrus says:
March 4th, 2014 at 1:53 AM
wow... you're all heros... hard work and in the freezing cold!.. we could never survive, even with hot meals and Walt's sizzling guitar... and Mary D a "cobwebs sweep"... the Lord looking down and dancing I'd guess!
Gerry Sgroi says:
March 4th, 2014 at 9:06 AM
You are all awesome! My mind goes to the song "They'll
know we are christian by our love". Your love and unity of
mind and heart can't help but draw others closer to Christ.
God Bless You All
Jim Schenkel says:
March 4th, 2014 at 10:02 AM
I can only imagine the impact your presence and service had on the neighborhoods in which you worked. The work is a wonderful tool to bring the Lord to these children of His, young and old, who are hungering for experiential knowledge of Him. They actually were able to do that through the 'Christ in you". Praise God.
Gloria Murphy says:
March 4th, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Thank you NOVA, for giving your time and talents to further City Building. What a joy it is to join with the saints of God in this work. Truly "Light has come into the world ...so that it can be seen. " (Jn 3:19). You have spread that light.
Julie Walters says:
March 4th, 2014 at 11:31 AM
I'm overwhelmed by your love, your taking care of little items and large ones. Doing things you can do and doing things you have never done before. I'm reminded of the passage in Luke: ....love The Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength and your neighbor as yourself. You have truly livrf this scripture.
Blessing to All of you,
Walt Seale says:
March 4th, 2014 at 1:49 PM
Thank you NOVA for your response to the needs here in Indy and down in Evansville. It was our pleasure to have you all here for a few days. Your willingness to lean into the work and the daily schedule was inspiring to all of us. You've given us a big hand in getting the work started for Action Summer 2014!
Bill Sjoberg says:
March 5th, 2014 at 8:10 AM
I only wish every story could have been told. While the Indiana Service Trip was a huge success...let's not forget the Missionaries in Evansville and the Christians in Mission, Campus Ministry, and Branch members in Indianapolis that are pouring our their lives every day in the most challenging of circumstances.
They are the true heroes! It was a joy to help lightened their load if only for a few days
Paul Kane says:
March 5th, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Praise God! The unity of our body is such a mighty blessing. It is so true that we are all in this together! One work - One People of Praise - One God!
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