Traveling with Purpose

May 15, 2018

Written by Carina Sauder

Carina Sauder, wife of Gavin Sauder, Garden Spot Communities web designer, photographer and videographer, traveled with purpose with Garden Spot Village to Tarboro, North Carolina, April 28-May 5. The intergenerational team included participants in their 20s and their 80s! Carina, who is in her 20s, shares her perspective on the trip in this guest blog.

Recently, I had the amazing privilege of traveling with Garden Spot Village to Tarboro, North Carolina. We teamed up with United Methodist Disaster Relief to help with hurricane relief from Hurricane Matthew two years ago. This storm wreaked havoc on this town, and affected 800 people. These survivors stayed in temporary housing right after the flood, and were left with no choice but to leave whether they had another place to go or not. The houses we worked on were both owned by women who are currently living with family.

Help for the people of Tarboro comes mostly from the church; whether local or abroad. The tasks we completed were mudding, sanding, and painting drywall, as well as installing floating flooring. It was hard work, but it was as rewarding as it was hard. We worked knowing we were making a difference in the lives of these home owners. We were living with purpose in community.

We traveled with a diverse group which included residents, staff, and two girls from South Korea who are part of Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP). I enjoyed listening to and learning more about their lives, also playing games together. Traveling with residents was a joy, for they have many stories they can tell, and much wisdom to share. They also know how to make you laugh! Being with the girls from Korea was a treat for me as well since I have been to China. They brought back sweet memories of being with a similar people group and exploring a culture different from my own.

A couple of the lessons we learned were hard work pays off, but stopping, stepping back, and reassessing your work is important also. You need to make sure you are doing your job well and with excellence. In addition, being willing to learn, and do, something new. Don’t doubt your ability on a task simply because you have never done it before. You may be better at it than you think!

A few of the reasons why I chose to come along with Garden Spot Village was I wanted to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. I wanted to serve them, and be the hands and feet of Jesus for them in practical ways. To help those who cannot help themselves, and spread the joy and light of Jesus in the darkness of the aftermath. There is one thing I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life; I want to be aware of people who are hurting. I don’t want to be blind to the hard situations people are going through. Even though it may hurt my own heart, I want to offer them hope and healing. The victims of Hurricane Matthew have been through so much, and I am honored to have been able to help them.

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