Serving Together in Marriage
Welcome friends! Reed and I are celebrating our twentieth anniversary here in highland county (where we served together on a mission trip ten years earlier in 2011). We have taken a trip to Monterey and wanted to share a few memories with you regarding mission trips we served together.
Click on the picture above to watch the video on The Holy Hills YouTube channel.
First, I want to share a favorite memory of Reed while we were dating. Reed and I attended Appalachian State University and we lived in an apartment complex. Reed lived on the third floor and I lived on the first floor. Often I would get into my car and see a little note underneath the windshield wiper. The note would be on notebook paper or sometimes a heart. These notes were authentic words from Reed. Those little things mean a lot while we were dating and often are the very things that drew us closer together. I am so glad we said "I do" to each other on July 7, 2001.
So one of my favorite memories with April is her work ethic, she pushes me pretty hard. She's hot. We have a lot of fun together doing mission She brings me closer to God in our relationship as well.
You are pretty hot, too.
Yeah, go ahead.
Looking back over these past twenty years, we have gone on over twenty mission trips together. Our first mission trip was in 2000, before we got married. We worked on a home and we ended with worship. This trip was in West Virginia.
I would say that over the years we have gone served mostly with youth and young adults. One of my favorite trips was actually serving in my hometown of Boone, N.C. in February 2009.
I grew up with a snow in Boone, but I prefer not to drive in the snow especially with other kids in the car. When we were driving into Boone that night in February, it stared to snow. That was the last thing I would have wanted for that mission trip because I wanted to keep our youth safe. But the snow slowed us down could spend time with one another and with our God in creation. The kids played outside in the snow, we got to really engage with the kids at Crossnore School. That snow drew us more together than anything else that weekend. I am very grateful that Reed went and we were able to spend that time together.
Do you have a favorite story from one of our mission trips?
Reed: I remember one trip when we were going back to CROSS in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were serving with young adults. (Actually it was middle school youth, but many of them are young adults now!) We were serving at a 90 day rehabilitation center where April had worked with these guys for 4-5 years. On the way down there, April said, "I better not see anyone I know."
Well, we walk in. She sees someone that she knows. This guy is giving our group a tour. He is actually working for the rehab program now. He went to college and got a degree in psychology. He has made it out of the program and is now giving back. So I looked at her and said, "So, you still upset that you saw somebody that you know."
Reed and I have served on mission trips locally, nationally, and internationally. Our first mission trip together internationally was Haiti. Originally, Reed was not suppose to go. A journalist was suppose to attend the trip, however she had to stay back due to a family engagement. I remember sitting around the dining room table with Reed saying, "Who could go to Haiti? Who loves God? Loves Mission? Has all their shots? And has their passport up-to-date?"
Reed said, "I do."
So last minute Reed signed up and went on the trip. Reed and I went with a few adults to Haiti. Because of that trip, I see the world differently. Hopefully, more through God's eyes rather than my own. It changed my whole perspective. In all the things we have done in our marriage, other than getting married, having our two beautiful daughters, River and Haven; Haiti drew us together as husband and wife more than anything else.
April to Reed, "Do you have a favorite story about Haiti?
One of my favorite stories about Haiti is the water system over there is cistern. Whenever you take a shower, it is called a "military shower." You get wet, lather up, turn the water back on, and rinse off. April got in the shower. You can tell when she had the water on, you would hear "whoo hoo hoo." Then she would cut the water off. You could tell when she would lather up, then she would turn it back on and you would hear "ooh ooh ooh!" Then she would cut it back off.
That trip to Haiti really made me appreciate the situation we have here. The trip also taught me that people are people everywhere. Just because of the instances of where they are at, people are people. Whether we can speak the same language or not, there are folks in all different places. We are a lot more similar than we are different.
Of all the places we have gone, we have served in Summerlee, West Virginia the most. We started in 2011. We took a large youth group there. We worked on the Whipple Company Store. We painted and restored this historical landmark. There was fifty youth and adults working on this store at the time. It was hot. It was in July. Sometimes teenagers will wear clothes that might not be as appropriate on a mission trip, at a mission site, especially if you are going to get on a ladder. This one young girl, who was not in my particular group, but she was a young lady that I was supervising volunteered to go up the ladder. Someone had come down the ladder and asked, "Who wants to go next?"
She said, "Well, I'll go."
I said, "I am sorry, you are not going to go up this ladder."
She said, "Why? Why can't I go up the ladder?"
I said, "Because you are not properly dressed."
"So, I told her, that would have been the safest ladder in West Virginia. We had mostly high school (freshmen, sophomores and juniors) males out there. I doubt the legs of the ladder would have touched the ground. So it would have been a safe ladder if she would have gotten up there.
I believe Summerlee is what Jesus envisioned for the church. Every day, nine to ten churches which total over one hundred people eat together, fellowship together, worship together and serve together. Summerlee feels like God's vision for the body of Christ in the world.
I usually serve with the Kid Crew at Summerlee. You will hear more about the kid crew next week, because next week is Summerlee Mission! We will serve in Augusta County, Virginia this year rather than traveling to Fayette County, West Virginia.
Reed, you work with the sites doing home rehab. Do you have a story from there?
When we pull up to some of these sites, it is usually in a town where the houses are pretty close together. We are usually just working on one house. When we first pull up, with six trucks full of guys loaded with equipment and working on the house. At the beginning of the week, we usually get cussed at, glared at, and hollered at while we are there. Usually we get it sorted out. Then we start working on the house and showing the folks Christ's love through our work, we start seeing hearts change. By the end of the week, this has happened multiple times, people bring us cakes such as pineapple upside cake.
As we have been walking down memory lane regarding mission trips, I have been thinking of our twenty years together and one of my favorite things our family does is to end our night together as a family. We have done this since the girls were little. Often I would read a book, Reed would sing, and then we would pray. Over the years, as the girls grew up they knew which song they wanted Dad to sing. Well, the reading and singing has stopped, but we still end our time in prayer each night. This is something I enjoy as a family.
April, "Do you have anything?"
Reed, "What am I suppose to do on this one?"
April, "Share a current memory you enjoy."
Reed: "I just enjoy being married to you. I really do. Everyday is a gift. Another day in paradise. Liv'n the dream."
April: "Good answer! I encourage you to take a simple step this weekend by serving with your spouse in mission. Allow your time together to grow your love and your faith. Be open to where God leads you next."
Mission Trips Served Together as a Couple
(or at least the ones we can remember)
Fall of 2000 - First mission trip to West Virginia
August 2003 - Charlotte, NC
May 2005 - Charlotte, NC
August 2006 - Crossnore, NC
February, 2009 - Crossnore, NC
July 2010 - Cherident, Haiti
March 2011 - Highland County, VA
July 2011- Summerlee, WV
April 2012 - Charlotte, NC
June 2012 - Baltimore, MD
January 2013 - Boone, NC
July 2013 - Summerlee, WV
September 2013 - Staten Island, NY
May 2014 - Charlotte, NC
July 2014- Summerlee, WV
August 2014 - Washington, DC pic
July 2015 - Summerlee, WV
July 2016 - Summerlee, WV
July 2017 - Summerlee, WV
July 2018 - Summerlee, WV
July 2019 - Summerlee, WV
July 2020 - Augusta County, VA
July 12-16, 2021 - Augusta County, VA
Learn more about a few missions we served at over the years: