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Reflecting on Salkehatchie Summer Service

by Melissa Kelly

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Melissa Kelly is a member of Lafayette Street United Methodist Church in Shelby, NC. She is an 11th grade student at Shelby High. She attended her first Salkehatchie Camp in 2004 in Huntersville, NC. along with four other youth and two adults from her church. Melissa wrote the following article for her church's newsletter and has given us permission to reproduce it here.

July 17-24, our Church took five youth and two adults to the Salkehatchie Summer Service Mission trip in Huntersville, NC. Our group included Tresca Hollis, Tammy Duncan, Erin Mode, Melissa Kelly, Cole Mull, Michael Wright and Will Hollis. To say we had fun would be an understatement. We had a blast!!

"To know that you made such a difference in these people's lives made all of us feel good. And to see God's work through the week was so reassuring to know that he is always there for you."

Melissa Kelly
Lafayette St UMC, Shelby, NC

I never thought that working about 10 hours a day would be enjoyable, but while the actual work was strenuous and sometimes brutal, it was made bearable by the fellowship with other teenagers from around the Southeastern Conference. There were about 47 campers, including adults, that attended the camp and we all got along well.

Each morning, we woke up around 6 AM and drove to our "home sites" (the house that we worked on). There were four houses that our camp worked on, two in Charlotte and two in Huntersville. We would work all morning and then drive to a nearby Church to eat lunch. After lunch, we would return for a long afternoon of work. People volunteered to bring us snacks in the afternoon to help cool us down. After all that we had to go somewhere to get all cleaned up because as you can imagine we worked up quite a sweat out in the sun. At the end of every night, we would bring the night to a close with an evening worship service and a little free time to hang out, get to know people, or even sleep!

Painting in the Morehead home

The houses at the end of the week looked amazing. By Friday, our last day of work, we could all see how all the hard work paid off. Not only because of the physical appearance of the homes, but also because of the emotional aspects of the experience. To know that you made such a difference in these people's lives made all of us feel good. And to see God's work through the week was so reassuring to know that he is always there for you.

The main reason I went was to work on houses and to help others less fortunate than me. But in many ways, I think that the homeowners weren't the only ones learning things. I know I learned a lot about myself and what a difference 47 people could make while working together. Overall, I think this was one of the best weeks of my life. Leaving was tough, because you miss all the relationships you have made and you know that you have to leave and go spread God's word into a world that isn't as excited about hearing it.

In closing I would like to thank Tresca Hollis), Lafayette St UMC Youth Leader for taking us and all the rest of our group for coming and making it a fun week! Also, I would like to thank Jerry Kita, our camp director, and all the many volunteers and leaders who helped put this week together. Thanks to our Church who supported us financially and through your prayers. And most importantly, thanks to God for making all the campers, including me, realize how an amazing God he really is!