This year's trip was more of a Youth Work Trip than a congregational one. We went to gorgeous Alamosa, Colorado, about 50 southwest of Colorado Springs and only 30 mile north of Taos, New Mexico.
We took off on a bright Saturday and went as far as Hays Kansas where we overnighted in the First Presbyterian Church. We stopped by the Russell Stover headquarters but, sadly, they were closed. So we went chocolate-less into that good morning on to Colorado Springs.
We stopped by Garden of the Gods, which was practically on our way to marvel at creation. Poor Neil Parker had to suffer through a trip of mostly young women; but he bore up stoically! This was our first taste of the different environment Colorado offers and we were all completely charmed.
We arrived at Alamosa in time for a great pot-luck served by the fine folks at Alamosa Presbyterian Church, where our own Nancy Seefeldt summers.
After supper we learned about our work projects at 4 different churches in the area. There are five total, who are small and band together to help each other with maintenance and upgrade projects. The group that does this is called the Blister Fellowship informally.
At Alamosa, a crew replaced a piece of sidewalk that was a tripping hazard and a tile floor where the Unitarian congregation meets. Several Alamosa members worked with them. It was hard work, but the comraderie made it fun. Mel Bremhorst made a career decision not to go into concrete work as well. All around, a worthy endeavor!
At Monte Vista, we painted the exterior trim of the church there. The pastor and a few members helped as well. Other than on overcast day, it was great painting weather. David did the crazy high work (not related to Colorado's new legalized marijuana laws!) and the team really worked hard to get the worst areas covered.
At Antonito, a crew worked to landscape in advance of a big social event. They hauled rock and dirt what seemed like miles! It was all about Girl Power as the three women really made the place look great. Each of the three locations took 3 days. The 4th, we all worked at the same twon, at two sites.
LaJara had two projects – one to build a ramp for a parishioner that needed it; the other to replace a fence for another parishioner that was falling down. The ramp crew was hyper-efficient and finished in time to help the fence crew "git er dun". All in all, a good days work.
Of course we took a day to explore, going to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Taos New Mexico. If you thought walking on a beach was bad, try hiking 3 miles and 700 feet of elevation in the sand! Taos Pueblo was hosting a Pow Wow and we got to dance with the tribes, eat like a native and of course spend our money on jewelry and crafts.
We ended up heading back tired, but having had some great connections with Christians from far away. Our hands and feet really made a difference. As Terry (our work coordinator) said, "You [youth] have represented your generation well" referring to the hard work and lack of complaints. Although it really isn't about us, we can take a quiet satisfaction from being able to be the hands and feet of Christ for a short time.