Today our first task was to head to Camp Marie and complete a service project. There was one problem. The people of Camp Marie completed the service project the day before. When I try to communicate the mission of 410 Bridge, I talk about how 410 Bridge helps communities help themselves. The fact that they took it upon themselves to fill the community need so that we could spend more time in the community building relationships, was evidence that the mission is becoming reality. The community visits happened in Charlene, which is a community that is up the mountain from the main part of Camp Marie. During one of our home visits we met the mother of three children who upon greeting us started saying the phrase “Kenbe fem”, which means “Stay strong” and in the context it was to “Stay strong in the Lord”. Our conversation with her ended with her praying for us, singing to us, and exclaiming “Kenbe fem!” She was encouraging us as we continued the work we were called to do. It had become clear, in our last full day in the community, that this trip was not about doing some short term project where the paint will fade, or the fence will fall, but about building relationships. Because relationships will outlast any paint job.
Another event that happened in the afternoon was the women in our group decided to lead a bible study for any of the women in the community who wanted to attend. The theme for their study was “God Reigns” talking about God’s sovereignty over the world and over our lives. They used 1 Peter 4:10, which is the passage that inspires the work of 410 Bridge, to introduce the idea of how God has provided everyone with spiritual gifts to use in the service of others. The women of our group talked about the gifts they have observed in themselves and then asked the women of the community to share the gifts they have observed in each other. This impromptu bible study served as a way for the women of our group to use their gifts, encourage the women of the community, and strengthen the relationships between our communities. So cool to see!