From 16 to 23 June, I went on a mission trip to Bridgton, Maine with the Hurlburt Chapel Youth Group. Donning our blue group T-shirts, we flew out of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, with a layover in Baltimore, Maryland, and a destination in Manchester, New Hampshire. We had a convoy of vans waiting for us at the airport, and family of our leader, Greg Copeland, who let us load gear into their own cars. We drove two more hours until we reached our living quarters for the week, the Boathouse (for the girls) and the Ship (for the guys), two wooden, lakeside cabins on Moose Pond Lake in Bridgton, Maine. We spent Sunday night settling in, and finished the night off with a pizza delivery and a quick Bible study and worship session.
Bright and early Monday morning, we got prepared to go to our first worksite. We had about eight sites the entire week to cover, but we broke off into four teams and Team Three, my team, was assigned to go to Harvest Hills Animal Shelter for landscaping on trails and around their lake. We widened trails, weed whacked, and spent time with the workers who gave us a tour of the facility. Our main POC was Joan, who also visited us on our lunch devotions and told us Mary’s story, a dog abandoned at night and in need of a major surgery. We spent Monday and Tuesday at the Shelter, then moved on to another worksite: Ms. Sandi’s house. She was an elderly woman living in Maine who needed major yard work, home cleaning, and a paint and stain done on her balcony. We spent Wednesday and Thursday working on her house, and she was incredibly grateful after we were finished. The other teams had other jobs like painting baseball dugouts, painting the Bridgton Community Center, and doing work at the Naramissic Historical Society. The whole week, we had a beautiful mountain view, and clear, cool weather almost every day, much different from Florida’s humidity. Every night after working, we spent time singing praises to God, reading out of the Bible, and getting to fellowship and have fun with friends from all over: Colorado, Nebraska, Maine, Florida – military PCSing scatters our group everywhere.
Friday was our fun day before we went back home. We woke up early, packed all of our gear up, and headed out to New Hampshire, where we took the COG railway up Mt. Washington, and we were standing on a northern point of the Appalachian Trail. We were literally in the clouds! We had plenty of opportunities for photos, and after a long haul up and down the mountain, we went to lunch at Glen Junction in North Conway, New Hampshire, an aptly-themed train restaurant, where we dined on sandwiches and pancakes for lunch. We finished out the evening by going to Attitash in Bartlett, New Hampshire, which had a roller coaster and tobogganing course. It got our adrenaline up, and got us excited for dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese’s. We stayed the night at a hotel, gymming and swimming it up, and staying up late saying out goodbyes before we parted ways at the airport. It was a perfect week, with great weather, a step closer to God, and time with friends, both old and new. New Hampshire is a perfect place to relax for a week, I wouldn’t trade that week for any other I’ve had so far!
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