By Shannon Bryant
Only four short weeks ago before my first WorkFest began, I would hear the word “Workfest” and be filled with nervousness. I would silently pray and ask for courage and the grace to lead. Despite my prayers, I still could not shake my concerns about this new and unfamiliar challenge. I was surprised to learn that from the beginning to the end, WorkFest was nothing like I expected. To me, WorkFest came to simply mean friendship.
The beginning of WorkFest: On Sunday night, I wandered joyfully around a room that was buzzing with excitement, games, reunions, and prayer. This setting is where I met my first WorkFest friends. A group of girls from Aquinas College were playing a game of Uno and encouraged me to join them. We were soon laughing, joking, singing, and heading out on a Walmart run. I always looked forward to spending time with these girls during devotions, meals, and the night’s activities.
The middle of WorkFest: Week 1 had ended and my heart ached as I wrote affirmation notes for my new friends to take home with them. The day before my crew had all crawled up on our new roof and signed our names on a piece of sheeting. We watched the sky and shared a moment of peace with each other. During that Thursday’s Family Appreciation dinner, I was reunited with a little friend! It was one of my campers from my prior summer as a counselor at Camp Shawnee. Her family’s home had just been repaired by a WorkFest crew. She excitedly greeted me and told me she was so happy to have a door that finally locked, and that she felt safe now. Friendship is such a beautiful gift from God and comes in so many different forms.
"She was so happy to have a door that finally locked..."
During Week 2 of Workfest I was reunited with more old friends I had made over the past summer at Camp Shawnee and filled with excitement to meet even more new friends. This second week was highlighted by a trip to local BBQ restaurant Pig ‘n’ a Poke; a new, determined, and very silly roof crew; and sharing in daily prayer with my new and old friends.
The end of WorkFest: The week after WorkFest ended I was back on the same roof. I was to replace one last section of plywood with new OSB board, and as I walked on that roof I remembered all my friends that had helped replace it. I would laugh to myself when I remembered the jokes and friendly antics, and smile when I thought of the uniqueness of each person on my crew.
There are many more memories to be shared of my WorkFest friends who each deserve appreciation and all the love in my heart. I pray that each of their paths be guided by God, and they find strength through Him. I hope they know I think of them often and pray to one day see them again.
Peace and Blessings, to all my new friends!
Shannon is serving as a Home Repair Crew Member and living in the Floyd House. She is a 2016 graduate of Regis University. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program.