By Maria Hartz
“Alright, y’all let’s circle up” – a phrase I have now said more times than I can count as I have hosted mission groups that have come to CAP for a week of service. I’ve said it in the mornings before the group heads out to their job site, I’ve said it before the meals we’ve shared together, and I’ve said it before each of them gets back in their cars as they headed home. There are sometimes chuckles about how much I ask my groups to stand in a circle with one another and join hands. But looking back on the groups that I have had the pleasure of hosting, I’m so grateful for each opportunity to gather together with every single volunteer I have interacted with.
As a Groups Host, I am called to show radical hospitality to the members of the groups that come to serve with us. This is something I love. That I have the opportunity, through my service to them, to show Christ’s love in numerous ways. From the moment they walk through the door and I welcome them to the moment they leave and I wave goodbye, I am constantly overwhelmed by the joy that these groups bring me during their week of service.
Perhaps my favorite part of my service placement is that week after week, I am able to watch a group of people enter the doors of a lodging facility as practically strangers, and leave as life-long friends. There’s been a couple of instances where everyone staying with us during a given week did not know each other before beginning their mission trip. But whether it was swinging hammers together, spending time in devotions, or bonding over the love of cheesy potatoes, I have been astounded at the relationships that are built and strengthened over a week of service.
My hope as I continue hosting groups is that more and more people can come experience the special week that is a CAP Mission Trip. That being said, if you have a group of five or more friends you would like to come to Kentucky with – consider “circling them up” and serving with us soon!
Maria is a long-term CAP volunteer, serving as a Mission Group Host. She is a member of the Mt. Vernon Volunteer Community. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program.