This past April/May was an amazing time during the Chase Oaks “Make A Difference 2gether” campaign, where everyone was asked to give $22 dollars, 2 bags of groceries, and 2 hours of service time (with most people giving far more of their time than that) at a variety of community projects. One of those projects involved several LifeGroups shouldering different burdens of need to help out a local Plano organization called CITY House. Started by two teachers who were affected by a teenager without a home, City House officially opened its doors in 1988. Now, 28 years later, they have multiple homes that house 48 beds, and help over 500 children, young adults, and families each year.
During the 2gether campaign, Chase Oakers stepped up to provide over 300 hours of service for CITY House, with 45 people working hard at two of the organizations’ homes: the Goodman house and the Boyd house.
Turning the heat down a notch, the Rainwater LifeGroup installed a new pergola at the Boyd house, providing some much needed shade. The house was unfortunately positioned in such a way that the sun hit the backyard from sunrise to sunset making it the last place anyone wanted to be during the hot Texas summer months. So with some splinters, sweat, and sunburns, the Rainwater team spent three weekends putting together an inviting space for the residents to enjoy outside.
Week One for this team was purchasing and staining all of the Cedar so that it would have a nice finish and be appealing aesthetically as well as functionally for the home. Week Two involved the “grunts” coming in and digging the post holes, setting the beams, and pouring the concrete, leaving it to set for the following week to put up the bulk of the project. During Week Three, the LifeGroup split into teams with one team cutting and measuring all the wood, the next team placing, and the third team securing all of the individual cross pieces that made up the pergola.
Once completed it provided a nice area for the grill and patio furniture that were already there for the residents to actually come outside and enjoy an entire area of the home that up to that point had been mostly uninviting. It was a great time for the team as they came together and learned a lot more about one another and the skills that they each had and were able to contribute to the task. CITY House and its mission became so important to one couple in the group, that the Rackleys stepped up and became the new liaisons between Chase Oaks and the charity they had worked so hard for over several weekends of service.
In addition, the Singles LifeGroup and the Hook/Bean LifeGroup teamed up at the Goodman house to give it a “home makeover” that was much needed. The two groups became one team that set to work in every room of the house and all over the outside like a small army doing landscaping, organization, clean up, and even untangling Christmas lights!
It was a massive effort stretching from organizing the pantry to emptying out the shed that no one could walk into and making it look like it had just been put together.
Not only did they want to help with immediate needs, they also were thinking long-term and cooking meals that the residents could eat moving forward, not knowing when or how often they received fully cooked meals of that nature. Their energy and effort was so contagious, that they were amused to notice that all the neighbors came out and started working on their yards as well.
The impact was real for the volunteers as well as they saw how important it was to not take even the little things in their lives for granted.
They were especially affected by a resident who came and spent time helping them and chatting with them. Given an opportunity to hear this person’s story made them realize in a very real and immediate way the difference they were making in the lives of others. This was made even more apparent when it was expressed to the LifeGroups how much it meant that they were treating the people living there with such dignity and talking to them like they would any other person, and not like someone who needed their help.
These two groups were so transformed by the project that they’ve stayed in communication with each other and are already planning another trip to do even more work there and continuing to build relationships with the residents. It was a truly revolutionary time for them as God opened their eyes in a new way to the truth that when we serve with our hands and feet in our communities, God will give back to us as well in ways that we often don’t expect.