Tom is gone this week to Mountain TOP, and for the first time since we retired, I have the RV to myself. Tom left on Saturday with the Wedgewood Mission Team – 25 adults and youth who headed to Tennessee to work in Grundy County, one of the poorest counties in the US. They do home repair, help with yard work, paint, and build sheds and porches. I have been to Mountain TOP twice but it isn’t one of the things that gives me joy. It is over 100 degrees every day with high humidity and I tend to wilt and get irritable in that kind of heat. Then there are the ticks – they are everywhere and the person who doesn’t get at least one is a rarity. And finally, I don’t do well trying to sleep in a room with lots of other people.
Tom, however, loves Mountain TOP. He has been there at least 40 times in the 29 years he has been taking mission teams there. He loves working with the youth and teaching them how to use power tools. He enjoys talking to the interesting people who live there. He thrives on the lack of sleep and pressure to perform. And the only person he ever gets irritable with is me.
Mountain TOP was started during the years that Tom and I lived in Nashville by some people we knew from the church we attended. I like the program and we have always sent mission teams from our church because it is a good first experience with missions away from home. The youth programs are especially well run. Our kids don’t get to stay with their friends all week. They work with other youth from all over the eastern United States. By the end of the week everyone is sad to be leaving all their new friends.
Another thing I really like about Mountain TOP is the devotions that are woven into the program. Every morning there is time for quiet, directed devotions, and every night there is a group worship activity. The youth (and adults) come back from Mountain TOP with a new heart for Christ, looking for ways to serve.
So Tom and the other youth and adults are immersed in Mountain TOP right now and I am enjoying some quiet time alone. May their time on the Mountain be a blessing to them and to the people they serve.