By Mother Rebecca Dinovo

Can you feel the love? The 2012 Mission Team certainly did while in Oshkosh, WI building a home with Habitat for Humanity June 3 through June 9.

What struck me the most about this trip was how much our time there impacted those in the surrounding community, who were so hospitable to us and showered us with gratitude while hosting our 19 member band of out-of state missioners. We were the first group that Habitat-Oshkosh has ever hosted from out of state and they were thrilled to have us. From the first moment we arrived at the building site, they were present, expressing their gratitude and excitement. Jay, our work-site director, was especially gracious and constantly thanked us for our help as he directed us in various projects (some of which came easier than others!). Trinity Episcopal Church graciously hosted us for the week and gave us ample sleeping quarters and full use of their church, hall and kitchen for all six days. (We kept their sexton busy too with several midnight “toilet fixes”!) Showers were freely and happily offered to us by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Each day local churches, including a campus ministry group, volunteered to make and bring us a lunch at the work site. The local Lutheran Church brought a team of four women, one of whom said she was “so excited that I couldn’t sleep” just to feed us! The local United Methodist Pastor, John Hobbins, made a special visit to meet us and later brought Methodist/Lutheran campus ministry students from UW-Oshkosh to feed us. When Pastor John told some of the local restaurants in Oshkosh about our mission team and what we were doing, they offered to donate free food including brats, cole slaw, potato salad, and, best of all, frozen custard! One church donated delicious pizza and the Habitat group fed us great sub sandwiches on our last day. Habitat also held a big “Thank You BBQ” for us on Thursday night at the church.

During the BBQ, our seniors, Rebecca Legg and Breck McMichael, presented Fr. Tom Haverly, the interim Rector of Trinity, and the Habitat-Oshkosh Executive Director, George Mathwig, with generous donations, all raised by our youth missioners here at Grace (with YOUR help!). The emotion and gratitude expressed by Mr. Mathwig was palpable when he stood to thank us, saying, “To come all the way up here, not only to serve and work hard building a house, but to make such a generous donation, too.. it is just incredible. Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts.”

I was honored to be counted among the 2012 Missioner Team who worked hard and shined the light and love of Christ while there, but also humbled to experience the love of Christ from so many people in Oshkosh. We accomplished a lot on the house we worked on, building all the walls and floors for a 2-story house, but the intangible bridge-building that happened between the small group of missioners from Grace Church Kirkwood and the people of Oshkosh, was the most profound. This is what the love of Christ looks like!

Click here to see pictures from the 2012 Youth Mission Trip.


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