When I first heard a mission organization was coming to our town, I couldn’t help but wondering why Cannon Falls? We are a little town that seems just fine. We seem normal and not in dire need of help. Regardless they were coming. Four hundred kids on a mission trip, paying to come, volunteering their time to help my little town of Cannon Falls. My mom and I were fortunate enough to help in the process of sorting through each application sent in by people who needed help. We went to their homes to complete the “interview process,” we needed to see what they wanted done, take measurements, and create a material list. A lot of the homes we visited needed new paint, a new deck, or minor repairs.
One particular home hit me a little harder, it was a late application sent in by a social worker on behalf of one her clients. As we pulled into this particular house, the yard was a mess. There wasn’t any grass, just overgrown weeds. A pile of old faded mulch sat at the front of her yard probably for a few years. In her drive way sat a broken lawn mower covered in pine needles. It probably hadn’t moved in a few years. Broken patio furniture was scattered all over. Trees towered around her house with limbs that stretch over her house. She said her homeowner’s insurance wanted to cancel her because the tree limbs are so unsafe.
As we meet, she begins to tell us about her life. She said she has been in the middle of a storm for the past seven year. It started with her best friend dying from cancer. Then her husband left her to continue drinking. The biggest part of her storm happened 10 days before we meet her. She was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her storm continues as she still has to tell her family members about her diagnosis. I can see how her lung cancer puts a toll on her as we walk around her house to look at areas that work needs to be done. She stops a few times to catch her breath. As we turn the corner to view the back of her house, all I see is over an acre of over grown grass. Her yard would be, could be beautiful with a little bit of work, but it’s entirely too much for one person to tackle by them self. She tells us that she wants a deck in her backyard so she can have a place to rest and heal, to face her storm.
I had no clue that so many people needed a helping hand in my little town. The fact that people need help has opened my eyes wide, my heart, and my thoughts. The little things you do can make a huge difference every day. These mission groups are bringing strangers to make a difference in our town. I have realized that my journey is just beginning. If these 400 kids can help my community grow stronger through their acts of kindness, then I can continue helping my neighbors as well. Maybe my first step is helping fix someone’s lawnmower.