Being a Full Time Volunteer

It's Sunday night, but not a usual Sunday night.  First, it's actually raining in Denver, which is a glorious change of pace.  Second, although my Sundays are usually one of (if not the) busiest days of the week, it's been like one continual Sunday for the last 7 days.  Last night, Jenn and I figured out that we had volunteered 77 hours between us since Monday.  Stoke on another 18 hours today, that makes for 95 hours of volunteering in one week.

First before you call for the doctors to come with the straight jackets, I will acknowledge we were a little crazy in our scheduling of our last India mission trip fundraiser on Wednesday night.  But given how days of mission work in India will most likely look, this week was a good warm-up!

The lions share of the volunteer time was with Vacation Bible School at BUMC.  Jenn and I were adult guides for a group of 20 first and second graders.  (I also voiced the puppet "Merryfeather" and handled tech issues that came up over the week as well.)  We also had 5 teenaged volunteers working with our 20 kids.  Before the week started, the signed up head count for kids was 356...yes, you read that right.  Luckily we had 177 volunteers signed up as well.  Monday was a bit chaotic, you really don't have a feel for how the flow of the day will go; when you will have downtime, when the best time for volunteers to take breaks are, etc.  After we got past that, the week went much better.  I'm really glad for the experience of working with these amazing kids; they are so honest about things and respect your honesty back to them.  A hug, smile, or secret handshake from a 7 year old makes all the stress of keeping from losing a kid somewhere during the synchronized chaos of the week totally worth it.  The program Friday afternoon is so awesome in it's mass...the entire stage is covered left-to-right and front-to-back with kids.  Then a couple hours of tear down to get that hour total kicked up!  Big props to Vicki Cromarty and Christine Rector for making it happen though.  You have amazing hearts and amazing volunteers that feed of your energy and in return make you look so good :)

As I mentioned in the crazy files, we had scheduled our last fundraiser dinner for Wednesday night, smack dab in the middle of VBS week.  On the upshot, it meant we didn't have to set up or tear down tables since they were already being used in the gym.  But on the downside, we picked a very labor-intense Indian street food-inspired dinner which meant about 4 hours of prep on Tuesday night and another 2-3 on Wednesday afternoon.  The meal was succesful though and we added a couple hundred dollars of funds solely for supplies and projects in-country.  We also had quite a few leftovers to feed those hungry 177 VBS volunteers!

Once the dinner was out of the way it was time to pick up Kevin White, founder of Global Hope India, at the airport on Thursday afternoon.  He shared in a nice vegetarian meal at Watercourse Foods (one of our favorites) complete with a musical candle from India for Noellyn's third birthday.  Kevin got to work with the older VBS kids on Friday in assembling care bags for kids in India, and also had a nice lunch with our entire mission team Friday afternoon.  We also met for a planning meeting Friday night and skyped with a couple of pastors we are going to be working with in India.  (Our kids loved being at home and the dogs sure appreciated the company!)

The big volunteer week ended with a day-long anti-human trafficking seminar called "Freedom Connect 2013", hosted by the group Traffick Stop.  The event was only concieved 7 weeks ago and although attendance was lighter than planned, the people who were there were measurably greatful for the information the speakers and attendees offered.  I handled the technical elements of the main speaker track and also got to handle sound for a nice two-song performance by Gordon Clouse and Mwangi Ndonga.  Shelia Alishouse is an amazing organizer and coordinator and has been incredible to work with on this project.  I hope to be taking part in many Traffick Stop events in the future. 

I'm looking forward to a week where I can play a little catch-up, share in more guests from out of town, and just not run around for 7 days straight.  Volunteering is something that everyone needs to do, I think I just need to work on spreading mine out a little better! :)