By Emily Buchanan
In 1992, I reached a milestone at FUMC. As a freshman in high school, I was finally old enough to go on the Appalachia Service Project with the youth group. That summer, I traveled three days with 27 other youth and adult volunteers to Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. I spent the following work week on the roof of a family’s home, laying tar paper and nailing shingles on a brand new roof, all while counting coal trucks driving to and from the nearby mine. The service to the family, the glimpse of life beyond my own comfort zone, and the fellowship among teammates were very powerful reminders of my closeness to God in that moment. It was literally a mountaintop experience that I would go on to repeat twice more during my high school career.
In the years after high school, I watched fondly as new teams eagerly made the annual pilgrimage, a little envious of what I knew would be a life-changing trip for them, and hoping to one day get the opportunity to return. When Abby was born in 2003, I resolved to go again once she reached high school. I turned down requests to join earlier teams, anticipating when I would go with her. But now, what had seemed like forever away has arrived. Yes, she is a freshman in high school, and we both signed up to join this year’s ASP team last fall.
What I hadn’t anticipated in all that waiting was that I would make the same trip with my mother as well. Mom was the one who sacrificed over and over again to allow me, my sister, my brother, and my dad to make the trip, each multiple times. But she has never gone—until this year. I am so happy to have her join me and Abby on this trip. FUMC has had three generations of family members go on ASP but, never to my knowledge, have they all three been on the SAME trip. That was worth the wait—for me and for mom. I am excited to share this meaningful trip with two of the most important women in my life. Add to that the fact that this team also includes three adults who joined me in the mid-1990s and the daughter of a former teammate and dear friend, and I’m ready to go! But, we need your support.
This year’s team of 25 youth and adults is headed to Magoffin County, Kentucky, to make homes warmer, safer, and drier, to serve families in one of the poorest regions of our nation, to find fellowship among our own teammates and those we’ll meet along the way, and to move just a little closer to God. The team will be selling stock in the trip as a way for the congregation to offer financial support. Stock sales begin May 6. Please consider making an investment in this life-changing trip. Three generations of Berger women (and 22 others!) will thank you for it.