2019 BP Sharing by Pastor Willems

by | Jul 26, 2019 | Youth Boston Project | 0 comments

Before I went to BP this year, I was at a Pastor’s Camp in the Upper Peninsula of
Michigan. There we talked about Psalm 23. God had shown me how his goodness and mercy
have followed me. And he continued to show this to me through BP.
The Boston Project Ministries Summer Missions Program has been going for 23 years,
and CBCGL has sent a team for 22 of them! We have been for all the years it’s been available
except for it’s very first year when they had a week and a half. For me, this is my 4th year of
going to BP since 2008 and I had a fantastic time as usual. The Summer Missions Program
works to take in volunteers and give them opportunities for service and for learning. Service
projects are done during the day. Tonight I want to tell you about my final service project and
show you how God has helped me to see how his goodness and mercy have followed me all the
days of my serving with BP.
On Thursday morning, I was told that I would help out at Joan’s house. I didn’t know
what to expect, just that I was going to help. As we walked to Joan’s house from the BP supply
shed, we talked about Joan and the kind of work that we’d be doing. Joan has a fairly large yard,
and she is elderly and not able to tend to it. Her husband, Bob, used to have a beautiful garden in
a large part of the yard before he passed away two or so years ago. When I heard that, I
remembered that in each of my previous times at BP, CBCGL has sent a team to work at Bob
and Joan’s. In fact, my wife had been to Bob and Joan’s house in 2008. I had always wanted to
go because the work was primarily gardening, but in the previous three years, I’d never been! So
as we walked, I became excited that, at last, after 4 weeks of BP, I was finally helping out at
Joan’s house.
We did gardening work for her, but it wasn’t tending gardens. Instead, we trimmed
bushes and tore out vines that were growing throughout her fence. She reminded us that we
needed to get down to the root or the plants would just come back. So, in the morning, I went to
work on one section of the fence, cutting down overgrown bushes, trimming back unwanted tree
growth, and removing pesky vines. As I was doing this, a Community Servings truck pulled up. I
remembered that, on Monday, I had spent the after chopping onions and de-boning the roasted
chicken. Food that our church had helped to prepare earlier in the week was being delivered to
Joan that morning! We had been and were being a blessing!
But Joan was a blessing to us. She came out and talked with us. She even gave us some
of her raisins and let us pick freely from her many raspberry bushes. So we had a better than
normal lunch.
In the afternoon, we took a look at what we had done and still needed to do. It looked like
a lot of work. But we began with willing hearts and set out to get it done by 4 pm. At about 2:30,
I explained that we only had half an hour left, and we still had huge piles of yard waste to bag
and sort. We worked diligently and within half an hour, it was all cleaned up. We had
accomplished everything we had planned and still had an hour to spare. So we took on more
tasks – mowing her lawn and cleaning up the fence in the back.
When we were about to leave, she came and surveyed the work. She was moved by all
the work that we did and expressed deep thanks for helping her to see her yard again! We walked
back to the BP house and got ready for the Backyard Barbeque.
From this point, God helped me to make a couple of connections. Students from the
community joined us for the meal. I seat next to Rebecca, who is an 8th grader, and who attends
the church where the guys from our team slept – First Baptist Church on Ashmont Street in
Dorchester. I played Taps with teenagers from Dorchester, and they let me win. We also got to
share birthday cake with the team and the students from Dorchester. Later in the evening, just
before we left to go back to debrief our day and week, I walked down the street to pick up some
students from Elmhurst park. In the morning, we had read about Ms. Carol. Ms. Carol had
helped to clear the lot where Elmhurst Park sits because a couple of people had gotten robbed
walking through the lot. She sought Shalom – which was our theme for the week. She was
seeking to make a path for others so it would be safe for them to walk. She had done this prior to
2008. While walking down the street, I saw Ms. Carol and talked with her and expressed my joy
in seeing the huge difference in Elmhurst Park, knowing what it once was and what it is today.
God didn’t stop the connections for me there. In the evening, at our debrief, we sang “Build my
Life”, a song that our Costa Rica Team from 2018 sang in Spanish. One of our counselors,
Leonette, speaks Spanish. So Caroline and I stood next to her and sang it in Spanish. For our
debrief time, we got to share what needs we saw and the strengths we saw in our community.
The BP staff prepared it for us so that we could have a connection, to remember that this was our
vision of Shalom. Through all of these things, God showed me that his mercy and love have
followed me all the days of BP and all the days of my life. I look forward to dwelling in His
house forever.