The Shannondale Community Center, in Shannon County, Missouri, received some Ozark Christian Church love June 23-27. While our numbers were down for unexpected and sudden illnesses/hospitalizations, civic duties, and family emergencies, you would have never known it by the work that was accomplished and the connections made.
Sunday evening was spent getting settled, and having a group devotional in the Shannondale United Church of Christ, as the threat of rain prevented our first planned community activity. As daylight broke on Monday, the overnight group was joined by several “day trippers” and the work began: the ladies constructed and installed ten wooden benches for the outdoor chapel, and had everything but the cleanup finished before lunch! Meanwhile the men were busy with the chainsaws, cutting up three large trees that had fallen in storms a few days before we arrived. Some of the ladies helped the men after the bench project was complete, while others began preparations for the Community Dinner & Movie Night. By late afternoon, with everyone cleaned up, it was time to focus on our evening guests coming from the Shannondale community. Hamburgers and hotdogs, along with sides, cookies and drinks were plentiful, and with everyone’s appetite satisfied, it was time to settle in for the movie, a kids’ favorite, “Finding Nemo.” Before the movie started, we talked with the kids about unconditional love, and even taught them a few signs in sign language for fish, Jesus loves me, I love you, and other simple words/phrases. As the night ended, several of those attending were already looking forward to the next community dinner and movie night – they wanted to make it a monthly event.
Tuesday saw the 2.5 miles of Highway 19 between Timber Lodge and Shannondale Community Center being cleaned of roadside litter. In addition, the makeover of the Timber Time after school program room began. Both projects were completed by day’s end, and there was even time for a swim in the river and a visit to beautiful Round Spring, as well as the Shannondale tradition of “fireside vespers” led by Shannondale’s Executive Director, Nathan “Nate” Fulk.
We started Wednesday with the “big reveal” of the Timber Time classroom to Nate (he was impressed with the new look and functionality), then headed out to tear down and rebuild a fence around a community member’s front yard and garden. After the work was finished, we treated ourselves to ice cream in Eminence and a visit to gorgeous Alley Spring. Our night ended again with “fireside vespers” led by Nate.
Our final day, found our team numbers thin, but still impacting the community with our Highway Snacks and Goodie Bag Giveaway. Several cars stopped to get a snack, a Bible and/or a bag full of household goodies. For those that didn’t have time to pull in, they responded in force to our “Honk 4 Jesus” sign.
Shannondale and all of the people we met and worked with are now a part of OCC’s heart, just like all of our other mission trip locations and contacts. God blessed OCC with hard workers with big hearts, and it is our prayer that we, in turn, blessed Shannondale with the same.
Thanks to Ozark Christian Church for sharing this story and photos.