Lauren Farrell and friends 2004

Learning through Relationships

UDSAP was by far one of the most formative experiences for me in my life. It was there that I learned about living simply, living in community and what true service looks like. I grew close to many of the families that attended day camp and teen center- the Wallen's, the Helton's, the Trustee's- to name a few. Their immediate unconditional love and acceptance taught me what relational ministry is all about. It is funny, you think you are going to help the people there, and you end up taking away so much more than you could ever give. I can remember Jon-Jon Trustee drawing pictures of cars, which he loved so much, Lisa Wallen singing Christian songs and sharing her drawings with me, and riding around on Bob Helton's four-wheeler with Bubba and the other grandchildren. I can remember sitting around the campfire at the UDSAP house at night talking and singing songs, making PB and Js for day camp and sitting around the dining room table laughing until my stomach hurt with my community members. I remember laying on my back in the water at Pickfork and feeling as free as I ever had in my life. There are so many memories and stories of the time I spent at the UDSAP house, all of which helped to shape me and instill in me the values that I still carry with me today. I think the most important lesson I learned from my time in UDSAP was to see God in everyone and everything around me and to love others freely and allow others to love me as well. I will always be grateful for these lessons and the many, many people that I encountered in those beautiful Appalachian hills will remain forever in my heart. 

With love and thanks,

Lauren Farrell

UDSAP 2004

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