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The Table - update on Appalachia
June 13th, 2024  |  by

It has been almost a year since we realized the gravity of the flood damage to the Gathering Place, or “Lunchroom” here in Maytown, KY on our Appalachia mission field.  Years of flooding had finally taken their toll and significant repairs were needed as a result. Planning began and a process to restore the building was set into motion. For the past several months, those renovations have been underway.

The Lunchroom during reconstruction

This table, or island, sits in the kitchen of the Gathering Place, right in the middle of all the renovations.  With this table, God showed up to remind me that I matter. That my dreams matter. He showed up to remind me that this dream isn’t just my dream, it’s part of His dream and He is working to make that dream come true.

So… THIS table…

This table has served as host to countless numbers of food prep sessions spent chopping veggies and fruits, mixing up salads, pouring out pancakes, prepping biscuits, making brownies and ice cream sundaes, and crafting homemade pizzas and countless other meals. It has hosted “4th meals” for college interns who stood around it processing their day over leftovers from dinner, a bowl of cereal or any number of other random meal combinations that college students love to eat.

But, it isn’t the meal prep, or the 4th meals that it hosts that make this table special to me. It is the conversations, the tears, and the laughter; so much laughter that takes place around this table that make it special to me.  It is the numerous conversations that have occurred and will continue to occur around this table because of believers who believe. It is the invitations extended by believers to those feeling broken to come sit with them by Jesus’ side around the table, and the life-giving conversations that follow.  It is THOSE invitations and THOSE conversations that make this table and this building and this place matter so much to me. It is that dream of mine that folks would hear and know that they are LOVED. Those invitations to THE TABLE are the reason for the tears in my eyes every time I try to tell the stories of this wonderful place…so many of which likely started at this table.

When we shared with you the story of this building and the need for extensive repairs, you responded overwhelmingly with finances, skills, time, resources, encouraging words and reminders on the days that it felt too hard, and too big. For that, we say THANK YOU!  The renovations are ongoing, so stay tuned for pictures and upcoming celebrations as they are completed.

As I write this, we are in the final days of planning and preparing for our summer mission trips where students and adults will once again gather around this table to host another generation of conversations and invitations to THE TABLE with Jesus. We are checking lists, planning games, taking measurements, ordering supplies, talking to homeowners, making more lists, having final phone calls, continuing to tweak spreadsheets and other forms, all manner of other boring whatnot. We are training interns and reflecting on what has happened over the winter.

When you read this, we will, for the first time in almost a year, be standing and worshiping in the Gathering Place on a solid floor covered in the prayers of all those who worked to repair it. We will be repairing floors and porches and building ramps for our neighbors who were also affected by the devastating floods. And we will be standing around this table (or one like it in Mexico, New Orleans, Western KY, and Louisville) having conversations to remind one another and to share with others that we are ALL invited to THE TABLE to sit by HIS SIDE!

The invitation for you to stand at our table and to serve with us as we invite others to HIS table is always open! There is work to be done! Come! Come join us in Appalachia! Come join us at the Table!

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