Service, community, spirituality… For those of us who have volunteered at the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) these have become not just words but a way of living. We all came to CAP with different motivations, some to help others, some to hide from the real world, some seeking God and even a few trying to deny God. What we learned at CAP is that these are not just words. Let me try to explain.

Service is not only what we do for others and for God. Service is what God and others do for and to us. As we serve others we are reminded of our own failings, our own needs. We remember and are humbled by the sacrifice of Jesus for us. We become compelled to continue our service into all parts of our lives after CAP.

Community starts in the volunteer house, it extends to the entire CAP community and the new church family that we connect with. Community for many of us means learning to live with people with different traditions and habits for the first time. This community becomes a time of growth for each of us and we leave more tolerant and better able to interact with others.

Spirituality is enhanced, in the volunteer house through our fellow volunteers, daily meals and devotions, and in the retreats that are not just added events but integral parts of the volunteer experience.

Most of my peers are looking forward to lives of leisure, travel and other pursuits of their own retirement dreams. I am not. Linda and I are looking forward to lives of meaning, seeking God’s will through service. Praying that His will is in our desire to be in Eastern Kentucky helping CAP help others and in so doing spread the love of Jesus.