This summer, I have been traveling across Central Appalachia as ASP’s Story Gathering Intern. I have driven through beautiful landscapes, documented life-changing home repairs, and met many amazing people from across the country along the way. Staffers, volunteers, and homeowners have graciously stepped aside from their work and taken time out of their day to answer my questions and tell me about their experiences with ASP. As my summer with the Appalachia Service Project comes to a close, I thought I would turn the tables and answer some of the questions I have been asking others.

What has been your favorite part about working with ASP?
My favorite part about serving with ASP has been the opportunity to meet so many kindhearted, hardworking people. There are many different types of people who serve with ASP, but they all have these two things in common. I love to see how many different personalities make up a team of staffers or a group of volunteers. They all have something unique to give, and by coming together, they are a vital part of ASP’s ministry.

I also love talking to homeowners. They are so sincere and hospitable. Homeowners have freely shared their stories with me, welcomed me into their homes, and even offered me cookies, sweet tea, and a home cooked meal. I could sit and chat with them for ages. Many of these people live right on my doorstep, but without ASP we would not have met.

How has serving with ASP impacted you?
ASP’s impact on me is hard to put into words. As I reflect on my experience with ASP, I keep discovering new ways that it has shaped me. It is one of those experiences that continues to impact you in different ways throughout your life.

For the sake of brevity, I will leave it at this: ASP has both refreshed me and called me to action. It has been so rejuvenating to see people cheerfully giving their time to be the hands and feet of Christ this summer. I remember a homeowner telling me one day that she loved the volunteers so much because they reminded her that there are still good people in the world. This summer has reminded me of that too.

After witnessing so many people serving others this summer, I also feel called to action. As I head back to school, I am on the lookout for ways that I can give back to others. Working with ASP has inspired me to serve wherever I go, and to see the goodness in the world that often goes unnoticed.

Has ASP helped you grow in your faith?
Yes. ASP has helped me grow in my faith by showing me examples of God’s providence firsthand. Homeowners often explain to me how God has opened doors throughout their lives. When I experience hardships, I am often too quick to despair. When these homeowners face struggles much greater than mine, however, their response is to pray. Their trust in God’s plans continually inspires me and helps me to rest in God’s care.

Would you recommend serving with ASP to a friend?
Absolutely! Volunteers and staffers alike are always telling me what a life changing experience serving with ASP has been for them, and I have to agree. Serving with ASP is a great opportunity to re-center, connect with others, and solidify your faith. The work that ASP does truly makes a difference in people’s lives. To be a part of this organization has been an amazing experience that I would definitely recommend to others.

Sarah Allen
Story Gathering Intern