Hello, everyone, and happy Monday! My name is Sarah Brassfield, and I am one of the Story Gathering Interns. I’d like to give a small introduction about myself so that you can know a little bit about me before following my journey throughout Appalachia this summer.   

ASP is a very close-knit organization, with some of this year’s staff coming from families with generational involvement with ASP. This, while admirable, is not my story. I am a small-town girl from Mississippi who knew absolutely NOTHING about Appalachia Service Project or the services they provide before I came across a posting for this position on a job website in February. The job description really spoke to me. It perfectly aligned my passion for service and spreading the love of God with my prospective career path in digital marketing. Because of its strong appeal to many important areas of my life, I felt led to apply.  

A couple months later, I received a call saying I had been offered the position. The decision to spend my summer as an ASP intern was definitely a leap of faith for me. I said yes to this internship pretty blind, without knowing what exactly to expect coming in, but I can say with absolute certainty after only a couple of days here– I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I work alongside some of the most devoted and hardworking people while also being surrounded by the beautiful countryside Appalachia has to offer. 

During our spiritual leadership session on Tuesday, I really began reflecting on my “why” for joining ASP staff this summer as a Story Gathering Intern. The longer I sat and pondered, the clearer my true motivations became.  

I love the Lord with all my heart, and this organization beautifully depicts being the hands and feet of Jesus, as we are all called to be in 1 Peter 4:10. Though my contributions to Central Appalachia might look a little different than hands-on home repair, I consider it an absolute honor to be able to capture a glimpse into the power and magnitude of the life-changing work being done within the ASP organization.  

This train of thought is how I decided upon the name of my blog series for the summer: Aspire to Be. As I travel throughout Appalachia the next couple of months capturing moments and memories, I know I will hear many stories of people involved with ASP that will touch my heart and inspire me to become a better version of myself. My intent is to document inspirational and unique stories from individuals that call me higher in one way or another to new levels of faith, service, and love. 

I have met some of those people already in the few days I have spent at training here in Jonesville, Virginia, and I’d like to share them with you all. I aspire to be joyful, loving, and kind like Jane Cheema, our Director of Spiritual Programs. I aspire to be dedicated and driven like the summer staffers here who invest so much time and attention learning how to effectively lead our summer program. I also aspire to exhibit good leadership like the center directors who oversee the staff and the program managers who head the day-to-day operations of training. Today I want to honor the hard work and commitment of everyone who has had a hand in summer staff training. Thank you for everything you have done and for all you will continue to do!   

Through seeing such admirable traits personified in those around me, I am motivated to grow to embody them as I go throughout my own daily life. I aspire to be better each day, growing to love others more and shine the love and light of Jesus to everyone around me in any way I can. I am beyond excited to see the change to come–both in myself and in the lives of the homeowners ASP serves– in the upcoming weeks. 

Talk soon!  

Sarah Brassfield

Story Gathering Intern