I’ve already started crying before I even type this post.
GET IT TOGETHER KARIANNE.
Okay. I’m back.
I can’t help the tears. I just had a life-changing experience. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t plan on it. I didn’t even think it was going to be anything other than what it was.
This weekend my family and I headed to Jackson, Mississippi on a family mission trip to help rehab a church right smack dab in the middle of Jackson. It was once one of the largest churches in Mississippi. It has beautiful columns and ornate architecture and gilded ornamental elements straight out of the 1920s. When you walk into the sanctuary, the sheer faded grandeur of the building will take your breath away.
But somewhere along the way, life has passed it by.
People moved away. Church members have left the neighborhood and moved to the suburbs. The church has grown older and the congregation grown smaller. It’s about 5% off what it once was.
This church has continued to fight the fight. It’s continued to stand in the gap. The challenges are overwhelming. It’s facing incredible odds. It’s facing poverty and homelessness and hunger and violence and apathy and hopelessness.
It continues to fight for the heart of this neighborhood.
There were different teams on the trip. There was the landscaping team. There was the light work crew. There was the VBS team. There was the cleaning team. There was the maintenance team.
There was my team. We were the decorators. My job was to head up the team decorating the classrooms.
(total aside: please act like surprised)
There wasn’t any money to put into decorating, so I used the one thing that makes the biggest difference with the smallest amount of money.
Here’s the before.
This is what the classroom looked like about halfway into the prep process. You can see we’ve already taped off the chairs.
I snapped a few pictures with my cell phone.
Here’s the color palette I put together.
I knew we wanted to make a difference with color and I already had most of these colors at my house left over from other projects.
We planned out where we wanted to use the different colors.
The room looks like this.
CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT?
I so wish I had my big camera there to take pictures.
These cell phone pics I snapped DO NOT EVEN DO IT JUSTICE.
And the best part?
The only change is PAINT.
We made over this entire space with the paint and tape I brought with me and $25.
We taped off the chairs with FrogTape. It worked so well helping keep the metal part unpainted.
And then primed them (the church already had primer).
And then painted the chairs SW Picnic and SW Sky Fall and SW Sunny Veranda.
We primed the tables.
And then painted them SW Coral Reef.
Everything needed two coats.
The walls were taped off with FrogTape and the stripes were painted SW Coral Reef.
The larger stripes are 14″ and the smaller gray stripes are 12″.
It was the perfect pop for an accent wall.
I CAN’T STOP LOOKING AT THE BEFORE AND AFTER.
Here’s the before.
And here’s the after.
This is just one classroom. We actually finished four. We painted a wall of triangles in the dance room and polka dots and stripes and painted furniture in the other classrooms.
And when we were done, the lady in charge of the children’s ministry at the church came to see the room.
When we opened the door, she started crying.
I get it.
I’m still crying.
The church was amazing and wonderful and incredible and thanked us over and over and over again, but truly?
It is I who should be thanking them.
For standing up for what is right.
For making a difference.
For reaching a neighborhood that so many have given up on.
For SHOWING UP and waking up every day and facing those incredible odds with courage and strength and purpose.
Calvary Church and Jackson, Mississippi, you are my heart.
I left a little piece of it there.
But don’t worry. I’ll be back. 🙂