Each year at Academy 31 we set aside a day of camp to serve our community. We call it TORACAL, standing for Thirty – One Random Acts Of Love. This concept has been so impactful to us, a new word cropped up to refer to it: the verb racol. For example, I had a blast racoling during my errands today! Or, I need to make time in my schedule to racol.
Normally, we divide into teams, get out into the community, and do simple acts of service (trying to reach a goal of 31 acts) ranging from handing a cold drink to a homeless man to writing letters to persecuted Christians.
This year we worked through a local church to help the victims of the Memorial Day flood that are right here in our community. Most people think of Wimberly and San Marcos when they think of the Memorial Day flood that occurred earlier this year, but Taylor, TX, a small town just 15 minutes from us, experienced flooding just as much or worse as other more publicized cities. From modeling muumuus to playing with power tools, we had an absolute blast!
First the A31 staff surprised the girls with bacon-cheddar-chive scones in bed as a mini-picture of what this mystery day was about (for fun, we try to keep service day a secret).
Then we divided into teams and hit the road – Taylor here we come!
Half of us pried out soggy sheet rock from a flooded home. Working outdoors in the Texas August heat is intense, but we were blown away by the intense attitudes of hard work and diligence that the girls demonstrated. And there was something that just felt good about doing physical work. We enjoyed finding out about the neat ministry of Calvary Relief and working with Curt and Mary Jo.
Before we started work for the day
All the debris we tore out of the house by the end of the day
The other half of us organized a mountain of clothing that was donated for people who lost their possessions in the flood. Overwhelming and repetitive described the task, but again, we felt so blessed! What beautiful hearts of the girls and what a transformation of that truckload of clothing.
It was a day of meaningful service and new experiences. Over dinner we all shared different things we had discovered. Here’s just a sampling: one person saw the beauty of perseverance as the those around her jumped back into work after lunch and worked even harder than they had before lunch. One person realized that she wants serving others to be a way of life for her. One person was encouraged by the faith that her fellow workers had in her. One person learned that it is good to do hard things, and they may not be as hard as they seem at first.