Our next adventure....

was for the whole family. Our church takes an annual mission trip to South Carolina to repair homes for those who cannot do the work or do not have the funds. We work through Rural Missions, Inc. on John's Isand south of Charleston. The people we help are part of a dying culture. Some are the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of slaves, hanging on to their property and slowly losing the Gullah culture that has prevailed for generations. All of the people we come in contact with, no matter how sad and distressing their living conditions, have a faith and trust in the Lord greater than I have ever experienced myself. They trust in God and praise Him openly and fervently. We end up being ministered to as well as ministering. Our family has gone to the Sea Islands twice now and hope to go back again. It is a time where we see and feel God's presence all around us, 24/7.

The work was hard and it was very hot, but knowing that we have made life a little better for someone else makes the work easy. It's a blessing and a pleasure to be able to share our skills and time. The pictures below show one of the homes we worked on that week. We cleaned, we painted, we built a porch on the back of the house and a ramp on the front. The homeowner was very happy and thankful.

St. Mary's Part II

Originally an all-girls college, St. Mary's College of Maryland was founded in 1840. It is a publicly funded college in Historic St. Mary's City. During the summer, the college hosts the River Concert Series, funded through corporate sponsorships. They are able to bring in world-renowned muscians and vocalists to perform with the Chesapeake Orchestra. The series takes place outdoors with the sun setting on the river, creating a beautiful backdrop to the perfomance. The whole event is casual and a wonderful evening out. Vendors selling food are located nearby but out of the way. Concert goers picnic as they enjoy the music. The listening area is divided up into three sections: closest to the stage is for serious listeners, the mid-section is for casual listeners and the back section is reserved for those who are there to socialize with the music in the background. It was a perfect start to our weekend away.

We spent Saturday exploring Historic St. Mary's City. We could have easily spent more than a day. It's tough to say which was a bigger highlight: spending time on the recreated ship, The Maryland Dove, or sifting through layers of soil dug up from a midden heap at the archaeological site. The Dove is a fully operational ship. On Sunday, they had a practice run and we went down the river to watch it sail.

As we were ending our visit, we stopped in at the dig site. The college hosts a ten-week field school. Students were excavating an area that has had multiple structures. The area of focus the day we were there was the dump for the last residence and possibly previous structures. Sifting through the soil, we found bones, buttons, a piece of smoking pipe that dates back to the original founding (1634) and was made in England, earthenware pieces as well as ceramics and items made from iron. It was a cool experience, finding all these treasures in someone's trash heap from 200 years ago and earlier. Our finds are contibutions to a better understanding of how the colonists lived. On the web, visit www.stmaryscity.org

We ended our trip with a visit to Point Lookout State Park. This peninsula is the result of the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. A beautiful natural area, this piece of land became the site of a major POW camp for the Union. In addition, an innovative Civil War hospital was built. It featured a wagon wheel type construction, with wards for different ailments as the "spokes." It was believed to allow more air-flow between and in the buildings.

Southern Maryland has much to offer: history, outdoor sports, good food, wineries (fairly new to Maryland) and friendly people. Someday, it will be a spot we revisit.