It’s hard to believe that fall is just around the corner. It literally seems like March was just here, and we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first mission group, and now here we are in fall and the last of our summer mission groups left August 1, 2019. During those several months, we have had 13 groups come to Riverwood, most of which had at least 20 people, and several over 25. The largest group was 34! That’s roughly 260 people that have taken time out of their summer schedules to come to Riverwood and serve with us. Isn’t that wonderful? Each group stays an average of 2 ½ days and does various projects for us.
Every group that has come to Riverwood is a returning group. Two of the groups have been coming for more than 22 years, 4 groups are more than 10 years, and the rest are at 5 years. We now have groups that have gotten so big that we have had to split into 2 groups or more from the same church. That’s pretty amazing when you stop to think about it!
I have a lot of people ask me what we do with all the groups, and my reply is generally this: “We work together, eat together, play together, worship together, and pray together”
Mostly, however, we make and maintain our friendships. We share stories, we laugh and sometimes cry. I can’t imagine how Riverwood would function without these groups. It’s not about the work that gets done…(although I have a few groups leaders that would question that statement!) but for the residents and myself, it’s about the friendships.
Kenny came into my office the other day and said, “Rhonna, Georgie wants to know when is the next group coming?”
I told Kenny and Georgie that we have 5 more groups coming between the end of September and into October.
Kenny response was, ”That’s good. We have fun with them don’t we Rhonna?”
I said, “Yes Kenny, we do!”
And then he says, “Rhonna, Georgie wants to know if any of the groups want to go to…..you know that place I’m not supposed to say?”
I said; “Kenny, I’m not talking with you about groups and Dollywood!”
Kenny said, ”Well good morning Mrs. Rhonna, you have a good day.”
As he left my office I heard him say to Georgie “Well, we have fun with the groups anyway don’t we Georgie?”
That made my heart smile.
I want to say thank you to each and every one of you that came to Riverwood this summer. You have added flavor to our lives. Thank you for your understanding, your “flexibility” and most importantly your unconditional love. We look forward to seeing you again!
In August of 1989, Rhonna was hired by the as a part-time resident manager and has worked her way up to the position of Director of Residential Services of the Riverwood Campus. Before coming to Riverwood, Rhonna attended Johnson University where she became involved in the Disability Ministry program. The residents of Riverwood refer to her as “Momma Rhonna” or “the other mother.”