Playground installations are happening domestically! Phil Falconer, from our Rockford warehouse, headed to Missouri for a very special playground build. Keep reading to hear about his stateside experience.

“After months of no installation travel, this week finds me on a mission trip to Joplin, MO. While it’s a domestic build, there were hints of international (can’t say I really got “my kicks” though) cruising Route 66 as I passed places like Lebanon, Cuba, and Scotland.

Maybe you’re like me and thought Joplin got its name from the ragtime founder, Scott Joplin, from Missouri.  While close, it actually got its name from Reverend Joplin, who started the first Methodist Church in the area. Joplin soon became the zinc and lead capital of the world, but that had since faded until 2011 when a mile-wide tornado devasted the southern part of the city and ranked in as the costliest in U.S. history.  My experience proved that it still is a major railway crossroads, and it seems it is a practice ground for engineers blowing their horns all through the night!

It’s a dual “mission“ trip as the install is at a rescue mission for mothers with children living in a beautifully renovated elementary school from the 1920s. Washington Family Hope Center is a home and haven for six family units of women and 18 children who need temporary housing to re-establish their lives and learn of Christ’s love and hope for them.  A prominent verse in the Center is Psalm 71:14-15 “…as for me, I will have HOPE. I will praise you more and more.  My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds and saving acts all day long.”

The crew the Lord provided was tenacious and no white flags were flying as we charted out the “Cumberland Gap.” The Lord provided equipment and operators to boreholes (saving our backs), haul dirt and rocks…men from the “Forge” who are in various stages of rehab and a group from a local church to help assemble the playground.  Matt Ingle, who directs the Center, provided great leadership and knew the right people with the right equipment to get the job done.  As I left, he was even throwing around his weight on the top of a skid steer to counterbalance the rubber mulch! While Joplin is a crossroads of commerce, Washington Family Hope Center provides The Road that leads to the Cross!

Thank you so much for your prayers and standing in the Gap!!”