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Monica Thompson, C'06

Building Hope

Christian Appalachian Project

Monica Thompson was intrigued when she discovered the idea of full-time service work: “I didn’t realize there were programs that would feed and clothe me in return for service!”

Monica had been thinking about service work for three or four years before she sent in her application to the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP). She was drawn to CAP because “they really emphasize spirituality, community and service,” she says. “All three are equal.” Also, Monica’s parents have been donating to CAP for more than 25 years.

In church three days after she got the idea to apply, Monica truly felt God reach out to her and call her to do his work. She was especially moved by two hymns, “Here I Am Lord” and “Be Not Afraid.” “It was awesome, but terrifying at the same time,” she notes. After more prayer and discernment, Monica submitted her application in late 2006. “I was so sure about CAP that I quit my job before my interview,” she recalls.

Monica began her work with CAP in May 2007. She lives in a house with 16 other volunteers, and while she describes them as “absolutely amazing people,” she does admit that “living in community is a challenge.” But that is one thing about CAP that Monica loves–being challenged. “Every day in some little way I’m taken out of my comfort zone,” she says. “I’ve changed so much in the short time I’ve been here.”

Monica’s daily routine involves helping build and repair homes with CAP’s housing assistance program. Some days can be very difficult: “There is a [sense of] hopelessness here,” she notes. Education is generally not a priority and many children drop out before they finish high school. That’s why CAP created programs for youth such as pre-schools and summer camps. The organization also focuses on aiding the elderly and disabled.

Monica says through her experience in Kentucky she’s learned to appreciate things she used to take for granted. She’s realized that the Mount gave her “a really strong background in opening my eyes to other people and other people’s needs,” something that is essential in her work now. Her hope is to “become a conscientious member of the world,” and from the looks of it, she is well on her way.

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