2009 Summer Mission Trip Daily Blog!
Join us here starting June 22 for daily updates and pictures! Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
June 21, 2009 We made it to San Antonio Sunday night and tightly squeezed all of us into the youth house. What a wonderful surprise awaited with basket of goodies from the Helotes Hills Youth group. It was good trip and good night of sleep.
June 22, 2009
Today we were on the E.D.G.E. of something big! An opportunity to jump out of comfort zone and trust God. Just as we learned in V.B.S. - we can Experience and Discover God Everywhere.
Methodist Mission Home in the morning...
The Methodist Mission Home is phenomenal in all that they provide. After a wonderful orientation and tour of the facility, we were ready to go to work. Graduation for their students of the Southwest Center for Higher Independence is this Friday so today we did yard work in the front of their chapel where the graduation will be held. We ate lunch in the cafeteria where some of us were able to eat with students from the school.
Then we are off to the San Antonio Food Bank for the afternoon...
We traveled to San Antonio to have the blessing of meeting and working with the youth of Royce City UMC. Aldersgate took boxes of donated food from grocery shelves and salvaged what was still usable by laws for safety. When food is used as a necessity instead of the luxury most of us are blessed to snack on, you look at boxes and cans a bit differently. It was a great afternoon with a tour of the facility and community garden. Phenomenal work is all about God and Teamwork!
We were so blessed to arrive back at our youth house tonight to a delicious meal cooked and served by members of our host congregation at Helotes Hills UMC. Delicious brisket with ice cream and treats to top it off.
Wonder with what God will bless on Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 23
Another blessed day starting at Methodist Mission Home. Today was fun planting flowers greenery, clearing shrubs and enhancing the outside appearance to the chapel. At lunch we all had a great time making new friends with students from the Southwest Center for Higher Independence. We learned sign language from them and even played basketball and tossed the football around for a few minutes. Then we were off to the food bank.
At the food bank we sorted and salvaged more food. The day went by quickly and once again so much was accomplished in only a few hours time. After leaving the food bank we drove across town to ZDT's. It's like a Speed Zone but more "extreme". Rock climbing walls, climbing silos, go-kart races, bungee trampoline and more. SO much fun. We met up with another youth group there from Windcrest UMC from San Antonio. Their youth director and Cathy Rogers are friends from their days at Perkins School of Youth Ministry. Thank you Windcrest for planning and making the arrangements for us. The timing of the trip didn't work out as we had planned but great fun was had by all!
It was a full, non-stop day as you can tell. Check back in with us tomorrow. Lights out now.
June 24, 2009
Today's focus was on having faith to step out of our comfort zone and live by faith, not by sight. We experienced and discovered God in so many ways today at the mission Home. There were a lot of different ways in which we do God's work.
God's work is yard work
God's work is playing
God's work is being at the right place at the right time to meet and help a new friend.
God's work is sending notes of love & cheer, organizing and moving.
God's work is sometimes just waiting
God's work is a short class in ASL sign language to talk with our new friends at the school. Ask a youth to sign their name when we return!
This afternoon and tonight was a night of sightseeing at the Riverwalk. After a great dinner at Chili's we split into groups. Some shopped, some saw the Alamo (you remember it don't you?) and walked along the Riverwalk and with the release today of the new Transformer's movie, we had a crowd there, too.
We cap off another blessed day and we give all praise and glory to God.
Peace and lights out!
June 25, 2009
Today's lesson was acceptance. We all have to accept that our work here is done, though we couldn't do all we would have liked. We are sad about leaving but look forward to sharing memories with all of you at home.
God's work today was cleaning the sanctuary and preparing for graduation. For many this was a first in cleaning God's house. We cleaned the stain glass windows, we dusted the pews, we swept & mopped the floor. We swept the porch and the walkways. We watered the plants we planted on Tuesday. Jessi and Colleen went to the dorms and ironed the bell ringers clothing for their performance at the graduation tomorrow. With the dusting of the sanctuary, all was ready for the big day.
To top off the work day, we were asked to make 2 cards for each of the graduates. We had one last lunch with our new friends and had the chance to practice signing in conversation. One last time to play football or basketball together during the lunch hour. It was time say goodbye.
As a Youth Director, my heart was filled with joy as I saw our youth intermingled with the students all across the cafeteria and thought of our first day at MMH lunch. Our youth sat together, well out of their comfort zone, unsure how to approach people they didn't know who might not be able to communicate with them. What a wonderful transformation.
On the way home, we all stopped for a special treat. For some that was Sonic, for others it was Starbuck's or Cold Stone. One van's special treat was to come straight back so they were able to get showers. Two showers for 23 people, it's not so easy.
Tonight we were once again blessed by our host church. Becky Harrell, Missionary in Chile', shared her experiences in Chile' and as a volunteer. Pastor Suzanne introduced and welcomed us, as did the congregation who had gathered to hear the guest speaker. What a fascinating experience to be on a mission trip and hear of someone else's mission so far away.
It is great to have Vanessa here with us. She joined us tonight, allowing Pastor Woody to head back in the morning for other Pastoral duties.
We are all excited about our day at Sea World tomorrow. Now it's time to get some rest. Lights out!
June 26, 2009
Each day we begin with a devotional before breakfast and wrap up the night with a "warm fuzzies, cold pricklies" and a reflection on the devotion. Pastor Woody reads a Fractured Fairy Tales story before our closing prayer each night. Last night Woody shared some of his notes from the week of devotionals, experience and observations.
It's reward day today! All day at Sea World! We had so much fun. It was great to have the water rides and some air conditioning since the temperatures were reported to be 105 degrees. The sea life was incredible!!!!
Some are now playing games while others are packing to leave out tomorrow morning. We had a great week, we're tired and as much as we want to stay, we are ready to get back home.
Special thanks to our volunteer chaperons Woody, John Forbus, Sheila Stevens, Donna & Barbara Townley-Cochran, Philip Anderson and Vanessa who traded places with Woody for the final days of our trip. These volunteers have worked hard to support, lead, navigate, transport, shop for groceries, and share in the mission experience. They do so with grace, love and the heart of a servant. By the way, serve was our focus for the day. When you focus on one word and how it effects your life for the day, it's easy to see how our behavior and that of others can be changed with an act of service. These chaperons provided that great service every day, in every way. I praise God for all they do and the difference they make in my life, the life of the youth and all whose lives they touch.
Back in Carrollton tomorrow afternoon. Look forward to seeing you at Aldersgate UMC Sunday!
June 27, 2009
Half of the group had a warm night of sleep when the AC stopped cooling. Regardless, we woke up bright & early, packed, had breakfast, cleaned the house in which we have been staying and loaded the vans to go back to Carrollton. It was such a fantastic week! We have made new friends, a lot of great memories, and a made a difference in our world. We will never see adoption, disabilities or food in the same way again. We return from this trip more enlightened from our life changing experiences.
The youth of Aldersgate are among some of the greatest I have ever had the privilege of knowing. They are fun, loving, giving and have hearts of gold! They're also a family. I am so very proud of all of them.
Tomorrow, Pastor Woody will be sharing the Mission Trip experience at both worship services and recognizing all those who went on this journey together. I hope you will be there. Your life just might be changed, too.
Thank you for following our journey on this page this week. I hope you'll come back to the site often and see what the youth of Aldersgate are up to.