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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December and January Schedule 2013

Hey Folks,

I won't be around for a few weeks starting December 27, so there won't be weekly updates again until later in January. Here is everything going on through January 2013. This information will also be repeated in the Here and Now and the weekly bulletins. Happy a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

12/23/12          No Explorers, Confirmation, or Youth Group
                        Youth choir rehearsal 9:00-9:30am
                        Chapel choir rehearsal 9:30-10:15am

12/24/12          Choir call time 4:00pm for Christmas Eve Service

12/30/12          No Explorers, Confirmation, or Youth Group
                        There will be no choir rehearsal.

1/6/13              Explorers for 6th-8th grade 9:30-10:30am
                        Youth choir rehearsal 9:00-9:30am
                        Chapel choir rehearsal 9:30-10:15am
                        Confirmation for 8th grade 3:30-5:00pm
                        Youth Group 5:00-7:00pm

1/13/13            Explorers for 6th-8th grade 9:30-10:30am
                        Youth choir rehearsal 9:00-9:30am
                        Chapel choir rehearsal 9:30-10:15am
                        Confirmation for 8th grade 3:30-5:00pm
                        Youth Group 5:00-7:00pm

1/20/13            No Explorers, Confirmation, or Youth Group
                        Youth choir rehearsal 9:00-9:30am
                        Chapel choir rehearsal 9:30-10:15am

1/25-1/26/13    Confirmation Retreat for 8th grade (details coming soon)

1/27/13            No Explorers or Confirmation
                        No Choir
                        Youth Group 5-7pm; Mandatory Mission Trip
                        Meeting with Parents starts at 6:00pm

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Updates on Youth Mission Trip

Here are some updates for the Youth Mission Trip.

There is an important fundraiser coming up on Sunday the 23rd.  The task is wrapping packages at Barnes & Noble in Highland.  Sounds fun, and will be pretty good one for money.  One shift begins that day at one PM, and the second begins at five.

We need 4 to 6 youths for this event.  Please go to the Facebook Group or communicate directly with Henry B. to sign up for this event.

So far there have been a number of fundraising events, and with a few exceptions all of the volunteering has been done by members of the Committee.  Just to remind folks, the participation in fundraising is both critical to making the trip happen, as well as directly determines how much a family would have to pay in June for youth to go.

The next fund raising opportunity will be at the end of January with the baking of scones and brewing of coffee for the church’s annual meeting.

Later that evening, the 27th of January, we will have a mandatory trip meeting that will include parents beginning at 6:00 PM.  More details to follow.

John S. is hiring the coach bus this week, and the budget is coming together.  At this time the trip expense per youth out of pocket will probably be between $200 and $250.  And, of course, that assumes that the youth fully participate in fundraising.  For those who miss a bunch of the events, the cost will be quite a bit higher.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday the 16th-Super Early Edition

Hey All:

OK, it's the Christmas party this week. More on that below.

First, Sunday happenings:

No 9:00am Service
9:00-9:30am Youth Choir Rehearsal
9:30-10:15am Chapel Choir Rehearsal
9:30-10:30am Explorers (6th-8th grade)
10:45-11:45am Worship-It's the Christmas Pageant!

3:30-5:00pm Confirmation (for 8th grade)

5:00-7:00pm Christmas Party:

Grades 6-8, bring a main dish
Grades 9-10, desserts
Grades 11-12, healthy stuff

Sam will be firing up the homemade soda maker (thanks Sam)

All, please bring wrapped White Elephant present, which according to memory is a gift under five dollars (can even be a re-gift).

Also, bring movies and games and we'll make sure all this goodness mixed together makes this the best Christmas party of the 21st century. Not just so far, but forever.

I look forward to seeing you all,


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Update!

I've tested the roads and they are pretty bad, so no confirmation or youth group today. Stay inside.

That said, Roger Barr will still be reading his story at 4pm and Brian and I will be here, so if you don't get this message, you at least won't show up to a closed building with no one in it.

More on next week's party later thsi week.



Friday, December 7, 2012

Youth Happenings December 9, 2012

Hey All:

Here's what's going on....

December 9, 2012
Worship 9:00-9:30am
Explorers 9:30-10:30am
Worship 10:45-11:45am
Confirmation 3:30-5:00pm
Youth Group 4:00-6:00pm-NOTE THE TIME CHANGE and that there will be NO DINNER!
We will be attend Roger Barr's reading of his Christmas Story and then finish planning the Christmas Party. Because I will be with the confirmation class at 4:00pm, look for Brian.

December 16, 2012
No 9:00am worship
Explorers 9:30-10:30am
Worship 10:45am-11:45am (Christmas Pageant)
Youth Group 5:00-7:00pm Christmas Party at Church
What we do know so far, is food-related:
Grades 6-8, bring a main dish
Grades 9-10, desserts
Grades 11-12, healthy stuff

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Youth Reminders for Sunday

This Sunday starts a series of unusual times for youth group because of the season we are in and the events we do. Nevertheless I hope to see you all for the events we have planned!


Sunday, December 2, 2012
We meet from 12:00pm-2:00pm. Some will shop for the Aliveness Project families and others will help with the Round the Table Carol Sing Set Up. Marsha will be bringing in a ton of Subway sandwiches. Please remember to bring $20.00 as able to donate toward holiday baskets for the families we adopted.

We need an extra parent or two who can drive a handful of youth to Target to shop. I will be able to take four, but it would be nice to be able to have 6-8 more youth working on this part. Ask your parents, or if you are a parent, let me know if you are available.

Call or email me if there are any questions.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Youth Happenings for the Rest of the Year

Youth Happenings-Please note special times and instructions for each Sunday

November 25: No Confirmation or Youth Group. Thanksgiving Weekend.

December 2: Youth Group is 12pm-2pm. We will be shopping for Aliveness Project Families (bring $20.00) and helping set up for Round the Table Carol Sing. No Confirmation.

December 9: Explorers at 9:30 am. Confirmation is at 3:30pm.Youth Group is 4pm-6pm. We will be attending Roger Barr’s reading of his 2012 installment of his annual Christmas story. No meal that night so eat first.

December 16: Explorers at 9:30am. Confirmation is at 3:30pm. Youth Group Holiday Party at 5pm (at church). More details to follow on the party.

December 23: No Explorers, Confirmation, or Youth Group. Winter Break

December 30: No Explorers, Confirmation, or Youth Group. Winter Break.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Urgent need for more volunteers Wednesday.


The Youth need two - three more folks for the Kowalski's Bagging fundraiser on Wednesday, 11 -5.  Go to Facebook group ASAP for details. Or text/call  Maddy Frawley.

Sounds like a fun one.

It is also a good one for the money it will raise.

If this great fundraising opportunity doesn't get done due to insufficient participation, it will mean an additional $25 per youth in fees come June when the cash participation amount is figured out.

And just so everybody understands, this opportunity is also one that will count when it comes time to see who did want, out of the fundraising effort. As in prior years, youth will need to participate in these kinds of events, or their families will have to come up with more dough to go on the trip.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Youth Happenings Sunday, November 18, 2012

9:30am-10:30am Explorer's Class for 6th-8th grade
10:45am-11:45am Worship
3:30pm-5:00pm Confirmation Class for 8th grade
5:00pm-7:00pm Youth Group*

* The youth mission trip committee will meet at 6pm.

I look forward to seeing everyone Sunday!


Friday, November 9, 2012

From Mission Trip Co-Chair Maddy Frawley

Fundraising Opportunities:
Leaf Raking: This Saturday 10-6ish? As many people as possible Contact Jimmy Morrissey for info
Coffee Sales: Every Sunday, 3 people per week sign up with Julia Schafer
Kowalski's bagging. At least 8 more people! Wednesday November 21 11am-5pm (SPPS has the day off). Contact Maddy Frawley.

Youth Happenings Sunday November 11, 2012

Hey All:

Here's what's happening Sunday....

9:30-10:30am Explorer's Class for 6th-8th grade
10:45-11:45am Worship
12:00-1:00pm Congregational Mission Conversation. Let your voice be heard on what mission means to you and what you think it should mean for MPUC. This is a whole congregation event.
3:30-5:00pm Confirmation for 8th graders and their parents
5:00-7:00pm Youth Group for 6th-12th Grade

Important: Mission Trippers...send your Give to the Max emails now! See the previous entry for details.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Very Important for Your To Do List: Give to the Max Info for Mission Trippers

Thanks to Katie Sterns and Chris Kemp (and others), we are up and running on an alternative to the letter writing campaign. This one just requires a copy and paste and send to your family and friends through email. Give to the Max Day is November 15, so send as many of these off and as soon as possible and then on November 15 send a reminder.

Please remember that participation in fundraising affects the amount of your out of pocket cost. This is an easy way to take a chunk out of that.

The letter can be found at this link.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Youth Happenings Sunday November 4, 2012

9:30-10:30am Explorers Class for 6th-8th grade

10:45am-11:45am Worship. Simon Brown is liturgist. If you would like to be liturgist some Sunday let me (Tom) know. I always enjoy working with one of the youth as the liturgist.

5:00pm-7:00pm Youth Group. Most likely activity based since we had a mission trip meeting for the Sr. High and an educational event for the Jr. High.

*The Mission Trip Planning Committee will be meeting during youth group (after dinner).

I look forward to seeing everyone there!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Youth Happenings Sunday October 28, 2012

9:30am-10:30am Exploers Class for 6th-8th grade
10:45am-11:45am Worship (all grades)
5:00pm-7:00pm Youth Group for 6th-12th grade

Very Important Reminder: there is a mandatory parent/youth meeting for those wishing to go on the 2013 Mission Trip this Sunday 6-7pm in the Plymouth Room (upstairs)! Youth, come for the first hour of youth group in the fellowship hall and then join your parents at 6pm for the meeting.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Mission Trip Fundraising: Youth Coordinator for Coffee Sales Needed!

From Tanya Bell:

The last two years we have had requests to add coffee sales to the fall – so here we are!!!!  We will sell coffee at church over three Sundays in November and again next Spring.  We can also do personal sales if you have loyal customers who will buy from you (good holiday gifts!).  We will post the order form a bit later.
For now – we need a few volunteers.  We need a youth to lead the effort and confirm volunteers for the Sundays.  We will need youth to sign up for a Sunday – the dates are November 3, 1o and 17.  We need at least two each Sunday.  We also need someone to make signs (bright and suggesting Holiday sales ideas etc..)


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Youth Happenings October 21 and 28

Hi Folks:

This Sunday (October 21) there is no Children's Education, Explorer's Class, or Youth Group because of MEA weekend.

The following Sunday (October 28) will be the first parent /youth meeting regarding the 2013 mission trip. Participation is mandatory for those wishing to go on the trip. It will go from 6:00-7:00pm.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Youth Happenings for October 14, 2012

This coming Sunday....

9:30-10:30am Explorers Class for grades 6-8
5:00-7:00pm Youth Group for grades 8-12. Part of the time the senior high will meet separately to talk about where the 2013 Mission Trip is going to be, don't miss it! This is not the parent/youth meeting, that will be scheduled later.

Important Note: The following weekend (Sunday, October 21) there will be no Sunday school for K-5th, Explorers class for 6-8th, or youth group because of MEA weekend.

Have a good week,


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Youth Happenings Sunday October 7, 2012

Explorer's Class for 6th to 8th grade 9:30-10:30am

Youth Group for 6th to 12th grade 5:00-7:00pm

Mission Trip Committee Meeting 6:00-7:00pm

I look forward to see everyone on Sunday!

For those of you who had tests this week, I hope they went well.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Youth Happenings 9/30/12

9:30am-10:30am Explorer's class for 6th-8th graders
10:45am-11:45am Worship service for everyone
5:00pm-7:00pm Youth Group for 6th-12th grade

Thanks to everyone for participating in last week's mission trip adult forum and worship service. The mission trip planning committee met later that evening and should have some updates in the next couple of weeks regarding the 2013 mission trip.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Important Details for Mission Trip Sunday (9/23/12)

Hey All:

This Sunday is the Mission Trip Worship Service. Here is everything you need to know:

We are the subject of the adult forum. Let's have a good showing for this. Meet Marsha in the Sanctuary at 9:15am and when I am done with the early service in the Plymouth Room, everybody come on in.

At 10:15am we will meet in the Santuary to prepare for the service. I have prepared bulletins for each of you that indicated when you go up and read your piece. I also have some liturgy pieces (call to worship, prayer of confession, and benediction) so if you are so inspired. And hopefully three of you are. I will also be looking for a few folks to help with the children's time.

If you have not written a paragraph yet, bring it with you. We'll make it happen.

Wear your t-shirt we got on the trip if you can find it.

Any questions or concerns, please contact me. Let's knock this one out of the park!



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dates to Remember

September 14: Fall Retreat, we leave church at 7pm, so show up for packing the cars at 6:45pm. You can find a packing list in the posting from a few days ago, but please be especially mindful that phones, music players, or any other electronic devices are not allowed.

September 16: We plan to return to church to noon so that you can pick the youth up after the late service. No youth fellowship that afternoon.

September 23: Youth Mission Trip Service at the 10:45am service! The youth are also leading the adult forum at 9:30am. Please show up at 9:15am for this. Those who participated in the 2012 mission trip will be preparing for the service this weekend at the retreat. Ninth graders and those who did not participate are invited to show their support for their peers by being service.

September 23: This date is also the start of the Explorer's class for 6-8th grade. It goes from 9:30-10:30am. It is considered part of the confirmation program.

November 11: The first meeting of the 2012-2013 confirmation class for 8th graders. This will meet from 3:30-5:00pm and parents are asked to be there.

March 17, 2013: The Confirmation Service at the 10:45am service.

Thanks and Peace,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can It Be?

Normally we are still putting all the pieces together up until the last minute, but I think we are good to go for the Fall Retreat. We have 34 youth going and just enough seats for everyone so pack light and show up at 6:45pm on Friday.

This year we have buildings for both the boys and girls, so there will be plenty of space for everyone when we arrive.

Adults (other than me) spending the weekend are Ed Steinhauer, Marsha Berry, Mike Weckesser, and Cathy Gnatek. Dean and Sara Sabetti will also be up with us, so there will be plenty of chaperones/adults. My thanks in advance to them for giving their time and their talent!

People transporting youth are Jim Berg, Laura Donovan, Lee Schafer, and Michael Florey. Many, many thanks!

If you need to reach your youth during the weekend (or vice versa), I will have my cell phone with me. The number is 612-716-3150.

We'll see you Friday, but please contact me in the meantime with any questions or concerns.



Friday, September 7, 2012

September 9, 2012 Youth Program

Hey All:

This Sunday is Rally Day. Though Explorer's Class does not begin until the 23rd, Youth Group will meet 5-7pm. Brian and I are looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Please bring forms and checks for the retreat to youth group. We have 34 youth signed up and have found a fourth chaperone. Two more are need, however and probably three drivers. Please see the previous post for more details. If you are interested in chaperoning or driving and want to know where we are going, visit: .



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wow! Plus, a Packing List and Other Forms

Hi Folks:

Thanks for your response to my request for confirmations that youth are attending the retreat. We are currently looking at 33 youth going, but I believe that number is going to increase. This is the largest group we've had that I'm aware of. The grade range is broad so new folk should feel very welcome as should people for whom this is their umpteenth retreat.

So, three things:

1. Here are links to the event flier and health form if you haven't submitted one yet, as well as a document that contains a schedule and a packing list.

2. Currently we have three adults going: Youth Elders Ed Steinhauer and Marsha Berry and me. It would be nice to have a better adult/youth ratio. If you want to get away for a nice weekend and you enjoy working with youth, this is your chance. There is not a lot you have to do except be a caring presence for our youth. Contact me ASAP if this interests you as we need to run background checks. Email me at

3. Assuming six adults with cars, we still need, as with years past, supplementary drivers: folks who might enjoy a car ride and can take a car full of youth, drop them off or come pick them up, or both. Please contact me if you are willing to do this. Again, please email me with your availability.

This is a logistical challenge that we are very fortunate to have, though we need your help.

What a great start to the year!



Monday, September 3, 2012

Important Notices for Parents and Youth

Parents and Youth:

The youth programming season is fast upon us. Here is a short to-do list for you....

1. Remember youth group starts next Sunday. It goes from 5-7pm. It is for grades 6-12.
2. There is no explorers class (for grades 6-8) next Sunday (the 9th). Nor will there will explorers class on the 16th because of the Fall Youth Retreat.
3. Speaking of which, the Fall Youth Retreat is September 14-16. Koinonia needs to have an idea of how many youth are coming. Even if you don't have your form in, at least send me an email letting me know whether or not to expect you.
4. Prior to the retreat I will be posting a packing list, so.....
5. Make sure you are signed up to receive blog update notifications.
6. Senior high youth: be thinking of mission trip ideas to discuss at the retreat.

Contact me with any questions. I'm looking forward to a great start of the year!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Car Pool for Participants to Picnic

We are trying to get rides together for this event. Right now we have three cars that will be meeting at church on Thursday and leaving around 4:30pm, which is probably enough for 9-10 passengers.

Parents, if you are available to drive, please leave Tom a message at church or as a comment/email reply to this post.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Post Trip Picnic Get-Together

Hey Everyone!
I hope this blog post finds everyone in good spirits! 

It's nearing the end of summer, but we still have a mission trip recap picnic to hold for the youth and adult participants. Hopefully everyone still is available this Thursday, August 9th. Plan on coming over and swimming, playing volleyball, hanging out starting at 5:00. We'll have dinner around 6:30 and then have some post-trip discussions and maybe even talk about the coming year.

              Norm, Kelly and Daniela's house
              1866 Bowsens Lane, Woodbury
I-94 east to Woodbury Drive, south to Valley Creek, right on Valley Creek to the second street. Right on Spinnaker and then left on Bowsens.

              Thursday August 9th from 5:00 - 8:00 PM

What to bring:
             Swimwear, towel if you want to swim
             Last names of A-D - Salad
             Last names of E-P - Dessert
             Last names of S-W - Fruit/Veggie
             Last name of Tiedemann - meat, buns, condiments and drinks

Monday, July 2, 2012

Post Trip Picnic Get-together

Mission Trip Participants - Mark your calendars - Thursday August 9th.
The date for the post-trip get-together has been chosen. It will be Thursday August 9th, in the evening, at a site yet to be determined.  Hopefully everyone can make it so we can meet, hang out, reminisce and share some thoughts about the trip. More details will follow on the blog - so stay tuned.

John, Maggie, Marsha, Norm, Rita, and Tom

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Good Saturday Morning, Folks

One of you asked for comments on the blog and being a slower learner about technology, ...

Anyway, I read your entries each morning about 6 am when I get up with our dog.  They are my daily devotional.  I'm always so impressed at the youthies entries after what sounds like very full days of physical work.  I have especially loved reading about Next Step Ministries and your interactions with them and how this has opened you to other ways of 'doing' religion.  That's a biggie.
I'm so impressed at your carpentry skills too.  Maybe some of you will work on Habitat for Humanity this summer and show off those new skills in St. Paul???
Travel safe coming home and can't wait for your fall worship service to hear more about your week.

Lynda Withbroe

Update -- home by 7:30 or so

We are making good time and have decided not to stop for dinner, so we think we'll probably be pulling in by 7:30 or so. See you all then!

Home by 9-ish

We are heading out of Joplin right now and estimate that we'll pull in by 9 or so this evening. Will post again as we get closer and have a better idea. Your kids will have a lot of stories to tell you about the week to be sure. Thank you so much for entrusting them to our care. We love them all, each and every one. John, Maggie, Marsha, Norm, Rita, and Tom

Friday, June 22, 2012

One Last Post

Hey Everyone! It's weird to know that this is my final night on the mission trip. I have been so unbelievably fortunate to be a member of the Mac Ply Youth Group. The friendships formed with my fellow youthies from the past four years are friendships that I treasure deeply. Each year on the mission trip, I am always amazed at what I take away from the trip. To be honest, I never thought that I would take away such a religious bit from a mission trip because I like to focus on the work over the religion. I go on these missions trips becasue I believe that it's the right thing to do-- to help our fellow world citizens. I thought a lot about what my personal religious beliefs are. I am happy that we went with Next Step Ministries because this trip challenaged me to be open and non-judgemental and to think long and hard about what I believe in terms of religion. To see the work we completed on Rick's house was such a joy. I still smile when I think about nailing in ALL those nails by HAND on the roof porch. I was glad because I was able to work from start to finish on the Porch and start to finish on the front window (demo, taking out the orginal front french windows, building a frame with Jack and Henry for the smaller new window, and installing the window). The feeling when we finally were able to lift the window into the hole and it fit on the first try and then screw in the screws was SO rewarding! Finally, I'd like to thank a a few people. Thank you times a millon to Norm, Maggie, Rita, Marsha, John, and Tom! This trip in would not have happened without each of you. A thanks to Next Step for providing us with a place to stay, work, showers, and food! As I sat during prayer partners tonight, I looked around and realized once again just how much I really love youth group. Everyone is so real and so critical to the group. I gazed up at the sky of Joplin and saw hope among the stars, as if they were the light leading the city to a new future. There is a long way to go still in terms of totally rebuilding the city, but I know that we made our impact on Rick's house with all the work we completed. Yay Mac P! Love and Peace, Clara D

A Very Productive Week

It has been a great week. I am amazed at the amount and quality of the work that the youth has accomplished. They can hammer, use circular saws, drill guns, measure, cut, and just figure things out. Here's a short summary of what we did:
  • Finish sheathing the house (front porch, upstairs and a lot of patch work)
  • Boxed in the upstairs porch, insulated it, sheathed it and started wrapping it
  • Framed part of a bathroom, put up concrete board and did some electrical
  • Pulled out 5 window (3 small, a medium and a big 3-panel window)
  • Reframed around 4 of the windows and completely installed them
  • covered the big window (until they get a replacement)
  • sealed and wrapped 1/2 the house
  • pulled out some fence posts
Rick, the home owner, says he can already feel a difference in the tightness of his home. His wife is getting excited about the bathroom and loves the new windows. Here are a couple of  pictures of the work:

It was a great week for the youth, the leaders and the home owners.

Fascinating Week

It's not often that one gets to see such hard work happening on so many levels.  Each and every youthie, to borrow Lee's term, has jumped into the work at Rick's house with enthusiasm and a teachable attitude, and they have learned an unbelievable amount about construction and home repair.  They'll have stories to tell you about that, and about the very specific family that we are helping.   But the really fascinating part for me has been to see how hard the internal work has been, in particular with respect to the different model of worship that Next Step has.  We had a great conversation about it Tuesday night, and I have been so, so impressed with how willing everyone has been to tackle the questions that are raised when confronted with something that's so different, but "should" be the same.  As someone commented, it's not just the physical work that's taking us out of our comfort zone. There isn't a slacker in the whole lot of them, I'll tell you that. Maggie Passmore

Reading the Blog/Email

Folks -
We've noticed that there are very few comments on the blog this year. I believe this is because most people are reading the entries when they arrive in email, rather than directly reading them on the blog. Unfortunately, the youth enjoy reading your comments and feedback, as much as you enjoy reading the blog entries. Could you please, if you have a chance, add a comment.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Water, Lemonade, and Ice

Great water fight, great lemonade!
And most of all, great people.
Happy birthday Danny!
Happy birthday Marsha!

Thank you so much, Karen Vento!

Love, Sari
MASSIVE shout out to Karen Vento!
THANKS A MILLION for all the spray bottles!!!! Literally the best ending to the day!

All of the Mission Trip Peeps

Hey Everybody,

So in all four Mission Trips I have never written a blog post, but I figured since this is my last year I better fix that. And my mom made me promise that I would post something, so here yah go:

We have all had a lot of fun on this trip so far. I enjoyed all the other trips too, but this year we got to do construction! I know everybody has learned so many new things from using circular saws, to insulating walls, to framing windows, but the biggest thing I think I have learned was acceptance and open-mindedness.

I'm sure you have all heard about the differences between our church and the Next Step Ministries. They are very found of long services and constant prayer; not things us Mac-P kids are so used to. Honestly, and for who knows what reason, I always assumed people who were intensely religious were automatically prejudiced and condemning. But, during the service the other night, I got to thinking how maybe it's really me who is the judgemental, critical person.

Sure, at times their prayers can feel forceful and their sermons strident, but does that make them bad? The Next Step people are doing some amazing work here, shouldn't that be all that matters? In one of her prayers, Brittany, the lead singer in the worship band, said "I hope we can come together in our different denominations and just do good work". I think that comment was more open-hearted than I have been towards their practices all week. Marsha mentioned during one of our discussions how we think of the world too much as "us and them". But I think that is a mistake because, now more than ever, the world needs to be united.

Anyway, sometimes I think we can learn more from people we strongly disagree with than those that share our views, as long as we are willing to listen. See you all soon! And mom, is this acceptable?

Rose Lundy
Imagine yourself on a peaceful day in May.
You go to Home Depot, there's something you need to buy.
It starts to storm a bit; you're grateful to be inside.
You take your time. You get distracted, and run into someone you know. After awhile the music pauses-- it's a song you've heard too many times anyways-- and it's announced that there's a tornado warning. The voice on the speaker is trying to make up for the tornado sirens that you couldn't hear.
You don't think too much of it (it's not like it hasn't happened before) but soon after they tell you to line up against the walls. They're solid, concrete. You figure that if there is a tornado, they'll definitely protect you.
A tornado does, in fact, come. You can hear it approach, loud and destructive, as you wait. You can't help but to feel afraid. It's like a huge train, roaring towards you as you stand in the middle of the tracks.
Objects in the building start to shake. You cover your head, hoping to protect yourself from any falling objects. But then you hear a crash. You look-- you need to know what's going on, you're terrified-- and you see a huge metal beam, falling, collapsing, it's coming straight towards you--

* * * * *

On Tuesday we toured the path of the tornado. Some of it was practically just fields-- empty fields. If you looked at the sky there were no trees, only telephone poles in places that were once filled with homes.
The owner of the house we're working on, Rick, was in our van as we drove around. He was telling us stories about the tornado-- people who survived, and people who didn't. There was something to the way he spoke that other people had when they told us about the tornado. They think of it as horrible, something that never can be forgotten, but I can also tell that they realize it happened, and it won't go away. And that they're alive, and that in itself is extremely lucky.
I remember one woman talking a bout how much the huge, old trees at Cunningham park meant to the town. I was thinking about how they probalby never actually thought about that-- those old trees-- until after the tornado. It's the whole idea that we don't know what we have until we lose it.
The story about the Home Depot really struck me. People walked in there, with some everyday intention, but then... they never came out. I don't know the exact details, but I've learned some of it. Cars from the parking lot apparently flew up onto the roof and basically broke it. It and the walls basically collapsed.
How terrifying that must have been for those people. They just never came out. Whatever they'd been buying, whatever they wanted to do with it...
They didn't.
I dedicate this post to them, and to all of the other people who lost lives, loved ones, property, houses... anything to do with the tornado.

On a completely different note, I wanted to add that I'm having a lot of fun this mission trip. Today, especially, was awesome. I bought my 5 dollar Harry Potter t-shirt, I had humus, I had pie, we walked around the mall, I went swimming... more good things than I can count happened, and that makes me really happy.


It's Daniela :) (I fell through the floor and also I am really upset with certain people right now)

Hey you guys!! I miss Minnesota so much. The people here are weird... The person who owns the house we are working at, Rick, is really great. He has two kids Zach and Cassie and they are awesome too. Zach is the only person I have EVER tied at chess with. He is a little boy genius. Other news, I fell through the floor a few days ago and while it looked like all I had were minor scratches on my right side, bruises and bumps have formed. All I did really was accidentally step through the one hole in the bathroom floor into the crawl space a few feet below and there was a scrape on my right thigh from a pipe I had hit but now later that scrape formed a 3 inch diameter bruise colored blackish and blueish. It has since then turned a very pretty bright purple with nice green and yellow surrounding it. It hurt so bad and my whole leg felt stiff and funny and was throbbing for a long time after it. On top of that- when it looked like just a scrape, I put a bandage on it and long story short: I have the coolest bandage tan in the world... The bruise swelled up quite a bit and for a while was noticeable through my pants. But it is slowly getting better and the bruise has faded strangely into a ring around the scrape so that's cool. Also it is Marsha Dan(ny)'s birthday today!!! I asked Dan what his favorite animal was and I'd draw it for him. He responded "A walrus and if you do draw a walrus give it a top hat and monocle" XD. (XD is a really happy smiley face: rotate face 90 degrees counterclockwise). Yeah I drew one and had everyone sign it.  I am going to do one for Marsha too (her favorite animal is the wolf). Closing news, I bought Zach and Cassie presents because they are awesome and nice and we went to the mall and i saw stuff that reminded me of them. I will miss them. I got Zach a Mario hat and Cassie a hot pink fuzzy sweatshirt that feels like you are swaddled in a cotton candy cloud from the Care Bear world. I will ask Rick before I give them because I really do mean them as just presents for really cool new friends.

Peace out. -Daniela T

aka Dani
Last night Tom flew to missuri to join us after being sick. It was really great to have Tom back! We really missed him when he was sick! Last night we all went to Frozen Yogurt to celebrate Toms arrival. Unfortunately today it rained so we could not go to the work site, instead we took the day off instead of taking off Friday. It was a really fun day! We went to the mall in Joplin which was really nice! After the mall some of the people riding in my van and I suggested we go to the Starbucks across the street. We were in great need of coffee. Norm was nice enough to drive us there and when we got there Maggie was really nice and paid for the drinks!!!  Thank You Maggie!!!After that we went swimming at the pool which was build by extreme makeover home edition after the tornado. There were slides and floaty things. It was really fun! We had two birthdays today, Marsha and Danny's. For Marsha's birthday we had pita chips and hummus :) Later we are going to celebrate Danny's! Happy Birthday Marsha and Danny! In conclusion Best day ever!
Sorry for my terrible grammar and writing skills!
 Mattie Daub

I LOVE pools

Hey Everyone!

So in lieu of building the house today, we went to the pool this afternoon. Now, let me tell you, after 4 showers in a "shower" that is a foot shorter than me, no bigger than a dripping faucet, the pool sounded SO nice. After plunging myself into the pool, I headed to the showers. I was excepting the typical pool group showers, but wait for it..... single, WARM with pressure showers awaited. The joy of the the hot shower that actually washed my mane of thick, curly hair was SOOO nice. Holla.

On a more serious note, the pool was located in a new park that was built post tornado. From the pool you could see the hospital that was destroyed and is still half standing. Pretty powerful to see that as we jumped into the pool. However, the pool for me really symbolized the hope is so present in Joplin. All the people in Joplin look on the bright side of life, which is something that I believe is very important in life.

Clara D

PS- Famo: Hope all is well in the hood. Also, Nacha, no Wednesday meltdowns.
Hey Everyone!
This is Kelly. My first blog on my first out-of-state mission trip.
     First of all, this whole experience has been amazing. I didn't know what to expect but the unexpected has always intruiged me. Sleeping on the floor is nothing new to me but I have been having an issue with my pool floaty squeaking everytime I move. The work we have been doing has been incredibly rewarding. The homeowner, Rick, is a blast to work with. He helps out in anyway that he can. His kids, Zach and Cassie, are always up for a conversation with the strangers trampling through their house. Or in Zach's case, up for beating me in chess with only four moves!
     The first day, I could be found in the front of the house sheathing the front porch. The second day was a day filled with many little tasks and then in order to stay out of others way, I swept the front porch. I believe I filled a garbage bag full of dust and construction scraps. Wednesday was window day. Rose, Simon, and I (with the help and guidance of Rick) removed the old windows on the north side of the house. This required the use of hammers, crowbars, stepladders, sledgehammers, sawzall, and a sawzall with a special blade used to cut through metal. Thats right I got to cut through metal with a power tool. As my dad would say, "Everybody better run and hide!"
     Not only have I been gaining valuable construction skills, I have been bonding with some really great people. Yes, the youth group and adult leaders are amazing, but I am also referring to Rick and his family. Rick had been replaced at his job, after taking time for surgery. Three days after returning home, the tornado hit his house and turned his life around. Even after this tragedy, the atmosphere is always more alive when he enters the room. His pure joy and thankfulness are so warming of the heart, I can't help but fall in love with the rebuilding of his house. I find myself getting excited for new windows, and anxious about delays in weather. I know we aren't going to finish his house before leaving Joplin, but knowing and seeing how much our time and sweat means to Rick and his family is more fulfilling than anything I have ever accomplished in the past.
Kelly T.
Greetings from Joplin! This is Jimmy Morrissey, and first of all, I'd like to say that this has been an amazing Mission Trip. Working with all of these great people to help others has been quite an experience, and I'm so glad that I came along on this trip.

This morning, I awoke to Tom announcing that there was too much rain, and we would unfortunately not be able to work today. Although I was disappointed to find out that the weather had taken a turn for the worse, I was relived to have two hours of much-needed sleep. So, instead of working on Rick's house for the day, the MPUC Youth took a field trip to the local mall, and many of us consumed the sweet, sweet, liquid that only can be described as pop. You can imagine that my craving for this had only grown after not seeing it for a week.

When we returned, many of us headed to a local pool, although others stayed behind and played cards. Speaking of cards, this week I was privileged  enough this week to expand the group's knowledge of cards, from learning how to play two games ( Up and Down the River, Hearts) to adding a third (Euchre). This has been quite a hit, and we've had a few tournaments already.

This week I've been so glad to work on building Rick's house, as it has given me a chance how to learn how to do things such as use a circular saw ( which is ironically my father's) and construct framing and sheathing. I've also had perhaps too much fun with the hammer and crowbar in demolition, but everyone is allowed their guilty pleasures now and then.

Its been a great week, and I can't wait for our last day of construction to begin tomorrow!
Peace, Jimmy
Dear Mac-Plymouth,

Hello from Joplin! This has been an incredible trip so far. Our trip to Missouri has been the first time we have come to work in disater relief, and it has been a great experience. We have spent our time working on a house owned by a man named Rick and his children Zack and Cassie. I have spent most of my time working on the deck on the second floor. We've put in new insolation and walls, and are about to put in new windows. I never would have thought we would be able to do these things at the beginning of the week! While I'm excited to sleep in my own bed at home after sleeping on the floor this last week, it has been an awesome experience to work so hard, and completely for someone else. I couldn't think of a better last mission trip. See you all soon!



This morning, Thursday June 21, at 7:45, we were all...sleeping. Now before you start freaking out, yelling, "WHY?!? WHY ARE THEY SLEEPING WHEN THERE ARE HOMES TO BE WORKED ON?!?" just chill for a second. There were some booming thunderstorms last night and some rain this morning and the leaders made an executive decision that things would be too wet to work today. SO we are swapping the tomorrow plan for the today plan. We got to sleep in until 9:00 instead of having to wake up at 7:00 which was: so nice. We are having our break day today by going to a nearby mall and then possibly a swimming pool if the weather improves! Tomorrow we will have a full work day happy and dry in the sunlight predicted.

In other news, we got some matching Next Step t-shirts. They are a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend.

By the way, this is Henry and I am having a great time! The work is fun, productive, and very satisfying. I am learning a lot of new skills like sheathing, window installation, and how-to-work-on-a-roof-without-dying. And I have been able to share some of my previous knowledge like how to use a power drill and reciprocating saw (which I use to cut through this giant cast iron pipe and it took a long time but made me feel sooooo B.A.).

There has been an abundance of card games and Jimmy taught some of us how to play Euker. Plenty of wiffle ball games, but alas no hacky-sack...sigh. We have filled the hack gap by indulging in fro-yo not once, but twice! So good.

Tom is here! It was so nice seeing him getting driven in from the airport in the big silver van with a big smile on his face an a joke all ready to go.

I hope all is well back in the 651! Sending my love back to mom, dad, ben, claire, etc!
Henry B.

New Photos

New Photos have been loaded on the links to the right. Newer ones should come up first. Maggie has some great shots of some of the tornado path and working on our house. It is raining today, so we might hang out, relax today and then work tomorrow. We have lots we would like to get completed before leaving.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Road So Far

Hello all.  This is Lily Schafer aka Chily.  What up?
So we have been working in Joplin on site for two days. 
The house we are working on belongs to a man named Rick, with children Cassie and Zack.  They live about two blocks from the center of the tornado.  Zack described the noise during the storm as if a train were coming right at him. 
The damage to the house consisted of 19 broken windows (which was all of them), damage to the inside of the house (bathroom especially) and the outside, which included a front porch, a back porch and siding along the bottom of the house.  Compared to some of the other houses we saw... many of them were just slabs of concrete where houses used to stand before the storm.  We can see a giant iron cross from Rick's hosue, which is the last thing standing among what used to be a church and a preists home.  The old hospital can also be seen from his house, four inches away from where it originally stood before the storm.
The work that we have been doing consists of redoing siding, repairing the bathroom, insolating, and hammering... a lot of hammering.  The days have been hot and sunny (I totally got sunburned... no big deal), but filled with hard work and fun.  I am song master (in charge of all singing related activites) so the air has been filled with rousing renditions of "Staying Alive", an awesome version of "Rolling in the Deep" complete with hammering to the beat, "Thriller", "Somebody That I Used To Know" and the classic song of "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction.  Its been a good time.
The nights have been filled with Up and Down the River (which is what spawned Chily, which is a team of myself and Charlie Platt) and haning out with the group.
So far so good, I hope the rest of the time we are here are just as fun as the past couple of days.
Miss you guys back in Minnesota! 
Peace from Lydia!
See you soon!
Go Chily!
            Lily Schafer

2nd day wut wut

Hey there(:
Hannah here, it was our second day fixing the house in Joplin. It's really coming along and we're doing a super duper job. I worked with a power drill today, and even though i may have failed miserably, i feel accomplished. The owners of the house have the cutest, sweetest little cats in the whole world, and no amount of allergies could keep me from petting them. We took a tour of the wreckage after we worked, and it was crazy. The first thing we looked at were the 7 houses that were built by Extreme Home Makeover, and they stuck out SO much because they were ridiculously over-themed. There was even a surfer themed house, decked out with surf boards out front and a tiki hut out back. We also drove past the wreckage of the major hospital, high school, and nursing home, which were so devastating, just seeing the skeletons of these huge buildings that had just been torn to pieces. Other than that it was a great second day, and there are lot's of fabulous pictures that were taken by Danny to prove it, even though they may all be at strange artsy hipster angles.
Oh! And also today I basicly discovered something amazing that may change my life forever. Penut butter and jelly sandwhiches are delicious. I had one for the first time in 8 years today. Mind=blown.

A note to my benefactors:

Hello World.
It is Simon Brown speaking currently. So far, the experience of my colleagues and mine has been mostly good. The houseowners of the house we are repairing, are quite nice. So far we have mostly been working on the siding of the house. It's actually quite fun, and makes me feel accomplished. We have toured the disaster site twice so far. The mass destruction is immense and devastating. The entire highschool was just demolished. We also saw all the houses that "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" made. They are radical dude. I am not the biggest fan of the two hour rock and roll worship service we have everynight, but c'est la vie. Everyone is super religious here and 100% sure of there faith, which is a different experience than the one we have at home. The other two churches that are here are super loud, and they all have their electronics. They stay up talking with their iPods and phones after lights off, being super obnoxious. There is also a giant airmatress maybe 3 feet tall, in the middle of our room. Danny, Jimmy and I are all gonna get one, and be annoying next year. The water pressure is low in the showers, but it definitely does feel good after a long days work. Danny's photography skills are amazing, and will sure be marveled at through the ages to come. Tom is coming tomorrow which is a positive, and will surely lift up the spirits of the days to come. Caroline, you way overpacked my bag, and it's so hard to look for stuff. Also, I hope that Lily's and my rooms are clean when we come back (mom, dad, caroline) and that includes the computer room. I think that is all for now. I am almost positive that this is the best post you will read all day. BYE.

P.S: If Hannah copies any of this, you heard it here first.

Day Two!

Hey Everyone

When we as a youth group decided to come to Joplin, I wasn't sure what to expect to be honest. Would the town be all picked up, homes rebuilt, and buildings reopened? As the second day of work comes to close, I have gained a few insights.

One, the town for the most part is pick up. However, there are many, MANY deep wounds that are still fresh. The part of Joplin that was most affected was once filled with trees, hospitals, office buildings, apartment complexes, school, churchs, senior citizen centers, and perhaps most importantly houses that were homes. Most of the rubble is cleared with the expection of the high school, hospital, and a few houses. But when one takes a closer look, the houses still have massive amounts of repair work to be done. Rick, the homeowner of the house MacP is working on, said something today when I spoke to him that really resinated with me. He said that he is surprised yet eternally thankful for the amount of work that continues to be done in Joplin. He told me that all to often with disasters people come and help rebuild/clean up and then leave after a few months. He expressed his concern that Joplin would become one of those cities, helped yet forgotten once some other disaster happened. As I listened to Rick, I realized how true this statement was and I became very greatful that we can to Joplin so show Rick that 'outsiders' still care about the condition of Joplin.

Two, the enormity of the tornado really sunk in when I saw those infamous Katrina X's. For those of you who don't know, when Katrina hit the disaster workers would go around and spray paint massive X's on the houses to signify if the house was searched, occupided, and the condition. To the nation, these X's came to signify the dispare and the gravity of the entire Katrina horror. I never thought that I would see one of these X's firsthand anywhere else besides Katrina. However, as I left the house for the afternoon on Monday, I glanced out the car window to the house across the street from where we are working. There it was, point blank on the boarded up door. The X with the four corners filled with the info about the condition of the house. Right then and there did I cone to realize that this Joplin disaster is just as real as Katrina and any other disaster.

Three, this has been a pretty sweet Mission Trip! I mean, I have been with the group that is literally rebuilding the porch on the second floor roof. Who would have thought we could we making walls! And for the record, nailing in nails is much harder than it looks. Totally over estimated the amount of work needed to nail in a nail to flashing.....

I hope everyone is doing well at home!
Love and Peace,

Clara D.


I learned a lot today. We made a lot of progress on Rick's house. We added more boards to the porch, and started to build waslls on to sides. We nailed in some flashing as well. I spent a lot of time on the roof today, and had a few scary moments but we're all safe. We're allworking well together and having a lot of fun. A bit after lunch we drove along the path of a tornado, one of the kids who lives in the house we're building, Zack, sat next to me and told me about everything we were seeing. He started off by saying "I hope this tour gives you a better perspective of what we've been through." We drove by the school for autism, and Zack told me that his cousin went there but now has to be homeschooled because it is completely destroyed. We drove by the park that the kids all used to play at, that was now in a ball of metal and plastic. He showed me the remains apartment that his aunt lived in, just a pile of cement and rocks. He pointed out the 6 homes rebuilt by ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition and told me that that gave Joplin hope. He stopped talking for a while and then a couple minutes later turned to me and said "I just miss my old Joplin." It's amazing how much I gained from talking to this little boy who was no older than. I don't think I'll ever know exactly what it felt like, but I really did get a good perspective today.
    --Maddy F.

Lots to think about...

Hey eveyone, this is my first post from Missouri, and i still haven't quite wrapped my head around eveyhting that's been going on down here.
But one thing i am sure of: i am thinking more about my religion on this trip than i have in years.
In Arizona, i thought aout human rights and the hate people hold against oneanother.
In Denver, i thought about class, poverty, and family.
And here, i am thinking a lot about my religion.

The beleifs down here are quite different from what i'm used to in Macply, but I can now see that that is a great gift, since it is forcing me to make up my own mind about wat i beleive, rather than just go along with what i have been taught and what i have been surrounded by.

Watching teh Christian Rock band each evening is really inspiring to me. Each member of the band is in a sort of religious trance. They seem so at peace, so hypnotized by the love they have for their savior. And though i don't agree with everthing they are telling us, I can only watch in wonder and envy their conviction, and their strong connection with God. I thank them for showing me something very beautiful.

I still don't quite know where i stand in my beleifs, but this trip has made me realize that, despite that, and my overall confusion and questioning, I already have some very deep ROOTS in what i beleive (not yet a plant, just roots). And it was a surprise to me when i suddenly realized they were there. And i felt proud to stand in the face of assumed agreement, knowing that i KNEW i beleived differently.
So, again, i thank this church for their difference in beleifs, as it has allowed me to thoroughly consider and cultivate my own.

SOOOOO, Joplin.
Joplin is a werk, in some places. it's sad to see such heavy destruction, but i am afraid to say i can't put much of a face to it.
We me the man whose house we are working on, Rick, his children, and the neighbor lady who lets us use her bathroom, but that's about it for people i have met / SEEN from Joplin.

I imagine there is a large population because there are a ton of cars (SUVs) and a never-ending strip mall of block buildings and vacant parking lots. The power lines stretch for miles and miles, and it takes mile and miles to get anywhere around here.
It makes m feel isolated that i haven't really seen anyone outside, haven't seen anyone interacting. they're all in their cars, our air-conditioned houses, or massive shopping centers. So in that way, i feel like i really haven't gotten to know the people of Joplin, and have started to subcontiously assume they're all like Rick. lol

But it does make me sad and frustrated.
For now, i will make connections with Rick and his family, continue learning how to use a hammer, and hope that maybe our presence will make Joplin seem not so very much like a ghost town or deserted mall. Maybe people will not forget about all that we can be as a community, maybe they will come together.

All my best,

PS -- Tomorrow i will talk about how THE ENVIROMENT, and how this trip has made me super thankful for Ms. Houdek and my ap Environmental Sciences class.
SO check in, cuz tere's a lot to learn!!!

PPS -- Mom, please save the coconut juice for when i get back. I would really love one of those right now.

Off to showers!!


Isn't technology great? I've attempted to put a slide show in the right panel and it just doesn't work (this morning.)  There are 2 links there to Maggie's pictures and mine. Lots of work was accomplished by all.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello All!
      As Lydia may have mentioned, today was a hard, but fun, day of work.  On site we met the owners of the house; Rick, his wife, and his two kids, Zack and Cassie. The MacPly group all worked on the same site, but we were split into two groups. One group built the wall and ceiling frame in the bathroom, and the other group put siding on the outside of the house. I worked in the bathroom with group one, and heard enough Justin Beiber to last me a lifetime. I was officially named water master with Hannah B., and everyone stayed hydrated, but toasty. We drove the path of the tornado, and saw the destruction.  Houses are no longer where they once stood, it moved the hospital off of its foundation, and the highschool is a huge pile of rubble that's still there one year after the tornado.  The showers are in a trailer in the back of the church, and though we may have had to wait half an hour, it was the most amazing shower I have ever taken.  I guess you have to get a little dirty to feel this clean!  All in all, having a wonderful time, and I look forward to the rest of the week. Love you Mom, Dad and Maddie!
Much love,
Julia Schafer

day 1- lydia

Hi guys, Lydia here
First day working in Joplin and my legs are about to fall off. Today my group worked on framing a wall in a bathroom, which was very easy work compared to some of what the other kids were doing. We'll be going back to the same house all week so we can finish what we started, we cant finish the whole house of course, but we can make a rewarding dent. We also saw some of the tornados aftermath today. The whole high school was completly gone, the hospital was guttted and so many houses are now just their foundations. It is going to be a rewarding week!
ps. hi mom and dad. yolo

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What up, Joplin.

Hey All!

Well seeing that this post is the third of the night, I'll keep it short and sweet! It is really great to finally be here in Joplin! Next Step Ministries has quite the set up here in Joplin. Basically we will be working at the same house the whole week, which is really neat. We will have the chance to get to know the owners of the house where we are working. For me, I really like to get to know who we are serving. Rita and I were talking earlier tonight and she reminded me that it is really critical that we talk with whom we are serving and take honest time to learn their stories. After having such a disaster happen to them, knowing their story and getting to know them is just as important, if not more important, than the actual physical labor that we put into the house.

We will work at the house until about 3, then return to the church for down time, showers, dinner, and worship...every night...more details on the nightly christian rock concerts to be blogged about later this week. Stay Tuned.

Also, I'd like to make a few quick shout outs. First, shout out to all the youthies not on the mission trip. We miss you DEARLY! Second, shout out to Tom. Please get better!!! Lastly, shout out to all the fathers and father figures out there. You truly are integral parts of each of our lives and we are so blessed to have each of you.

Love and Peace,

Clara Dockter

PS-- Haha this wasn't that short and sweet. Oh well, that's kinda how we do it at Mac P. #MPUCswag
Hi!!! It's Dani (Daniela)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1st of all HAPPY FATHER'S DAYY and happy birthday John. 2nd of all Tom we'll miss you but we really hope you get better!!! Hannah B wants me to tell everyone that her feet smell like watermelon. Wiffle-ball has become our churches team pass-time. It is really hot down here and people have a funny accent. The staff have been saying  that we are so polite because we say thank you a lot. The car ride was crazy long but it was really cool to bond with the people in my car because I didn't have any direct friends in my van. Rules here are all sort of like this: Ladies first with getting food dudes first for showers. Also Ladies are red and Dudes are blue. Nobody likes purple here... (I like purple but I understand the message) We played truth or dare as an ice breaker and Jimmy M. was dared to do 20 push-ups. He did them really impressively and looked like a boss..... but somehow the push-ups had given him a gusher of a nose bleed. It was one of those moments that were hilarious but made you feel bad when you did laugh. Most of the time down here you are sweaty but it is fun nun-the-less (sp?) and while driving we passed a Fortune tellers place with tarot cards and crystal balls :). I learned from a local pedestrian how to achieve the correct form of "the nod" and also the "sup" so ya know... learning something new every day. I'll probably check in later too but I want to go sleep so SEE YOU GUYS IN A WEEK!!!!!!!

Good day.     I SAID GOOD DAY SIR,

Sincerely Daniela Tiedemann :)))))))

Start of the Week!

Hey guys!  This is Lily Schafer.
So today we arrived in Joplin (finally!).  We woke up and attended a wonderful church service at St. Luke's Church in Independence, about 2 and a half hours away from Joplin.  Henry, Charlie, Julia, Edmond and I sand "Swing Low" for the congregation accapella style, which was met with uproarious applause.  The pastor gave a touching sermon about how to appreciate the world and all of the people in it, ending with a Happy Father's Day wish for all the fathers in the room.
We left soon after, and spent the next twenty minutes driving, then we ate food and played a rousing game of whiffle ball.  Then we began the trek to Joplin in the coolest car (Charlie, Henry, Clara, Lily Brown, Lian, Mattie, Avery, Maggie, Norm and I).  The trip was highlighted by Cow Poker, Three Thirds of a Ghost, yelling every time we saw a sign "... miles to Joplin!   WHOA!"  and sleeping. 
When we arrived in Joplin, we arrived at Journey Church along with several other churches from Texas, Madison, Wisconsin, and Michigan.  There are a lot of us!  The girls room is packed... mostly in part from the fact that all of the other kids had giant inflatable mattresses.  The church is nice though, with air conditioning to combat the intense heat.
We ate dinner, played whiffle ball some more (victory to me team, 3-2), football, and talked.  Afterwards, we attended a worship service filled with song (no seriously... they have a band), truth or dare (I have now discovered that I cannot speak Pig Latin) and prayer.  It was a lot of fun!
Now we are chilling and eating cake (its John's birthday) and preparing for the work tomorrow.  This week is going to be fun and interesting.  Its going to be a fantastic time!
Maddie Schafer (Big sister), Lee Schafer (dad), Marge, Susanna, and Tom, we miss you guys!This trip isn't quite the same without you!
Talk to you more tomorrow!

Sadly Missing Tom Ewald

Folks - Tom is going to write a note on the blog when he gets a chance, but I am also going to let you know that he is unable to join the group this year.  The bug that he caught last week has not gone away and his efforts to get better and join the group have not worked. It was his plan to fly down and join us tomorrow afternoon. We have been in touch with him yesterday and today and he made the difficult decision (with our consent and encouragement) to not attempt to join us. He will be sorely missed, but his health and recovery is most important at this time.

I  believe spending this time with the youth is one of the highlights of Tom's year and I know it was not an easy decision for him. He wrote a note to the youth, which we read to them earlier this evening. Please support him and pray for his healing.

Norm, John, Maggie, Marsha and Rita

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Hey Everyone!
We've arrived at our first stop, Independence, Missouri. It's been a long day, but the car ride wasn't as bad as I expected. Our car, (the best car) consists of Norm, Clara Dockter, Charlie Platt, Henry Bushnell, Avery King, Lilly Schafer, Mattie Daub, Lian Simmer and myself. On our way down we played the classic car games, including Balderdash, a crowd favorite in our car. We got some pizza (square pizza, cut into triangles...incase you were wondering) and some frozen yogurt (Yogurtini) and headed back to base. Now were just hanging out and getting ready to sleep for our upcoming adventures. Should be interesting.
Look forward to seeing everyone soon!
Sleep Tight-
Lily Brown

First Day Arrival

We have safely arrived at St. Luke's UCC in Independence MO. Got in a little before 6 this evening. Very nice church, very friendly. Had some great pizza and frozen yogurt for dinner.  Church tomorrow and then the last 2-3 hours drive to Joplin.


Friday, June 8, 2012


Hey Everyone! I hope this blog post finds everyone in good spirits! For most of the youth, it's summer!! Yippie! And for all the recent graduates, congratulations to all! Next Wednesday--that would be June 13th 2012--is the Picnic! This means that the Mission Trip is right around the corner and we have just a few last details to go over. Maddie Flawley's family has graciously offered their yard again for the picnic- Thank you! The address of the Flawley household is 1780 Lincoln. The picnic will start at 6:15 and we will eat shortly after everyone arrives. Here is the food breakdown for the dinner-- the Flawley's will be providing the meat. Please read to the bottom to find your name! Also if a few people wouldn't mind bringing chairs that would be huge. Beverages -H. Berg -L/S Brown Fruit/Veggies -H. Bushnell -E. Catlin -A. Coleman -M. Daub Salads -C. Dockter -C. Donovan -A. King -R. Lundy -J. Morrissey Chips -J/L Nelson -S. Olson -J. Schafer Desserts -L. Schafer -L. Simmer -K/D Tiedemann -D. Vento Condiments-- Big Bottle of Ketchup and Mustard -G. Williams Thank you everyone in advance for bringing your item to the picnic! Please email if you have questions. Peace, Clara and Crew

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mission Trip Commissioning Service This Sunday

Mission Trip Participants:

Remember, this Sunday is the commissioning service for the mission trip. Worship is at 9:30am. Let me know if we can expect you by emailing me at



Friday, June 1, 2012

I Did It, So Can You!

Are you putting off filling out the Next Step Participant Form? Almost half of us appear to be and that's too large a number at this stage in the game.

I admit I just got it done myself and I don't know why I was dreading it. Just get it done, you'll instantly feel much better I promise.

Today (June 1) is the due date for payment for the trip. I will also be in Saturday and Sunday if you would like to drop that off. Same goes with the Covenant and MPUC Health Forms.

Two weeks and counting!



From whom we still need Forms.

Folks - We are still in need of a few forms to be filled out by participants.  Please fill our these forms (they are located at the right) as soon as possible and turn it into my mailbox at the church.
Missing - Covenenant: (1)
    Tom Ewald
Missing - MPUC Release/Medical Form: (3)
    Lily Brown
    Simon Brown
    Danny Vento

At the bottom of the list of links (on the right) is the link to the Next Step Ministries page to fill out your participant info sheet. The instructions are directly below the links on the right. This is due June 1st - please complete it as soon as possible.

Missing - NextStep Ministries Release Form: (12)
    Lily Brown
    Simon Brown
    Henry Bushnell
    Mattie Daub
    Clara Dockter
    Tom Ewald
    Sari Olson
    Maggie Passmore
    Charlie Platt
    Julia Schafer
    Lily Schafer
    Gianna Williams

If your name is not on these lists, Thank you for having all your paper work completed.
            Norm T.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prayer Request

Hi Youth:

Our second to last Sunday of Youth Group you may remember we went as a group to visit Merle and Ellen Johnson. Ellen is having cancer surgery today. I am thankful for the fact that you were able to meet her and ask that you say a prayer for her, but also for Merle, who will be home alone during her recovery.

If you would like to pass along a note of encouragement, contact me and I can give you an address or if you want to send me an email, I'll bring it with me when I visit her at the hospital.



Invitation to Youth from Marriage Equality Committee

The Marriage Equality Committee would like to extend the invitation below to the Church youth group:
"We hope you can help make Macalester - Plymouth an active participant in Minnesota Pride this year.  This is part of our effort to oppose the constitutional amendment limiting Marriage Equality in Minnesota.  We will march in the Pride Parade on Sunday June 24 and help staff a booth at the Pride Festival on June 23rd & 24th.  We will sign up volunteers after church on Sundays May 27 - June 17.  If you can't sign up at church but are interested please contact Tom Richardson or Caroline Roetzel, Committee Co-Chairs to sign up.     
Thanks and we look forward to seeing you!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

NPR - Joplin lead contamination and NextStep's Response

You may have heard a story on National Public Radio that aired the other day about the continuing Joplin rebuilding efforts, and part of the piece was about the lead contamination that's been discovered.  Here's a link to it in case you haven't heard it:
 Maggie sent a note to Next Step and asked what thoughts/plans/comments/precautions they had about it.  Their response is:

Thanks for the email and the concern.  This is obviously a serious discovery over the past months in Joplin.  It is something that we have been aware of and are discussing with our leadership on site.  One of the great blessings at our Joplin site is that we have a very strong team of construction leaders that have been on the ground in Joplin since the week of the tornado.  Our team is in Joplin on a daily basis and they have been working with this issue and are up-to-date with the risks associated.

At this point there is no immediate risk to our students or projects due to the locations and types of projects that we are working on.  I will continue to look into this and learn more as we lead up to your trip and the other 8 trips we are leading this summer.  Thanks for passing on this article and clip, I will pass it on to our team in Joplin to see if it brings up anything new.

We will continue to make your students safety a priority on our trips and again, at this point feel very comfortable with the areas your students will be working.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns come up...thanks!


Links to Presentations added

I have added links to the list on the right of the blog to Lily's Presentation and the article that Lee read at Sunday's mission trip meeting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Excerpts from President Obama's Commencement Address to the Joplin High School class of 2012

You’ve grown up quickly over the last year. You’ve learned at a younger age than most that we can’t always predict what life has in store for us. No matter how we might try to avoid it, life can bring heartache. Life involves struggle. Life will bring loss.
But here in Joplin, you’ve also learned that we have the power to grow from these experiences. We can define our own lives not by what happens to us, but by how we respond. We can choose to carry on, and make a difference in the world. And in doing so, we can make true what’s written in Scripture – that “tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.”
Yes, you will encounter obstacles along the way. Yes, you will face setbacks and disappointments.
But you are from Joplin. And you are from America. No matter how tough times get, you will be tougher. No matter what life throws at you, you will be ready. You will not be defined by the difficulties you face, but how you respond – with strength, and grace, and a commitment to others.

If you'd like to read the entire address, the Wall Street Journal's listing of it is at:

Exerpts from

Friday, May 18, 2012

This Just In!

Mission Trip participants: there will be a special speaker coming at 5pm on Sunday. Even though the parent/youth meeting doesn't start until 6pm, be there at five to receive some special insight into the nature of the assistance we will be providing on the mission trip.

Andy Barnett from Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity will share some insights and experiences related to the North Minneapolis tornado damage and what that kind of disaster can do to a community. Lily Schafer also has images and storm information powerpoint presentation from the Joplin disaster to frame what happened there. She will follow Andy.


Seniors: remember to show up at 9am on Sunday for the worship service. Sit in the side pews/chairs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sunday May 20th!!!

Hey All:

It's a big day this Sunday. First there is the senior high graduation recognition service at 9:30am. (Seniors please show up at 9:00am). In addition to having someone speak for you, I'd like to get as many of you to read a liturgy part if you do not have one already.

Then, while Junior High youth are having a regular youth fellowship, Senior High will be having a mandatory mission trip meeting (with parents) that starts at 6:00pm (though, youth please come at 5pm for your last youth fellowship roses and thorns and dinner).

Important: Parents should bring checkbooks to pay for the remainder of the mission trip cost. The price will vary according to how many fundraising events you missed, with the base price being $230.00.

Important (part 2): Fill out the online forms for Next Step before Sunday. We have to have them, no if, ands, or buts. Check the right right of the blog for getting it done.

I'm looking forward to a great Sunday with all of you!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Great Chance to Get Involved in the Future of the Church

Greetings Church Youth,

As you know Macalester-Plymouth is beginning the search for a new senior pastor.  The Nominating Committee is in charge of putting together the Pastoral Search Committee (PSC) which conducts the search process. We are looking for one member of the youth group who might be interested in being a member of the PSC and helping in the process.  The pastoral search process and the full job description of a PSC member appears below.

Selected youth are welcome to participate as "full time" PSC members.  However, to accommodate youth schedules involving school and extra curricular activities, we are also open to youth serving a more abbreviated role.   The Nominating Committee feels that input from church youth would be especially desired in putting the Church Profile/Church Information Form together, and also interviewing pastoral candidates and attending sermons they preach in a neutral pulpit, all toward naming a finalist.

The Church Profile/Church Information Program will be put together, roughly, between Memorial Day and July 1.  The interviewing and observation processes will start somewhere around Labor Day, and could go on for a number of weeks.

If this sounds interesting to you and you'd like to learn more, contact Gale, Tom or the Nominating Committee co-chairs, Mark Dickinson ( and Michael  Morrissey ( .

Please indicate your interest to one of the co-chairs by May 6. The PSC will be finalized between now and the end of May. 

With our thanks for your consideration,

The Nominating Committee. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Youth Group and Explorers Updates

Hey All: A couple of updates. First, there will NOT be Explorers class on May 6th. There will be on May 13th, however, so come and get informed.

Youth Group is exactly the reverse. There is no youth group on May 13th, but there is a very special youth group on May 6th. For those who attended Sunday, we hatched the idea of going to visit a member of our congregation, Merle Johnson, who can't attend services. They live a couple of blocks away and I just spoke to his wife Ellen and she was thrilled by the idea, especially when I said there might be a youth with a guitar (Edmooned, perhaps Devin) because Merle is a Dylan fan and used to attend the Bluegrass Festival every year.

Please try to be a part of this particular youth group because I think it will be an opportunity to make a couple of folk happy and realize how valuable you are just for showing up at their door. We will do the usual 5-7pm time slot.

Peace and have a good week, Tom