Blog Updates sent via Email

It is now possible to receive blog updates via email. Once a day, you will receive an single convenient email with all the updates from the previous 24 hours. No updates, no email. No spam, no ads, all blog and only blog.

To subscribe to this service, click the following link, enter the email address you want to use and you will get a confirmation email sent there. Confirm the email and you will be subscribed. There is an unsubscribe link included in every email.

Subscribe to Macalester-Plymouth Youth Mission News by Email

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.