Friday, December 20, 2013
First of all, thanks to all, parents, youth, and especially Sarah, our youth coordinator, for a great Christmas party!
I delivered the presents to the Aliveness Project last Monday and they were very appreciative. There are a lot of families that weren't adopted and so they are grateful for the fact that the youth group does what it does for this effort. Thank you contributors, shoppers, and wrappers.
We do not have Explorers, confirmation, or youth group December 12 or December 29. The calendar shows Youth Choir at 9am and Chapel Choir at 9:30am both Sundays.
May you experience hope, peace, joy, and love this Christmas season.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Here's the run down:
9:30am Adult Ed on Forgiveness
10:45am Worship (Christmas Pageant)
12:30pm Roger Barr Christmas Story Reading
5:00-7:00pm The Annual Youth Christmas Party
What'll it be? A potluck, a white elephant thing, games, present wrapping for the Aliveness Project, music...
What should you bring?
1. A mixed CD you create (and put your name on) to exchange with others as a way of letting people know the real (musical) you.
2. A white elephant gift. Something you don't use anymore but that some else may like. Wrap it!
3. Food. So far here is what has been assigned or volunteered:
Devon-a main dish
Kat-cupcakes or other desert
Dan: tater tot hot dish
Sophia-mac and cheese
Not bad so far. If you don't see your name (which is many of you), bring something you see lacking.
It is going to be a great time, can't wait to see you all!
Friday, December 6, 2013
9:00am Youth Choir
9:00am Early Worship
9:30am Chapel Choir
9:30am Explorers Class
9:30am Adult Ed
10:45am Late Worship
12:00-2:00pm Youth Group: Shopping for Aliveness Project and Set-Up for Around The Table Carol Sing in the social hall (community service project and in-house service project). Everyone meet in the social at noon on the side with the piano. I will be there with Sarah.
Please bring $10 as able to help pay for gifts for the families we have adopted through the Aliveness Project. We have a couple of teams going to make the shopping run. The others will be with Sarah setting up for the Around The Table Carol Sing. We will order pizza and eat around 1:30pm.
No confirmation...go get some rest so you can come back for the Around The Table Carol Sing at 5:00pm.
Next Sunday (the 15th) is the Youth Group Christmas Party. We did some planning last Sunday: it will be a potluck, think of something you would like to bring to share, food-wise and let us know this Sunday. There will also be a white elephant exchange: wrap and bring something you don't use anymore but that someone else may appreciate.
I hope everyone had a good week and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Here's the plan:
9:00 am Early Worship
9:00am Youth Choir
9:30am Chapel Choir
10:45am Late Worship
No Explorers, Adult Ed, Confirmation, or Youth Group this weekend
Next weekend: youth group will be right after church. We will eat and shop for the Aliveness Project (please bring $10) and help set up for the Around the Table Carol Sing as an in-house service project.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 22, 2013
Hey Folks, here's what's going on...
(no early worship)
9:00am Youth Choir
9:30am Chapel Choir
9:30am Adult Forum on Thanksgiving
11:45am Curt's Retirement Celebration
5:00pm Youth Group: Christmas party planning and special guest Adam Blons
I look forward to seeing everyone!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
It isn't here yet, but snow is on the way. I've had two requests for youth willing to do snow removal:
The first is from a member who is having surgery and will be unable to shovel his snow. He is willing to pay $20.00 per time. This would be a good way to make some money for someone with transportation as the home is near Roseville.
The second is from a family who is willing to make a donation for the mission trip for someone to be on call for snow removal while they are out of town November 20 to December 1. They live in the Highland neighborhood. This is a great opportunity for a mission trip participant to earn fundraising credit.
Both need to know quickly, as they have people in reserve, but wanted to offer this to our youth first. Please email me at email@example.com if you are interested in either.
Friday, November 15, 2013
9:00am Youth Choir
9:30am Chapel Choir
9:30am Jim Nelson speaking to parents at Adult Forum
10:45am Late Worship
3:30pm Confirmation youth and parents
5pm Junior and Senior High Fellowship-Aliveness Project Holiday Basket Kick-Off. This is our time to show our commitment to local ministry.
I look forward to seeing you all Sunday!
Friday, November 8, 2013
Thursday, November 7, 2013
I have lots to share with you in this post.
The schedule this Sunday is....
9:30-10:30 Adult Forum: Jim Nelson speaking about youth. See note below*
3:30pm-5:00pm Confirmation-Parents only
5:00pm-7:00pm Youth Group (From 6-7pm there is a mandatory mission trip meeting for youth and parents)
*About Adult Ed: Jim Nelson is a retired child and youth psychologist whose book Running on Empty, speaks to many issues confronting youth and their parents in a plugged-in culture of busy-ness, with expectations on young people from a number of fronts that are leading to disturbing trends amongst adolescents. Jim has asked that I invite you to come with any questions or concerns you have about youth and our current culture as a lead-off to the discussion.
Lastly, from the Stewardship Campaign:
Thursday, October 31, 2013
This Sunday, November 3
9:00am Youth Choir
9:30am Chapel Choir
9:30am Explorers Class
There is no youth group this Sunday. I will be out of town.
The Following Sunday (November 10)-Big Stuff!
9:30am Explorers Class
3:30pm Parents meeting for Confirmation in the Plymouth Room (youth get to stay home)
5:00-7:00pm Youth Group
There is a mandatory Mission Trip Meeting for senior high participants and their parents that starts at 6pm.
Fellowship for junior high will be led by our new youth coordinator, Sarah. Come and meet her! A full bio on Sarah is coming, but she will also be working with the Explorers class. I am asking parents to encourage their youth to join Sarah at the 10:45am worship service after Explorers each week.
Look for more details next week, but for now, mark those calendars!
Friday, October 25, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Here's what is going on this Sunday....
9:00am Youth Choir (grades 4-8)
9:30am Chapel Choir (grades 9-12)
9:30am Explorers (grades 6-8)
12pm-3pm Junior and Senior High Youth Group
Bowling at Sun Ray Lanes
2245 Hudson Road (I-94 and McKnight Road)
Meet at church at noon. Back at church at 3.
Cost is $6.00
Food will be provided
Drivers are needed. Contact Tom if you are able to either drive youth to and pick them up from Sun Ray or are able to join us for the afternoon.
Note: There is no Explorers class or Youth Group next Sunday, October 20th.
I look forward to seeing everyone Sunday!
Friday, October 4, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013
5:00-7:00pm Youth Group
Senior High will be making the final vote on the 2014 Mission Trip location (Committee meets at 4:30pm)
Junior High will be doing activities led by me (Tom).
As usual, we get things started by checking in and having dinner together.
I look forward to seeing everyone!
Friday, September 20, 2013
If you are in choir, please go to rehearsal when scheduled:
Youth Choir (4-8th grade) 9am in the social hall
Chapel choir (9-12th grade) 9:30 in the social hall
9:30-10:30am Explorer's Class 9:30-10:30 for 6th-8th grade
9:30-10:20am The Youth Mission Trip is the subject of the Adult Forum. We got some people who are for sure showing up:
...and others hopefully. Please try to show for this, many voices are good. Be outside the Plymouth Room at 9:30am.
10:20am Meet me in the sanctuary. Sit on the side of the church where the piano is (no the bell choir side). I have bulletins and readings for each of you and directions when to head up.There are three times during the service when we have mission trip reflections. I've organized the readings to follow a loose narrative, so you will see on your bulletin "A-1" "B-3," "C-2," etc. The letter refers to which reflection period you will go up during and the number refers to the order you go.
Lian is handling the front end of the liturgy
Julia, Lian, Erica and Cecelia are doing the children's time with me, assuming Erica and Cecilia are back in town.
Maddy is working the slide show with Lee and Lisa. The slide show will happen during offering. The screen will be by the bell choir tables. Stan will improvise music during the slide show, God bless him.
Lydia is handling the tail end of the liturgy.
After Lydia does the benediction, she should move to the front of the aisle and lead all of you out, where you should form a receiving line to greet people as they come out.
Whew! Go home, take a nap, do homework.
5:00-7:00pm Youth Fellowship
We'll do roses and thorns, eat and then junior high will be with Ed and I will be with the senior high to discuss next year's mission trip. Researchers, bring your research!
Any questions or concerns, call me at 612-716-3150 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Due to several time conflicts, we will be departing at 6pm, rather than 5pm. So come with a bag dinner or already have had dinner and we'll head out at 6.
Possible return change time: Sunday, 3:30pm
According to the bus company, this is when we'll roll back into MPUC, but I think it may take longer. We will notify you when we know more, but somewhere between 3:30-4:30pm in our window of re-entry.
Here is a packing list, in case you didn't pick one up Sunday:
Friday, September 6, 2013
Some updates about the next couples of weeks:
Though there is no Explorers Class this Sunday, Ed will be on hand during education hour to entertain 6-8th graders who may need to be here for other reasons. Or just come and have a good time.
Definitely check out the youth table at Rally day for Fall Retreat information and forms. We have a good number of folks going so far. This year we are being offered a ropes course for folks age 12 and up, there is additional waiver for that and it will be on the table with the registration form. This is an optional activity, so if you prefer to main attached to the ground (like me), you be a part of the cheering section.
St. Norm will also be posting all the forms on the blog sometime today.
Back to Rally Day... we have youth group from 5-7pm that evening. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone after such a long time off!
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
September 8, 2013: First Rehearsal
September 15, 2013: Regular Rehearsal
September 22, 2013: Regular Rehearsal and SUNDAY PERFORMANCE
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Here is a link to Claire Romey's blog about the work she is doing in Costa Rica with the proceeds of the 2013 Peacemaker Award. The Peacemaker Award is for folks 18-25 who want to make a difference in the world with the gifts they have. That means that even if travelling to a foreign country isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options for you.
Look for the information about the next Peacemaker Award in the Fall. Until then, go cheer on one of our own!
Friday, August 2, 2013
I know Fall planning might be in the works right now in your homes, so I wanted to get as much of the Fall Retreat information to you as possible as soon as possible.
The Fall Retreat will be Friday September 13 to Sunday September 15 at Pilgrim Point Camp in Alexandria. It is an awesome place. It is also further away so we are going to (school) bus our way there. We will be leaving at 5pm Friday and returning 5pm Sunday. The cost is still $125.00 and there are a scholarships available (you can email me about those).
As I said, more information will be sent out as soon as details get confirmed.
While I'm at it, the Mission Trip Worship Service is Sunday, September 22 at the 10:45am service. We will also be the presenters at the adult forum at 9:30am that morning. If you were on the mission trip this past summer please add that to your calendar.
I hope you are all having a great summer!
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Red Shirt Project is a mission opportunity offered by Robert Two Bulls, who is a priests at All Saints Indian Mission in Minneapolis with his wife Ritchie. The Project is located at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. They are looking for youth 15 years and up who are available the last two weeks in July to come and work on the reservation. My words can't do it justice, so take a look at redshirtproject.org for an idea of what you can expect.
There will be adult chaperones on the trip, but not from MPUC. If you are interested and want help getting connected give me a call.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
John, Lee, Maggie, and Marsha: What a great adult team. Parents, your youthies were in great hands with this A team that worked with them not just on the job sites but during the off hours to make sure that the trip was educational, fun, and life changing.
Julia and Maddie: Strong leadership this year, absolutely amazing. They put significant time into the trip in the year leading up to it. One of the Camp Rhino people thought they were church staffers!
Mission Trip Committee: The youth on the committee were instrumental in making sure fund-raising efforts were successful and that things got planned for the trip.
Youth: As ever, the youth were hard workers and now they are bearers of the experiences shared with them by people who have been through extremely difficult times.
Congregation: For financial support, for prayers, for caring, for being interested, for doing mission work through this particular avenue.
Parents: Thanks for trusting us with your youth. Thanks for your work as parents that makes them such a pleasure to be with even when the weather is hot and work is frustrating.
The people of New Orleans and the staff of Camp Rhino and St. Bernard Project: for your mission work to the youth and adults by allowing the group to learn from you and to experience God speaking through you.
The bus drivers: for getting us there and back safely and listening to our music, movies, and general crowd noise.
I look forward to this year's mission trip service (September 22) when the youth will share what they experienced with the congregation. Until then...there's always the blog!
Monday, June 24, 2013
If you know about this, or have it, call or send a text message to Lily at 651-925-7919, and she will see that it gets returned to rightful owner.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
We just passed through Hannibal, MO, which puts us on track to arrive in Saint Paul at about 12:30, but that will partially depend on how long any stops are, so check back for updates as the morning progresses.
Thank you for letting your youthies participate in this fabulous trip -- every one of them made it a better trip than it would have been without them, and we adults were blessed to spend the week watching them grow and learn and teach each other and us.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
We completed a wonderful and moving closing to the mission trip in Overton Park in Memphis. We are back on the road, and still thinking a noon arrival in Saint Paul.
Check back on Sunday morning for an update. And thank you, as always, for your prayers and support.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Hey all, things are winding down here in the common room. Four people are playing Hearts, Erica's CD is playing in the TV, and the adults all look like they could use 12 hours of sleep. They deserve some hibernation, but I'm not sure that the bus tomorrow will allow it.
It has been a blast! This has been a very satisfying mission trip in that the progress was tangible, there was true need for our work, and everyone here is awesome. I have already begun to feel sadness that next year I won't be going on the mission trip. There has always been THE mission trip that starts off the summer. THE mission trip that lets me spend time and make friends with the other kids at Mac-Plymouth. THE mission trip that gives me the privilege to serve others and make a positive difference in the world. I'm going to miss it in a way that I could describe using every cliche I can think of. But I won't, because as simple as the idea of a mission trip is, it is not cheesy or shallow. A mission trip is a genuine, life-changing experience.
Today I haven't felt so hot. My stomach has felt off and has been cramping. It was fairly debilitating at the work site, much to my frustration, but since then has seemed to get a little better. I am hoping that a good nights sleep will allow my system to work itself out and I will be 100% for the trip home tomorrow. I am optimistic!
Well we are being called to bed, so I will say good night to everyone out there. Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and love over the last four years. You guys are the best!
All week, my construction group and I have been working on flooring and installing base-board for a woman named Gwen. Her home is located in New Orleans East and after the levee broke, her house was flooded about six feet and her family were stranded on their roof for four days, and she and her husband had to swim to safety.
Eight years prior to Katrina, Gwen still does not have a home of her own. On thursday she came to visit us to see the work we had accomplishEd in her home. She told us her story which made me realize how lucky i am with my life back in Minnesota; i have always had a home to go back to, and she has been moving around for eight years. Disasters really put our liVes in perspective, especially if you have survived them. After our week here, we will have all these memories from our experience, but we will eventually forget and they will become less prevalent in our thoughts.
Just to reminisce on a fantastic first mission trip, i want to make a special shout out "team A's" upstairs flooring crew. You really made our work at Gwen's house fun. From the infamous table saw, to our dance parties, learning to cope-physically anD mentally- and of course, finally celebrating the upstairs hallway being flush.
It was a great week and i honestly couldn't have asked for a better mission trip.
Love, erica craddock
Today was our final day of work. Unfortunately, our homeowner, Ms. Cassandra, never showed up so we couldn't meet her and learn her story. I would have liked to meet her so we could know who would be living their everyday lives in the rooms we built. The rooms were all painted this week, and it was incredible how much the bright colors helped change the house from a structure with no meaning to a house that someone would be living in for years to come. We also did a lot of the baseboard and trim around the house. Even this small detail made a big difference in how much better the rooms looked. Me and Maddy worked on the trim around the back door. At first, it was confusing because we had no idea what we were doing. Eventually, we figured it out and were able to piece it all together. It was hard to get the length just right, but when our site director came over to look at it she told us it was perfect and that we had done a great job. This was the biggest moment of satisfaction I felt all trip, since we made something from start to finish without really knowing how to start. I was sad to leave the house, since we will probably never return to see it again. I wish I could see it finished in person, but i know we made a lot of important progress in just the four days we were there. I'm glad that Ms. Cassandra will be able to move back to her real home sometime this sumer, since she has been waiting for so long. It will be nice to get back to Minnesota, but I will definitely miss New Orleans.
Bye for now,
Marsha here. Each year on these trips I am touched by the hard work and good spirits of the youth. Each one brings gifts and talents and together they make a difference. And this year as in years past our host organizations are amazed by them. I have heard so many great comments about their hard work, generous spirits and engagement with issues. Last night we had a long discussion about what we have experienced here in New Orleans. We are coming back with many stories to share. Se y'all soon. Marsha
We have just returned from our last worship service with RHINO. Over the week we have listened to a few sermons from Durban Durban (our nickname for our keynote speaker, Andy Durban), and spiritual songs from the guest band. It's been a bit like Next Step last year, but a little less extreme. Tonight Jimmy, Henry, Paul and I sang "Prayer for the Children" to open the service. I believe Maggie has a video.
It's bittersweet to be leaving New Orleans; we all miss our families, our homes, our beds. But New Orleans still needs us. Being here has shown me that, even almost eight years later, so much help is still needed. It has been an amazing experience, and very satisfying to see the work that the adult leaders, Maddy, and I put into this trip turned into an impactful, fulfilling mission trip. We worked hard, we played hard, we slept hard. What else could you ask for? I've had such a wonderful time with these wonderful people, and I can't wait to see you all soon!
P.S- Simon is here with me, and he wants to say hi to his family. Also, shoutout to Lydia's cats. She misses you! Meow.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
I remember coming here in the summer of 2007. It was about 22 months after the Storm, and it was still a raw disaster area. Refuse was piled on the streets, no street signs made getting to work sites very challenging, and we were still doing demolition work. The work was disorganized and the neighborhoods had very little life in them except for some FEMA trailers.
Six years have gone by. Thousands of families have come back home. There have been millions of hours of volunteer time and billions of dollars invested since Mac-Plymouth first came here.
With still so much to be done.
This week we were told that the city of New Orleans still has 35,000 abandoned properties. Where the B-plusses are working in Lower Nine there are three vacant lots to the south, another next door the other way and another across the street. Just three little concrete remain. Some lots are overgrown with weeds, with no one claiming title to the property.
Where we working in the back bedroom of Miss Carlmelita's house in Lower Nine, the laminate flooring pieces are 47 inches long and 7 1/4 inches wide. We are not very skilled and the work does not go quickly, but when Simon installed a small strip it was the second room our little team had done, and Julia and Lian had already done maybe 30 percent of the living room.
Could not help thinking that the work goes forward 7 1/4 inches at a time. Piece by piece, in our houses and the ones other volunteers are building or renovating this week, the progress continues. Can't believe that the rebuilding has taken this long with miles further to go, but we need to be thankful for the many hands that have put the pieces together, 7 1/4 inches at a time.
Thanks for your support.
At about 11:45, the owner, Miss Gwen, came by to thank us for our work and tell us her Katrina story. Four days sitting on her roof with her husband and son, as well as some neighbors that they had rescued from another house, some of those days the sun so hot that she said that it almost felt like her skin was cooking. After no one came to rescue them, they swam to where they could walk, and walked to the airport where they were sent to San Antonio, Texas, leaving everyone they knew and the only life that they had ever known, everything about her life changing forever. Her family eventually settled in Galvaston, where she lost everything again when Hurricane Ike hit that city.
There were five or six or seven more tragedies like that, including contractor fraud, multiple thefts of construction equipment, and a leg amputation. With that background, what she really wanted to talk about was how God put the right people in her life to help her and how grateful she was that we were building God's house for her to live in.
Last night, our program leader suggested that the most important thing we could do this week would be to listen to people's stories. What a privilege to do just that.
Today was/is a wonderful day. We got to the site around 7, and immediately set to work finishing flooring the hallway in Miss Gwen's house. We only had a very thin stripe along the all left...but we didn't finish yet. There was one piece that was tricky to cut around a doorway that just wouldn't flush (come together all of the way) for a majority of the time. Harrison (a worker at RHINO) and I finally got it after something like 3 hours. After that, we put a few more boards in before one that refused to flush again, and Erica and I gave up when Miss Gwen showed up.
Miss Gwen literally was the sweetest, funniest and most awesome lady i've ever met! She gave us all hugs (while commenting about Maggie "lord you are short) before telling us an hour long story about her experience during and after Katrina. She was trapped on her roof for four days with her husband, Charles, her son Ranell (who was eventually picked up by a helicopter. "They kept shouting for me to come, but I told them to take my son. He was finna have a nervous breakdown"), and some neighbors who they rescued from their roof. They too were rescued on day two. Charles and Gwen then jumped off of their roof, and swam/walked to an airport, where they waited another day before flying to San Antonio, Texas. She stayed in Texas until loosing everything again during Hurricane Ike in 2008. She took it as a sign to return home, where she struggled to try and rebuild her home. Gwen, an amputee after being shot in the leg in a drive by in 1996, still remained optimistic until she got the call that people were coming to fix her house. "I nearly fell outta my mamas chair I was so happy," she said. Religion was also very important to her too. She told me as we walked up the stairs that she was so happy that we were there fixing God's and her house. "It was his house, and then it was mine," she said during her story. Her story was inspirational, powerful, hilarious and wonderful. It didn't feel like an hour, it felt like a few minutes. We were all so entranced by her story. It was a highlight of the trip. Her hope was amazing. She said when she saw the floor "lord, this is the most lovely floor I've ever seen." She was beautiful, and I will never, EVER, forget her.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Something I've realized: I am lucky. I get good grades and my family is wonderful; no hurricane will strike my Minnesota home. My friends love me and every time I crave chocolate I have the money to go to Walgreens and buy some.
There's a song by Regina Spektor that frequently gets stuck in my head called Laughing With. It's about perspective- "No one laughs at God in a hospital. No one laughs at God in a war. No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor... But God can be funny at a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke..." The lyrics can be interpreted in countless ways, but ultimately they make the point that it's easy to treat life lightly when everything is going well, but then a disaster strikes and nothing is funny anymore.
I struggle to find my place in the world because it doesn't seem fair to others that my life is so good. Maybe I'm just an optimist, but it seems to me that I'm pretty lucky compared to someone who lost their home to nature. So I volunteer and I go on mission trips in hopes that that will even the balance, steady the scale. Is that enough?
At 6:00 this morning we left for our worksites, and as we drove I saw an elderly woman sleeping under a thick green blanket beneath one of the large New Orleans bridges, and I thought immediately of my comfy bed at home underneath all the posters and pictures on my walls. Or my dorm room at Tulaine this week- my most serious complaint is that the AC is on a little bit too high. I complain about these things because the discomforts annoy me- how I was cold while I slept, or how getting up at 5:30 seemed utterly ridiculous when I first found out. And I think complaining is okay as long as you don't do it too much, but it's also true that many, many people have immensely more troubling things to complain about.
I'm not drawing any grand point here, this is just how I think. I believe that it's good to question my place in life, and do get this sense of injustice when I see people "less fortunate than me," a phrase I've heard many times.
This trip has made me think, and I love thinking. I've been quite happy this week; I have time to read, there are a lot of cats in this city (I've seen sixteen so far), and we've been helping people, which feels great.
Life is good.
I'm just gonna talk about it for a little bit. The first full day here, we went to Mother's. I had a shrimp poboy and iced tea with lots of hot sauce. It was AMAZING. We've also had red beans and rice, pasta with meatballs and redsauce, and all kinds of awesome desserts. (My favorite has been the banana pudding)
Anyway, hope you all are doing well.
Lots of love,
Claire Donovan <3 :-)
aside from the five-thirty wake up, today was generally very good.
after some initial complications with floor board cutting the floor of the soon-to-be dining room got underway pretty well, and is now almost completed! After my work on the floor was no longer required I was set to work chiseling out pieces of the walls so more flooring could be installed. Although strenuous enough to work up a good sweat, taking out the walls ended up being extremely enjoyable... and messy.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
We also saw the strength and resilience of the people of New Orleans. Homes with flowers on their porches, neighbors helping each other.
We are working hard and learning a lot. Our group sanding and primed at Ms. Cassandra's home. After her house was flooded, it was remodeled and then some creeps broke into it. It was remodeled again and again some creeps broke into it! We want to help finish her home so that she can move in by July 15.
Such pride appeared later this evening. After an afternoon of free time spent playing wiffle ball and throwing the disc (frisbee), and a delicious spaghetti dinner, we boarded the buses once again for a "prayer tour" of the city. On this brief trip we passed through the neighborhoods hardest hit by the 2005 disaster and the ensuing disarray, including the Central City and Lower Ninth Ward. These areas were flooded with up to 11 feet of water in the hurricane. The tour showed me that even today, nearly eight years after Katrina, these neighborhoods are still stricken with poverty, crime, and poor education. They lack grocery stores that carry fresh produce, and it is often easier for residents to access guns than wholesome food. From this description you may be thinking of New Orleans as a city barely coping. But firsthand, I see a city bouncing back. I am proud to be a part of turning the Big Easy into the City of Second Chances. I feel gratified to be a part of thousands of volunteers helping annually to make things right. I will continue to work this week on one of nearly 500 homes constructed by the St. Bernard Project. This is truly a full, fantastic mission trip experience. See y'all soon.
Today we woke up at 5:30 in the morning, loaded the bus, and drove to the headquarters of St. Barnard, an organization founded after the storm that has helped restore almost 500 homes since then. The organization also has partnerships in Joplin (where we went last year), New England (Sandy), and are working on setting up a partnership in Oklahoma following the tornado.
We then went to the work sites. We were split into three groups, with my group (A) going to the home of Gwen M., a multiple hurricane survivor (Ike and Katrina) who was shot in a drive by and had to have her leg amputated. She lost her job, and her home, brand new extensions and all, was bare. Most of the outside work was done, so we started flooring the main hallway in the upstairs and one of the larger rooms on the first floor. Henry, Paul, Erica and I worked on the second floor, with Paul and Erica sawing and Henry and I doing the flooring. While appearing easy, it was really frustrating, because the pieces were so hard to make fit together well, and a lot of the pieces of wood had to be adjusted so they could fit around doors that lined the hallways. We only got about three rows completely done, but it was a good start to a fantastic week. I'm really excited to keep working with all of these guys.
We then took a break, filled with Bananagrams (which I apparently suck at. Thanks Simon.), chilling with Paul, chatting, and playing trumpet with Xaver. We then ate some dinner, and took another tour of the Katrina damage. It was different then the first, in that Avery (not King) described the infastructure of New Orleans and how it changed due to the storm.
Overall, it was a great day. My shirt fell of the balcony. It was a struggle. I'm excited to keep working tomorrow on the floors, and to keep hanging out with the group.
See y'all later!
Here is where we are working...
(click on the hyperlinks)
The A Team
The Reverend T. C. Ewald, III
(Not) Helpful Hannah
Team C +
Petite post du français ce matin réveillé à 5h20 par les adultes, petit-déjeuner et on file dans le bus pour aller dans lieu de travail. On y travaillera pendant 5 heures (jusqu'a 13h ) il fait hyper chaud environ 38 degrés, plus le ressenti d'humidité, qui ajoute quelques degrés en plus. Pour ma part j'ai travaillé pendant la plus part du temps avec Tom Abraham et Danny, c'était assez ennuyant on a du défaire un parquet entier et le remettre en place nous sommes loin d'avoir fini. Mais d'un côté c'était plutot convivial on a parlé pour la plus part du temps. De retour au campus un douche et un bon repos plus que mérité. Ce soir nous retournons a l'église pour manger et chanter tous ensemble.
Bonne soirée tout le monde et désolé pour le français, je trouvais ça plus amusant
Je porte des chaussure en chocolat
Clément GALAS avec les conseils avisés de Rayan
Today, after our two-day New Orleans vacation, we began our work! I was on team B, and we worked on the house belonging to ms. Carmelita. Her home was right in front of one of the breaches in the levy where a barge was pushed through a neighborhood. We worked on laying laminate flooring, and I teamed up with Poppa Schafer to complete a butterfly wall patch. It was hot, but thankfully we were indoors and managed to avoid any sunburns. We have it pretty good on the Tulane campus- a dorm room for each pair of us, decent showers, and AIR-CONDITIONING. Livin' the good life. We've seen a lot of cool sights (Lydia was excited when we saw a voodoo shop), but we've also seen a lot of the ruin and destruction that is still so present in this city. All in all everyone is having a great time, I just played Jimmy in an epic Bananagrams grudge match, and we are about to walk to the church for dinner and a prayer tour. I'll keep you posted!
Much, much love,
We started work today. Our group (Team C) was at a woman named Cassandra's house. Before arriving, we were given a brief biography about the person. Cassandra is a good cook, and a loving family member whose house is the center meeting place of her large extended family. It was devastating to find out everything they had been through, including multiple break ins after they had lost everything in the storm. We haven't met her yet, but are hopeful she will come to the house later in the week to see the great progress we're making!
Today was a messy workday. We began by doing some heavy lifting, carrying wood to the dumpster outside the front door. We then began sanding the walls and ceilings of the house. We all probably inhaled a pound of dust each, plus another three in our eyes and hair. By the end of the day we all had gray hair. The small rooms and hot lighting made it a little uncomfortable... But it was worth it to see the progress we already are making, even after just one day. A few of us also participated in the covering of the windows in preparation for the afternoon workers, who could texture the walls.
After work, we all took necessary showers.
We just got back from our first day of work today. I was so happy to hear that we would be doing most of our work painting, flooring, and laminating, because I will be able to avoid a ridiculous farmers tan this week. I helped out with flooring today, which includes cutting the floor pieces with an electric saw and fitting them in like puzzle pieces. It was actually really fun, other than the fact that the house was like a sauna, and it's so satisfying when the floor pieces fit together just so. We've yet to meet the homeowner, but I really hope we meet the person that we get to help out.
After a 20+ hour bus ride, some sight-seeing, and time to adjust to the climate (I'm pretty sure that the air is 49% water) we finally began doing what we came here to do today; we worked. After reviewing my high school transcript, SAT scores, extra-curricular activities, and several essays I was chosen for the prestigious Group A. We set to work on Gwen's house after a brief orientation detailing the history of the St. Bernard Project. A site director organized our efforts as we did some clean-up and then as we measured, remeasured, cut, and laid laminate flooring. I worked mostly upstairs first laying out the subfloor and then assembling the first lines of actual floor (the first few are always the hardest).
Afterwards we came back and a bunch of guys played wiffle ball and frisbee sans shirts. As I am writing there is a heated bananagrams game going on in the corner, steady snacking by the snack bags, and some relaxing novel reading in the semicircle of couches.
Hope all is well back in the 651!
Today was the first day that we went to work in the houses. We were divided into three groups for this, and my group was assigned to repair the house of a woman named Gwen m. She moved to new orleans in 97 because she liked the culture, and worked as a school bus driver until Katrina. Her, her ex husband, and their son were stranded on the roof of their house for four days until they swam to the airport and were rescued by a helicopter. Later in life she lost her next home to hurricane Ike in Galveston, had her leg amputated after it was shot and infected in a drive by, and lost all the money she had for renovating her old home in new orleans to contractor fraud. For me it feels really nice to help this lady out by renovating, and helping get her back into her old home. The work we are doing here is difficult, but to me it is definitely worth it.
Monday, June 17, 2013
This is Simon, just to update you on our time in New Orleans. In a word, hot. But more than just that, very humid. We've only been here two days so far and it's already getting to me. Luckily, the dorms room we're in are air conditioned and VERY comfortable. New Orleans has a different culture than St. Paul that is for sure, anywhere you go there are street performers, and voodoo shops, although it is very fascinating and nice, I cannot see myself living here. Tomorrow is our first day at work, I am on the B Team which is therefore clearly the coolest team, we are doing some sort of construction work, I'm not sure exactly what, but it should be fun. It is an early wake up call though, 5:30! Which is undoubtedly the earliest I've woken up in a long time; even for school I only had to wake up at 6:30. What is nice though is that we have free time from 1-6 every single day, where we can go running, or swim, or whatever it be. So far to pass my time I have been reading Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders which although is very interesting (Did you know that Charles Manson is only 5'2"??), has a very contradictory tone of what our objective here is. LILY! We walked into a room at the church which is hosting us, and what do we see? Rock service once again. Some of the same songs too! It's kinda traumatic. But in contrast to the previous mission trip, the showers are wonderful; warm, high water-pressure, and no fish smell. CAROLINE! We visited your previous work-sites today and the house is done, and looks fantastic! Since I am the only one with a sibling that worked on it, Paul took a picture of me in front of it for you to see, which should be uploaded to the blog sometime soon. It was great, on the trip down here, we watched Slumdog Millionaire, School of Rock (Which although I hate Jack Black was quite entertaining the second time around), and or course my personal favorite, The Dark Knight. The explosions were loud at 1 A.M but still very fun. Walking around the French Quarter, Paul and I recognize scenery from one of our favorite video games which is kinda cool. Since the last time I had been here was a long time ago, it was really cool going around it for a second time. I am bunking with Jimmy and Danny, which although has it's perks can get bad pretty quickly.The food at the church is really great. Tonight we had some good old fashion beans and rice, which was very good. In addition to the environment of New Orleans, Tulane University has a very beautiful campus, but I cannot see myself going to school here. I'm definitely missing my computer and friends at home, but it's good to get away from that kind of a lifestyle for awhile. I'll probably blog again later this week, but for now I should go.
Talk to you again later,
Its only the second night in new orleans, we haven't even worked yet, and im exhausted. This city is awesome. The French quarter is one of the most amazing things, the buildings and shops look so antique and unique. I ate a baked ham po' boy which was the bomb. I also love the coffee this city has. Which is another thing, having a coffee addiction might be a problem this week for we're waking up before 6 all week, and children do not get coffee. Jesus take the wheel.
Im also still looking to get my palm read, or to discover some black magic or something.
Till next time,
Walked to St Charles Presbyterian for launch of Camp Rhino. If House of Hope were upscale it would this place. Nice. Very Nice.
Folks obsessing about 5 AM wake up and 19 minute walk from Tulane to this place to be ready by 6.15.
New Orleans is awesome! Today we ate breakfast at the famous cafe du mond in the French Quarter. We ate the famous New Orleans beignets, which are basically pastries covered in mountains of powdered sugar. They were SO good!!!
Afterwards, we walked up to the river (which was gorgeous), and then went on a bus tour of the areas affected by the storm (hurricane Katrina). We went to the lower 9th ward, which was one of the poorest areas of the city which was virtually wiped out by Katrina, the Industrial canal, which burst from the pressure of the storm and flooded everything, and the houses that the mission trip worked on in 2007 and 2008. Eight years later, there are buildings that are still covered in debris and boarded up. It was really shocking to see buildings still in that state of decay and destruction. Whole areas remain empty, the only thing left standing was the foundations of the homes, overgrown with grass and moss. It was really eyeopening, showing us that there was still so much work to be done to get New Orleans back on its feet. We climbed one of the dikes that collapsed in the storm, and just seeing it and just how long it spanned and just how much damage its collapse had.
After the tour (lead by Lee/Dad), we went to go get lunch, but the restaurant wouldn't let kids in, so we carried pizza back to Tulane and ate there. We then played games and hung out. We are about to leave to go to the church for our first event with Rhino. I'm really excited! The other group just showed up as I type. First full day was great! I'm excited to get to work tomorrow morning (wake up at 5 woo hoo) and continue to have a great time with the group. See you guys later!
It's hard for people to get up this morning, because we still feel the lack of sleep from yesterday and Saturday. Besides that the heat is also unusual for us, Minnesotans.
After walking around in the French Quarter, we visited a museum about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
The museum showed us all how powerful and devastating nature can be and the impact on everyone in the city. We also watched a documentary about the August 2005 catastrophe and mistakes that have been made to prevent it, some of them hundreds of years ago with the founding of the city. The documentary focused on the failure of the levees, the failure of the superdome roof, and the collapsing of the Highway bridge.
Between the museum, the French Quarter, and the documentary, some of us used every free minute to throw the disc on every possible place, while others played card and board games at our dorm.
The plan for today is Breakfast at Cafe du mont, looking at the effects of Katrina and lunch at the collection of food trucks.
And I'm pretty sure we will find time to throw the disc.
A quick reminder or two about the blog -
Only the leaders and youth can make entries to the blog. Anyone else can add comments. To see the comments, you have to click on the link associated with an entry. Trust me, the youth look at these comments all the time and are thrilled to have something from their families.
Secondly, the pictures link will remain black until photos are put there. So it may take some time before that will change. Sorry - I added the link before everyone left so it would be ready.
Work safe, work smart, work hard and have fun!
Norm (not there this year, and missing it.)
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Lights out in a few minutes. We had a good day in the French Quarter and lunch at Mother's. Later the heat and lack of sleep took some of the starch out of us so we went back to Tulane, but not after following up on Erica's suggestion of frozen yogurt . Worst we have had so far is a skinned knee.
More tomorrow, and thanks.
We did make it to Mothers for their fabulous po'boys and had lunch a 3pm. Then of to the Louisiana State Museum for the Katrina and Beyond exhibit. We had 45 minutes to to see it before the museum closed but we decided to go for it. I think it was worth the time even though it was rushed. Then we did a quick walk through the French Quarter up to Louis Armstrong Park and decided at 5pm to call it a day. We were all exhausted. We called fro the bus drivers to pick us up earlier than planned and during the wait we walked over to the St Louis #1 Cemetery but it was also closed.
The bus arrived to fetch us and we stopped fro FroYo, a mission trip tradition, and headed back to our dorm. Free time until 9:30 when we will watch a Katrina Documentary and go to bed. Late start tomorrow and more sightseeing before beginning the official Camp Rhino at 6pm Monday.
I feel really fortunate to be spending this time with a great bunch of youth and fellow adult leaders.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Friday, June 14, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
- Prescription and over the counter drugs
- Contacts eyeglasses plus spares
- Special first aid needs
- Soap and shampoo
- shower shoes
- Insect repellent/anti-itch ointment
- Cash for snacks
- Bible and journal
- Betting (sheets, blankets or sleeping bag)
- Appropriate clothing for dinner out
- Work boots
- Long pants or appropriate length shorts
- Water bottle (at least 32 oz.)
Your MPUC Adult Facilitator Contacts:
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Here's the link to the form each person is to fill out. Do not change any information in the pre-populated fields:
Please do ASAP.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Sunday, June 9: Come to 9:30am worship for the mission trip commissioning.We want all hands on deck for this to show appreciation for the congregation's support. Plus, you'll get to hear Adam Blons, our senior minister candidate, preach and participate in the congregational vote.
Tuesday, June 11: Check back with the blog. There will be a link for you to follow to sign some more forms online. They are required to be able to work on the mission site.
Wednesday, June 12: Come to the pre-mission trip picnic at Maddy Frawley's house. Here are the details:
Address: 1780 Lincoln Ave
Time: 6 PM
Date: Wednesday, June 12th
Bring Lawn Chairs
Craddock-Morrissey: Side dishes
I believe Schafers are bringing buns and Donovans are bringing condiments.
In case of rain, we will have the picnic at church.
Contact Tom with any questions.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Thank you everyone for a wonderful programming year. We are done for the season with the exception of the Mission Trip (see below).
Thanks to all of the parents for bringing meals this year. Things went really well and the meal part is a big part of it. So thanks too to Ed for making that run smoothly too.
Thanks to Ed and Brian for teaching Explorers and to the parents who helped there as well.
Thanks to the folks who drove or chaperoned the Fall retreat. That is a huge help!
The Fall retreat this year is going to be September 13-15 at Pilgrim Point Camp in Alexandria. It is a longer drive and we will probably look into renting a number of vans that the chaperones can drive. I mention this now, so you can get it on the calendar before anything else as this distance will probably make it cumbersome for those might have two things going that weekend.
Health forms can be put in my mailbox. There are still some outstanding.
The Mission Trip Picnic is 6pm on June 12 and the Kleaver/Frawley home. Look for more details in the coming weeks.
Finally....a great opportunity from Dale Thompson....
Thursday, May 16, 2013
9:00am Early Worship (last one of the season)
10:30am Explorers (last one of the season)
10:45am Late Worship: Pentecost (wear red), Graduate recognition, Peacemaker Award presentation, and more. Come support our graduating seniors!
Regular choir practices and performance. Come support our vocal artists.
5:00pm-7:00pm Youth Group (last one of the season)
It is a regular youth group for junior high and senior high folk not going on the mission trip. For those going on the mission trip it is a mandatory meeting with parents showing up at 6pm with health insurance cards and information and checkbooks.
See you all Sunday!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
9:30am Explorers/Adult Education
10:45am Late Worship
Regular Choir Practice Schedule
No Youth Group
4:00pm Mission Trip Committee Meeting (Tom's office)
Last youth group for the school year with Ed. For Mission Trip participants there is a mandatory parent/youth meeting to get the details you need for the mission trip. Bring insurance information and checkbooks.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Any questions or concerns, contact me at email@example.com
Thanks and peace on this overly warm day,
Thursday, April 25, 2013
9:30am Explorers/Adult Forum
10:45am Late Worship
Regular choir rehearsal schedule
This Sunday is a mandatory youth group for mission trip participants. Non-participants are encouraged to attend as we will be learning about why so many years after the hurricane, New Orleans is still in need of rebuilding. We will have a guest speaker!
Junior high will be with Brian.
May 5 is Brian's last day working with the youth. He will continue to work at the church, but his schedule will be busy post-graduation, so he will handing over the reins to to a youth person to be determined. Be there to show him you appreciate what he has done as part of the youth program.
May 12 is Mother's Day. We traditionally do not have youth group on this day so people can be with their families.
May 19 is our last youth group of the programming season. For mission trip participants it is once again a mandatory meeting.