Monday, July 25, 2011

Regular Blog Back Up - Thoughts On The Week

So I have decided to resurrect the blog, we'll see how it goes. It's kind of hard to tell since I reviewed the report on who is visiting this blog, it said last week no one visited. That's impressive seeing as we had people leave comments without visiting. More impressive was the week before I had 5 people, 4 from Brazil. Me thinks Google's having some problems...

But every Monday I will be doing my best to have a new blog up here, just things in my head. So for this week it will be last week missions trip. It was a great week, but here are some highlights for me:

-Showing up on time to the worksite (that doesn't always happen).
-Being with two adults who had never been on a mission trip (ever) and having another former student be a leader.
-Heat stroke.
-A great Youthworks staff.
-Hearing students talk honestly about how they try to fit in rather than Be Different for Jesus (our theme for the week).
-Having incredibly quiet people in my small group every night and seeing them join into conversation.
-Getting smashed in the face with a ball (more than once).
-Seeing how much our students love little children.
-Having another adult notice how our students raise the bar pretty high on how a house should be painted or a wheelchair ramp should be made.
-Discussing with more than one student how we can have the same spiritual awareness (hearing the voice of God) we have on this trip if they put themselves in a place to be spiritually aware (listening for God, praying and doing devotions regularly, serving, etc.)
-Seeing students faces when they saw the original lyrics to How He Loves (with the sloppy wet kiss).
-Praying with students and watching them pray with each other at the footwashing ceremony (went over two hours).
-Debriefing and letting students find dollar-store trinkets that represent their trip (also over two hours).
-Riding in the back of the van/bus (this is the first trip where I did not drive at some point).
-Henke spaghetti.
-Getting to know two other churches (we bonded really well this year).
-Taking a tour of Osage and seeing the house I painted six years ago, and seeing faces and talking with people I have not seen in six years.
-Sonic tater-tots.
-Hearing amazing stories of how our students touched the lives of others and how their lives were touched.

What about you all? Anything that sticks our?


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Osage, OK - Saturday

My apologies this didn't get posted until today. I'll do a quick recap, hopefully that will explain why.

Thursday is always a busy day. It's our last day of working with the community followed by a community cook-out. The town is invited to have burgers and hot dogs with us (we have a nice meal together). It's followed by our evening worship time and a foot-washing ceremony that with all the prayer and community that happens with it goes quite late (ours went until 11:30). Since we have to be up by 6:30 on Friday (and vehicles packed by 7:15), most people go to bed pretty quick. It would have been a good idea...

Friday we head "home", for us we stop a little bit before half-way and stayed the night at a church. We eat dinner together then process the week, we ended up talking about 2 1/2 hours. When finished with that, we're all tired from the week, it's our only relaxing day, so it's sleep, then up early and driving home.

Although it was busy, we had two students who wrote about their week of serving.

This week has been so unbelievable. I learned this week that God’s love is life-changing, and it makes you different. I also learned that you cannot blend in and be just one in the crowd if you really love Jesus, because that love makes you different. It makes you special. This week I worked with kids for my first time ever and boy what an experience, 30 insane kids against 16 kids and 4 adult leaders. Our first day was most definitely the most difficult, since the kids were coming off of the weekend and we were all new faces. So we spent the day trying to get kids to participate in our activities instead of running around screaming, hitting each other, hiding under tables, and throwing things at us. But by the second day, the kids started to get to know us and really listen and calm down… just in time for us to switch worksites. The rest of my week was all working all day in the 105 degree sun, but I loved it. Most of all what I hope to bring home from this week is that Jesus was different and tells us to be different from the average man, because to love Jesus wholeheartedly makes you different. You can’t hide it, God’s love will always shine through.
-Alec B.

Oh my goodness I can’t believe what has changed me motive me to learn more about Jesus. On the first day of the mission trip I went to a work sight for my first time and the owner, Connie wanted us to make a wheelchair ramp so Bobby Herron and Pierce Scott started to plan on the ramp as Helen Eastes and I started to pull weeds and paint some parts of the house. Tuesday was our last day at the work sight and the ramp was turning out beautifully. Bobby and Pierce, Spencer Tillman and Dan Henke and some other boys from Arkansas who were also in our group, didn’t now how was going to turn out. As for Helen and I we hope that the next group was going to finish painting the shed of the house. Wednesday I went to Kid’s Club and the kids were CRAZY!!! But they were sweet and kind and have love for Jesus. Thursday was probably one of the hottest days at Pawhuska, OK also the saddest day because soon we have to go back to your old lives and leave our new friends. And oh yeah almost forgot the ramp is almost done and Connie loves it! One main lesson I had learn God forgives, why shouldn’t we? Even if it is hard to forgive. Also being a Christian you have to be different so people can always see God’s light and love in you.
God Bless,
-Emily Buckler

So we're all home safe, we've had a wonderful week and we all have lots of stories to share (there will probably be a whole bunch during God At Work during the NewSong service tomorrow). Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. Find us at church tomorrow and ask us about our week! And, pray for Liz and the FIRE (Jr. High) mission trip that starts tomorrow as well, you can read her blog at Thanks again to everyone!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Osage, OK - Wednesday

It's the middle of the week, we're half-way there. It's an interesting day because we change ministry sites, those working on building/painting projects move to the kids club and vice versa. It's a weird feeling, almost like you're starting all over again. And again, we have some students to tell you all about it.

When I moved here from Oregon last year, things were a little bit tougher than expected. My family and I had been “church shopping” for a few months and found little success, but when we found Fishers Untied Methodist Church, I think we all found a sign of relief.
As I started to go to their youth group, I felt like I was a member almost instantly. This youth group is filled with amazing people who have done amazing things. This youth group has changed the lives of many people including myself.
This mission trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma is my first mission trip, and it won’t be my last. This week has been one of few weeks where I have truly felt a strong connection to God, and I am looking forward to the weeks to come.
-Jacob Stebbe

Today was the day that everyone switched sites, and I went from a work site to kids club. All the kids were incredible, they were so great to be around and so eager to be played with. They were all so accepting and outgoing, and the second you acknowledged them they would run up and ask to play. All kinds of crazy things were happening, but one of the best was when we were doing crafts and using paint, which the kids were very into. Two of the people in my group were so willing to do whatever it took to make the kids happy that they let them paint on their faces and shoes. They were completely covered, but it was an incredible thing, they were just so willing to do whatever it took.
On the first day when we were driving to Oklahoma our entire van was making bracelets with thread the whole way here. I had two of the bracelets we had made on my wrists when we went with the kids, and there were two little girls who saw them and absolutely loved them. They pulled them off my wrists and asked to have them, and they were so excited when they got to wear them. Tonight I plan to find the rest of the bracelets we made and take them to the rest of the kids, and I am so excited. The idea that we can have some kind of influence that will last, even if it’s just a little bracelet, is amazing.
-Katie Kincaid

Today the sports camp went to a local nursing home to spend time with the residents and talk with them. I think we were able to bring joy to the residents, some were very excited to see us and talk with us. One guy, Doy (that’s his actual name), was really open about sharing his family photo albums with us. He would show us his grandkids and his own kids with their families. He had a lot of photos of them. They don’t get to visit very often because they’ve moved far away from the area. Well, the highlight of that trip to the nursing home was the bingo game. I “lost” a lot of games. Really I won two games. I didn’t want to say I had won because I wanted the older people to win and have a good time. Little did I know that Doy also wanted us to win so he did not say he had won. It was awesome to see the caring of people and wanting people to enjoy themselves.
-Aaron Henke

It's amazing how what we see as little things can make such big life changes, not only in the people we are ministering to, but also in our students. Tomorrow will be full of surprises and endings as we say good-bye to some people we have made some real relationships with. Thanks all of you for your support and we'll see you soon.


Osage, OK - Tuesday

Well, it's finally happened. It took seven years but today for the first time on a mission trip (with me anyway) we had a student leave and head home. Sarah has not been feeling well the past few days, so our prayers go out to her that she would feel better and have a safe trip back to Fishers.

But for the other 35 of us, things are going great. For most of us today was our last day at our sites, we switch tasks tomorrow. To hear how the final day went, here are a few stories...

It was a good day in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. My group the nonconformists picked weeds in the morning and had lunch and then went over to the kids club to start the sports camp. Today was soccer and we had very few kids but they enjoyed our company I think. Or maybe they enjoyed us because they could throw water at us all day. It was much appreciated by me because it was slightly less than 100 degrees. (much cooler than yesterday though)
During our club and worship time today I was really paying attention and felt easy about my life for the future. Nervousness, excitement, and the unknown have been on my mind this entire summer and I haven’t really given God a shot to help. I think tonight the light bulb illuminated and with the help of Ben (a youthworks staff) and our small group talking about changes in our faith, and I realized it was ok and God will lead me where he wants me and I like that feeling. I have everything I need to ACT better and be a better Christian in college because of the fresh start in my social life.
I know that this is kind of personal but I think this it’s a common trend here. People are learning about there selves and how to get better through the experiences Pawhuska has to offer.
A shoutout to chris neiland for his amazing cure of a struggling boy at kids camp who was visible upset about being there and wouldn’t get up or even talk. I tried so many tricks but chris acted like a bear and it worked like a charm.
-Mark Ogle

Today in Pawhuska, OK, half of the Nonconformist group weeded the church flower beds in the morning while a few other people went to a food pantry. I helped weed the church, and the progress we made was fantastic! During the afternoon, our group was in charge of OSC which is Outrageous Sports Camp. Today the sport that we focused on was soccer. Being a soccer player myself, I really enjoyed being in charge of the drills for soccer. We also had a blast scrimmaging, and we ended the afternoon with water games to cool ourselves off.
During Jesus time today, the kids definitely affected Kayla Snyder and me because we truly realized how important it is to take time to listen and include other people without judgment. Many of the children that we worked with have difficult home lives, and OSC has provided them with a fun, safe way to enjoy the summer.
This mission trip has already been such a positive experience. God has truly been working through all of us to make a difference in this community. I am excited to see what the next two days of work bring to all of the groups as we change our work sites tomorrow.
-Kari Lorentson

For me this is one of the most important trips because it is my last trip. I was glad when I found out that I would be able to work with kids and on houses. For the past 2 days I have been working with kids, they are amazing! It took a day for them to warm up to us but today they would actually sing the songs with us and participate in the activities. Before we went to kids club we went to a senior citizens home. Andy, Alec and I sang songs for them. We had a woman come up to us and tell us how much of a blessing we had been, and that it was so amazing to see young people praising God.
For me this trip means both the beginning and the end, it will end my trips with the church but I hope that it means God will be giving me new challenges and projects. That when I go to college that my faith will grow and I will continue to follow his path. This trip has been such a blessing for me and has helped me to open my eyes and see amazing things.
My hope for the next few days is that our groups grow closer together and that we leave with new friends and new memories. We have been able to work with the other churches and they are just as glad as us to be here and they want to work. Which is more of a blessing then some people realize. I just hope that we can create friends for life here in Pawhuska and make a difference in peoples lives.
-Taegan Edwards :)

Looking at our work projects today with the eyes of "how can I be different?" and thinking about the difference between words and deeds has really hit home today. We're half-way there, thank you for all your love and support!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Osage, OK - Monday

It was our first full day of working, the final church made it today (their van broke down in St. Louis), and we got a tour of Pawhuska (the town) tonight. It's been a roller coaster of a day, as you will hear.

Today was an exciting day for me! I got to work with KIDS. And since I love kids I had a great day. Before the kids showed up at Kids Club at 12:30 we had 3 hours to plan. I volunteered to work outside the whole time and do sports. We created a scavenger with words from the parable of the week. Then we played Drip, Drip, Drop. The kids loved the scavenger hunt. However, their favorite part was getting wet. We ended up just throwing water at each other. There were little kids that got attached/ warmed up to us pretty quickly. It was cool. Later today we went to The Swinging Bridge. It was high up and I was freaking out. If you know me, my freak outs are crazy! But I did make a new friend today from the south side of Indy and we clicked instantly.
-Chloe Bultemeyer

The first day on the mission trip is almost always awkward the staff is new to us and there are people from weird parts of the U.S. like Arkansas or Wisconsin. But while we have a group from Arkansas all of our people have a friendship with someone from another church already it is kind of like 60 of me talking to each other. Everyone is that outgoing. Today I worked at a house painting a garage but it was in the shade so who can complain. We had a great time even though we were working in a group of three. Yeah small group huh! In the South they have a hardware store called the Meek’s hardware store. I kind of freaked out when I first saw it. There was an adult from the Arkansas church who was wearing a Meek’s hardware shirt, and Mrs. Patterson told him that I would think that is cool so he went upstairs changed his shirt and literally gave the shirt off his back. What a Day.
-Dustin Meeks

The first day of actually being on a worksite was very successful. I was assigned for kids club the first two days of the week. We arrived at the church to plan out our day. I decided to volunteer for the reading station to switch it up (I would be more comfortable outside playing games all day). Club started out with me being assigned with Mr. Buckler to watch a special needs child named Tristan. We kept him outside because he is not into the musical part of club. We spent most of our time playing Frisbee were he would always throw it and almost always was uncatchable. Of course I was out cause I didn’t catch it. He also kept laughing at Mr. B. Reading station then started and we had a time to introduce all the kids names (a bunch of kids seem to have the name “I don’t know”). Reading station went way better than I expected. Before I knew it the kids were leaving. We had a very fun evening activity on the shaky bridge with a dance off between me and Bobby. We also went to Look Out Mt. (which was really a hill). We took in the Osage views and headed back. I am looking forward to go back to kids club tomorrow and the nursing home tomorrow.
-Daniel Ogle

Thanks all for your support and we hope to give you more news tomorrow!


Osage, OK - Sunday

Thank you to everyone who is praying for us and supporting us. We're glad to be here and I've already met up with people I remember from our last trip to Osage. But instead of me monopolizing the blog, here are some other stories...

We are in Osage County, on the reservation of the Osage Nation, in a town called Pawhuska. Our youth Works staff has been awesome and very inviting. We have met some real Razorbacks from Arkansas who are as excited to be serving as we are. We had an uneventful drive, which is always a “good thing” and have enjoyed the pulled pork, mac-n-cheese/bean dinner. Salads and fruit were highly encouraged. The camps are all set up and the mattresses are holding most of their air. We had our first club meeting and discussed how we might work to be different in service to our Lord and Savior here in sunny Oklahoma. Time to brush and floss and get rested up for our first day!!
-Jeff Eastes

We made it safely. I guess that’s a plus haha! Although after about 15 minutes I had managed to rip half of my fingernail off…. Haha, its fun, that’s just gonna be how our trip is gonna start. The first church we met has been very open and easy going, I have a good time getting to know them, however the other church has just been a problem from the minute we met… Just kidding, they haven’t made it yet, they broke down in St. Luis so we’ll find here soon.. Well not much more to say at the time!
See ya soon!!
-Andy Patterson

The car ride here was pretty awesome. We traveled out of the corn belt, through St. Louis and through the Ozarks along Route 66. Everyone seemed to get along. When we arrived we saw the beautiful cathedral that we are staying next to with an awesome collection of stain glass windows from 1907. It is air conditioned and has plenty of space for sleep and moving around. The other church is from a very small town in Arkansas, which is a sharp contrast to us suburbanites from Fishers.
-Landon Knoke

Again, thank you so much for your prayers. Students and adults will be updating every day so check back often. See you in a week!


Monday, July 11, 2011

"Be Different" Mission Trip

It's been a long hiatus but the blog is going to be back up and running. The plan is to have a weekly blog, but before that we want to give updates on how our mission trip goes next week. We will do our best to have an update every night (depending on internet/wifi), so be checking back here next week to hear how we are doing. Your prayers and support are appreciated!