Painting, Border Patrol & Poutine, Oh My!!!

It has been quite a full day!  This morning we worked on two painting jobs — first painting the brick base of a home and then painting a screened-in patio area.  The first job went smoothly, but the second had a bit of a hiccup: the homeowners accidentally gave us the wrong color paint and didn’t notice until we’d been painting with it for around half an hour!  Thankfully, when they noticed the mistake they were gracious and kind, admitting to it and helping us to make it right.  

At lunchtime we headed back to the church to change clothes and grab our lunch bags.  Then we got back in the van and drove north to the Blue Water Bridge that spans between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.  At the border checkpoint on the Canadian side of the bridge we hit another hiccup.  A border patrol agent, for whatever reason, was cranky and decided to give us a bit of hassle on our way in.  We were sent to the customs office to check in there, and for a moment it seemed like we might have to turn around.  Thankfully, when the very kind customs agent realized what was going on, he quickly fixed the situation and wished us a happy afternoon.

The afternoon was happy, indeed!  We headed below the bridge to the lakefront, where we stopped for poutine (a Canadian comfort food involving french fries, cheese and gravy).  Then we found a spot on the lakeshore and spent the next few hours skipping rocks, wading in Lake Huron, watching the gigantic ships pass by, and enjoying an afternoon of laughter.  

When we’d had enough sun (or, in Lara’s case, too much sun), we loaded back into the van and got back on the bridge.  After a quick stop at the duty free store for Canadian souvenirs, we made our way across the bridge and back into the United States.  

Tonight, before getting ready for bed, we did our daily check in and journaling.  We also wrote postcards for all of our mission trip stockholders at First Christian Church.  They will hit the mail tomorrow, so be on the lookout for a postcard if you purchased stock!  We’re so grateful to everyone who helped to support this trip (as well as the Chi Rho mission trip).  Because of your support, we are able to share in this experience!

We’ll check in with you again tomorrow.  Good night!

IMG_2105IMG_2116

IMG_2109 IMG_2110 IMG_2112 IMG_2113 IMG_2114IMG_2115

IMG_2117IMG_2118

IMG_2119IMG_2122

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC IMG_2127 IMG_2129 IMG_2130 IMG_2133 IMG_2134 IMG_2135 IMG_2136 IMG_2139 IMG_2140 IMG_2147 IMG_2149 IMG_2150 IMG_2155 IMG_2156 IMG_2158  IMG_2161  IMG_2165 IMG_2184 IMG_2186 IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2191 SONY DSC SONY DSC   SONY DSC SONY DSC  SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC  SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC IMG_2125 IMG_2237 IMG_2194 IMG_2195 IMG_2199 IMG_2207 IMG_2209 IMG_2212 IMG_2213 IMG_2220 IMG_2223 IMG_2224 IMG_2225 IMG_2238 IMG_2239 IMG_2236

Relationships, Prayers and Play

 

 

Today we spent the majority of our day working on Miss Foster’s home.  She needed her garage to be scraped and painted, and needed her driveway to be re-caulked where it joins her house.  We worked hard and completely finished the jobs, but the best part was lunch.  She went to White Castle and brought us back burgers and fries.  Then she sat and ate with us, taking time to tell her story and share her hopes and dreams for the people of Detroit.  It was such a pleasure to spend time with her, and that time helped us to redouble our efforts after lunch.  When we finished the work at her house, she gave us a snack and then took time to pray with us, asking God to bless our work, our safe travels and her beautiful city.  We pray that God will do precisely that.

After finishing up at Miss Foster’s house, we traveled across town to a street that currently has 50 abandoned homes and/or vacant lots on it.  Another group had worked all day to clean out the front yard of one of those abandoned homes, and we arrived at the tail end of the work to help bag all the  lawn clippings and collect the yard tools.  We then headed back to the church to wash out all of our painting supplies and take showers.

A local church gave Robin (who cooks all our meals) a night off and brought dinner for everyone staying at the church.  Then after dinner we got in the van and headed downtown to the Detroit River Walk.  It was so beautiful to walk along the river, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.  In the downtown area you can almost forget about the blight that extends throughout Detroit…almost.  The downtown area is well-maintained and gorgeous, but it is also fairly empty.  The primary part of town that had bunches of people was the area around Comerica Park, where the Tigers play.  Tonight was a game night and the Tigers are playing well, so the place was pretty full.  

After a good walk, lots of laughter and plenty of photo ops, we drove back to the church.  We’re now getting ready for bed. Tomorrow is big day filled with both work and our day trip to Canada, so we need lots of sleep!  We hope you enjoy the pictures from today.  We’ll check in again tomorrow.

IMG_2015

IMG_2016

IMG_2017

IMG_2018

IMG_2021

IMG_2023

IMG_2024

IMG_2026

IMG_2027

IMG_2029

IMG_2032

IMG_2033

IMG_2034

IMG_2035

IMG_2036

IMG_2037

IMG_2038

IMG_2039

IMG_2060

IMG_2040

IMG_2042

IMG_2044

IMG_2053

IMG_2054

IMG_2055

IMG_2056

IMG_2059

IMG_2057

IMG_2058

IMG_2063

IMG_2066

IMG_2067

IMG_2069

IMG_2100

IMG_2103

IMG_2070

IMG_2072

IMG_2073

IMG_2076

IMG_2077

IMG_2078

IMG_2081

IMG_2082

IMG_2083

IMG_2084

IMG_2089

IMG_2090

IMG_2091

IMG_2092

IMG_2094

IMG_2097

IMG_2099

IMG_2101

IMG_2102

Becoming a Part of the Work…

Today was our first work day in Detroit. We spent our time at various locations in the Pride Neighborhood. Our work included clearing vacant lots of trash and tall weeds, sealing a front porch, painting furniture, cleaning gutters and removing overgrowth from a yard/fence. At our first work site, the home owner spent much of the morning making us a lunch that included fried chicken, corn, and ravioli. The guys spent nearly two hours helping her in the kitchen, and the meal was AMAZING!

All around, it was a great day! As part of our journaling tonight, we wrote down stories to share on this blog:

“My favorite part of the day was when our group and another group helped Miss Barbara, a sweet lady, stain/paint her porch (also we worked in a lot across the street from her house). In the lot a man came along named Johnny. He told us that he helps cut weeds and stuff every day, even if he doesn’t have any help. Going back to Miss Barbara, while her porch was being worked on, she went to the store to get chicken for lunch. She asked Alexander to help her cook, and he had me come along to help. She appreciated everybody’s help, and we appreciated her for making us all lunch.” – Brock

“When I thought about this trip and what I expected to see in Detroit, I visualized broken homes, neighborhoods and communities. After working for just a day, I realize now how wrong my assumptions were. Yes, there are “broken” homes, abandoned and in need of serious repair, but there are also beautiful homes. In no way would I describe these neighborhoods and communities as broken, though. In fact, many if not all are stronger than any I have seen where we live. People walking on the streets or sitting on the porch say “hello” to each other; kids play in the streets together; the community opens up its home to us , even though they don’t know us. Detroit, in my eyes, can still be strong, even through all that has happened.” – Eliza

“One fun thing that happened [today] was talking with the people from Northern Detroit while sealing the deck at our first house. Listening to their banter was funny.” – Alexander

“I loved having an opportunity to actually meet and talk personally to two of the ladies we helped today. Barbara graciously fried us chicken and served us on her front lawn. And later, Diane (who needed gutters cleaned and some caulking around her front door) shared with me the story of how she found her dog, Trey, and the great companion she’s been to her for 14 years. Now Trey is dying of cancer. In our talk, Diane shared her faith in God with me and was very thankful that God had brought us together. It’s the connections with real people that mean the most to me.” – Audra

20140728-213058-77458107.jpg

20140728-213055-77455241.jpg

20140728-213056-77456267.jpg

20140728-213057-77457206.jpg

20140728-213059-77459021.jpg

20140728-215432-78872996.jpg

20140728-215433-78873929.jpg

20140728-215434-78874899.jpg

20140728-215435-78875860.jpg

20140728-215436-78876991.jpg

20140728-215906-79146436.jpg

20140728-215902-79142320.jpg

20140728-215905-79145336.jpg

20140728-215903-79143260.jpg

20140728-215904-79144248.jpg

20140728-220110-79270915.jpg

20140728-220111-79271937.jpg

20140728-220112-79272795.jpg

20140728-220114-79274249.jpg

20140728-220113-79273267.jpg

20140728-220253-79373958.jpg

20140728-220251-79371139.jpg

20140728-220252-79372106.jpg

20140728-220253-79373028.jpg

20140728-220250-79370207.jpg

20140728-220331-79411009.jpg

20140728-220333-79413859.jpg

20140728-220332-79412949.jpg

20140728-220332-79412011.jpg

20140728-220334-79414853.jpg

20140728-220459-79499557.jpg

20140728-220458-79498671.jpg

20140728-220500-79500435.jpg

20140728-220501-79501323.jpg

20140728-220502-79502453.jpg

20140728-220527-79527579.jpg

20140728-220525-79525062.jpg

20140728-220526-79526598.jpg

20140728-220526-79526041.jpg

20140728-220527-79527114.jpg

20140728-220550-79550297.jpg

20140728-220551-79551160.jpg

20140728-220549-79549436.jpg

20140728-220548-79548386.jpg

20140728-220550-79550729.jpg

“No – You Look Like a Poodle!”

Today we began our day by worshipping at the north campus of Geist Christian Church outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.  The experience was very different that our usual Sunday morning in Smithville: the campus is six years old and very modern, they have their own full-service espresso bar, worship takes place in a gymnasium, and the worship service is filled with praise music and multimedia expressions.  At the same time, the experience was very similar: we shared in communion, the Word was preached, people passed the peace of Christ, and we worshipped the same God.  It was a wonderful way to get a taste of both the diversity and unity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). 

After worship we loaded into the van and began the last leg of our journey to Detroit.  Alexander is keeping a quote journal for us on the trip, and it is already filling up with sayings both wonderful and ridiculous (see this entry’s title for an example).  We played scrabble, took turns selecting songs on the iPod (a wide variety of current music, 80s music and more), and ate our way across Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.  

We arrived at Northwestern Christian Church in the late afternoon.  After receiving a brief tour, we unloaded the van and took some time to set up our sleeping area before resting and playing games. Then we gathered with the leaders of Rippling Hope for the first of our dinners together, which will all be lovingly prepared by Robin.  After dinner, Carl gave us an orientation about the history and mission of Rippling Hope and let us know that tomorrow we will be painting the kitchen of a house in one of the nearby neighborhoods.  We are looking forward to getting to work, so after a few more hands of Apples to Apples we’ll head to bed.  

It’s good to be here.  We’ll check in again tomorrow!

IMG_1903

IMG_1904

IMG_1906

IMG_1907 IMG_1908 IMG_1910 IMG_1911 IMG_1912 IMG_1915 IMG_1916

IMG_1917

IMG_1918

IMG_1919

IMG_1920

IMG_1921

IMG_1924

IMG_1925

IMG_1926

Halfway There…

The CYF Mission Trip has officially begun! Today we drove the first leg of our journey, working our way through the corn fields of Missouri and Illinois, before arriving in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a long drive, but a fun and uneventful one — which is exactly what we’d hoped to have.

Tonight we are being hosted by the north campus of Geist Christian Church. In the morning we will rise early, load our stuff in the van, eat breakfast and attend worship here at Geist. Then we’ll hit the road again and head to Detroit.

We’ll check in again tomorrow night. Talk to you then!

20140727-002211-1331734.jpg

20140727-002212-1332668.jpg

20140727-002230-1350897.jpg

20140727-002232-1352292.jpg

20140727-002231-1351779.jpg20140727-002214-1334459.jpg

20140727-002213-1333567.jpg

A Day About Town

This morning we woke up, had breakfast, and then loaded up the vans. When the cabin was clean and ready for the next group, we headed to the Ranch’s amazing gift shop (filled with tons of fair trade items from around the world) for a little souvenir shopping. The shopping included purchasing gifts for Josiah and Gaston, our guides on the ranch — they were fantastic and we wanted them to know how much we appreciate them!

After shopping and delivering the gifts, we stopped at the main entrance one last time for pictures at the Heifer Ranch sign. Then we drove into Little Rock and headed to Park Hill Christian Church. We are staying in their youth house tonight, and it provided lots of fun and rest during the afternoon.

Tonight we drove downtown, heading first to the Clinton Presidential Library. After viewing the exhibits, we then walked to our dinner spot: a deep dish pizza place called Gusanos (the restaurant where Lara and Chuck had their first date!). Dinner was tasty, and we followed it up by wandering and playing along the Arkansas River until sunset.

Now we’re back at the youth house and heading to bed. We’ll hit the road early so we can get home in the afternoon (hopefully no later than 4). It’s been a great week and we’re looking forward to telling you all about it when we get home!

20140718-215207-78727177.jpg

20140718-215206-78726034.jpg

20140718-215208-78728086.jpg

20140718-215208-78728554.jpg

20140718-215205-78725055.jpg

20140718-215329-78809905.jpg

20140718-215332-78812060.jpg

20140718-215332-78812924.jpg

20140718-215331-78811169.jpg

20140718-215333-78813813.jpg

20140718-215456-78896517.jpg

20140718-215454-78894211.jpg

20140718-215455-78895608.jpg

20140718-215457-78897508.jpg

20140718-215454-78894605.jpg

20140718-215646-79006662.jpg

20140718-215645-79005800.jpg

20140718-215644-79004727.jpg

20140718-215643-79003417.jpg

20140718-215647-79007480.jpg

20140718-215818-79098877.jpg

20140718-215820-79100690.jpg

20140718-215817-79097050.jpg

20140718-215819-79099814.jpg

20140718-215817-79097958.jpg

20140718-215924-79164735.jpg

20140718-215922-79162853.jpg

20140718-215925-79165784.jpg

20140718-215921-79161923.jpg

20140718-215923-79163830.jpg

20140718-220101-79261535.jpg

20140718-220058-79258325.jpg

20140718-220059-79259251.jpg

20140718-220102-79262215.jpg

20140718-220103-79263811.jpg

20140718-220211-79331682.jpg

20140718-220213-79333075.jpg

20140718-220214-79334918.jpg

20140718-220215-79335886.jpg

20140718-220214-79334008.jpg

20140718-220310-79390906.jpg

20140718-220308-79388874.jpg

20140718-220307-79387118.jpg

20140718-220309-79389847.jpg

20140718-220308-79388021.jpg

20140718-220525-79525466.jpg

20140718-220522-79522265.jpg

20140718-220524-79524666.jpg

20140718-220523-79523890.jpg

20140718-220523-79523130.jpg

20140718-220656-79616406.jpg

20140718-220658-79618160.jpg

20140718-220657-79617283.jpg

20140718-220659-79619026.jpg

20140718-220655-79615526.jpg

20140718-220734-79654336.jpg

20140718-220734-79654909.jpg

Last Day at the Ranch

Today was our last full day at Heifer Ranch. We spent the morning doing service in three crews: maintenance, livestock and gardening. The maintenance crew removed barbed wire fence and fence poles. The livestock crew moved a herd of sheep/cows, fed the baby ducks/chicks/rabbits, milked the goats, and painted signs. The gardening crew picked Japanese eggplant, cantaloupe and corn, and dug up red skinned potatoes. It was a perfect morning for work, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70’s.

This afternoon it started raining and continued all day. We did our final challenge course inside because of the rain. The challenges helped us to think through working in community, and ended with a debrief of the week’s activities. We’re sad that our time with Josiah and Gaston (our facilitators) has come to a close. They have been great!

This evening we’re packing up so that we can head out to Little Rock tomorrow. During our evening devotion we created a list of all the places we’ve seen God this week, and we’d like to close this post by sharing it with you.

God-Sightings:
-Gorgeous weather
-the thanksgiving meal inside the Global Village
-the ranch volunteers who spend the month or year working here
-the hospitality of everyone at the ranch
-feeding the baby animals
-all the work, including removing the barbed wire fence
-sunsets
-the excitement of the kids in the Global Village
-Gaston and Josiah (their excitement, knowledge and joy)
-the ladies in the kitchen and the love they put into the food here
-everything about the ranch and the work Heifer International does in the world
-the challenge course
-picking herbs in the garden
-the compassion shown in the Global Village
-our kids’ desire to do something to help the people of the world who are hungry

Goodnight, all! We’ll check in again tomorrow.

20140717-202943-73783916.jpg

20140717-202940-73780995.jpg

20140717-202944-73784796.jpg

20140717-202942-73782015.jpg

20140717-202943-73783035.jpg

20140717-203034-73834467.jpg

20140717-203032-73832682.jpg

20140717-203036-73836525.jpg

20140717-203033-73833572.jpg

20140717-203035-73835446.jpg

20140717-203112-73872062.jpg

20140717-203109-73869997.jpg

20140717-203109-73869033.jpg

20140717-203110-73870922.jpg

20140717-203113-73873180.jpg

20140717-203356-74036856.jpg

20140717-203356-74036002.jpg

20140717-203355-74035145.jpg

20140717-203357-74037774.jpg

20140717-203354-74034247.jpg

20140717-203447-74087770.jpg

20140717-203443-74083790.jpg

20140717-203444-74084636.jpg

20140717-203446-74086806.jpg

20140717-203448-74088634.jpg

20140717-203618-74178105.jpg

20140717-203616-74176300.jpg

20140717-203617-74177226.jpg

20140717-203615-74175407.jpg

20140717-203619-74179183.jpg

20140717-203649-74209199.jpg

20140717-203648-74208697.jpg

20140717-203648-74208981.jpg

20140717-203649-74209065.jpg

20140717-203648-74208871.jpg

20140717-203749-74269360.jpg

20140717-203747-74267155.jpg