Friday, July 22, 2011

PNCC Camp Twinlow

We're back from our 2011 Mission Trip. For the second year in a row, we joined the PNCC at Camp Twinlow in Rathdrum, Idaho. We had a good time last year, but THIS YEAR WAS BETTER. Everything went JUST RIGHT this year.

Look at us in our Shirts!

Dakota took the lead in designing our shirts this year, and she did a fantastic job. They say "Know God, Know Peace. No God, No Peace" on the front, and then "I desire to do you will my god. Your law is written on my heart." Or something like that, from Psalms 40:8 I believe.

One thing that I really enjoyed this year was working at the camp to improve the camp itself. Here's a lumber shed we built. While this was going up, Dakota and I worked on cleaning out the fireplace.



Elderhelp program

Of course one of the best projects is working with Elderhelp. We had the perfect job: doing light yardwork for man who had Parkinsons. Tim and I were out back stacking wood when the man’s wife came out. She was crying. She called us angels and was very specific about giving all of us lots of hugs. She kept calling me “Big Papa” which I kind of liked. When we finished up and drove out of there, Tim and I agreed that jobs don’t get much sweeter than that one.

P.E.T. Project

Another project that we worked on was the P.E.T. project. We drove about 45 minutes into Spokane to this INCREDIBLE work shop where assembled and box these "Personal Energy Transports", which are three wheel wagons with pedals where the handlebars should be. These enable the legless in third world countries to become productive members of their communities. We had a blast building these things and it just felt great!

Human Rights Institute

Our third outreach was to volunteer at the Human Rights Institute in Spokane. We did a lot of light renovation and mural painting for them. The work that they are doing is good stuff and we had a lot of fun with it.

JD working

JD and I spent an evening just cleaning the beach stairs. It seems counter-intuitive to spend your vacation weeding someone else's property, but there was so much satisfaction in it, it really brings peace to one's soul. While we were working on it we watched the camp counselors doing their own challenge: they had to build a raft and use it to cross the lake. They got about 1/2 way across before the raft came apart and they had to swim the rest of the way.


Shannon and Me

We have become very close with our friends up in the Methow Valley. Here's a a shout out to Shannon, Dylan, Tim, Hannah. We miss you guys already.

Zam and Me

Campfires were like a party every night. Much more so than last year. Tyler and Zam, the new management, ran a tight ship this year and it really showed. It was basically all high-schoolers this year at camp, so the level of maturity was way up. Much less baby-sitting, much more interesting discussions and serious work.

Super China Buffet II

Again, we were so sad to leave! Everyone napped on the way home, but of course we had to stop at Super China Buffet II and chow down! At some point I realized that this was the best week I had had all year, and probably would remain that way until next year when we decide to go again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Destination Unknown - Snoqualmie Tribal Canoe Makers

We're driving in the van. "David! Where are we going!?!?" the kids ask for the millionth time. Destination: Unknown. This time I honestly don't know, I'm just following Joe and Marcia. We drive out the back way of town, and up "Hospital Hill".

Now we're turning into a driveway, and then behind a house to a covered work area. Three men saunter out to meet us. We disembark from the van. "I'm John!" says a distinguished gentleman. "I'm Bruce" says a white-bearded man. "Jacob" says a younger, quieter, black bearded man. I think I've met Jacob before somewhere.

These are the Snoqualmie Tribal canoe makers. John shows us how they are making river canoe by carving out the woods with hand-made tools. He explains how some day they'll open it up by steaming it. Then he shows us an ocean canoe and tells us stories about sailings and gatherings and skippers.

Rachael is turning red; apparently she's allergic to cedar! She leaves the shed and stands away from all the wood, nervously kicking rocks and crossing her arms. John complains about being 6'10" but I'm pretty sure that he's actually more like 5'1" by height. I'd say 6'10" in personality and poise though. He passes around bone-carving tools and a river rocks. The weather has been nice to us all night.

Before we know it, its time for us to be getting back. Another awesome Destination Unknown. Special thanks go out to Joe and Marcia who set this one up. And to John and crew for preserving the art of canoe making.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feeding the Homeless, April, 2011

On April 13th, our intrepid youth group embarked on one of our favorite events; feeding the homeless downtown. This time, we were armed with dozens and dozens of sack lunches, made by the Junior Girl Scout Troop 52516 (Thank you Lori, Beth and girls!), Scott and Brenda Foster, and Cathy Brumbaugh and Pat McKiernan. Local businessman, Charlie McKissick, donated much of the fixin's for the lunches.

Denny Hancock, from Mama's Hands, picked us up at our Snoqualmie United Methodist church. We loaded over 75 sack lunches into the cargo holds underneath the seats and we rode to Seattle. On this particular trip, there was a film crew from the Mormon church who were filming our little mission, so we had to provide permission slips from our parents just in case we ended up on YouTube!

It wasn't raining in Seattle, but it was cold.  The girls from our group were shivering and standing in groups or huddled against their boyfriends.  Denny brought out a portable electronic piano, and Kaitlyn R. and I took turns playing funny songs for a while.  The film crew had cameras and sound booms pointed at everything.  The film crew and all their equipment scared the homeless people at first and they wouldn't come and get the food we'd brought for them.  But eventually, Dawn O., Ben and Jayna went out and invited them over to our little food station.

The Real Street Santa and his Sled

Also joining us, as an intern from the Union Gospel Mission (a nearby shelter), was none other than The Real Street Santa himself. Check out his cool Sled (atually a red truck) with the RSSANTA license plate!

For about 90 minutes we distributed sack after sack of lovingly prepared foods to all the homeless who came by. Some high points of the evening.
  • Our oldest youth, JD, talked for 45 minutes with one of the homeless who had just arrived from down south.
  • We talked with many of the homeless men and they shared their stories of hardship with us.
  • There are some homeless women as well, and to be honest, they seem more "touched in the head" than the men.
  • Kaitlyn boldly strode from person to person, inviting them to come and get some food or some hygiene kits.

At the end of the night, there we still people coming up to us asking for sack lunches, but we had to go. We gave the remaining sack lunches to the Real Street Santa and he took them over to the Union Mission Gospel to distribute there. He said they always need food at the Mission.

Feeding the homeless downtown is one of our favorite Youth Group Events. We'd like to thank Junior Girl Scout Troop 52516 and the people from our church for providing the food and support for this meaningful mission work.

-- david