2017 Mission Trip Blog

Sunday July 2, 2017

The SYG is home safely having taken at least one hot shower (and no fears of contracting athletes foot) and slept in their own beds. All total, in 7 days we drove 1800miles across 7 states (CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV, KY) and two Walmarts. More importantly the NMCC SYG travelled to Williamson WV to work with YouthWorks and help others in need.  We helped 5 families working on at least 8 projects (1 multi-tiered ramp, rebuilt a deck/stairs, underpinning for 2 houses, ceiling repairs, entrance way overhang, vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, planted a tree) and left with the desire to do more if we had more time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SYG also built some more relationships amongst themselves and with others from VA and TX. Although they would be quick to deny it, they may have also built a little bit more in their faith.

A huge THANK YOU to the other adult Leaders that made this trip possible – Mrs. Murphy and Mr. Walsh as they were a critical part of this trip. They drove tirelessly, learning new music and encourging our youth to carry on and to help each of us learn the Good Life.

Friday June 30, 2017 Day five Traveling home

Everyone in our group was excited to get home and was forwarned that we had a loooong drive home (730miles) so everyone packed the night before with the goal to get on the road by 730am. We were not far off, all the kids were packed and ready by 7am, the cargo van was loaded and after a quick building cleanup and good-byes we were on the road by 7:45am.

For our week with YouthWorks we were incredibly lucky, the weather wasgreat, low humidity, sunny and mid 80s no complaints but all good things must come to an end and it was during our travel time home. Driving through West Virginia was easy, a sunny day and no traffic and we were making great time especially since all the SYG was sleeping. Luncn was later than expected but traveling with 5 vegetarians makes rest stops challenging as it can no longer be McDonalds. We found an pizza shop on the outskirts of Hagerstown, MD and it was decided that it was a good time to stop for a leisurely lunch. The drivers also realized that if our drive was to go as smoothly as it has been we would be crossing the Tappen Zee Bridge around 6pm on the July4th weekend, a traffic jam that none of us wanted to deal with.  With our bellies full, we hopped back onto the 70east onramp to be greeted with 5 cars driving in reverse to get off the highway. We hesitantly continued forward and quickly saw the flashing lights of firetrucks. Our hopes of a speedy accident cleanup were then dismissed once the two Lifestar helicopters flew, we quickly realized the road was going to closed for a while. An hour later we were moving forward again.

Back on the road again, we crossed into Pennsylvania and encountered some road construction nothing too major but the single lanes did slow us up a bit. Our real delay happened when we got past Harrisburg and drove right into a rainstorm. This was not a mild rainstorm but a torrential rainstorm leaving us with 10 feet of visibility and traffic creeping along. The worst part of it, the storm was also moving eastward and we drove with the storm for a good 2 hours. The upside to the storm, it slowed us up sufficiently that by the time we got to the Tappen Zee Bridge and 95N in CT, there was no traffic and we pulled into NMCC at midnight.

Thursday June 29, 2017 Day four

SCRIPTURE: Mark 2:1–11; Matthew 6:10    BIG IDEA: The good life is for now and forever.

A challenge that is often faced when writing the blog is trying to find the time to actually wite. Youthworks is a very well organized group, keeping the participants busy from 7am to 9:30pm. Then from 930pm to 11pm is our own Church time which always seems to be us running to a store. Many apologizes for those that read the blog and are finding redundancy in the stories or even incomplete sentences, particulalry last night when I found myself writing and sleeping….

Day Four of work all our kids are excited and and motivated as the end of a long week is nearing. Mr. Walsh’s group is determined that they will finish the ramp althought they were informed that they had to stop at 4:45pm due to the logistics of the rest of the night. During some spare time Wednesday night, Ben and the group were re-drawing their plans and making sure that each person knew what needed to get done. At 5pm we got texts from the group that they were on the way to the showers but were stuck at a railroad crossing..

Mr. Walsh’s group was also feeling a bit slighted by not having won the traveling Jesus on Tuesday or Wednesday, so their group spent a little bit extra time Wednesday night to make sure that their tool box was immaculate. There was a rumor that they made a couple of comments to the judge in attempts to influence them…….

Mrs Murphy’s group was at their 2nd project to finish up repairing the ceiling drywall. Dry walling is a slow process because no matter how good you are at installing the drywall, spackle can only dry so fast. So when spackle is drying, you find yourself taking a nap, everyone took a nap, the owner, the youth and even for a short time the leaders. Fortunately, they were clever enough to set an alarm. By the end of their work day, the spackle had dried, they had a good nap and they were able to continue on with the ceiling repairs to complete project #2.  The group also had some time to create Nomadic Jesus because they felt that their tool box was the best organized and the judging was biased…..

 

Mr Chin’s group had two floors to install and only 6 hours to do it. The initial thought was that the laminate flooring would be easy while the vinyl flooring more time consuming. It was quite the opposite, using the same flooring from before was a great way to save money for this project and it seemed like an easy re-install. However, even with some of the edges numbers, finding the correct flooring pieces to fit in was very time consuming as well as trying to get them to snap in place and by lunch we were barely 1/3 completed. The vinyl flooring was the opposite, with a little training on how to apply the adhesive with the trowel and how to best lay out the tiles; Clare, Genevieve, Anna, and Emma set off to tile the hallway. At the end of the day, we left with exhausted girls and two floors were completed.

Our last dinner as a group was the community BBQ at the Opry House in Delbarton, WV. This was the same spot where we had gone line dancing on Tuesday night. Mr Walsh’s group showed up late because of their project but once everyone was there, it was a wonderful time to enjoy a beautiful night, some food and the company of some new friends.

The week at YouthWorks concluded with the Large Group Gathering and the Washing of the Feet. The act of washing the feet follows the story of Jesus (John 13:1–17) in which Jesus (the Teacher) humbles himself by washing the feet of the Disciples. For us, the Youthworks leaders came out with buckets of water and washed the feet of the Adult leaders and then we prayed together and then in turn each leader would wash the feet of the youth, if they chose to do it. Our youth were torn with understanding the symbolism but have someone touch their feet and ultimately chose not to go through it.

Wednesday June 28, 2017 Day three
SCRIPTURE: John 10:10–14; First Peter 2:22–25; Luke 10:25–37,  BIG IDEA: The good life is for you and for others.

We now have our Mission Trip rhythm. Wake up, pack clothes for the showers, eat breakfast, morning devotions, work, shower, dinner, activity, large group meeting, NMCC time.

Today was no different, except that Mr Chin’s group finished their project by lunch and after a quick lunch break drove off to the next house to help out. The house that we needed to get to was two towns over but it was on the other side of the mountain. Which Mountain? Not really sure but we had to zig-zag our way along the roads. Once we got there, it was time to get the work. The house was already a Youthworks project and the previous group that was there had repaired the subflooring in the living room and hallway. Unfortunately the previous group did not have time to re-install the flooring (laminate and vinyl tiles) and that was our job. The previous group did carefully removed the laminate floor and even took the time to number the select pieces so similar to a jigsaw puzzle we spent the afternoon laying out the flooring. The hallway flooring should be a bit easier as we simply need to apply some vinyl adhesive and then the tiles.

Mr Walsh’s group is becoming more and more focused (especially with Ben) and building the multi-tiered ramp. One additional challenge for this group is that the person that uses the ramps needs access to the one ramp so that he can go about his day. This really means that the group needs to build everything in pieces and then once all the posts are set, install the ramp parts as fast as they can. In true NMCC SYG spirit, Ben, Maggie, Emma, Kelly and Christian are determined to finish the project up by Thursday and have already announced that they will say until the project is completed.

Mrs. Murphy’s group headed off to a new project and they found themselves needed to repair the ceiling drywall that was installed previously. Unfortunately, their work essentially is to take down the drywall and then re-install new drywall.One aspect of making sure that Youthworks can make an efficient work day is to try and get their tool buckets back to their workshop as organized as possible. A great incentive for that has been the traveling Jesus (a 2 foot tall wooden statue). A huge surprise to our entire group was the fact that Mrs. Murphy’s group has won traveling Jesus for two straight. This was not the surprise but that Jade was in charge of the tool bucket and meticulously organized it.

 

Our after dinner activity, today, was a sermon delivered to us by the Pastor of the Baptist church that the girls are staying in. This sermon was a little closer (in style, setup) to the service that NMCC has to offer. Some actually paid attention to how the Pastor interpreted the Some actually paid attention to how the Pastor interpreted the the passage of Joanh and the whale and actually commented afterwards

Our NMCC SYG free time was not another trip to Walmart but real free time. One discussion topic that I needed to talk to the SYG about was whether they (individually) wanted to get their feet washed. As when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, each Adult Leader would wash the feet of their own SYG (if agreed upon). Readers will have to wait until tomorrow to see what the SYG decided to do.

 

Tuesday June 27, 2017 Day two
SCRIPTURE: John 10:9–15
What do you think it means to walk closely with Jesus each day?

Being a part of this Mission trip, is that each group needs to be part of the breakfast or dinner prep crews or cleanup crews. The groups are assigned based on the work groups that were set on Sunday night, the only difficult chore is the breakfast prep time, requiring that the group waked up 30minutes earlier. Why might I be writing about this, because my group had this chore today. But more importantly, Mrs Murphy had the task to get the 9 girls up and ready for the day by 6:45am. God Bless her. The good news is that Mrs Murphy was successful and each girl was up and ready. The bad news; the Youthworks breakfast coordinator overslept and showed up 15minutes late so breakfast today was cereal.

Working today was another success. Mrs Murphy’s crew completed everything at their house. So they will get a new project tomorrow. Mr Walsh’s crew completed as much as the ramps as possible but ran out of lumber by 2:30pm. While my crew needs to install the last bit of the banister and about 50ft of skirting. The lack of properly charged batteries prevented us from completing either one of them.
Tonights Youthworks activity was to go to the Opry House in Delbarton and learn how to line dance. Yet another activity that the SYG whined and moaned about. But after watching other groups dancing, and the promise that I would drive them to the nearest Food City (food store) everyone eagerly jumped in line to dance and they really enjoyed it.

One highlight from today- at one of the worksites, the home owner had a dog that just gave birth to a litter of 7 puppies. The puppies were 5 weeks old and living outside under the house and the owner was looking to get rid of them. With very little coaxing, the adult leader from the Virginia group is now the proud owner of a puppy with fleas. The puppy is in good hands, as he was already sprayed with flea killer and given a bath.

Monday June 26, 2017
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 139:1–18  How would you define “the good life?”   Is it easier to notice beauty or brokenness in the world around you?

With a new day comes new hope, except for our SYG who are concerned about the morning schedule. Breakfast starts at 7:15am, followed by cleanup, and morning devotions. Our kids were a little apprehensive toward morning devotions for two reasons. First, the night before they were given a booklet for them to use throughout the week with questions about the Good Life. Second, the two other groups that were on site were much more accustomed to Youthwork’s type of service. Apprehensiveness was not just with the SYG as the adult leaders were a bit worried what they would do for the 30 minutes of alone time. The general consensus was that it should be a group devotion time, which gave relief to many particularly those that lost their books.

Before heading off to the work sites, we had our standard safety meeting, this organization was a bit more cautious. Teens over 18 were allowed to use any power tool, teens 16-17 were allowed to use only battery powered tools and 14-15 yrs old were allowed to use hand tools. Once all the admin stuff was reviewed, we were off the work sites.

Our group was broken up into three smaller work groups with Mr. Walsh leading Ben, Maggie, Emma C, Kelly and Christian. Erik, Jade and Ellie were with Mrs. Murphy and the rest of the SYG was with Mr. Chin. Mr. Walsh’s group was then combined with 6 others from a Virginia group and their task was to construct a multi-tiered ramp for a man in a wheelchair, as well as to install skirting around the mobile home. The day was a bit frustrating for our group due to the lack of a drawing for the ramp. Another frustration for the morning was not having all the necessary tools. Fortunately Mr. Walsh and Ben were veterans of this type of situation and by the end of the day construction of the ramp had started.

Mr. Chin’s group was located just 10 houses away, although we did not realize it until after lunch. We were tasked with similar projects, install skirting around the mobile home and repair/rebuild the entrance way deck. Erica, Elizabeth, Genevieve, Hayley and Clare had experience with this work and were able to dive right in and start cutting the corrugated tin. One experience that they did learn quickly was that cut tin has sharp edges and after a couple of tiny cuts each one of them learned how to handle the tin carefully. Jordyn and Lauren were put in charge of two hammers, since that was the only tools they were allowed to use, and figured out how fun demolition can be as they had to dismantle the banisters and steps around the deck. Anna and Emma began digging new post holes for the banisters and then learned how to use the circular saw (battery operated) to cut the 4×4 posts. Being the polite SYG people, Anna and Emma took turns cutting the wood and made sure that I took a picture to show Mr. Segnere that she can use power tools.

Mrs. Murphy’s group worked along side another group from Virginia and after a slow start found their groove doing some small projects. Ellie planted a tree, all three washed the house, built a fire pit, and fixed the awning above the door.

 

As with most Mission trips, work was completed for the day at 3pm so that the everyone could get cleaned up and ready for dinner by 6pm. After dinner the entire Youthwork’s groups headed out to Matewan to learn about the coal mining industry in the area and about the Hatfield-McCoy feud. Fortunately for us we were fist into the Coal Mines War Museum and Big Jim, our tour guide gave as the hour tour (40 minutes longer than planned) so by the time he was done talking to us everyone needed to head back to the Church. Monday night service was similar to Sunday’s service except that our Youth were more prepared and readily participated in the singing and the “Yea Gods”.

We finished our night up with one more trip to Walmart but this was for a valid reason. My group noticed some plants on the deck and thought it would be nice to go and purchase some more. So each person in the group contributed $2 of their own money and I matched their contributions we were able to get basil, rosemary, two different chicks n hens and some flowery plant for the group to give to the family as our gift.

Sunday June 25, 217
Just a small update to our overnight within the Zion Church.

Keeping the SYG entertained has always been a challenge, because there is never a group activity that can satisfy everyone at the same time. One might think that a good movie would keep them occupied. However the SYG cannot get to one good movie, some like scary movies while some prefer Disney. In the end, a scary movie was selected, those that were scared before the movie started did not watch and those that wanted the movie barely watched.

Although we were invited to stay for the Zion Church Sunday Service, another 6 hr drive swayed us to politely decline and push forward. So, in the morning we packed up, cleaned the Church and were on the road by 7:45am in search of a Dunkin Donuts. With no traffic at all, we cruised along I70 to I68 to I79. 4 Hours later we got off the highway and needed some lunch. Another dilemma for a group this size is finding a restaurant…. We thought the Little Caesars we found might have a seating area, but no, nor did they have bathrooms. Fortunately, the Kroger’s food store right next door had bathrooms and a small hot food section that was able to satisfy the 5 vegetarians and 1 vegan on the trip. Since the Mission trip is all about having new experiences, the small octopus salad that Mr Chin bought was intriguing enough for Kelly, Genevieve, Lauren and Erik to try some. They may not eat it ever again and none of them were convinced that it counted as a vegetable for the day, even though it had the word “salad” in it, fortunately none of them spit it out.

We arrived at the First Baptist Church in Williamson, WV around 4pm and the spirits of the SYG were immediately raised when they were informed that they would be able to take showers. It was a small drive to the Community pool and once inside their spirits were immediately deflated again. The Community pool was no longer in operation and Youthworks has the only access. As expected, the building was built a looooong time ago, so the shower was simply a room with 4 shower heads and a questionable drain.

Another shock to the SYG was the worship service that Youthworks does. Much more energetic and interactive than what we are used to, the SYG struggled to be solemn. Eventually the group settled, and with a little coaxing started to participate.

The day ends with our own group time and the group decided to track down a Walmart for better shower supplies and food. In case people are counting, the SYG has now been able to shop in a Walmart in Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Kentucky. There is talk to stop at a Walmart in West Virginia and New Jersey on the way back.

The Good Life
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” – Jesus (John 10:10)

Saturday June 25, 2017: Day 1-Zion Reformed UCC, Hagerstown, MD

It was a very wet start to our Mission trip as a steady rain fell drenched everyone one of us as we tried to pack the vans. However the rain did not damper the excitement of the group and with a quick prayer from Pastor Jim and our traditional snack bags from the Deacons, we jumped into the vans and headed off.  Our destination was the Zion Reformed United Church of Christ located in Hagerstown, MD, a mere 343 miles away from NMCC. Things started to turn for the better because as we started to get onto 95 South, the rains started to subside and the sun was upon us.

Traffic getting to the Tappen Zee Bridge was slow and it was even slower on 287 South due to some construction.  The drivers took this as a sign that it was time for a bathroom break and lunch so with a quick exit, we were able to locate a Subway. One benefit of traveling with only 3 boys is that there is no line for the bathroom, unless the girls decide to use both…..  This point was again reinforced when we had to stop at a Dunkin Donuts later on.

Except for the car fire on the opposite side of the road, the rest of the ride as uneventful and we arrived at the Zion Reformed UCC just a little behind schedule.  A huge shout out to Pastor Munroe and Zion Reformed UCC for opening their doors and allowing us to spend the night.  After our hellos, Pastor Munroe gave us a tour of the church which was founded in 1770 as a German Reformed Church.  The architecture of the Church was truly amazing and the organ was impressive.

The SYG Mission trip trek to a Walmart continues on. After dinner at the Golden Corral with Pastor Munroe, he was kind enough to pointed us in the direction of the Hagerstown Walmart. With only 30minutes to shop, the SYG decided to focus on the short term needs; pillow, foam bedding for the floor, 6 bottles of selzter and a couple of scary movies.

As we wind down the first day of traveling, it is good to see the SYG excited about getting down there to work. And it is even better to know that only three of the SYG spotted the bat that lives inside the Church….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday June 25, 2017: Day 1-pretrip

School’s out and summer has started which means it is time for the NMCC SYG Mission trip!!!  The vans are rented and waiting for the 17 SYG’ers and 3 fearless Adult leaders (Karen Murphy, Frank Walsh and Jeff Chin) to pack up and drive off. This year the SYG will be traveling to Williamson, Wva to work with Youthworks and “Serve the community through labor-intensive construction projects”.

Getting there will be an adventure in itself.  Williamson, Wva. is over 700miles from NMCC which translates to a lot of quality time together while we drive there. Fortunately we will not have to drive there all in one day and will be heading to the Zion UCC Church in Hagerstown MD as they have graciously offered their Church up to us for the overnight.

More to come once we are on the road

ABOUT YOUTHWORKS

YouthWorks exists to connect teenagers to God, each other and communities through life-changing Christ-centered mission trips.

 ABOUT MINGO COUNTY

Located southwest of Charleston and sharing a border with Kentucky, Mingo County, West Virginia includes cities such as Williamson and Delbarton and is steeped in a rich history of coal mining. It would be hard to find a community member who hasn’t worked in a mine or doesn’t know someone connected to coal mining. Coal mining is, in many ways, inseparable from daily life and also influences the political and economic life of these small towns. This area of the country is also famously home to the Hatfield and McCoy’s (the Hatfield’s lived in Mingo County while the McCoy’s lived in Pike County, Kentucky just across the Tug River). Mingo County is also the grounds for the West Virginia Mine Wars, the largest civil uprising since the Civil War. Today, the remote location offers some economic challenges for the small population to overcome, but it is conquering these challenges together that has created a culture of hard working, community-minded people full of pride and hospitality.