2016 Mission Trip Blog

Saturday/Sunday July 17, 2016

Packing up and traveling home was uneventful. The hardest thing for the kids was actually waking up, which was surprising considering it was time to head home. Traffic was light and every one slept.

Mission trips are a difficult event to plan for. This year we needed to plan for our own meals. Cooking for 9 is typically means planning for a lot of food but this group did not eat a lot. Perhaps it was because of all the in between snack foods that they had. Ask them about all the Chinese food that they did not eat. Which is fine because we took the leftovers home which meant that Mr. & Mrs. Walsh had a Chinese dinner for his return home. An extra challenge has been the herbivores in the group. We have two, one is a vegetarian and one is a vegan. Fast food (i.e. Wendy’s) for lunch while driving home but we stopped anyway.

The week is over but with mixed emotions. As the SYG leader and as a parent I am proud of what they accomplished. The kids have completed a week of physically, demanding labor with a majority of the work in direct sunlight. They were able to build the frame of a second floor house, learned how to shingle the house and then stacked firewood all of this to help those in need. They also had a lot of fun getting to know Mr. Walsh as well as each other. But there is also a bit of sadness for all of the same reasons.



Friday July 15, 2016

Today we started our work day a bit late. Mainly because inside the sawmill I spied 4 beautiful pieces of pine slab (8ft x 3inches thick) that would make an amazing table that were available for purchase…. So I bought them but needed to cut them a little to fit into the minivan. After that it was time to get the kids working again.table

Mr. Walsh and crew (Hayley, Emma, Ellie and Jade) continued their work with wood stacking. If it were not for our pictures, one may never know that we were working on the stacks. The sheds are huge and there is a lot of wood to stack. Today’s wood pile was for the furnace that heats the H.O.M.E office and they actually had to move two piles. The first pile was scrap wood that could be burned but not really for the furnace. It was dumped in front of the furnace and was in the way so the kids needed to move that pile out of the way before stacking the real fire wood. At the end of the day Clint asked them to shovel sawdust that was piling up in the mill. The sawdust gets carted out to the farm and used for the animals there.

The house crew (Maggie, Ben and Erik) had limited success for their final day. With the second floor frame up and the materials not ordered yet for the roof, the goal for the day was to get the closet walls in place. The morning was used to cut all the studs while Darryl nailed the floor plates in place. This would allow an easy afternoon of aligning the ceiling plate and then leveling out the wall studs. Unfortunately getting things level and ensuring that the walls were aligned turned out to be more of a challenge, especially as checking the measurements and then double checking it. In the end we convinced ourselves that the reference points were off and the floor plate was not aligned with the ceiling plate and the 2×4 studs that were cut were ½ inch too long. In the end frustration crept in and the decision was made to wait until Glen and Darryl returned from renting scaffolding. The wait turned out to be the all afternoon (not a good feeling to end the week with) and with the remaining 30 minutes we helped Glen install some scaffolding for next week’s volunteers.

We ended the day at the Chinese restaurant in town, that served very large portions and at the end our meal we had a lot of leftover. What better way to end the day then with more ice cream and to watch the sunset across the Penobscot Bay before heading back for movie night.20160715_18400320160713_200235movietime



Thursday July 14, 2016

It is hard to imagine that our Mission trip is almost over (and I say that every year) but we have one more day of work and then we are on our way home. We have also been blessed with excellent weather. Today was sunny but windy which kept the temperature moderated and allowed us to be a bit more motivated.

Ben, Maggie, and Erik were able to complete the construction of the walls and get them in place even with the rough start that they had. We got to the house before Darryl or Glen and needed to wait for them. When Darryl showed up he was able to open garage but unfortunately he had none of the power tools. So we were able to do some shingling while we waiting for Glen to show up. By 10:30am, Glen showed up with the tools and ladders and we were able to start. With three days of building walls under their tool belts,  Ben, Maggie and Erik knew how to work together and a wall in under 1.5 hours. Unfortunately they finished putting the wall together just before lunch and needed to wait a little bit longer before securing it in place. After lunch was similar to the morning, while waiting for Darryl and Glen to show up they were able to build the last wall. Good things come to those that wait and by the end of day 4, 10 wall sections were built and the second floor was framed.day4

The rush of Mission trip Adrenalin all of us as well as the energy/enthusiasm of the kids. Mr. Walsh unaware of these perils over exerted himself sometime Tuesday and threw out his lower back/hip. Nothing career ending but enough to make it difficult to lie down, sit down, stand up or bend over. Mr Walsh is hard-core and has been pushing through some of his pain and with a little help from ibuprofen and Tylenol. Today we decided it was best for him to work with the other group, Jade, Ellie, Hayley and Emma to work the log splitter and stack wood piles. Still not on easy task for a ailing back but an opportunity to work with the others. Stacking wood may sound like an easy task but H.O.M.E heats their entire complex using wood furnaces and their furnaces our huge. There is also a science behind efficient heating because our group needed to make to wood piles, the softer wood closer to the furnace and then the harder wood inside the wood shed. It is nice that Glen and Clint (the superviser of the sawmill and furnaces) believe that we can accomplish more than physically possible because they keep telling us about the five wood sheds that need to get stockpiled. At the end of the day, they were able to get a stack of wood split and a cord of wood stacked up but when looking at it one would never know. This can also be extrapolated into: all of these girls are fully capable of staking wood at home.furnace woodshed

Everyone is tired but in a good way which meant Pizza Hut for dinner followed by another stop at Walmart and then back to H.O.M.E for a movie night.


Wednesday July 13, 2016

Oh how the world has changed as we are now truly a mobile nation. Somehow during the excitement of a new Mission trip and the advent of Amazon Prime, Erik and Jade decided to order matching necklaces on Monday for delivery to H.O.M.E today. So today there was extra excitement (for some) as they were able to track the delivery truck to within 20 miles but yet not know when it would arrive. Fortunately, it arrived before the office closed and thus redefining “roughing it” is on a Mission trip.

The past two days the weather has been great and the forecast is looking good for the rest of the week. The days have been sunny with temperatures in the mid 80’s. We have already run out of sunscreen and needed to get additional supplies as all of the kids are careful not to get sunburned. All but Ellie are veterans of a Mission trip so they know how to grab a hammer ( I would like to say it comes naturally but…..). With some oversight from Glen, there is no stopping them except for day 3. Most of the adrenalin rush has passed with the excitement of a new adventure ebbing, this means that getting up at 7:15am is a lot slower but they trudge on as they know that house is waiting.day3 begin

Building the second floor frame has been a priority for the week, which meant that Ben and his years of being a Boy Scout had one task for the week. Mr. Walsh and  Erik have been working along side Ben for the past two days but today Maggie decided to muscle her way to the 2nd floor and help out. The four of them put a full day of work in and were able to complete two more walls, leaving two more to go and two days left.

The rest of us started at the house to work on the shingles but by mid-morning the rest of us went back to H.O.M.E to do some work helping with the Food Bank of Maine. The Food Bank has a mobile food truck that distributes basic food supplies to families that would qualify, approximateyl 150 people within Orland, Maine. We (Hayley and Jade) were asked to help carry the food boxes for the elderly to their cars. Emma and Ellie in the meantime learned how to chop wood with the hydraulic splitter (sorry no pictures, needed to make sure fingers were clear from the splitter).day3 end

As much as I have tried not to go to the local grocery store every day, the eating habits of of teenagers cannot be taken lightly, also no matter how much I write things down, there is always something forgotten. After getting a propane tank filled at the local hardware store, off I went to get more food supplies. Thankfully Hayley was willing to help out and stood in line to get some more cold cuts. Hayley (with a little help from Erik) also volunteered to grill the hamburgers and hot dogs. The night ended with a trip to an ice cream store and watching the sun set across the Penobscot River


An Mission trip Interlude (Story by Ellie Shea)

We are driving in the van when suddenly Jade announced there is a Ghastly near.  The Pokecrew freaked out, for the Ghastly is a rare sight.  Mr.Chin was asked to pull over and he succeeded with the task.  He pulled over in what seems to be a construction site and Erik (who doesn’t even play), Emma, Ellie, and Jade walked around until they have all caught it, which was difficult because Ellie’s phone glitches a little. They all celebrated for a good two minutes. The Ghastly was even better than imagined, even though he was a low CP.  We then proceeded to go to an ice-cream place, which was surrounded by Pokestops.  Moral of the story is that Pokemon Go brings people together.


Tuesday July 12, 2016

After a fun night of Bannagrams we woke up at 7. As normal we ate breakfast and packed our lunch. On the way out to the van we find out that Darrell is out sick today and gives Mr. Walsh the plans for the house. Once we get to the worksite Ellie and I go to start shingling the wall in the back but first we need to create a platform because the shingles are above or reach. Maggie, Jade, and Emma start to shingle the front of the house along with Mr. Chin assisting. Ben and Erik alongside Mr. Walsh had a successful day of building two walls and putting up three.walls

We went back to H.O.M.E. to eat lunch, cool down, and use the restrooms. As soon as that is done we go back to the worksite. We arrived there before Glen. So we get right to work in HOT sun. As the group shingling in front soon notices they have made a mistake. Some of the pieces were not the right size so they had to take down a whole row just to fix them. Soon after that the girls in the back have finished the back wall. So they asked Glen what to do next. It was time to shingle the wall. After some time some of us started to clean up.shingle2

After the work day we come back to the bunks and got directions to a World Class Pond. After everyone changed into a bathing suit we headed out. Once we arrived we had a short walk to get there. The water was so nice and refreshing. A few brave people went on the rope swing that if they were to jump off they would have  landed in very shallow water. After a couple minutes of playing around in the water they found tadpoles that were almost frogs. Once they got out they were all laying down talking, when a little girl is in the water and throws a fit saying she will not get out of the water till her mom goes swimming with her. After 15 minutes her mom finally gets her out of the water. Soon after they left Maggie got dared to go in the same spot which happened to be on a rock and tell Mr. Chin that she would not leave until he went swimming with her. So Maggie did it and when she was going onto the rock she sat down and fell off the back. She got right up and continued to do the dare. After she got out we packed up and headed back to the bunks.

Once we got back some people went to get more groceries while Ben, Maggie, and Emma made a wonderful dinner of chicken alfredo. While they were making dinner Jade, Hayley, and Ellie climbed onto the roof and played Bannagrams. Today was an amazing day fun. In Erik’s words we all have gotten attached to our tools belts.

Written by: Hayley  

Monday July 11, 2016 

After a good nights sleep we were up early to have breakfast and make our lunches for the day. With a quick meeting to introduce ourselves, we were off to a new construction house. The two H.O.M.E people that were to work with us on the house were Daryl and Glen, Glen was the same carpenter that worked with us in 2012 so working with Glen was just like old times.day1ouse

The house that we were going to work on for the next week definitely has plenty of work cut out for us.  Ben and Erik worked with Daryl for most of the day measuring once and cutting twice while building frames for the second floor of the residence.  Haley, Emma, Jade, Maggie and Ellie spent the day shingling the back and front sides of the house to meet the perfection that Glen expects.  At noon we headed back to H.O.M.E. for a quick bathroom break and water bottle refill and ate our sandwiches in the car.  We quickly drove back to the work sight to continue working for another few hours.  When the work day was over we washed up in showers that we were not instructed on how to turn on the water heater.

Walmart has seemed to become a tradition when it comes to NMCC mission trips, even when that means driving an hour total to make the trip.  After stocking up on some of the essentials (ie chocolate milk and candy), and getting insulted by the cashier (she made fun of Maggie’s pockets and called Ben forgetful), we drove back H.O.M.E. and waited for quite a while for Ellie, Jade, Erik, and Hayley to put together “breakfast for dinner,” which consisted of vegan pancakes, eggs, sausage, and bacon.  It was well worth the wait.  After dinner we played a quick round of Banana Grams, which I think everyone learned some new vocabulary through, and went up to the room to watch Mama.  Unfortunately, since the television is from the 10th century, we could not get it to play anything but the static station, even with Ben and Mr.Chin trying to fix it for about a half hour.  Thankfully, being the optimistic kids that we are, we wouldn’t let the disappointment get to us and fixed our sorrows by finishing the night jamming out to the lyrical genius of “Matty B Raps.”


Overall, we had a great first day and are very optimistic for the week to come.

Written by Maggie


Sunday 10,2016

Sunday July 10, 2016

This morning 7 NMCC SYG (Ben Chasse, Jade Chin, Emma Connolly, Erik Mathews, Hayley Murphy, Maggie Shea and Ellie Shea)  accompanied by 2 chaperones set off for Orland Maine in what was expected to be a 6 hr drive.  Unfortunately the stop in Portsmouth, NH for a 45 minute lunch break turned into a 2 hour lunch break. The lunch was delicious and the Pokemon capture rate was high and exciting as Ellie caught a very RARE POLIWAG! Not sure what we are talking about? The latest fad is a game called Pokemon Go and a majority of the ride was spent looking for designated sites.


Turning to the real focus of this trip, We arrived safely at H.O.M.E around 530pm and were quickly shown around by Jessica and then we were back in the van to go grocery shopping. Unlike other Mission trips, H.O.M.E does not provide any food only the facilities to cook. Tonight’s dinner was crafted by Ben Chasse, Emma Connolly and Maggie Shea and was comprised of stir fry garlic broccoli, vegan fried rice, teriyaki chicken and finishing with blueberry cobbler.

As with all Mission trips, the kids but more importantly the adults, learn a little about flexibility and adaptability as H.O.M.E only has 1 sleeping quarters composed of 12 bunk beds. The room is also peppered with graffiti some of it inappropriate but a majority of it creative and inspirational.

A huge thanks goes to Frank Walsh, our other chaperone. Driving in solitary peace or in a bass thumping, ear popping van? One of these maybe better than the other and Frank had one of them. For that we are truly thankful for Frank’s desire to work with the youth of our Church.

Who is H.O.M.E?

H.O.M.E. (Homeworkers Organized for More Employment) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1970 dedicated to keeping and enhancing the quality of life for low-income and homeless families. Through services, stewardship of resources, and shared responsibility, we aim to bring forth new possibilities for food, jobs, shelter, low-income housing, education, and self-sufficiency.  In addition to building skills used in the job setting, H.O.M.E. also enjoys the responsibility of educating people on issues vital to sustaining an equitable society.