Category Archives: Religion

Decorah Waterfall

A quick announcement before we get to the meat of this entry.

I will be working a concession stand at the Boone Municipal Band Festival today for the church. I will be there. I think some of my family. Some of the kid’s from the youth group. I think the money will go to the youth group, but I’m not entirely sure.

Unfortunately, we have no freedom with the menu. We are being forced to serve beef burgers. I know. Gross. The loose meat sandwich is an abomination that will burn in hell next to the only thing more evil than it. The open faced sandwich.

Oh, you don’t think I’d forgotten about the open face sandwich had you! Oh no, my hatred for you still burns. IT BURNS!

That being said, you could do worse than come out and buying some water or chips or tea from us. You can even buy a stupid loose meat sandwich and then just throw it in the trash where it belongs.

You will be doing 2 good deeds that way. Supporting a good cause and making sure there is one less loose meat sandwich in the world.

Also, the Municipal Band Festival usually has pretty good music.

We will be working the concession stand from 2-7.

While I know I’m not selling you on the food, I had forgot to mention there would also be pie for sale. Delicious homemade pie!

Come and get it!

+++++++

Back in May of 2017 I went on a little road trip to Decorah to see their waterfall. I would call it by name, but I’ve seen it spelled about 4 different ways. So we’ll just call it the Decorah Waterfall.

Here are some pictures:


Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

Dunnings Spring

The last 2 pictures are from the Ice Cave. I didn’t go very far into the cave because I was travelling alone and I didn’t want to get stuck in a crevice without somebody being able to point and laugh at me or pull me out. That is the price the Lone Wolf* has to pay to be a Lone Wolf!

*Scientifically documented.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 8

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

The last day of the Mission Trip was the shortest as it is only a quick 8 hours from Tulsa to Boone. I spent most of the day driving and we stopped for lunch at an IHOB in Liberty, Kansas for lunch. Jordan’s choosing. We stopped at the Junction Creamery in Osceola for ice cream to celebrate Summer’s Gotcha Day. Other than that, the day was just bathroom stops.

I drove almost the entire day, so there aren’t many photos.

But here is my day in photos:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
#wafflelife Always stay in a hotel with free breakfast. Hotels that charge for breakfast are bull(expletive deleted)!!!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
As the kids were packing up the van, I took a few quick shots around downtown Tulsa.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Bathroom break and gas stop.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This is a stupid rule.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Stopping in Osceola for ice cream!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Watch out Anna, that lady behind you is eyeing your Cookie Monster!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This is how Summer smiles!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This is how Summer shows joy.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Emily and officially the last picture of the mission trip.

We got home a little after 6. Sadly, when we got home we found out that Megan’s car had been towed. Nobody had paid attention to where she parked and the city towed her.

After that was sorted out, I somehow got out of returning the vans to Ankeny, so I went home. Saw Naima and tried to re-orient myself back to normal life.

It was an amazing trip on just about every level. I really can’t recommend going on a mission trip enough. Especially with a youth group. It is rewarding beyond your imagination.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 7

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

Friday morning everybody works on cleaning the building. Then you have a quick breakfast (usually this is a packed breakfast), everybody says goodbye and then you hit the road for the long, long, long trip back to the Cyclone State.

After cleaning the building, the kids got to put a pie in the face of each of the YouthWorks employees as a reward for buying so many shirts.

My day in pictures:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
YouthWorks!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jaxon packed up and ready for the road!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Our toilets for the last 18 hours.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Breakfast!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan got one of the honors.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Pie in the face!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This was Talia. I think she was literally in pain.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Ashley was next. She was the Site Director.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Last was Brogen.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Our super caring kids did lead blinded Talia to the water.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Group photo!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Before we headed back we stopped by the Texans’ practice field. Megan’s “hot” older brother is the turf manager for the Texans.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
He oversees their 3 grass practice fields.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
He also see the turf on their indoor practice field.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The guy is like 26 and he already has his dream job. Thanks to a degree from Iowa State University.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Group photo on the Texans logo.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A closer photo.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Overturning a practice tire.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kyle sized tire.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Schoff Bros.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I was shocked to see that the Astrodome is still standing. They are turning it into a parking garage.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Inside NRG Stadium. He is also in charge of the turf in the stadium.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We also got a tour of the stadium where Houston’s professional soccer teams play.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Also managed by somebody from Boone County. This time from Ogden. Also an Iowa State graduate. Seeing a trend?

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Most the tour was of the concourse, we weren’t able to go down onto the field because the Houston Dash had a game that night.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Celebrating in the pool at the hotel in Tulsa. (Photo cred: Tiffany)

Not pictured:

Most of the day. After we left Houston, most of the rest of the day was spent on the road with one mission. To get to the hotel in Tulsa before the pool closed at 11. We ate lunch at a Chick-Fil-A. Then we drove with only bathroom stops all the way to Tulsa. We got there a little before 10.

Andy was a swell guy and ordered up a bunch of pizzas from a local pizza place in Tulsa. I think the place was called Mazzio’s. It was delicious.

The kids got to swim in the pool until almost midnight, before the hotel employees realized they were still in there and kicked them out.

For the first time in over a week, I got to sleep in a bed. It was glorious! It was everything I remembered that sleeping could be!

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 6

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

Thursday was the last day of full mission trip activities.

Here is my day in pictures:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Rattle Snakes had breakfast prep.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Alan and Autumn preparing the lunch prep table.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Cowboys had building maintenance.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Other Chris was nice enough to take the trash out for us in the rain.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan sweeping the floor.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna sweeping.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Since we were going to a new house, we were told that we needed somebody from Nehemiah’s Vision to take us to it. They didn’t show up for a good 45 minutes after we were supposed to start working. We lost an hour of work time.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan getting a workout in.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I forgot to make a bag this year. I also forgot to send any messages this year. I failed.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
YouthWorks shirts. They usually give away a shirt at the end of the mission trip. They didn’t do this year. So we used Methodist Men money to buy a shirt for every kid that wanted a shirt.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Shirts

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
From Wednesday night’s worship.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Ways they can take what they learned on the Mission Trip home with them.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Waiting almost an hour to even leave: thumbs down.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie found her calling. Staining.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Caulking and puttying.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Ellie from Missouri staining shelves.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A kitchen full of stainers.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie really took to staining.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Fred telling his story.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna staining the bottom.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Almost quitting time.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie doesn’t want to quit.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
When we got back to where we were staying, we were greeted with the news that the plumbing in the bathrooms had stopped working. No showers or toilets. However, they had a trailer on site that was converted into showers.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Thursday’s shower, quite frankly it was a big upgrade over the showers that were in the building. The showers in the building were designed for midgets. Anorexic midgets. Which is also the name of my new spoken word album dropping in time for Christmas shopping.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kids waiting for the adults to be done showering. Sidenote: Andy got locked in to his shower. Somebody had to come help him out.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna is always throwing shade at her dad for eating gas station hot dogs, but she never had one. So we made her eat one. She was not impressed. She was right to not be impressed, but at least we pushed her outside of her comfort zone.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Donovan helping grill for the Community Cookout. This is my 4th Community Cookout. In the past there has been 100-=150 people show up. 3 people showed up. Understand that it was their first ever Community Cookout, but 3 people was pretty sad. I would have thought some of the Baptists would’ve shown up. They must have found out about our dancing.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This ice cream man was the only black person I saw in Vidor the whole time we were there. Remember I told you about Vidor’s racist past. He did not live in Vidor. With Methodist Men money we bought ice cream for everybody on the mission trip.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Thursday was Summer’s Gotcha Day. The awesome staff at YouthWorks made Summer a cake to celebrate! If you don’t know what a Gotcha Day is, it is the day when a new member of a family* during the adoption process.

The last full day of the mission trip is always an emotional day. As the kids (and yes adults) realize that they will not being seeing the family** that they have spent almost every moment with for last 4 days.

The final worship service ends with a foot washing ceremony. One of the YouthWorks staff washes the feet of the adults. Then the adults wash the feet of the kids in their group. The first time I thought it was extremely weird. I know the story about when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples:

John 13:1-17 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

But still, until you go through it, it is hard to explain how powerful an experience it can be.

After the foot washing, we had our Church Time. As always, it was emotional as everybody had unpacked the experiences from the trip. It ended perfectly. Jordan told everybody what this trip had meant to him in his life. After he spoke, we prayed and ended the night with a group hug with Jordan in the middle.

Not pictured:

Kolbe convinced another adult on the trip to put together a PowerPoint with the lyrics to CONVOY and COUNTRY ROADS so that they could project them on the wall so when they serenaded the girls, they would actually know the words.

I don’t have video of this because I joined the Vidor Boys Choir on that night. It is rare that you get to see me fire up the golden pipes, too bad you can’t see it.

*With apologies to some people’s definition of family.
**See above.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 5

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

The third group from Bone First United Methodist Church was the Rattlesnakes. They had breakfast cleanup on Wednesday morning.

Here is my day in pictures:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Alan organizing stuff.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Summer and Autumn.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Autumn balancing cups.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Summer cleaning dishes.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
There was a bunch of donated furniture in the building where we were staying and a lot of it came from Iowa State University.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Finishing up dishes.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Cleaning up after lunch prep.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
For the first time all week we could see some blue in the sky!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Hands in!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan and Mackenzie finishing up in the living room.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Cleaning up the ceiling rollers.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna and Ellie from Missouri packing up the tarps.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan cleaning up the floors.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Tiffany getting paint out of Mackenzie’s hair.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan and Anna finishing up the trim.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan keeping his selfie game strong.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Really strong!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Cowboys, without Ellie from Missouri!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
With Ellie from Missouri. Can you find her?

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe doing Megan Squats. Anna trying not to look impressed.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
On our way out of the house that had been our work site all week, the daughter of the woman who owned the house stopped by. She started crying while she was thanking us for our help. Some of the kids cried. I held strong though. For the most part.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Next we went to house where we unloaded drywall.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
2 trailers full!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Maci. The anchor of the drywall team!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe and Jordan

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Drywall team!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Teamwork!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Allegedly Kolbe and Anna are Big Hosses. Either they don’t know what that means, or I don’t. Take your pick.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Cowboys had dinner prep.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mixing lemonade!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Look at all this pizza the Cowboys made!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Luckily Megan was trained in knife work back in Boone by Brad, one of FUMC’s master chefs.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna, showing leadership skills!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Sonic run!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Sonic!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Ukeladies rocking worship!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Okay, this is bizarre. I drove all the way to Vidor, Texas to see that 2 of my cousins are chaperoning a church in Missouri. Kari and Wendy. We are like 3rd cousins or something. They knew me, but honestly I didn’t know them. I know them now though.

I’ve been telling you about how much Kolbe LOVES the song CONVOY. Below is video evidence



The group that does lunch prep has to do a creative way of introducing supper to the rest of the group. This is how The Cowboys introduce supper!

Not pictured:

Wednesday night we were told that we were no longer allowed to play secular music. Now, we weren’t the ones playing the music, it was the YouthWorks crew that was playing secular music. Normally YouthWorks plays Christian music, but this year I would describe the music as “Humble Narrator’s Junior High Mixtape”. Lots of AC/DC and Guns’n’Roses and Bon Jovi.

A member of the Baptist Church we were staying at came in and heard the music that they were playing. They were shocked, SHOCKED, that they were playing secular music in their building. And it was so hard too. That was the end of the secular music. Well, at least the end of secular music for the most part, but we’ll get to that.

I texted Pastor Sarah, about the secular music ban. She wrote back, that we were lucky the Baptists didn’t find out we were dancing in their building.

I texted to Alisa and she texted, back: “Were they playing Cardi B.?”

The Cultural Event for Wednesday night was going to the Baptist Church for Bible Study. The boy and girls were segregated into separate groups. The boys group listened to Part 3 on a 4 part series on “How to be a Real Man”.

Part 3 of being a “real man” is being romantic with your woman. The teacher used the example that how he is romantic with his wife is listening to her talk.

This was followed with a lesson how to use a compass.

I confess that it was incredibly boring and I began staring at the floor and counting the time until it was over. Then all of a sudden I heard an audible gasp across the room.

The compass guy had pulled a switchblade-lie knife out of his pocket. He was trying to show that the metal in the knife threw off the compass’ reading of true north. It was then that Andy pointed out to me that the compass guy was carrying a gun. Texas.

From what I gathered, the girls talked about “being nice”. Particularly in a blended family.

After worship and church time, the boys “serenaded” the girls with John Denver’s COUNTRY ROADS.





After that, I stayed up until 1 AM talking with Chris the Youth Pastor from the Missouri church and Donovan. It was 3 hours of conversation about the church and it was great perspective. It was perhaps the low key highlight of the trip for me.

I knew Thursday morning was going to come quick, but I’ve had later mission trip nights than this one. At least this one wasn’t spent in a hospital Emergency Room.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 4

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

The Heat Waves had breakfast prep on Tuesday morning. I believe they served burnt waffles. #wafflelife

Here is my day in pictures:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Heat Waves thinking, “Waffles, so much better burnt.”

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Emily doing lunch prep.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Emily learning how to slam lettuce.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
All Heat Waves on deck!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jentry making sure everything is in the right place.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Andy and Kyle organizing the lunch meat.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Don’t tell the Baptists, but we were dancing in their building.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Some of these kids have moves!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Hands in!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mosher Painting Service!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Also sent this picture of Kolbe rocking NASA swag to Flat Earth Joe. He did not respond.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Clean up.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Maci cleaning up the floor.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Tiffany!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe painting the living room ceiling.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I believe this is called mean mugging. I don’t know. I’m old.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Paint central.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Vidor started to flood, so they called us back to the church for safety. We were actually working in a town called Rose Acres. So we had a long drive back in the flooded streets.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
But luckily, when we got back to the church they found us a new job! Filling sandbags!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We emptied the church’s sandpile.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A kid from another church estimated we filled “like 20 sandbags!” The actual number was closer to 1,000.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
When we were done sandbagging, we loaded 3 trailers full of sandbags.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
When they were loaded, the Baptist Minister wanted us to load our kids up into the trucks and put the sandbags into place. We told him that we were not putting our kids in flood water. He was not a happy camper.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The next day we talked to a guy that went with them to put the sandbags in place. He told us that there were water moccasins in the water with them.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A bonus of the sandbagging was the ground was filled with angry ants that came out of the ground and lit quite a few of us up!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
You were in store for a world of hurt if you got on top of that dirt mound.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
But at least after the sandbagging, we got to hit the showers!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Cowboys had dinner cleanup. I wouldn’t be talking out of turn if I told you that they rocked it!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
MacKenzie – Master dish stacker!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
That night, the Ukeladies helped lead the worship service.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This is what happens when you destroy your only pair of shoes sandbagging!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Hailey!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Some version of volleyball!

The cultural activity on Tuesday night was supposed to be a free night. Do whatever you want. We were going to try to go down to the Gulf, even though it was about an hour away. However, since Vidor started to flood, we weren’t able to go more than a couple of blocks away. So our cultural event was going to Baskin Robbins and Whataburger.

If you want to see what I mean by how The Cowboys rocked the dish situation, watch the videos below:






These videos suffer from Vertical Video Syndrome because they were originally posted to Instagram Stories. That is also why they are regrettably short in length.

However, that rocking would not come without a cost. That cost I will cover in tomorrow’s post on Day 5.

Not Pictured: I got to meet up with Joe Duff on Tuesday for about 5 minutes. He came to the place where we were staying, but then had to get home because of the flooding. I was hoping he would make it back for the Community Dinner on Thursday, but he has a little baby to look after, so there is that.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 3

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

The Cowboys had breakfast prep. This means that you have to be in the kitchen by 6:45 to make breakfast for everybody. I like having this chore on Monday because it gets it out of the way early. Although truth is that the only chore I don’t really like is Building Maintenance because it involves cleaning toilets. I have that in common with many of my co-workers and the employees at that Road Ranger in Illinois.

This was my day in pictures:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe and Jordan cutting lunch supplies. Everybody makes and packs their own lunch. You eat lunch at your work site.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna bageling.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie, right on time!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Schoff Boys waiting for breakfast.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The breakfast prep team has to do a little skit to announce what is for breakfast in the morning. We had cereal.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Heat Waves had breakfast cleanup. Andy and Emily doing dishes.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Andy doing dishes.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jentry.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Hailey clearing the tubs.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Donovan changing garbage.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Heat Waves cleaning up after everybody had packed their lunch.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Not going to lie, the Cowboys got probably the easiest work assignment. While most groups installed insulation and hung drywall, we puttied, caulked, and painted. Lots of window trim and doors.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe puttying.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan puttying.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna painting trim.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie and Tiffany painting doors.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Lunch!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan and Cousin Kari painting doors.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan and Anna!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
It still hadn’t stopped raining!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A masterpiece.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Anna knocking out that door.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jake from Missouri.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Pretty flower!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The Cowboys didn’t come to play (okay maybe a little bit)!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
More closet action!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Cleaning up for the day!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
More cleanup!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie was our inventory master!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A hard day’s work.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
More hard workers!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A FEMA trailer. The woman who’s house we were working on lives in the FEMA trailer. She is 91 years old. I sent this picture to Flat Earth Joe because he believes that eventually we will all be rounded up into FEMA camps. If recent events are any indication, those FEMA camps will be abandoned Wal-Marts and Toys’r’Uses, but I wanted him to see FEMA at work.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Long shot of clean up.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We took people to Sonic. That meant somebody had to go out in the rain to get the van.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Guess who that was?

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Sonic!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
This game is called Signs. Megan is really, really bad at it. She was always in the middle.

YouthWorks has a nightly cultural event. This was easily the weakest that we ever had. Monday night’s cultural event was listening to a speaker from Nehemiah’s Vision. She came to the building we were staying at and spoke for about 15 minutes. The bonus was that there was more free time before worship in free time.

Not pictured: Kolbe really likes the song CARAVAN and the boys from the other churches really, really like the song COUNTRY ROADS.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 2

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

I woke up on the cold hard floor of the Methodist church in Saginaw. I got dressed and prepared myself mentally for the day.

Here are some pictures from the day:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Based on the amount of stores that cater to both, Texans LOVE donuts and pornography. I imagine some probably do both at the same time. I’m not here to judge.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Statue in the church’s beautiful courtyard.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Fountain in the same beautiful courtyard.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Their women’s group made us a delicious breakfast.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
A staple of every Methodist diet, egg casserole!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The lady who made us the breakfast did taunt us with a description of dish she described as “too much”: Breakfast Lasagna. Sign me up lady!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Myrtle.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Donovan discussing the courtyard.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jaxon still thinks it is a thrill to pump gas. I’m not afraid to exploit his youthful enthusiasm.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Gas station breakfast food. Hard pass.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The church televises their worship services into their fellowship area. We get it, you’re good with technology.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Congregating to worship an awesome God!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We went to their acoustic service. It was great music lead by a great musician!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
They sit in the front row at our church too…

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The lady in the middle was a Pastor at the church. The one on the right was a member of the congregation that recently became a Pastor and was getting assigned to her first church. She gave the sermon. I loved this worship service. There were two things of note that happened. 1 funny and 1 tragic. The funny thins was that they discussed a couple in the church that had gotten married the previous day in “Detroit or Chicago. Some Yankee town.” The tragic thing was a member of their congregation was killed in a car accident on the previous day. He left behind a wife and 2 small children. Happy Father’s Day.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Maci taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Summer taking Communion

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jentry taking Communion

Something else unique about this church was they did the light a candle thing in the corner. This is something I’ve always affiliated with Catholics because I’ve only ever seen it in Catholic churches. Really, mostly in movies. I lit 2 candles.
Shortly after the worship service, we hit the road for Vidor. Another 7 hours or so in the van coming up!


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We stopped in a town where a buffet was recommended to us by one of the Saginaw Methodists, but it required a 30 minute wait, so instead we went across the street to a string of fast food restaurants: Jack in a Box, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Subway, and Texas Burger. I recall an unsavory taco experience at a Kansas City Jack in the Box on another mission trip with Shawn Karber. So Jack in the Box was a hard pass for me.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I went to Texas Burger because I might never get a chance in my life to try Nolan Ryan’s Texas Beef Steak Fingers.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
They taste kind of you how you imagine.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The next stop was Buc-ee’s in Madisonville, I’ve always been a big fan of Buc-ee’s. At least since Carla, Mom, Alexis, and I stopped at one on our way to see Elainie graduate in San Antonio.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
If you’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s, it is the single greatest gas station chain in the world. It is the exact opposite of that Road Ranger in Illinois.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I wanted to buy a Buc-ee’s hat to make it my official Mission Trip Hat, but none of them were my flavor.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
The last 2-3 hours we drove through some major rain. But when we got to Vidor: BASKETBALL!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
On Sunday night we worshiped and we prepared for the next 4 days of hard work.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Worship!

After the worship service I found out I was part of The Cowboys. At YouthWorks they split you up into several teams. You work with that team the rest of the week on chores and at your work sites.

The Cowboys consisted of:

Humble Narrator
Tiffany
Kari – from Missouri, but really Madrid, but really Boone (who turned out to be my cousin)
Anna
Jordan
Kolbe
Maci
Mackenzie
Megan
Ellie from Missouri
Jake from Missouri

In the next 4 days, the pictures will concentrate heavily on those people because these are the people I spent the majority of my day.

The Cowboys had breakfast prep on Monday, so I had to make an attempt to get to bed early, to rise early. Even though trying to sleep the first two nights of a mission trip is a fool’s folly.

Not pictured:

Kolbe really, really likeS the song CARAVAN.

Houston (Vidor) Mission Trip – Day 1

This is my telling of my experience on the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group’s Mission Trip to Houston (Vidor). There were 18 people on the mission trip and all of them experienced the mission trip in a completely different way than I did.

Therefore, you should pull your tired bones out of bed on Sunday, July 8 and drag yourself to the basement of the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street) between worship services (approximately 10 AM) and listen to the other 17 people give their testimony about the mission trip. I’ll probably run my yap as well. There will also be a video. Also, there will be refreshments.

+++++++

A few things I should clarify before I get into my mission trip experience.

For the 4th straight year, we booked our mission trip with YouthWorks. I have been on 7 youth group mission trips now. YouthWorks is by far the most organized group we have ever been with. They have you organized from 6:45 AM to 11 PM.

We decided to take our Mission Trip to Houston because of Hurricane Harvey. Plus it was farther away than our past mission trips, which appealed to the kids on the trip. A couple of them badly want to go on a mission trip to a foreign country. Texas is kind of like another country. So close enough.

This is the first year that YouthWorks offered mission trips to Houston, so it was a learning experience for them as well. When they got back to us about some of the details of the mission trip, they originally stated that we actually would be going to Beaumont, which is about an hour east of Houston. Then a few weeks before we left; Beaumont became Vidor. To this date, nobody I know knows how to pronounce Vidor.

Vidor is just east of Beaumont. If you do any research on Vidor, you will find out it is considered one of the most racist towns in America. It was a Sundown Town. Meaning at one time, white people were the only people that were legally allowed to be outside after the sun went down.

Vidor is allegedly not as racist as it once was, but I only saw one black person my entire time there. He didn’t live in Vidor.

Now that you have some context, let’s discuss Day 1 of the Mission Trip.

We gathered at the church about 7 AM. We took the obligatory group photo:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
First without Autumn

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Then with Autumn. (Can you find her?)

We prayed and then hit the road. 2 big white vans and the Sharps in their own vehicle taking a separate route.

Houston is about 15 hours in the car, without stops, so we planned on stopping for the night in Saginaw, Texas at a Methodist Church to stay the night. It was going to be a long day in the car.

Some highlights:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We stopped somewhere in Kansas at a McDonald’s for lunch. The first time I’ve eaten McDonald’s since January 15, 2006.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Selfie with my van. Tiffany was driving. Maci, Mackenzie, Kolbe, Megan, Anna, and Jordan in Yogi Bear’s van.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Shortly across the Oklahoma border we stopped for gas.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
It was a gas station/casino. It had the grossest bathroom I’ve been in since a Road Ranger in Illinois that still haunts my dreams.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We tried to stop in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma for supper, but the whole town lost power, so we went to the next town.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
We stopped at this super sketch A&W in a gas station. It only had 2 employees.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
They weren’t real happy to see 15 customers come in at once. But they managed to serve us.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
But behind the sketchy gas station: Goats!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Kolbe & Jordan enjoying the goats.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
I think Kolbe might have his own goats at home.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan, Jordan, and Kolbe

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Goats!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan’s Selfie Game is Strong

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Very strong!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Goats!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
One of the goals of the trip was to make it to Texas by sunset so we could take pictures with this. It threw me off how short the days in Texas are.

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mission Trip Kids

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Plus Adults

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
MacKenzie, Anna, Jordan, Kolbe, and Anna

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Summer and Jentry

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jordan

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan and Kolbe (who are significant others, but for some reason wanted to tell the YouthWorks kids that they were twins).

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Emily and Hailey

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Mackenzie and Megan

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
More Megan and Mackenzie

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Megan, Mackenzie, and Kolbe

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Tiffany

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Maci and Mackenzie

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Maci, Mackenzie, and Tiffany

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Emily, Jentry, and Hailey

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jaxon and Jentry

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Jaxon, Jentry, and Alan

Houston Mission Trip - 2018
Summer, Jaxon, and Jentry

We got to the church in Saginaw about 9:30 PM. Staying there was quite an experience.

We met Dale there. He showed up wearing all Oklahoma gear, which I thought was awesome considering we were in Texas. Turned out that he played for Oklahoma. He played for Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl against Joe Namath’s Alabama team.

I was impressed with the church’s commitment to technology. They had audio visual inputs all over the place. They had a computer kiosk where you could make your offering. The checked people into their Sunday School with scan cards.

The Baptist Church we were staying at in Vidor had cots, so we made a calculation that we didn’t need to bring air mattresses for one night in Saginaw. This was a slight miscalculation. This church had the hardest concrete floor covered with the thinnest carpet in the world. It was a hard sleep, but the people at the church more than made up for the experience.

We went to bed and called it a successful Day 1.

Not pictured: Kolbe’s infatuation with the song CONVOY, which he mistakenly thought was from the movie SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. Kids.