Category Archives: Alisa

Milwaukee Mission Trip Vol. 2

The remainder of my Mission Trip photos. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of much of the remaining week.

Jay painting the floor corner.

Elizabeth and Megan painting the floor.

On Tuesday, The Family House seemed to peter out of jobs for us to do. Late in the afternoon they brought us into the common room for an activity called Debates. This is an activity where they ask the residents questions and they have to give their opinion and then defend their position. The kids really enjoyed this game. They were particularly engaged in questions like: “How old should a kid be before they get their first cell phone?”, “Should all states have the death penalty?”, “Would a Trump presidency help our economy?”, and “Should a step-parent be allowed to whoop a step-child?” One of the residents became a crowd favorite when she stated that if “some man ever laid a finger on her child, I’d kick his ass”. At the conclusion of Debates, Megan and Jay played the piano and entertained the residents. The ones that were into Dr. Dre, any ways.

While we were sitting around, Cordelia came in and took us on a tour of The Family House to show us jobs we could do. Earlier in the day, Cornelius told us that we couldn’t come back on Wednesday because they wouldn’t be there. Cordelia told us we could come back and that they would have a list of jobs for us to do.

On this tour Cordelia told me that she didn’t know what she paid a maintenance man for, he didn’t do anything. Then she added that she couldn’t get any could help. If her kids acted like this (her employees), her “husband would’ve killed them.” I told you Cordelia was a house of fire!

We left on Tuesday expecting a list of jobs to greet us on Wednesday.

Our Tuesday night activity was listening to a group called Life Changers. 4 people told us their story. 1 woman spoke about an abusive relationship that left her suicidal. Another woman spoke about depression that lead to a suicide attempt. A guy told us a story about dealing drugs and spending time in prison. All of them had been redeemed by God.

The fourth woman told a story about how she had a pretty good life. Yeah. The point of her story was that they wanted us to know that not everybody is having struggles in Milwaukee. Although this came off like an advertisement for a college prep program that the emcee ran. The part where he asked her if she got married so she wasn’t living in sin, was particularly awkward.

Glen, the ex-drug dealer, had become a musician and sold his rap CD. Several of the kids purchased it. I think I listened to Track 3 of his CD about 50 times on the rest of the trip. I’m not even mad. It made the Peterson van bump. (I drive a borrowed van on these trips.)

So it turns out, on Wednesday they didn’t have a list. We mostly sat in the court yard. Waiting for a job. This was disheartening for the kids. They showed up with a ton of motivation and enthusiasm. Then when there was nothing to do, the enthusiasm left the balloon.

Finally, with about 30 minutes left to go, they told us, “It would be nice if you planted our garden.”

Megan took over this job. She is a agricultural expert.

David weeding.

After the showers Andy, Summer, and I went to this Catholic surplus store. The life sized Jesus crucified statue: $5900. I decided I didn’t need it.

Wonder what you look like when you are posing for Snapchat filters? Alisa, Sarah, and MacKenzie demonstrate.

Wednesday night’s activity was serving a soup kitchen in the church where we were staying. This was kind of a disorganized mess and there were some moments that were awkward where some of us ate before the community members that needed this meal. In the end though, even out of this mess, good things happened.

Andy had met a homeless man outside of the church on Tuesday night and invited him to come to the soup kitchen. The very short version of this story is that he came and he and Andy made a connection. There is so much more to that story. Ask me directly, but be warned, you may have opened up a bottle that you can’t put the cap back on. I love talking about the Mission Trip. Even though people don’t get it.

Following the church supper, the kids on the mission trip put on a worship service for the community. One of the highlights of this service was our Anna giving the sermon. Even if I wasn’t impartial, I would think she did an amazing job!

Obviously there is more to that story, but once again, ask directly.

Cornelius’ Prom picture. Yes, Cornelius has his prom picture at work. Yes his date looks pissed. The story is that shortly before Prom, his date got into a car accident. She was in pain and didn’t want to go. Cornelius made her go. Why? “I had already paid for the tickets!” Then when his boy got dissed by his date and he spent the night hanging out with him. I don’t want you to think poorly of Cornelius. He was a good dude. He was however a terrible Prom date.

On Thursday, they found a job the kids loved! Crawling around in a dumpster and destroying things.

Cordelia telling her story. Cordelia has been on Oprah and whatever show Al Roker is on.

This tree stands where a drug house used to stand. When they tore the garage down, they found a dead body in the basement. The body was never identified, so they planted this tree in that person’s memory.

They love their dumpster!

Posing with Cordelia before we left.

I’m not sure what happened to Autumn at her work site.

A famous (and cheaper) Milwaukee frozen custard stand.

Old Timey Ice Cream! Okay, frozen custard.

The Thursday night activity was a community dinner at Adullam.

Ray and Scott manning the grill.

Alisa. Not really sure what she is doing.

Serving the Community

One of the most violent games of tackle football I’ve ever seen/dominated. Nate (making the tackle) laid a kid from another church out.

Dante running with the ball.

Note the kid in the brown sweat shirt.

This is a story I didn’t tell when our group gave the sermon on the Sunday after we returned to normal life.

I was talking to Dante and the kid in the brown shirt (and I hate the fact that I can’t remember his name) while we were eating. Our conversation ranged from our mutual hatred of the Packers to NBA free agency to their school. They attend Barack Obama School.

I asked them what they thought of Barack Obama. They thought for a second and said, “I don’t know. I’ve never met the man.”

“Well what do you think of the current presidential candidates?”

The kid in the brown shirt immediately said, “Donald Trump can suck a big one!”

Then he looked me in the eyes and said, “You know what I mean!”

I laughed for quite a bit and then leaned in and said, “Off the record.” I gave him a fist bump. “On the record, you probably shouldn’t talk like that.”

That is why I’m a great missionary. Right?

That is all the photos I have, but I have so many more stories. I haven’t even touched the trip to the Emergency Room, the sorta love triangle, the “leader” from Kentucky, or the friend I made at the Soup Kitchen.

Like I said, track me down. I love to talk about the trip. Even though sadly, it was Alisa’s Swan Song. Even though we might not work together doing God’s work for the Boone First United Methodist Church, I know that it won’t be the last time we will work together in this vein.

One last thing. Alisa asked me at both church services, “Explain why you are willing to give up a week of vacation to go on these trips? Even though people throw you shade for it.”

Twice I gave poor answers. I’m working on that answer, in case she asks a third time.

Milwaukee Mission Trip Vol. 1

I thought I was going to write a really long breakdown of my trip to Milwaukee with my church’s youth group for Mission Work.

Instead, I think I’ll settle for a description with each photo. Maybe I’ll be more ambitious with Volume 2.

Halfway between Madison and Milwaukee, we found a Pizza Pit. Just like home.

Across the street from the Lutheran Church we were staying at was a Greek restaurant that sold frozen custard. Not fooling this cone cost me close to $5. They didn’t always give change either.

Found this sidewalk art at our first stop Monday morning at Adullam Outreach. This was an outreach program named after the cave where David spent his exile.

One of the good and bad things about Youth Works is that break your group up into groups with other churches. My group consisted of 3 kids from Boone and 1 adult and 2 kids from Louisville, Kentucky. Our group worked all 4 days at a low income nursing home. They owned property across the street from their main facility. They had us mow that property. Going by the height of the weeds and the amount of garbage, this seemed like the first time they had been mowed all year. Wyatt is pictured mowing.

More Wyatt mowing.

On Monday the low income nursing home (named The Family House) had a free food giveaway on their lawn. They have food donated to them by Aldi and Wal-Mart. Pictured is Cordelia Wallace, the founder of Family House. 80 years old and a house of fire. She is telling her story to Megan (who’s spirit animal is Shakira), Wyatt, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is from Louisville. One of the things we did was go door to door in this neighborhood knocking on doors to tell people about the food giveaway. It might go without saying, this was not a nice neighborhood. Nobody answered their door. Although we did tell some random people on the street about it.

David organizing their pantry.

Our facilitators at The Family House were Cornelius and Latoya. Can you pick them out of the picture? Latoya showed no team loyalty by wearing just about a different team jersey every day. Cornelius is a bad Prom date. More on that later. The guy in blue is Scott. He was the other adult chaperone from Louisville. He was a good dude. A little daffy, but a good dude. He is also in the FBI. The male kid that isn’t Wyatt or David is Jay. Real name James. But he goes by Jay. In the unabridged version, I’d have a lot to say about the dynamics of this group. The important thing to know is that when I job needed done, they banded together and got stuff done.

After we were done with work for the day and had showered, we went to the overpriced frozen custard place. Anna is the youth that hasn’t been identified up until this point.

Monday night was a free night. We started our free night at the park across the street from our home for the week.

Alex, Anna, MacKenzie, and Megan

Andy spinning Summer


After the park we went to Dairy Queen. Alex showing off his ice cream eating form.

After Dairy Queen, we went to a park on Lake Michigan and watched the sun set on the Milwaukee skyline.

Posing with Alex

Attempt at a guy photo.

Wyatt with Summer

Wyatt with Alex

David with Alex

Alex and Summer

Posing with Youth Pastor Alisa

Tuesday. Back to work. David. Mowing property #2.

The Family House. The Family House was actually a nursing home that Cordelia Wallace started out of her own house where she raised 8 children. Most of the other houses in the neighborhood were drug houses. So she slowly acquired them and added them to her facility.

Street view. Cordelia worked at a nursing home. She had “ideas” on how to improve the life of the residents and took her suggestions to her bosses. They smiled politely (maybe) and then told her that they get paid to do the thinking. She gets paid to do what they tell her to do. She cried all of the way home. Then complained to her husband. After listening to her, he stopped her and said, “Listen, you can complain about it or you can do something about it. But if you don’t do anything about it, I’m done listening to you complain about it.” She did something about it.

I often find that areas our Youth Group go to do mission work aren’t ready for Iowans. Iowans work. On the start of Monday they took us up to a room and told us to organize it. They were planning on turning it into a kids center. We organized it in 45 minutes. Their jaws dropped open. They told us that they were expecting that to take us all day. The previous week they had had 2 youth groups there working. We had accomplished more in 45 minutes than those 2 youth groups did in a week. So they had us start painting the floor. Pictured is Elizabeth and Megan putting a second coat on the floor.

More on this trip soon. Even though I can never tire of talking about it. Mission Trips are hard to talk about to people back home because there is no way to put into words to describe the transformation that happens.

They mostly look at you and say, “Oh. You painted some stuff and served food at a soup kitchen. That is nice.” It is so much more. That is why I would argue that anybody that is a believer should commit themselves to at least one act of service a year. Whatever, that might be. Putting up drywall for Habitat for Humanity. Serving dinner at the local homeless shelter. Anything you can do to help somebody else. I’m telling you, do it!

I should stop rambling, because there are quite a few blog subscriber birthdays today. I’ll go youngest to oldest:

Happy birthday Logan!

Photo of the Day 0063 - July 4, 2014
Happy birthday Derrick!

Happy birthday Jill!

I hope all of you have amazing birthdays!

J.B. McHose House

This Sunday the Youth Group from my church is having a fundraiser for our Mission Trip to Milwaukee. It is a two tiered fundraising effort.

When: Sunday 2-4 PM
Where: The Historic J.B. McHose House – 921 5th Street – Boone, IA

But what is it?

I’ll just steal Alisa’s description from Facebook:

Come take a tour of the beautiful, historic McHose House. While there check out and purchase some beautiful youth-made art. We will be selling cute mugs for a flat rate and having a silent auction for our canvases.

This is will be our last fundraiser before the Boone FUMC youth group heads off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin this summer on a week long mission.

This is an free-will offereing, open house event so feel free to come and go but I can’t promise the cookies will still be there at 4pm.

So you can tour the historic McHose House and pick up some high quality hand-crafted local art. On a canvas or on a mug. Win! Win!

Here are some of the canvases that could potentially be for sale:

Hopefully I’ll see a few or many of you there!

Can I Get Confirmation?

Last Sunday was Confirmation Sunday at the church. I wasn’t directly involved in the confirmation process, but my morning was filled with church activities.

As a member of the Methodist Men, I was there to help prepare the Confirmation Breakfast for the confirmands, their families, and their mentors. During a break in the action I ran up and fixed the network problems of our financial computer. During the church service I ran the PowerPoint portion of the worship. After the service, once again as a member of the Methodist Men, I helped serve treats and beverages as part of Fellowship.

However, what matters to this post is the PowerPoint part of my day. Since I was running PowerPoint, I was up in the balcony. I don’t normally take photographs during worship service, because the people around me consider it to be a distraction.

However, since I was in the balcony and since Alisa is in Haiti doing God’s work (similar to the time I went to fake Haiti, but with less time laying on the beach and bartering over hat prices I’m sure) I decided to snap a few photos, so she could see them on her return.

Anna’s Faith Statement

Mackenzie’s Faith Statement

I’d just like to say that the two confirmands that read their Personal Faith Statements to the congregation were VERY impressive! If I had a transcript of their words, I would’ve published both of them.

Jesus Eggs!

On the Saturday before Easter I was sitting in a darkened in theater in Ankeny experiencing the “tortures of the damned” that is watching BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, my phone buzzed. Since the movie picture had lost my interest moments into it, I felt no guilt in checking my text message. After all, I was probably already checking the score of the Oklahoma-Oregon game any ways.

The text message was from my church’s (the church I attend) Youth Minister Alisa wanting me to simultaneously run a photo booth and take pictures of our Sunday School Easter Egg Hunt.

You all know how I feel about multi-tasking.

So here are a few of the pictures almost exclusively from the Easter Egg Hunt.

But on the positive, If Easter was today, I could actually multi-task and run a photo booth and take pictures at the same time.

You Can Sit With Us


As many of you may or not know, for the last several years I have helped chaperon my church’s Youth Group’s Mission Trip. We have went to Kansas City, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Martin, South Dakota.

Next June, the Youth Group will be going to Milwaukee and I will be going with them again.

It is one of my favorite weeks of the year because there is no other week of the year where I grow more as a person and as a christian. I often describe it as the best free vacation a person can go on.

The truth is while it is debatable whether or not it is a vacation (depends on what you enjoy… I enjoy hard work, Bible study, and working with kids… sleeping on the floor… maybe not so much) but it isn’t free.

It costs in excess of $500 per child to send these kids out into the world to do God’s work.

Therefore, the Boone First United Methodist Church Youth Group has began the earnest work of raising funds to cover the costs of their trip. Last Sunday they cooked and sold chili. Their next project is to sell shirts with a message of hope and acceptance.

I could describe the message of the shirt, but why come up with my own words when Pastor Sarah has already explained is so well:

It all started in High School Sunday School at Boone First United Methodist Church with a discussion about the need for kindness in this world. Even small acts of kindness can have large effects on the people they touch. So the youth started to brainstorm ideas of how to make a difference around them. Part of the solution: a simple t-shirt that could invite people to know they are friendly, welcoming and inclusive. Help us make a bold statement with this Tshirt that bullying is “out” and kindness is “in.” Although the funds support the youth mission trip, we found this message to be important beyond age and church walls. Join us in creating a movement to show ways we can be nice to others in every aspect of our lives, including the clothes we choose.

Here is a look at the shirt.



You are probably thinking, “Wow! What an amazing shirt! How much does one cost!”

A Unisex shirt is $19.99
A Ladies shirt is $21.99
A Long Sleeve shirt is $24.99
A Hooded Sweatshirt is $39.99

There are two ways to order. The easiest is just to follow the link below and order the shirt yourself:


Another way would be to give me your order and I’ll get it placed. The advantage to that is that it will save you $5 shipping. The deadline to order is December 20th.

Thanks for your consideration!

Might as well share a few of my favorite mission trip photos from over the years:

That should just about cover it.

A Grandmother Pretends

On the Monday before Halloween the Eastern Star Home’s residents hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. My Mom helps coordinate volunteers from our church to help the residents that need it.

Below are a few pictures from that event.

Directing Traffic

Tamara helping out.

Vi helping out.

I actually don’t know these 2 ladies, but they wanted their picture taken.

Awesome accordion playing lady.

Dwight and Loryl



Jentry… probably thinking about the Illuminati.

The main hallway was insane. You could barely turnaround in there.




I missed a few of our volunteers in the chaos. I will try to do better next year.


Sunday was my church’s annual block party to kickoff Sunday School. Once again, I manned the PET Obstacle course. Only this year it was more like a PET Area, with a couple of chairs thrown out there.

There were way more people there this year, so it was more than just me and one kid hanging out for two hours. So that was cool.

Some pictures.





Jentry Bustin’ a Move

This is what you do when the Methodist Men are cranking out the Lecrae Pandora Channel.

More Dance Moves

Alisa videoing Pastor Sarah

Pastor Sarah

Dick, My Partner in Crime

This was just a small part of a great weekend that included FNSC, lots of scraping, the Majors Family Reunion, and concluded with a 5 year old’s birthday party. Other than the lack of sleep, it was a pretty great weekend.

And it is like the old saying goes: You can sleep when your house is painted.

South Dakota

Probably past time I posted some pictures from the mission trip to South Dakota.

In reality I could tell a thousand stories about this trip and write a page about each picture, but I’ll hold back and be satisfied with a brief description of each picture. If you want to know more, chances are you know where to find me.

I will point out that they split our group into 4 separate groups. Because of that I don’t have pictures of some of the kids and lots of pictures of the kids in my group (TEAM INVASION!).

Also, these are phone pictures. Sorry about the quality.

Sunset, the first night in Martin, South Dakota.

Part of Monday night’s activity. A photo scavenger hunt. That Boone FUMC won!

Another scavenger hunt photo.

Another scavenger hunt photo.

Not part of the scavenger hunt, but part of the scavenger hunt journey.

What is the hand holding?

How many Martin residents died in WWII? Summer and Pastor Sarah show the answer.

The local college.

Lots of spiders and snakes and other insects in Martin, South Dakota.

Ben (from Youthworks), MacKenzie and Sarah painting stucco. Which is the worst thing ever to paint.

Katelyn waiting for somebody (me) to hold the ladder.

Alex making a new friend (Willy).

Bennett High School, home for the week.

The view from the top of a hill overseeing a Lakota Pow Wow Ground.

The view from the top of a hill overseeing a Lakota Pow Wow Ground.

The blazing hot sun.

No sign of man for miles.

Learning a Lakota dance.

Lakota dance.

Lakota dance.

Jentry helping Andy study the Bible.

Sarah, MacKenzie, and Amber painting a picnic table at the Bennett County Nursing Home.

Alex scraping a picnic table.

Katelyn scraping a picnic table.

More Alex.

MacKenzie, Sarah, and Amber painting.

Alex painting a picnic table.

Katelyn painting a picnic table.

Amber and Sarah with puppies that kids brought out after we dropped them off after Kid’s Club.

Amber and Sarah with puppies that kids brought out after we dropped them off after Kid’s Club.

Sarah with a puppy.


Katelyn soaked after Kid’s Club Water Day.]

Sarah at Kid’s Club.

MacKenzie at Kid’s Club.

Amber at Kid’s Club.

Shelby (Youthworks) getting doused at Kid’s Club Water Day.

Alex getting a balloon smashed on his head at Kid’s Club Water Day.

Amber at Kid’s Club.

Eric, we will never forget you.

Amber making a deal. Jim got the worst end of the deal. He has to watch GOSSIP GIRL.

I often call the Youth Group Mission Trip the best free vacation ever! But truthfully, it is the week that I grow the most as a human being. In about every way imaginable.