Saturday, July 26, 2008

Week 2 - Day 6

Sylvia Cerna

Wow! What an amazing week, I can’t believe that it’s already Friday. I was one of the adult leaders on the site for Northwest Harvest and what a blessing I was given to have an amazing group of teens. They all worked very hard and never complained about where they were asked to work. On Tuesday they got the experience of working one of the largest food banks, Yakima OIC, and they truly connected with this opportunity to help serve these wonderful people as well as getting the to chance to hear their stories; when the day was over they begged to work food banks the rest of the week and they did. They got to go to 3 different food banks and help serve people. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart as each and every one of your teens has touched my life forever!

Luke Kemper

Today was fun because I was immortalized in a food bank in Yakima. We did silhouettes of each other on the side of the building as a mural (which was my idea). We all made different poses and sketched them with pen and then went to town and painted them and made them look good. Also we had a paint war, between Nick, Julie, and I. Julie started it so Nick and me finished it and she got the most paint on her. Also, I got a handprint, in paint, on my butt; thank you Julie. THE END!!!

Noel Buslon

This mission trip has been my third and final mission trip. Each year I take something different away from the trip. But this year has been such a blessing. Knowing that this year is my final mission trip, I believed that I wanted to leave behind something with the younger generation to take to their next trips. I tried to teach them more than what was asked and to be a leader and take action. They also taught me very much. One in particular was Will Dittmar. At our work site he made the connection with Lucille a little more genuine than I thought it would be. From his acts of kindness and openness to someone new, our connection with Lucille went from strangers to a family. This site wasn’t exactly the worst site you can imagine. But I knew God had a plan for each of us as we embarked on this mission. We are all capable to working hard and getting work done, but I do believe that we were there because something was missing in our own hearts and something was also missing in Lucille’s heart. By our paths intertwining together we were able to be open and feel so good about ourselves. I knew that it was fate for our lives to be crossed because of a prayer of the psalms. I received a Psalm 23 prayer card in a Home Depot parking lot when I was 14, and I have kept in my wallet with me ever single day. I didn’t know why I kept it in there, but I did know that one day it was going to be very special. And it was. On Wednesday Father Ed came and had prayer with us. We prayed for all our families and the things we usually pray for. But when Father Ed asked Lucille what her favorite Psalm was, I knew this was the time that that little card in my wallet was meant to be for her. The following day I lead a prayer with Psalm 23, and I have to say that it was one of the most touching moments I have ever witnessed. Possibly one of the most powerful prayers I have ever prayed. It really meant more to me because it was Lucille’s favorite and she broke down in tears because of the beauty of it.
As our week comes to a close I am both happy and sad that we are finished and we accomplished it. I am happy because the joy we were able to put into the Harris family, but I am sad because for one week I felt like I was part of that family and she was my own grandmother and now I am leaving it. This mission week has taught me lessons I never expected to learn on this trip. I expected to learn humility, and not to be judgmental, but I learned the real lessons of family, and how we connected not just as a mission team but as a whole including everyone that we were able to meet. My mission trip was a trip that I am truly going to remember. I am going to miss everyone I worked with and especially Lucille, because she put a light in my heart that is irreplaceable.

Mike Cappetto

As the week is coming to an end I really started to think about what has happened. From the time we got to our site until we finished I really saw a drastic change. At first the little kids were not too sure about strangers coming into their homes and making changes. But no sooner did we bring out the paint they were right there helping all of us. As for the Mother and Grandmother they stayed at a distance watching TV all the time. This was bothering our team because we couldn’t get them to open up for us until today. The Grandmother had a very interesting story; it involved her being in a prison for 9 years. I feel bad for her because it isn’t her fault and she still has to deal with the consequences from it. I hope that the examples that the Young Neighbors set this week will stick with a lot of the people we’ve met, and stick with us.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Week 2 - Day 5

Mike Prelesnik

Today was cool because I was at a food bank and served homeless people and helped them carry their bags to their cars. But, what made the day really fun was that we had lunch at Lucile’s house, which is the house that another group was painting. They kept saying that she made excellent iced-tea, and she did. She was also the nicest person I have ever met.

Julie Balza

Today definitely felt like the longest day of the week. We got to go to a new food bank called “Our Daily Bread.” Most of the clientele were homeless and some looked just like we did. It gave us a real variety of people and helped us learn more. After that we got to go eat lunch at Lucille’s house. She is such an inspiring person and she actually brought me to tears. We did a prayer including her favorite quote from the bible (Psalm 23) and after we read that, she said a prayer for her family and all of us. It was really touching that even though we had just met us, she was already praying for us. After that we went back to the Yakima Food Bank we went to yesterday and help them sort out things for distribution tomorrow. Overall, this week has been an amazing experience and I can’t wait until next year.

Caitlin Hendricks

I have had the most amazing site and really love Lucille. Lucille is 72 and she is full of personality, I am really blessed to be able to meet her. She calls all of us her babies and she is very grateful for our help. She is very appreciative and the first time she saw what we were doing she started yelling from joy, “Bless your hearts, bless your hearts” over and over. She loves to cook, she makes us ice tea everyday and I do not like ice tea but I could not say no so I tried it and it was amazing. On Wednesday she made us breakfast with biscuits, bacon, eggs, home made syrup, and grits. Everything tasted amazing and she made us an angel food cake today. I really enjoy going to her house and just talking with her. She told us all about her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her two great grandchildren came over on Tuesday and I was playing with them and the eldest, Destiny, wants to be a dancer like meJ. Another amazing woman is Rosie. Rosie is Lucille’s daughter and Rosie explained that Lucille was her angel and best friend. When Father Ed was talking with Lucille she said that she refuses to take medication and her reasoning was that Jesus suffered so she can too. She was talking about how people complain too much, which I think, is absolutely true. She is really an inspiration to me. I hope that I can be as gracious and welcoming as Lucille has been to all of us. Other than talking with Lucille we have done some work, we are painting her house two different shades of gray. The house is one story but the peaks go up about 20 feet and the sides are covered in shingles so it is impossible to roll. I spent an hour using a roller and brush to finish about a 4’ by 4’ square. We finally went and rented a commercial paint sprayer that was amazing because it made the job go so much faster. Today was definitely the hardest and dirtiest day for me. Kelley and I were working on the roof because her house had a jut out on the roof that also needed to be painted. We were on our backs lying on the roof looking up painting the overhang and we were covered in paint. On the sides of this jut out the walls got smaller and smaller and it was in the shape of a triangle. I had to climb all the way up into this area and paint. I have never had to paint at such weird angles before. I have scratches from the roof shingles all over my legs and stomach and I am sore all over because the roof was so hot it burned (likely 110 or 120 degrees). I washed my hair four times and I am still finding paint everywhere. Even though I got filthy I had a great time and I would do anything to help Lucille. We are almost done we just have some cleaning to do and I am hoping we can go out to the Reservation tomorrow. The weather is great by the way…

Look for her pictures on the photo album site.
- editor

Hello Families and Stockholders

I would like to say that you invested in a great group of teens. They have been fantastic. We were kind of apprehensive about having a week with 150 folks but it has worked out very well. All of the staff members have praised how well the teens have worked at their sites. I have heard nothing but compliments in regard to our teens.
At the site that I am on with my partner Grace Daniel and six wonderful teens we are working at a White Swan residence that needs oh so much work done to it. When we got our assignment they had a pretty substantial list of items that needed to be taken care of and once we got there we knew that we wouldn’t finish them all so we picked the ones that would make life better for the family that lived there. This entailed removing a water damaged ceiling, re-insulating and re-sheet rocking it, removing and replacing a heavily damaged floor, removing and replacing a toilet, relining a tub enclosure, cleaning the kitchen numerous times, cleaning out the dining room, washing walls, priming them with Kilz and painting. The crew did all of this with many young children around with lots of energy. The situation at the house was less than ideal and the teens did a wonderful job of accepting the challenge and working longer hours than the norm. I would like to congratulate all of the parents and or guardians of the teens (Sean, Morgan, Marie, Adam, Laura, and Michael) for raising such wonderful kids. They have been a great joy to work with and I am sorry it is coming to an end. This is why I continue to come on mission each year. Thanks! Patrick Cappetto Week 2 Lead

Annissa Cerna

During this past week I have discovered so much more than what it feels like to help someone out with work, I have discovered the true meaning of family. I have been painting a lady’s house who to me is truly an angel…she has let us into her home willingly and with so much thanks and love. She is one of the most amazing lady’s I have ever met, we are so blessed to have gotten her house as a site, she treats us like more than just a bunch of obnoxious teens, she treats us like her own “babies”…like her own family, and like a family does we have stuck by her side and have done a beautiful job on her home.

Adam Jorgensen

During this week I have realized that being poor is not just because you don’t work its because there is a story of things just failing, actions that lead to you feeling like there is no hope in your life and you give. At my site I only saw hope in the kids’ eyes. They came to help us right off the bat to help us to make the house in better condition. The weird thing is that the mom, dad, and grandma just sit where their big screen is and just watch movies. The funny thing is that all the thing that I want, electronically, like movies and stuff, they all have, but the things I have like a roof over my head, etc., they don’t have. So it’s like opposite worlds. But I am happy that the family looked at their house and decided that this house did need some work to be better. Then they called us for the help.

Sean Cossano

We arrived at the site on Monday and there was no one there so we cleaned up the outside for about two hours before the grandma showed up and let us in to reveal that the lady was there the whole time. We don’t see her too often but her five kids are the most helpful kids I’ve ever met. We tore out the ceiling in the bathroom to expose two rats’ nests; it has taken until today to get it back up. We were at the sight from 11 to 7:30 and it was quite a day. I’m so glad I got the hard site again though, it always helps you realize how easy we have it, and it never ceases to amaze me how god truly works through us to get through to those who need our help in ways that we must see to honestly believe.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Week 2 - Day 4

Duane Rhodes
Wednesday was another full day of serving the Yakima and the Yakama Nation communities. Everyone made their way back to the Holy Family center in the afternoon and were immediately hustled back into the vehicles and driven to the Franklin Community Park and Pool. We were all treated to a picnic barbeque, ice blocking (a summertime sledding-type event), and swimming! After an evening of playing hard and great food we returned to Holy Family and prepared ourselves for Mass. That night the Eucharist and Mass was presided by Father Ed White. Our day was extremely full, exhausting and most of all, spiritually fulfilling.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Week 2 - Day 3

Nick Thorpe

My second full day on mission felt much more productive than the first. We were told by Northwest Harvest to go to OIC, a food bank, to help distribute the food. In no time at all, the line was out the door. I had to restock all of the food that we were handing out, and that was not an easy task. Every few minutes I would restock the mashed potatoes, the salad, beef jerky and Corn Flakes, and before I knew it, we were out of mashed potatoes again. Somehow I managed to work up a sweat, even though it was much cooler in the food bank than it was outside (by at least twenty degrees). Our whole group was very productive, but I did have to teach everyone the proper way to collapse the cardboard boxes. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store for me, and the rest of the teens here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week 2 - Day 2

Will Dittmar

Today was a very fun day. We are in the process of painting a house. The owners name is Lucille. She is extremely kind. She made us home-made ice tea and she was the sweetest person I have ever met. I’m looking forward to the rest of the job.

Mike Prelesnik

This is my first mission, and so far it has been really fun. Today we picked apricots from trees and then sorted a couple tons of cucumbers. It was better than working outside because it was air-conditioned. Picking apricots is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Matt Miller

For my 4th, and final, mission, I am on the same site as Will. As he said, we are working at a woman named Lucille’s house, painting and doing some repair work on her bathroom. What really struck me today was the difference that just being on one side of the street can make. On the block that Lucille lives on, the majority of the homes (Especially Lucille’s) are all well-kept, and are graffiti-free, and it seems like your typical middle-class neighborhood. However, when you go to the next block over, you can tell that a different type of person lives there. That block reminded me so much of a mix of those old photos that you see of homes during the Great Depression, and the Los Angeles ghettos. All the homes are run-down, some have the windows boarded, and all have some kind of graffiti on them.

But at the same time, even though I know that so much more could be done at that block, I feel extremely fortunate to be working for such a kind old lady like Lucille. She is the definition of selflessness, and she will not take no for an answer any day. She brewed us the best iced tea, and she was very welcoming from the moment that we all got there. Although her well-kept house and yard are not what you would define as a “Mission Home,” her outright gratitude to have us there is going to make this a great experience.

Duane Rhodes

When we pulled up to Miss Lucille’s home I thought that we had the wrong address. We were there to paint the outside of a house. This house, on first impression, seemed to be well kept with a fenced yard with flowers, a nice porch, and hanging birdbaths.
Miss Lucille met us after a couple of knocks on the door and welcomed us all inside. She is a most gracious person with sharing her family history. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren came to visit too. We all were able to get to know her and she got to know us too. She is one of those people that could be everyone’s grandmother, she is so sweet and generous.
To top it all off, she made southern sweetened iced-tea! I’m not usually a sweetened iced-tea lover, but she made one out of me.
We are all looking forward to completing the mission and giving back to Miss Lucille by giving her home a fresh coat of paint.

Scott Styer

At the beginning of the day our group went to Northwest Harvest to see what they had for us to do. We were there for about a half an hour talking about how people got to where they were. Northwest Harvest is a food distributor for food banks all across the state. They had us drive to a apricot field where we picked fruit for about 2 hours. We filled up about 10 boxes, which is not very much in price. After 2 hours we went back to the warehouse to pack loaves of bread into boxes and put cucumbers in boxes and weigh them. The work was not very labor intensive and I hoped that I would sweat a little. That is okay though because it is work that had to be done.

Morgan Anderson

I was working on the White Swan reservation today. When we first arrived we knocked and knocked but no one was home… So Pat (our site leader) made a few calls and we decided that we would just clean the yard until they got home. The yard had many cars and piles of cans, trash and car parts. As the afternoon progressed we divided and conquered the yard to the best of our ability by having the girls stuffing all the trash into garbage bags and the guys move old furniture away from the house. After awhile it started to get hotter and hotter and we started to run out of water. Thankfully the family came home and there were four kids and they were ADORABLE. Laura broke the ice by playing catch with them and after that they were sold. They helped with everything. The oldest son was awesome. I was scrubbing the floor and he without asking brought me a bucket with water because he thought I might need it. He is 12 years old! I hated doing anything at that age that was a chore. The second oldest helped me wash down all the walls and the two youngest ran around saying random things and yelling “look!” and then would throw things. But what can you expect? It was hilarious!! Overall today was a pretty productive day considering it started so late. We scrubbed all the living room walls, Laura tackled the kitchen and now you can see the counters and all the boys basically destroyed the bathroom and tomorrow they will fix it. Everyone did an amazing job at helping wherever it was needed. I love my group

Julie Balza

Today I went to Northwest Harvest. I had heard of them since its main warehouse is in Kent, but I never really knew the importance of it. Their main job is to distribute food to different food banks around central Washington. When we arrived, we learned that for the first portion we would be picking apricots. It gave me a lot of insight to those who pick fruits in orchards as a living. We were only out there for 2 hours but I couldn’t imagine being out there for a full day. After that we returned to the warehouse, we sorted bread and cucumbers. It was a little boring at first but after we got going, it gave us time to learn more about each other. Over all, today was a good experience and I’m excited for the rest of the week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mission Week 2 - Good to go

Week 2 - Day 1

Eric Besel

We haven’t gone out to our work sites at all yet, and I can see the Spirit working among us. The initial get-to-know-ya games and activities have quickly dismantled the barriers that we all erect to keep us in our comfort zones. The teens from the different parishes are intermingling easily. Everyone seems to be included and welcome in the various small groups that are forming. I am optimistic about what the next few days will bring…

Friday, July 18, 2008

Online Photo Gallery

To see more pictures of our mission to Yakima go to

Day Five

I started off the week working at a women’s house named Marie and she lived in a mobile home. Though we were doing work around her home like painting, vacuuming, cleaning, and landscaping, my group did not get to meet Marie. This is because Marie was in the hospital for the two and a half days that we were working at her house. However, we did get too meet her nephew named Tom who was a great guy because while Marie was ill, he was there to take care of her. And us being there helping his aunt out seemed to truly touch him because by the end of our time there he was picking up a shovel and a paintbrush and helping us out. This kind of act shows how we can impact people, and change their lives. We also got the pleasure of doing work for Marie’s sister Cecilia and her nephew Kevin who were also great people. We did not get to really talk to Cecilia that much because she was not in good enough shape to be able to leave her house and socialize with my group though. However, Kevin and Tom showed their generosity towards us by giving us candy, pop, water, and smoked salmon!!!!! It was soooo good!!!!! Another big help in our work is Marie’s neighbors who were very generous because they would offer us tools to be able to complete our task. This all showed me how nice of a person Marie probably because of their hospitality too us. After we finished with Marie’s house we went on too a new site, which was a lady named Margaret. Margaret said it herself, she gets tired, her back gets tired, but her mouth could run for days. Her stories tell of how much she has been through, and all of the humor that she has had in her life, her kids life, and in her grandkids life. And these stories aren’t even a small portion off all the stories she could tell us. Margaret had a great house, but it was mainly the outside of her house that needed work. Mainly we weeded outside and made her flowers more noticeable, but she entertained us with her exuberant stories. Also, Margaret owned us a lot of land, so when we would take a break for lunch we would go on a hike to see all of the beautiful land that she owned, and we also got to see a nice canyon. In my time here Yakima, I have met so many great people within my own parish such as Benny and Katie who were in my group, and Morgan, Greg, Stephany, and Amy. And people from other parishes such as… Mike. All I can say is, my time and work here has been worth it.

Seth O. Gunning

This week I have been working at Northwest Harvest, which is a organization that collects food, and distributes it to local food banks of Yakima. So far I’ve been in a St. Stephen’s group, which has been bounced around doing all sorts of jobs. So far we have worked at the largest food bank in Yakima, picked apricots, and worked in the main Northwest Harvest warehouse where we sorted thousands of jars of ancient applesauce. Mom if you read this NO MORE APPLESAUCE. I’ve seen applesauce that was disturbing and smelly, I won’t go into detail. Anyway so far the week has been fun and I just want to let the good times roll.
Matt Carter

Hey kiddos tuberculosis here, well we’re back at mission for another year and I have to admit that we are all pretty excited. It’s my second year doing mission and my 17th in the church as well as I’ve done youth group since 7th grade. I haven’t always liked our church and of course there has been several times when I’ve been tempted to quit. I find that there are to many lectures in our youth group and the people can be to strict. I don’t see faith as keeping quite and sitting still, rather I like to express my love of the lord through movement, joy, and dancing I don’t think that God if he could take the shape of a human being would look like a school teacher, I think he’d be a child, laughing and silly, God has a sense of humor, whether its positive or negative. Last year I guess you could say I was an immature Sophomore/Junior thinking I knew more than I did and still so ignorant about the ways of the world. I didn’t take it as serious as I should have, I tried to, but part of the problem was when your working with children you don’t see the pain because children are always so exciting and full of energy and just fun. Children can be a good message towards the joy and happiness of God but they don’t help one realize the sorrow of human tragedy. This year though I started to think different even before I came here. I got a job during the beginning of summer at a fast food joint (I know how bad that is) called Taco Time and one of the first things I had to warn my boss about was, “I have to take mission week off.”, no question about it (actually I was way more concerned about keeping my job). And he asked me if I was going on vacation, I responded yes. Now though when I think about it I wonder am I really going on vacation, I mean mission is also about having fun, but the strongest point is the call to service. I started to think about my purpose at mission and what I was attempting to do, was I just going there to goof off or was I really serious about bettering the lives of other humans. And I realized that I truly wanted to serve others as a disciple God. So my goal this week became to attempt to not focus on socializing, as important as it is to get along with the other groups, but to do the best I could at my work site.
Tony Buhr

My group and I are working in White Swan. The homeowners are Cliff and Nettie and have graciously let us into their home to help them. For the past days I have mostly been working on the walls. First fixing all the holes in them, and then putting primer on, and now we are at the final step of painting them. We got so much done yesterday, and everyone had a drive to work hard. A huge drive for me is seeing how grateful Cliff and Nettie are about us all coming in to help them. Cliff was talking about how they were so thankful we came because they have been waiting for help for a long time. Cliff had a stroke a few years ago so it’s hard for him to do a lot now. Also hearing their stories is very interesting. Cliff told us a story about how when he was really little he got lost while berry picking and was gone for 3 days. He said that the little spirit people helped him and taught him a song. When he got home he was crying and he dried his tears with a handkerchief. He then hung it on the tree at the side of their house. Ever since then every time he has a meaningful cry or sweats from working hard he hangs one on the tree. Just yesterday they told us that there are also a few dances a year in a house they own next to theirs. It’s special because it is one of the few places where this takes place and people come from everywhere. We all have been doing a lot of hard work, and having a great team to work with just makes it even better.
Amy Shiroishi

This is our 4th full day at mission and we are spending the week working at Cliff and Nettie’s house on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Cliff had a stroke five years ago and now has Parkinson’s on his left side so he can’t keep his house up. It is very interesting learning about the Native American tradition from them and it helps us keep things in perspective about how good we have it. While at their house, we have been painting the kitchen, family room, and hallway. The kitchen is yellow and light green, while the family room is blue. We are also repairing a hole in their floor where they had a leek and the floor rotted away. The hole is where the washer and dryer are so it is crucial that we finish repairing it. Also, Cliff and Nettie’s son made this graffiti for us that said peace on earth and it is very cool. This experience has been fun and I am really enjoying helping Cliff and Nettie to have a better life.
Dominic Denby

Today was are 4th day at missions. We are rebuilding a house for Nettie and Cliff that live on the reservation. The first day we got there the house did not look to bad but it still needed some repairs on the floor and needed a good pain job on the inside. The first day my group just cleaned the house and got off everything on the walls and we also had to decide what we needed for the house. The second day we started to prime the inside of the house. We also got to learn about some really cool stories from Cliff. The 3rd day we got to paint the actual colors inside the house. The hardest part about painting the inside I that the paint drips everywhere and you have to clean it up right away or it will make a big mess everywhere and it is very hard to clean up. Today we are trying to finish painting the inside of the house and also finish the floor and sink. Hopefully the rest of the week goes very good and we can finish the house with everything we have planed on doing to it.
Greg Scott

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day Four

Today we went to pick apricots at an orchard in Zillah. All that we picked was donated to the food bank. It was amazing! Father Ed helped us. We all thought he was a natural. As we were picking the 23 boxes, almost a whole pallet, we ran into a few snags. There were so many pincher bugs! Most were in attack mode, but once we employed Kristen VanHoomissen’s pick and tap method, the bugs retreated in fear. Another issue was the wheat stickers that constantly snagged on our socks and shoes. Ouch! In the end we each got to try a delicious apricot and all the nutrition that the apricots would give to hungry people made the struggle worth it. Later, when we went back to the warehouse we got to see our packed up apricots. It was great to find that our work produced food that is on its way to people in need.
Leah H.
Northwest Harvest

I am working in White Swan which is about 45 min away from the church that we are staying at. The house that we work at is on a dusty gravel road which in the hot sun doesn’t equal anything good. The owners of the house are a little old man named Clifford and his wife Nettie. When we first drove up they were sitting on there front lawn waiting for our arrival. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into but we were all up for the challenge. Walking into the house we noticed a huge hole in the laundry room which we knew it would take days to finish. So we started by washing and spackling the walls which took the entire day. The second day we got there we started painting the rooms with Killz and the boys worked on the laundry room. We noticed the Clifford and Nettie seemed kind of stand-offish with us but Rick told us that Clifford wanted to tell us a story so at lunch we all went out and listened. On the side of the house there’s this tree which has all sorts on rags and stuff attached to it. We weren’t sure what it was be Clifford told us that he put all of sweat rags on the tree for spiritual purposes. He said also that you could pray around the tree and all your prayers will come true. We all were fascinated by the story and at the end of the day we went around the tree to pray. The third day we got there and started painting the kitchen and living room. At lunch we went to a park called Fort Simcoe which was fun because it was an old fort and all the buildings are still existing. Back at the house we ripped up all the tile and now we only have one more room to paint. I hope that we can make the house look amazing. It looks so much different then before and I’m so proud. Its only going to get better so I am really excited.

Katie J.
Volunteer Chore Services (White Swan)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Post Script

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Tuesday, July 15

Well, its off to my second day at work in Yakima. Yesterday, we arrived at a trailer park about fifteen or twenty minutes from the church where we are staying. Our main job there is putting a new coat of paint on the woman’s home. A fellow worker and I went with Pat, our group leader to get the paint at Lowes. We kind of got lost in the store looking for the cleaning supplies and latex gloves. After we returned with our six gallons of paint, we spent the afternoon and early evening scraping paint off the deck, washing the trailer, weeding and starting to paint the woman’s home. I volunteered to paint the trim, and I spent a couple hours giving it, and the ground, a new paint job.
The meals here are really good. Last night it was fettuccini and chicken. My group of friends and I, plus some new additions, got in a heated and very loud discussion about the world’s issues and politics. Apparently, this is out of the ordinary for teens to discuss and attracted a lot of (hopefully) positive attention from St. Stephen’s adults. After the Evening Program, we got free time until eleven and we went in at ten ‘till.
I was really shocked about how friendly most of the people were. Almost everyone seems so open minded and accepting. In my sharing group, I’ve talked to/ hung out with each one of them. It’s overall a good environment with good students and leaders helping those who need it the most. I’ve already learned a lot here, and its only the second day. Today I’ll be back on the ladder, painting the brown trim green and TRYING not to get it in peoples’ hair. Even though the workdays are long and the temperature are above ninety, its somehow enjoyable. Off to work again.
-Kelcie H.
Volunteer Chore Services (Yakima)

Day 2
Today my group was able to go to the OIC food bank for a nice portion of the day. It is one of the largest food banks serving Yakima. Today I saw that people come and ask for help because they are not able to provide for themselves and their families. It was a great experience and I also learned that people who come to food banks look like they have things under control. We don’t know the their stories. It’s impossible to find every persons story and some people are just blunt and say: “thank you so much you helped me when I couldn’t figure things out on my own”. For some of the families I was almost brought to tears for the fact even when things in their life were so low, and they resort to that so many of them were amazing and overtly kind. The one thing I know and had the same even more passionate feeling was I couldn’t be one of them if I had to resort to that I would be with the people who run in and out. If I cry looking at those in need I just imagine how dramatic that experience would be for me!
Morgan B
Northwest Harvest

Just a note from one of the adults:
Once again, our kids are a credit to their families and the St. Stephens community. They are, without exception, working very hard. (I think they're learning a lot too!). Father Ed arrived this afternoon and once again ended up in "jail" during the evening game. I think, this year, he was just "visiting the 'least of these' in prison" rather than commiting "crimes". One sad note Yaki-maniacs....our favorite Mango/Smoothie Oasis has, disappeared into the ether. We'll be researching to find a new spot for our mangos with lime and chili pepper. God Bless, and Thanks for your prayers.
Kristen W.
Northwest Harvest.

Online Photo Gallery

To view photographs from our mission to Yakima go to

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday, July 14

It was a nice day today and it was not hot as the day we arrived. I did not sleep to well but I was ready to work. When we were sent of to our places to work. I was happy to help out these lovely elderly people named Cliff and Netty. From the story Tom Blackeagle told us about low income. I thought they would earn minimum wage but I was wrong these people only receive about $125 a MONTH and I thought that was bad compared to my aunt and uncle that just came to America for a minimum wage job. When we were done I thought we can help out the old couple for a better home.
Vince N.
Volunteer Chore Services (White Swan)

Today was our first day on the site. We were working on a site out in White Swan. The scenery is beautiful with all the orchards and the colors. The owners of the house are Cliff and Neddy. They have two cute, but shy dogs named Cheech and Chong. For lunch we went to Fort Simco Park where we met with Tom Black Eagle, who gave us some great information on the history of the reservation. Today’s work mostly consisted of cleaning the walls so we could paint them tomorrow. This is going to be a fun week. I have an awesome team who is filled with great conversation.
Sarah C.
Volunteer Chore Services (White Swan)

The dinner was amazing! Alfredo… perfect! The first day at our work sites went well. Benny and I scrubbed the entire outside walls of a house, so we could begin painting. I was looking forward to meeting the homeowner, but sadly, she is in the hospital due to cancer. Our prayers are with her, and we hope she becomes well. We pray that she can return to her newly painted home soon in good health. I’m excited to finish painting tomorrow and possibly start a new project. I love helping the elderly improve their homes. They are such sweet people, and it is so fun getting to know them.

Katie A.
Volunteer Chore Services

Today was the first day that we helped with Northwest Harvest and my expectations of the day were over-exaggerated. . At the end of the day we learned a lot about the people that we are working for. Today we packed applesauce, lots and lots of applesauce. I am very interested in who and what type of people come to a food bank. The woman who is in charge told us, “The economy is getting so some people are coming to these places for the first time in their lives.” I want to do the biggest part I can to make it feel as comfortable as possible with the teens and adults around me doing the things I am!
Morgan B
Northwest Harvest

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday, July 13

When I arrived in Yakima it was as hot when I was I at Vietnam. When I look at the city I thought this city is a lot less fortunate than us. I thought my family that just came over from Vietnam was unfortunate but I was wrong. I felt like when I took my first step off the car, I felt I did the right thing to help others.

Vince N.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mission Teams Prepare for Departure

Mission retreat was held Tuesday, July 8th with team assignments, work assignments and who we would be sharing our Mission weeks with, including teams from Boston for week 2 ( July 20 to 27) , and week one with groups from Sacramento and San Diego area amongst others. Stay tuned to Mission Youth posts to begin Monday evening, should ever everything go as planned!!!
Our many fund raisers are all complete. Now the fun and real work begin. Remember to pray for us, for patience, etc.
Week one begins with Mass and blessing @ 8:30 Mass, Sunday July 13th.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spaghetti Feed

Photo shows our teens enjoying spaghetti after serving our guests at our final fund raiser in June.

About Us

Renton, Washington, United States