Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barb M.

It’s truly hard to believe how fast a week at Mission can pass. Northwest Harvest was more than I expected. I knew I would sort or break down food in bulk. I knew I would distribute food at a food bank. I knew I might paint or go pick at an orchard. We did all those things but there was more beyond the meeting of those who would benefit from your labors and possibly hearing their stories. We had the opportunity to pick cherries in the orchard. We were only in the hot sun for maybe two hours but it was enough to experience the heat and difficulty of picking. Between all of us we only picked enough for a salary of about $5.00! Lesson learned. Jacklyn from Northwest Harvest taught us so much about those who pick to the point it reaches our plate and the wonder of God’s work in that whole process. We also were well aware we could never support ourselves in the field! We learned through other’s stories how they got where they were yet so many had hope, pride and faith. I have never received as many “thank you’s” in a week. Families came together and supported each other and what they didn’t need they didn’t take. There was no greed at all in the line. And , for me, every year I attend Mission I am in awe of our teens. All of you have much to be proud of. They are truly carrying God’s love in their hearts. Be always thankful for your family and what you have in your teens and the rest of your family.
Barb Miller

Thursday: Leah H.

This week I have been working at Northwest Harvest. This is my second year at this site, but we have been doing different things. Last year we picked apricots, but this year we picked cherries. Some things have been the same, like sorting and boxing cucumbers. Today we painted semi-truck trailer coolers with white reflective paint. It was hot and bright, but we had fun. We ended up with paint covering the coolers and ourselves. I enjoyed doing work for others. Mission always inspires me to serve others more often. I hope that next year at college I can find new ways to help others.

Leah Hollingsworth

Friday, July 24, 2009

White Swan: P.J. Crowley

This year has been my first mission, and it has been very enjoyable! My first day I was somewhat nervous about what to expect, but I was happy to see a cute little lady, named Katherine, who needed help around her house. We started with staining her deck, and shortly learned that although there were many things to do not all of us could do them. So on Thursday half of our group went to a new site to do yard work for a lady named Lucielle. She charmed us with her cute puppies and personality! Her yard was overcome with weeds which we conquered! It was a hard task but we finished weeding and tearing out her deck in two days. This week has taught me many things such as, humility, hard work, appreciation, friendship and much more. Throughout my life I have been completly blessed and am very thankful for the opportunity to come this week!! Our leaders have been awesome and we are all very lucky that they took time out of their lives to be with during this week of awesomeness!

peace out st stephens,

PJ Crowley

Northwest Harvest: Tim

So far mission has been really fun and challenging. On Monday we went to the Northwest Harvest warehouse. We helped sort and package things for a little bit before we went to a farm called Thompson’s Farm where we picked cherries (mostly binge) for three and a half hours. It is called gleaning when you pick, harvest, and package food, but we only picked the cherries. It became boring after awhile, but then I began to think about people who have to do this to support their families and how much harder that would be. We also ate a little, and they were great. On Tuesday Northwest Harvest sent them to the Moses Lake Food Bank. Tuesday we went to the OIC Food Bank here in Yakima, which is the largest one in the valley. From about 10 am to 2 pm we helped distribute food to people in need. I helped one blind man, which was cool because I got to talk to him. I also helped an older lady who needed help to carry her bags to her house. She kept saying that her apartment was very close and just across the street, but it really was not. We probably walked at least 12 blocks to her apartment, but that was okay because while walking I learned a lot about her. She has four kids (two girls and two boys) and they are all grown-up and married. She does not want to ask them for help because she does not want to bother them, but if I were them I would feel ashamed that my mother is all alone and no family support even though they she has four kids that can help her. It has been really tiring thus far, but I feel great because I get to help people who are less fortunate become fortunate.

Tim Denby

Northwest Harvest:Jesse

Today, our group did an extreme car wash—two huge semi truck semi truck trailers. They were caked with dirt, and we had to get them spotless in order to re-paint them tomorrow. After a long day in the sun, we cleaned them up at least enough to work with, but after 30 years of wear-and-tear, “dirty” couldn’t even begin to describe these old things.
So, those two are being left for tomorrow’s work, and we migrated indoors to work with produce. The first half of our work was labeling unmarked products, a meat substitute. Following a quick lunch, we moved on to sorting beans into bags for distribution. Personally, I like working with bagged foods. It sure beats yesterday’s crop: Mushrooms that were so far past the expiration date, fungus was growing on the fungus! They didn’t even look like mushrooms anymore.
We weren’t working directly with the needy today, so we never got to see the fruits of our labors, but the thoughts of where the food is going and what it’s going to do is reward enough.

Jesse Prelesnik

Volunteer Chore Services: Friday

Charlotte Dittmar

This was my first mission and I can honestly say that it was totally worth the hot, upper ninety-degree weather. Going into the week I didn’t have any friends and I was not looking forward to going at all. The first day I made tons of friends.
On the first work day, my group and I were introduced to a man named Lowell Ramfo who was going to help us make ramps. We were going to build a ramp for this man who had such a tough life. His leg was horribly beaten up and he had had 17 surgeries on it. The next ramp was for a woman’s mom and I have to say it was a ton easier to build than the first one. My favorite part about the spot where we were was that the lady who owned the house was selling little tiny puppies and we got to hold them. By lunchtime we were finished and we went to Lowell’s house for lunch where we got to eat the delicious peaches from his tree. Lowell had said that before his mother died at 95, she wrote him the most moving passage I had ever heard. This is what she said:

You can’t get much done starting tomorrow. It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. Be happy, it’s one way of being wise. Kindness is the ability to love people more than they deserve. Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice. Keep your ideals high enough to inspire you, and low enough to encourage you. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again. If you have joy in your heart, it will be known by the look on your face.

Just by hearing those simple words made my week and made me realize, in a way, why I was on this mission trip. I am here to serve the lord by being kind and showing love to the people we were serving this week. This was not the only message I heard and will definitely take home with me. At the last place we helped we pulled weeds for an elderly woman, Margrett, who has a bad back and couldn’t really manage her garden herself. Our group went in to talk with her, and one really important advice she gave was, when you get a job have faithfulness because without it you will have a lot of trouble.
This week was very fun and was kind of a roller coaster. It was hot, sweaty, challenging and really fun. I also want to say that I learned how to use a power drill. I know that I will be coming back next year because I feel satisfied about being able to say that I might have changes someone’s life or just day but I feel good about the work I did.

Mike C. : White Swan

The past few day s have been good. Our site has not a lot to do but what there is to do takes a lot of time. But overall its been fun but very long days. Looking forward to the time ahead.

Wednesday Northwest Harvest: Sarah

Sarah Carter
Blog Wednesday

The group I am in is working with Northwest Harvest. We are doing what feels like a whole bunch of odd jobs. On Monday we worked in the cherry fields most of the day. I learned when picking those cherries I could not pick enough cherries in a day to feed myself let alone a family and pay for the other basics for living, like a house. It was especially difficult to pick cherries which where quality. Jaclyn, our orchard mom, told us that some buyers or orchard owners will pick through the buckets you bring in and determine if you are even going to get paid for that bunch of cherries you picked. When picking cherries, though it was hard work, it was hard to see the true work we where doing or how we could possibly be helping anyone. Working with Northwest Harvest is a great experience for me because I have only ever worked on the house sites on the reservation where I could see the people I was helping and how they reacted to our presence there. This site is more of a challenge, it helps me to work on the faith element of my religion. It is much more difficult to do a task to do what seems like minor tasks and hope it truly impacts the larger community. Then on Tuesday our group was able to work at OIC, which is the largest food bank in Yakima. There we where able to actually put a face to the people we where helping. We Passed out food and helped people carry the food to their cars. There we served about 275 people. When Lisa, our head supervisor at Northwest Harvest, did the math for us, it was more like 650 people we where serving. Because it was 275 people picking up food for their families and the average family size is 4 to 5 people. It was very humbling to see people of every size, shape, color, age, and gender. And how they only took the food they needed for the time being. Overall this mission has been the most difficult mission yet. I have had to make new friends because I didn’t know very many people going on this week. I have had to do just as much annual labor as previous years if not more. And most of all I have had to have faith that the “odd jobs” are all going to affect someone’s life.

P.S. I got to be up on top of a semi trailer to give it a good wash. =)

Wednesday Northwest Harvest:Annissa

For the last three days my team has been doing various jobs assisting Northwest harvest. The first day we were out in an orchard picking cherries, we did it for but 3 and a half ours and were already exhausted. My attitude going into the day was not very positive at all, I thought to myself “ how am I going to leave here at the end of the week feeling that I made a change in someone’s life when all we were doing was picking cherries by ourselves out in the hot sun all day?” But then later on in the day while in the cherry picking process I thought about the people who do that job for a living, I thought they are working just as hard, if not harder, than the jobs in this society that get paid much more, but yet they are getting paid so little. I came to my senses and saw past the hot sun for the rest of the day and made it a good experience. Also on Tuesday we went to a local food bank, here we were distributing food to people with the help of the volunteers who work at the food bank. After a while went by the volunteers who work there got to telling us about why they volunteer, one lady shared with us that she is in the same position as the people coming to the food bank, she is on DSHS and is barely getting by, and even though she has so little she continues to give so much….if only everyone could give at least a little.

Annissa Cerna

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pictures have been uploaded to the Photo Album


Enjoy :)

Tuesday 21st: White Swan

When I got to the site, I could tell that week one had done a very good job. Throughout this week, we plan on fixing up the bathrooms, staining the deck, and building stairs to the backyard. On the first day, we were able to get the first coat of stain on to the deck and fix up the first toilet. While we were working, a wild cat came by that was very friendly and we could swear it was a house cat. We gave it the name of Smalls not only because it was skinny, but it responded well to the sound. Today, we brought food for Smalls and he/she really enjoyed all of the attention that we gave. On the site, we put in a new sink, fixed all of the toilets, got the spots of stain that we missed, and got the sides of the stairs put in.

Nathan M.

Tuesday July 21: White Swan

Tuesday July 21, 2009

Out in the white swan reservation,
Hangin’ in the sun, but it’s no vacation.
A cute little elderly lady is whom we are helping now,
She has a young spirit, and a heart filled with love.
15 minutes till our day is done,
But in reality, when we get back, our work has only just begun.
It’s Tuesday as we speak,
But we have already done so much; it feels like it’s been a week.
Finishing the work that week one left us to do,
But were tuff kids, so we’ll make it through.
Kicking my feet up in shade,
Out on the front porch where we just stained.
We got new sinks, and showers too,
But we still have so much left to do.
We miss our family and friends,
And most definitely, our non-inflated beds.
In a t-shirt and jeans, Father Ed drove for miles,
As well as Grace Daniels, who gave us all smiles.
So much more I could write, but it’s time to go,
I think my group thinks I type to slow.
We miss you all, we will be back soon,
Take care, and stay cool, and remember we love you.

-Hope Van Bruggen

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday 20th Week 2: Volunteer Chore Services (Sean and Lauren)

Today, our site group visited Estefan (or Steve) at his home to build him a ramp in the front yard. First Lauren, Sean, Kristen, and Charlotte measured lengths of wood pieces for the framework of the ramp that Lowel (the head contractor) cut for us before we headed to the site.

Claire and Katie primed, sanded, and glossed the plywood that would be floorboards of the ramp. Charlotte and Sam also helped George and Lowel drill the framework of the ramp. It was hard work throughout the day but we persevered in the hot weather and we all had fun doing it.

Lauren, Sean, and Charlotte also had a chance to speak with Estefan about himself and his family members. Estefan moved from El Paso, Texas in 1988 and has been living in Yakima since. He has been living in his current home for the past five years and has gone through some obstacles in his lifetime. He struggled with addictions and has been recovering for seven years. He used to work in construction and his favorite job was doing sheetrock. He and his work partner could do a whole garage of sheetrock in two days. “People were surprised that I loved to do sheetrock,” he said. Estefan has had four surgeries on his right leg and that is what has caused him to become disabled. Through his injury, he still was able to work on his home and renovate it from a 2-bedroom house to a four-bedroom house. He also added a second bathroom and took out his dining room area. He prefers to barbecue with his relatives on the front porch anyway. Estefan’s five-year-old nephew was present while we were working and ended up bonding with Sam. Our team members also got to meet Estefan’s pet Lab puppies DJ and Cookie, who were very small and cute.

Our group will be coming back tomorrow to finish the ramp and we are excited to help this family in need. It was a good start to the week and we can’t wait for what’s to come!

By: Sean and Lauren

Friday, July 17, 2009

Week 1 - Day 5

So my group is known as the cherry group because that is the only thing we have seen this week. Cherries cherries cherries. Any more cherries and I will go insane. We have probably spent two days of just cherry work. My favorite day so far this week was when we went to the cherry orchard and picked 3 thousand pounds of cherries. Yesterday was one of my least favorite days because we went the homeless shelter and there were 2,402 flies flying around and I probably assassinated 48 of them.

A.J. Flanigan

As the week winds down I am now finding the time to actually blog, after slight prompting. Well what can I say about this week? The most obvious answer to me is it was quite an experience. We have spent the week working at a little old lady’s house replacing a bathroom. At first I was quite daunted by the task. We looked at the old tub full of orangey brown sediment from years of dripping well water, an orange tinted shower that was once white, and a sink that shared the same fate. Our client didn’t even drink the water, only bathing and cooking with it. Once I got over all that I had seen, the task seemed quite manageable, but as the week moved all sorts of delays and unexpected work required before we could actually start prevented the work. Although it is a 2-week site, we hoped to replace the toilet, convert the shower corner to shelving, and replace the old tub with a stand up shower. Unfortunately due to time restraints we only got the shelves, toilet, and base work for the shower finished. Also, the effort that I did not take part in on my site was the yard work. In the back the weeds and dry grass came all the way up to the house, which was a fire hazard. So our team cleared a good 10 feet of weeds along a 30-foot house, and created a garden area. At the end of the week I felt disappointed in myself because of all we didn’t accomplish, but as I looked at what we had done and reflected on the difference created, I felt that I actually had made a difference in this nice old lady’s life. She was so sweet, and appreciated us so much that she even made us cupcakes, necklaces, and bought us soda to drink. What a week.
In terms of the experience, and not the actual work, this week has been far different from almost any other. Time here moves so slowly, it’s almost like you are on a foreign planet. It seems like leaving that parking lot a week ago was months ago, and yet I can’t believe the week is already almost over. You can’t get this kind of feeling in any other manner. To me it is a feeling of purpose and meaning in the world. To truly do God’s work, and profoundly impact another’s life through your actions is like nothing else. Program director Sean said at the beginning of the week, “Some people think they are out to change the whole world on mission, but it doesn’t quite work that way.” In response to this I believe that I am not changing the whole world, but instead I am changing the world of the people I encounter in my ministry. On mission there is always a few things; hard work, good friends, great memories, and the presence of the Lord. This week I have most certainly encountered all of these. This week has been brutal with the hard work and triple digit temperatures, but to me the rewards far outweigh the struggle.

Matt Carter

Week 1 - Day 4

“You may not be able to change the world, but you might be able to change one person’s world. And that’s all that matters.” The previous is the quote that I have been living by this whole week. My site team and I have been working on a house owned by a woman by the name of Catherine. Catherine is a mother and a grandmother. We have been weeding the backyard and fixing her bathrooms. You walk into her house: it’s pretty organized and well cared for, but when you walk into her bathroom you are surprised. It looked pretty horrible. But we’re coming along and it’s looking really good! The backyard looks amazing as well. We’re planting flowers tomorrow. I have made so many friends already from my church and others. I love mission and can’t wait for my next year.

Briana Jackson

Week 1 - Day 3

under construction

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Week 1 - Day 2

Sorry for the delay in getting the blog posted. We initially had internet access at the site where we are staying but then somehow we lost it. We're on using borrowed laptop so hopefully we'll get some entries posted now.


What a day. Fr. Ed arrived around noon and worked with our site. In the A.M. we finished ramp #1 with Mary Elaine. She came out with her daughter and we all took pics. Then off to ramp #2 at Marci's house. Marci fought forest fires for 7 summers in Montana, worked in Asbestos for many years after that, and she may have also been a smoker...but anyway her lungs are shot. She was on oxygen when I saw her and could hardly get around. The day was not too hot and she and her son had the day off, so they wanted to get her out. So she wasn't there when we finished, but she was very hospitable and thankful.
But our lunch was probab hte most intersting part fo the dayf or me. We went to Lowell's back yard where halfour crew prepped the material for tomorrow's ramp. Fr. Ed was also with us, which always makes it special but the highlight was getting Lowell to tell us more about himself. He had just showed us his Carmen Gaia that he remodeled with an electric motor and 12 vold batteries. He goes 60 miles on a charge and can go at least 75 miles per hour! He has been to New Orleans 8 times to help the needy there. And at 58 yrs old, he has sold his business, feels very blessed, and is a model of giving back. He quoted that working with the kids and Mission is his "Soul Candy." He sounded very blessed by his employees and he always wanted to do right by them. last night we learned about the Seven Tenants of Catholic Service and now I was working next to someone who exemplified them.
I shared with Lowell that working with our youth here is a celebration of their youthful spirit, and that I felt blessed to experience this.
Thanks everyone who sponsored us for making this happen. It is truly special.

Rick Ryan

Today we started on our third ramp. The first was for a lady who had a hard winter -she was infected with salmonella and was bedridden till the past few months when she started getting better. Now she is semi-mobile but will be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life so we went to make her a little bit more self-reliant so she doesn’t have to depend on her daughter as much and she has more freedom. The second house we went I didn’t really talk to but for seven years she was a fire chaser in Montana. Then she was infected with aspestus then her lungs gave out so she can’t really do anything. So she was in a wheel chair and will be from now on.

Griffin Boyle

When we arrived at our first project, I was really worried. I had no clue on how to build a ramp and neither did anyone else in my group. But as we got started, Lowell, our ‘guide’, helped us get the hang of things. The first ramp we built was for a woman named Mary Irene. Her mother has gone through many medical difficulties and was unable to enjoy their property without the worry of falling down. But once we finished the ramp, it was so rewarding to know that we built it. I never in my mind thought I could build something like that. Before this, the biggest thing I had built was a birdhouse.

On Tuesday, when we finished, the look on Mary Irene’s mom’s face was priceless when she saw the ramp. It was awesome to see her go down the ramp for the first time. I remember her saying, “This is so easy even I can do it!” It was wonderful to see what a difference we had made in her life. Later that day we split up into 2 groups, boys and girls. The boys worked on a second, smaller ramp while us girls went to Lowell’s house to paint and prepare all the wood for today’s project. I had no idea how much preparations had to be done before you got to start building!!!

I’ve met so many new people this week already. I’ve gotten really close to some people from Montana and have also grown to know myself and those from my church a little better.

Julie Balza

I arrived at my first project not knowing how use the drill, let alone being able to build a ramp. As we drove into the driveway, all I could see were cats- big and small. They even had a litter of 2 week old kittens—which were the most cutest things in the world.
Our group started out with a prayer to start the day and to our surprise, Mary Irene, one of the woman living in the house, joined in. She was the most humble person and was overjoyed to see us working on a ramp for her mother. She treated us with the most delicious cinnamon rolls, ice tea, and watermelon. She also welcomed us into her home.
It was a long hard day for our group but we managed to finish most of the work on the first day. When we finished the ramp on the second day, Mary Irene’s mother came out to walk on it. As she walked up and down the ramp, tears came to many peoples eyes. She was the happiest person alive she exclaimed. She finally can see her backyard and sit outside in solitude. She finally felt independent again. Our group said goodbye to the family and to the kittens and we all left to go build and paint another ramp. It was difficult to leave but we all knew there was more in store for us later that day and the week ahead of us. Today, we are building a ramp in 90 degree weather, luckily some kind people got posicles for us!! I’m excited for what this mission has to offer to me for the rest of the week!

Marie Flanigan

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 Mission Week 1 - Day 1

Today (Monday) was the first day that we were to view our sites and begin to work. We took a little longer than I expected because of our store stop and Dan misread the directions twice, but after that we swiftly recovered and arrived at our site. When we first arrived, they looked like a typical family with cars and a house. However once we met her we began to look more carefully about her problems. Her bathrooms had been neglected for years and many plants had been overgrown and overtaken her yard. We divided into two main groups, those who worked on the bathroom that included Will and myself, and outside which was everyone else. The goals for today were for us to remove an old shower that had taken on a lot of damage and other problems with piping. At first it was tough but it ended up coming up pretty easily. Underneath were lots of rat droppings and old insulation. We cleaned that up and managed to remove part of the piping. We then later set our sites on the bathtub scraping out lots of minerals and unbolted it for us to remove it tomorrow. Along with that tomorrow we will be removing the floor, installing a new shower, and working on installing shelving units for the bathroom.

Much Obliged,

Luke Kemper

Today is day one. Today I had to take out a shower. It wasn’t too bad.

Will Dittmar

Today is day one. We spent the whole day sorting fruit, getting it ready for the food bank we are going to. Even though it wasn’t exiting we had fun talking and joking around and helping Northwest Harvest.

Mike Prelsnik

Wow! It was the first time I actually got to experience and see what it would be like to live in poverty. I felt like I was on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I met this tiny little old lady named Catherine who lived by herself out in the middle of nowhere. The bathroom we have to re-model hasn’t been used in 8 years because it is in such bad shape!! There is literally a layer of rusty buildup all over the bathtub, toilet, and shower. I got stuck digging and pulling weeds amongst the wasp nests and spiders! We shall see how the rest of the week turns out!

Mrs. Redmond told me to blog…so here I am mom! Haha

Lots of Love,

Elizabeth Rodland

Today, day one, was very eventful. Working at Northwest Harvest, we worked sorting food; mainly produce. Most of the time was spent separating good cherries from rotted and very nasty cherries. Not that fun. Tomorrow we will be working at a food bank, and the day after that possibly picking the now dreaded and feared cherries. Getting up early and staying up late aren’t working for me. (I prefer staying up late and sleeping in.) AND cold showers do not work for me. Other then that, I’ve made new friends (GASP) and am getting along with those I already know. I LOVE MISSION!!!

Not tired, but trying to stay awake-
-Kelcie Hollingsworth

Today was my first day of mission. My experience at today’s site surpassed any expectations I had for this mission trip. The people there were so generous and nice because they provided us with snacks such as watermelon, cinnamon rolls, and ice tea. The work was really fun. Super tough, but extremely fun. I had no idea that I had the potential to build a ramp. I can’ wait for tomorrow's work.

It is windy. It is dusty. I am sleeping on the ground. What a great experience! I am amazed at the work ethic, compassion and camaraderie of our teens. They give so much of themselves to help each other and those they do not know. Mike Dullenty

Today we went out to build handicap ramps. It was an amazing experience. The family was so welcoming to us when we first arrived. They offered food and drinks. Here we were supposed to be helping them and they were helping us. They were willing to participate in opening prayer with us and be a part of the entire experience. All of the teens were so willing to help and jumped right in. There was so much excitement. In all the excitement they were also willing to share the work with everyone so that each had an opportunity to give. It was such a blessing to be part of such an experience. I can’t wait for tomorrow to meet a new family when we build at the next place. Pam Redmond

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A New Year: Mission to Yakima 2009

Another year has come and our intrepid teens and adults are once again preparing for two week long trips of service and discovery. Watch this blog for their story!
To see photos of our teams in Yakima go to http://ststephens.albumpost.com

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Renton, Washington, United States