Friday, July 23, 2010

Pat and Megan

Pat and Megan are hard at work re-flooring the the kitchen.

Thursday 7/22- Ramp Building

Today my group started to build our third ramp which is 48 feet. I love work with Lowell I’m so glad he is the person we have him as our third adult because he is an amazing man. Also during this week I have connected with the people who we are building the ramps for and I also connected with the people in my group. Lastly’ I’m going to miss everybody I met and Lowell.

Vincent Mottola

Mission is always special times, but this seems even better somehow. The warmth, ok, ok it was hot at 95 and in the sun, but the evenings and mornings have been tonic for this westsider prone to rust! And the kids are so awesome. You would be very proud of each and every one of them! I sure am! Time with Lowell! Finishing ramps and today working on a home South of Wapato. It needed a lot, but our kids were more than up to the task! Primeing, painting, patching, spackling, and cleaning. But they transformed a home in a day…wow!

Rick R

I learned today that dust storms are really windy. Never wear white shirts when you are in a dust storm. The front of my shirt is completely beige while the back is white. Today, we picked up garbage in the yard of the family’s house. I think we picked up more than ten bags of garbage. I thought it was hot today but it didn’t even break ninety. Today we also started putting in tiling. The dining area looks fantastic. We also finished the bathroom with all the scrubbing and the second coat in the last bedroom. The place looks amazing. It is almost time for dinner. I keep walking around with the laptop trying to finish this blog. Yet I am not sure what I wanna say. Yesterday we went swimming and ice blocking. I totally ruined a pair of shorts. Actually I ruined two pairs. It was fun. Turns out it is better to slide down on your stomach better than sitting on your butt. There was a lot of swimming races yesterday. It was fun! Im so glad I got to swim again. Its been much too long. Well its only five days…..oh well. I think I have been saying random stuff too much. I finally opened my red bull I wonder how that will do to me and how well I will sleep tonight. I believe air mattresses hate me. I have had two but they all go flat on me by two in the morning! Ahh. I guess next year I will bring a cot or something. I think I now have the longest blog. Hahahahaa. I think I am just rambling on right now so I should go. Bye

Sammi Nguyen

Tonight is culture night here at Young Neighbors in Action. Thursday is always culture night here, and this year we get to understand more about the native Yakama culture. The fact that it’s Thursday startles me. I can’t believe that this week has flown by already! Each workday has had so much progress and I’ve made so many great friends that I’m going to really miss this amazing experience! My group is building ramps. We get the joy of working with the absolutely AMAZING Lowel, who is the ramp building guru! He is a truly amazing person! Every year he goes to New Orleans to help rebuild homes, and he continues to build ramps by himself during the duration of time he’s home. Being able to work with him is an honor! On my first workday, I was really surprised when they handed me a power drill. I have never used one previously in my life and I was honestly scared out of my wits! Now it’s Thursday, and I can both drill and drive a nail with the best of them! However, there wasn’t much building today. My ramp-building group was split in half; some of us being sent to work on a house on the reservation that needed painting and cleaning. It had been a site that was left unfinished from week one. I cleaned the cabinet doors in both the kitchen and the laundry room from a yellow-orange color back to a clean white. I never thought that a rag, some water, and Mr. Clean could do so much! I also painted, but had a little incident with primer. A fan scared me when it fell from the window behind me, I spun around, and backed up into the wall I had JUST covered with primer. In the words of my good friends: “fail”. Anyway, I’m off to enjoy culture night, enjoy my salmon and fry bread, and learn to dance. So, in conclusion, I love you all, and Mission is amazing!

-Kelcie Hollingsworth

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday at Mission

Helloo Everyone :)
Thursday at Mission has beeen so fun yet so tiring.
At NorthWest Harvest Im sad to say we have one more day left because we all feel so close to the staff and we cant believe mission is almost over. But first, earlier today we went to a food bank and helped them out. I was talking to the people and helping them with their bags and I helped serve. It was lots of fun. I met some really nice people and I loved helping them. Then we came back to NorthWest Harvest and started packaging cucumbers! It felt nice because they were cold and the weather was so hot. Some other kids were there from a program called "Get Set". They are foster kids but I didnt find that out until yesterday. I made some really close friends. It was sad hearing their story but they are glad they are in a better place. Today was our last day working with them and I hope the best for them because they have been great friends to me this week.
God Bless.
Urmika Tejpaul

Wednesday at Mission

Wednesday at Mission was lots of fun!
It was rec day and father was here with us.
After a tiring day at our worksites I was so excited to go to the park and just hang out.
At my work site though (NorthWest Harvest) it felt like a long day, but fun nonetheless.
We went to 3 different food banks and helped them unload. Later on we came back to NWH and helped them package onions. After this we went back to the church to get ready for rec day. At the park we ate a yummy dinner and I watched people IceBlock. We also went to the pool to have some fun.
We had Mass later on and the day ended on a good note.
Im sad the week is almost over.
Urmika Tejpaul

Mission So Far...

This mission has so far been very exciting, I have met many new people from other churches. I have come to find that peeople will travel far to help others...many of which came from California. I have really been touched this week because I have come into close conact with people who care about others just as much as I do and are willing to give up a week of there summer just so they can help many people survive another day. I was stationed at North West Harvest and I was a little bummed because I really wanted to build ramps for people or fix up peoples houses. When I found out that I was on the NWH I was thinking that it was just my building just sorting. But now that I have come to know the people that I am working with I would never in a life time dream of switching my job, being on this job has exposed me to the other side of helping others. At NWH I did have to sort big containers of food, mostly small sweet onions, although I probably will never want to lay eyes on another onion again I had lots of fun! The First day was filled of putting "good" onions into boxes, and getting rid of all the nasty unedible ones. The second, third and fourth days my group and I went to foods banks to help them out with some packing, and sorting and even gardening. But the second half of the work day we resided at NWH where we continued to pack food into boxes. There was another group of kids that came to help us out for about an hour on the second, third and fourth days, they were from a foster care program that was allowing them to have real life job experiences, it was fantastic meeting them and getting to know some of them. Although their life may be challenging with the experiences they must have gone through, to me they are just other people needing someone in their life to care...just needing a friend in the world. I believe that if you talk to peolpe in a way that shows dignity then they will feel more accepted in the world, feel more like a human being. I am so glad I was able to experience this wonderful way of helping and plan on coming back as long as i can!

Miranda H

Mission 2010

I am working at Northwest Harvest this week and the food banks that they support. They buy food from farmers or companies donate in order to distrubute it to the local food banks. I help sort this food and package it so that it can be transported. It is very tedious and boring but it has to be done sometime and volunteers are often the ones who end up doing the work. There are also foster kids who are in this program where they learn job skills and do community service that are helping us sort. They are just like normal kids, who might have problems in their life but they do not seem to care. Matthew, an autistic adult, comes twice a week and helps too. He is very good at dancing and is on a team. At the food bank there were a lot of people who need the food. Sometimes they would try to take more than what they were allowed but we had to make sure there was enough for everyone. The food we helped distubute was the same food we helped sort at NWH, which was very gratifying. At the school I have made a lot of friends from other places. Overall, there have been a lot of people that have touched my life this week.

Sean D.

Northwest Harvest, Thursday

This week working at Northwest Harvest has been great fun. My team is full of welcoming and open people. We hyave had some good conversations, as we sorted all kinds of stuff, from nasty broken cans of corn to the onions which no one wants to see ever again, and there are 8 more bins of those. But along with working in the warehouse where there are volunteers from other organizations as well, sorting and packaging items to go out to food banks, we have also gone out to help at the food banks. Today we got to work at Out Daily Bread food bank just down the road. While talking to people as they picked up food I got to practice some spanish and the time just flew by. It was nice to see some of the faces that goes with this great need. Lisa said on the first day that this Northwest Harvest helps feed over 30,000 families in the central Washington area. All in all i have a great team and a great loction to be working on my last year as a teen mission participant. And if God wills I will be back as an adult team leader in 3 years.

Sarah C

Northwest Harvest - Nathan

This week has been quite the handfull for me. I am working at the Northwest Harvest site, and almost every day we have had to sort onions. Every once in a while though we have gone to local food banks to help stock the food or serve the food. The work is pretty repetitive as we have to help unload and carry the packages of food to and from the food bank.
At the place where we stay, I have had a lot of fun meeting new people, and talking to the ones that I became good friends with last year. The numbers are also a lot shorter than the previous year for the whole group, dropping from around 140 to the 50s. In some ways, this has been great because I get to spend more time with my friends, but I do not get as much of an opportunity to talk to other people.

Nathan M

Thursday 7/22- North West Harvest Briana Jackson

North West Harvest has been such an amazing experience for me. Last year i did the reservation so this is way different then what I have done before. We spend most of our time sorting foods such as onions, cucumbers, cans of corn, and blackberries or "bushberries" as they are called here. When food shelters are open we will drive over there and help them do whatever they need. On Tuesday Kristen, Nathan and I sorted clothes into winter and summer piles, while others weeded and bagged beans and rice. While we were there on Tuesday, we also got to try some pinapple juice. There was this lady that was going around to the volunteers giving people some of here juice, and it was so good. I have never had better juice! On Wednesday we went to a different food shelter and helped bag frozen vegetables. Today we went back to that same food shelter as the one we went to Wednesday, and passed out food to people. I passed out beef stew until I got upgraded to beef stew AND bottles of water! There I got a chance to interact with a lot more people like the volunteers that were there. I like hearing stories and being with people so I loved doing that. While we've been here, there have been a group of people here also that help North West Harvest also. These are people that are under foster/kinship care. I got to know a boy names Aaron who is a dancer as well. He is so funny and he has the funniest stories to tell. I also got to talk to his friend Pablo on Wednesday. Even though I dont get to do one on one stuff with families like the reservation, I am loving North West Harvest. I have such a great group on my site, and we all get along. Grace has such a mom like presence, and Kristen has such a great humor, so they are the perfect leaders. Im bonding a lot with people I never would've talked to otherwise so I'm really glad I am here. Even though I miss my family, its gonna be hard to leave! Can't wait for cultural night tonight!

Bagging Cornmeal at Northwest harvest: when all said and done we made 1,359 individual bags from 500 lbs of cornmeal.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday 7/21 Yakima Reservation

This week has been a fun and challenge-filled week and will definitely continue to be. So far I have worked a bathroom (a different one from Elizabeth and Stephanie’s) with Meghan Lynch. First we put in a light fixture above the sink, which was very frustrating, but we eventually got it done. We then started to install a fan for the bathroom, but it is hard because we do not know how were going connect the vent on the fan to the one in the ceiling. I then finished tearing up the rest of the kitchen floor, because much of it was already out and also so we could put new floor boards in. This is what I have done so far. I have also reconnected with people from last year and met new amazing people. I cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the week! This has been an incredible, unforgettable experience!

Tim D

So far this week at the reservation has been very productive and fun! We have gotten so much done, such as painting the bathroom and putting in a new floor. I’ve also worked on priming and painting the kitchen and another bedroom. Learning how to do these things by ourselves has been really great and we’ve had a ton of fun along the way. During our breaks we hang out with the five dogs or three babies that are around the house and outside. We also like to eat lunch with Aaron and Alyssa, the two children that live at the house- Aaron loves peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches with Doritos! Our group has really bonded and we all trust each other, which makes working much more enjoyable. My favorite parts of this week are definitely working with and getting to know my group and hanging out with the family that lives at the house we are working at. I’ll be bummed when the week is over!

Stephanie V

For the past few days our group has been working in a home filled with great kids, adults and even dogs. I didn’t know what to expect of the house, but I was ready for anything. In only a week, we had a lot to get done, so we split up into pairs and we were in charge of our own room. Stephanie V and I started on the bathroom. Even though it was a small bathroom, we had a ton of work to do. We started off taking off the door, the toilet, then the floor. Two days into the project Hannah M joined in and helped us out. Never in a million years would I think I would be remodeling a stranger’s bathroom. The amount of work is hard, but as the remodeling is progressing, you can tell that the family is very grateful for everything. This is an experience I will never forget!

Elizabeth B

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 2 - Northwest Harvest

This was the second day of my first mission! Yay for being positive and happy. I love the feeling of helping people. Today, my site was the Seventh Day Adventist Church. One half of the group was bagging beans and sorting clothes while my group did a bit of weeding out in the back. To tell the truth, the weather was rather enjoyable. It was a little cloudy and there was a breeze; it was still warm and sunny though. My group cleared a really nice area but were pricked and poked in the process due to many thistle plants.
It felt nice to do something good for the church. During the weeding process I kept wondering what I would be doing at home if I hadn't been here on mission in Yakima. Every time the answer came back to me as "I would be on the couch watching tv." I am really happy I came on mission and can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings!
*Though as a confession I have to say, missing the opening of THE BEST FAST FOOD CHAIN IN THE WORLD (Jollibee) will be sad, but when I get back I will be first in line!*

Kris C.

Northwest Harvest, Tuesday

I've learned a LOT about food banks over the past two days...where the food comes from, where it's sent to, how it's distributed to the food banks, and who is in need of the services that the banks provide. In the Yakima area alone, about 100,000 people are dependent on Northwest Harvest to supply them with food. That's why Northwest Harvest needs volunteers like us!!! :) Our team is headquarted at the main distribution warehouse for Northwest Harvest in Central Washington. Yesterday we spent the entire day at the warehouse, bagging about 1,400 bags of cornmeal and sorting through bins of canned corn. At the warehouse, we met a guy named Matthew who brightened up our work experience with his AMAZING hip-hop dancing! Today we got to meet even more interesting people as we went to help out at a food/clothing bank that gets their supplies from Northwest Harvest. All of us are excited to see what the rest of the week brings. :)

Leilani B.

Monday 7/19

Today was my first day on a Native American Reservation. As we entered the Yakima Reserve I didn’t realize we have already entered. Im glad it isn’t too hot here. When we first pulled up we were greeted by a little boy named Caleb. Along with Latte, Whitey, Killer, Sugar, and the other name I don’t remember. She is 19 years old! That’s really old for a dog. They were sweet. Latter even let us pick her up and we put her in a baby rocker. We even put on hot pink shades on her and gave her flip flops. Oh yeah, and a soda can of pink lemonade. She must have enjoyed her self since she didn’t move from the spot for over ten minutes. Latte was a really cute Weiner dog . The family who lived there were really welcoming of us coming into their home. The grandparent’s names were Ray and Linda. They both helped me take four layers of tiles in their kitchen out. Along with the help we had great conversations that made me know them better. I found that Linda’s Dad has the same beliefs in life as my grandpa. We discussed our similarities and found that she used to live in the Seattle area when she was a teenager. Linda inspired me when she spoke about her son. Im not sure about his name but he was killed in a car wreck right infront of the house. He left behind his wife with an unborn child. He is now two months old. It was almost been a year without him in the family. Linda taught me that you can’t dwell on those you love once you loose them. I didn’t feel like I did much work. I spend the day mainly outside picking up garbage and talking to the other kids such as Dwight, Erin, and Alyssa. I even got them to help me pick up garbage. The dogs liked to get in the way though. It was strange to have five dogs surrounding you and following you. Even though I sweated through two shirts just taking out the tiles I felt as though I could work harder. We will see what happens tomorrow then. Maybe by then I can blog more. Yet, I don’t even know the site we are posting this to. Hahaha. Oh well. Now I feel like I am talking to myself. I hope to come back to the site tomorrow and get another warm greeting to help us kick start our afternoon together. There’s so much dust out here. When I showered the water came out brown from all the dust/dirt sticking to my sunscreen. There was a fire yesterday. The smoke cloud blocked the sun and the whole cloud and the surrounding sky turned orange. It was a very pretty sight. A regular camera would never catch the sight. Though I wish we did. We don’t really get much sleep here with all the work we do. Wake up call is at six thirty but lights out isn’t until eleven. Im sure most of us would love to sleep in  We get a lot of bonding and free time though. More than I thought. Most of us sleep during this time. But the other half are outside enjoying the sun  It is strange not seeing a single cloud in the sky. In a distance there is some white form Mt. Adams. I think I now have the longest blog. Opps I hope no one minds. Doesn’t seems like anyone else wants to blog. I wish I had a picture I could post tonight. Maybe tomorrow I can. I have a shout out to my parents. Please enjoy having our guest over. I will try my best to find time to call you. Say hi to Ngoai for me!  Also a shout out to my friends reading this; Thank you for supporting me on going on this trip. To the others who are reading this ridiculous blog of mine. I thank you all for reading and supporting our team on our service trip. I hope you have a nice week.

Beaucoup Merci!
Sammi N.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Welcome to Mission

Helllooo Everyone.
Whoever is reading this, thank you so much for wanting to see what we are doing here and all the changes we are helping make this week and thank you for blessing us.
Sunday was an amazing day. Mostly everyone toke naps including me on the way here. But once we all got here, it felt like home. We were all energized and excited to get started. This week is a smaller week so there arent as many people, but I think I like it this way because there is this closeness with everyone and it's like a family feeling. Sunday's prayer went great and the music was awesome. We played a few ice breaker games and I got to know people from even my own church better. I honestly feel like I only left for a week and now I am back, this feels like home and I am so happy to be here and to be helping people that need me to help them. Thank You and God Bless Everyone.
Urmika Tejpaul

Team Two Departs for Yakima

Following the return of our first team of missioners, the "clean-up hitters" of week two departed this morning (Sunday, July 18th) for Yakima. Prepared work, pray, play and grow these youth and adults are excited for the adventure. Follow their experiences here throughout the week.

Congratulations to Week One for a job well done!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday July 16, 2010 Yakima Mission

Friday, July 16th

Our group this week was working building ramps for handicapped people in wheelchairs and walkers. The first place we went to we built a ramp for an elderly lady. At one point, she showed Julie and I the quilts she had been making for her family and friends. She told us that she needs something to do in her house because she doesn’t want to go crazy being stuck in her house with no way out. Her quilts were absolutely beautiful, and looked like they took a ton of elaborate work. At the end of the day, when we attached the ramp to her house and finished it, she choked up and started crying. She was so happy to finally get out of her house and be able to walk around the neighborhood to strengthen her legs. Tuesday we went to a new site, and the people there had two black cats and a dog named Snuggles. The woman who we were building the ramp for was in the hospital at the time, so her son and daughter were there at the house. Her son told us that he went to the Philippines and talked about that to us for a little while and told us that he really fell in love with the music down there. He gave us a CD of Philippines music, and told us to keep it. Its things like that that make me realize how much these people are really like us. Wednesday was time for a new site. There, Lowell, the amazing man helping us build these ramps, shared with us about failure. He told us about his company, and how every time they messed up they’d celebrate their failure. On Thursday he also shared his mother’s Words of Wisdom. They were little quotes she had picked up during her life and wrote them down, and gave them to Lowell when she ‘stopped living’. Lowell truly is an inspiration, and we are extremely lucky to have gotten to work with him. Finally, Thursday and Friday we made a ramp for a family with two young kids, Tristan, who’s seven, and Ava, who’s 4. Their father has condition called Berger’s Disease, where your limbs fall off. The kids were incredibly cute and wanted to help as much as they could. They made our days working there more enjoyable and put smiled on all our faces. There was also a young kitten wandering around who we played with, who we all named Jack. Building that ramp really made me feel good, because I connected with the people who needed it. I felt so incredibly good to help them. I know that the people that have touched my life this week were gifts from God, and I’m so incredibly thankful for that.
~Brittany Redmond

Looking back at the week, I feel that it has been a very rewarding experience. Today we finished a ramp for Vern. He has two young kids that truly touched my heart. Tristan is 7. He was always there to help us paint or learn to use a drill. He sang us a Duck song and told us that we should travel in pirate ships. He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to be a Pirate, a Cowboy, or a Firefighter. He was always there for a laugh or a smile and it made a larger impact on me to see him with his dad. Ava is 4. She was eager to help us paint and even brought her own paintbrush out. She then decided that she would give us prizes…painted leaves from a tree in their yard. Although the prize was unorthodox, it was still nice to see that she was happy we were there. Leaving them was difficult. They kept asking if we were coming back or telling us that we didn’t finish the ramp so we would stay.
In meeting Vern’s children, I knew that they were truly deserving of the ramp. Because the kids were so full of energy, it was a struggle to keep up with them, especially because he used to have to crawl to his wheelchair outside. I knew that we were making a huge difference in his life as well as the lives of his children.
~Julie Balza

This week has been a great experience for me. I have been building wheelchair ramps each day around the Yakima area. We eased into the ramp building process on Monday. The woman, Marge, already had a ramp built, but there was not enough room to attach it to her porch. So, we built a landing for her, made adjustments to the ramp, attached it, and painted it. Marge could not get out of her house on her own before we built her ramp. She would sit inside by herself quilting all day, except for occasional visits by her son. When we finished the ramp, she walked outside to see it and she choked up in tears. It was amazing to see how amazing of an impact we had on her life. On Tuesday, we went to our next house, where we built our first ramp from scratch. The woman who needed the ramp wasn’t actually there. She was in the hospital because of a kidney failure. Even though we didn’t get to see her reaction, it will be a great surprise for her to be welcomed home with a completed wheelchair ramp to use. The following day, Wednesday, we went to another house to build a ramp for a man named Alan. Alan and his wife, Regina, were very welcoming and friendly. They interacted with us the most. They watched us almost the whole time, and Alan took around 150 pictures of us working. It was great to get to know the people we were helping more. Before lunch, they brought out donuts for all of us to enjoy during a break. When we finished, they also gave us each a can of Sprite. Thursday was the hottest day of the week, and we spent it building a ramp for a man named Vern. I recognized his need most out of anyone else’s because Vern was very young. While the rest of the people we helped were over 50, Vern was under 30 years old. He still has a lot of his life to live, and he needs to get out of his home. Another big reason why his need was obvious is because he has two young kids: Tristan, who is 7 years old, and Ava, who is 4. When their mother was a work, Vern is the only one watching them. They live very close by a busy street, and if one of the kids was to run out into the street, Vern would not be able to get out of the house quickly enough to stop them. Tristan and Ava were both so happy to have us there building a ramp for their daddy. They were always more than willing to help us. They were very sad to see us go, and I was sad to leave them as well. Developing a bond with Vern and his children helped me recognize how much good we were doing for these people.
- Jessica Hendricks

This week I spent time with some amazing teens willing to do whatever was asked of them. We started at Northwest Harvest bagging, boxing and stacking cornmeal, sorting vegetables, washing cans of fruit or vegetables and getting them ready for the food banks.
We had opportunities to work in some different food banks and visit with people. So many touched our hearts. There were young parents looking for clothing for their children, other men and women getting items for themselves and sharing their story. The joy on their faces when we introduced ourselves and asked them their names was a look I will never forget. I am so proud of all of the teens here, all that they accomplished, and their willingness to share their faith with others.
Charlotte Balza

Wow, what a week it’s been! It seems like we just arrived and yet I am stunned at the amount of work we accomplished. I was on the Yakima Reservation team with Debbie and Pat. The Johnson household, we were assigned to, provided shelter for a whole family tree; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, babies, even great-grandchildren. Surprisingly, I was not that surprised of the condition when we first got there. Yes, there was an assortment of trash, used baby diapers, leftover fireworks, and broken beer bottles strewn across the yard but it didn’t seem that out of the ordinary. The kids we worked with (Matthew, Caleb, Izaak, Alyssa, Angela, Jake, and Mikey) explained that the broken-down trucks filled with garbage bags were their “dumps”. Apparently, somebody is supposed to come regularly to pick up the trash but they never do. Over time and under the harsh wind conditions the bags usually end up ripping and the rubbish inside is blown across the property. The bedroom inside had graffiti and writing all over the cotton candy pink walls. A mother would have looked at the hand-drawn dart targets and cringed, but to me it represented a story, a time when a child (Alyssa, who drew them in her younger years) who wanted to get better at basketball had to make the only game she had.
Over the week, we managed to clean that entire bedroom and repaint it. We painted the laundry room, bathroom, and dining room as well as the ceilings in all of the rooms. Our team was able to retile the bathroom and clean the mildew-infested shower, toilet, and sink. We removed all of the old flooring in the dining room area and laundry room. All of the holes in the walls were plastered and filled in. And yet, in the midst of it all, we were most importantly able to connect with the family and children, creating bonds and memories that will last a lifetime. The kids and grandparents were so helpful and friendly. We made lunch for the kids and ate with them outside on tree stumps every day. The echoes of laughter still bring a smile on my face as I reminisce on all of the fun times we had. Yes, it was hard work but with our singing, dancing, joking, bubble-blowing, and water spraying, everything was more enjoyable and just a blast. Thank you so much to all of you who visited us and all of you who helped make this possible. I cannot speak for others, but I know that this week’s experience has made a difference in my life that I will never forget. Thank you and God bless.

Lisa Pham

Today we painted the Yakima Food Bank blue. It was really hot so I mostly stayed inside scooping oatmeal with this crazy lady Lisa. She gave me an epiphany even though she’s crazy. When I spent more time with her she talked about Disneyland and Yellowstone. She reminded me that she was human. That’s all, except for blasting Our God is an awesome God in the Balza-mobile/Mystery Van.
Kim Concillado

Friday, the LAST full day of Mission. To be quite honest, I never would have believed that I could make it through this week. However, there were a lot of things that I could of never comprehended on my week here. I came to church on Sunday, with a sense of nervousness. It is my first Mission and I knew nothing to expect. Sure, I did ask my friends who had gone what was it like and I would get their story. THEIR story, that was the key phrase every time I asked someone. They were telling their story, their experience when it came to mission. Listening to all of their stories, I knew that I had to see it for myself. Again I was apprehensive at first to sign-up for mission. As I went through the process, I got even more nervous. Going to the meetings, the Mission Breakfasts and the Dinner were things I participated in as a supporter. Now I took on the role of the those who were serving me pancakes back then or buying flowers from. The process of preparing for mission was the beginning of the journey…the Introduction to the Story if you will. In a story, there is the exposition. I was introduced to my team during the Retreat we had at church, weeks before mission began. I met my teammates: Alexa, Meghan, Lisa, Aj, Griffin, and Sean. My team leaders were Pat and Debbie. That was what we were, a team going to the Yakima Reservation for their mission assignment. Then came mission itself, the story that takes someone from one end to the other. This is when our team became a family. We all bounded and we accomplished our goal (Details are in the previous blogs). We had transformed to a family. They were more than what I could of asked for. Now the story comes to an end. When the protagonist or protagonists end with something that brings the story to a close. Here is mine. To my sponsors, I thank you for your support. Without you I would of never been here. To my family, thank you for everything that you have done to get me here and overall. To my teammates…I can’t THANK YOU ALL ENOUGH for making this the best week of my summer. Thank you team for helping me COMPLETE MY STORY! And the Theme of it all…A New Perspective! That everyone may take it.
Edelmar De Vera Navaluna

This past week has been such an amazing experience. Alexa, Lisa, Ed, AJ, Pat, Griffin, Sean, and Debbie were the best group members I could have asked for. The bond that we made over the week was something that we all cherish. We had many conversations sitting on tree stumps outside during lunch, and our team meetings after our night sessions lasted forever, because nobody wanted them to end. When we first arrived at the site, and saw the yard filled with garbage thrown everywhere, I thought that this wasn’t going to be a fun place for working. However, with the enthusiasm from our group and the love that the Johnson family showed us, there was never a dull moment. Debbie has been a constant source of entertainment, from dancing in the car to falling through the floor, to vacuuming Sean’s head; we all love her so much. At the Johnson house, we met the children that lived there. I couldn’t follow how the adults were related, but the children all called each other their siblings. The best part of every day, for me, was not only bonding with our group, but bonding with the children. They started out being shy, but by the end of the week, they were sad to see us go. Even though normally I am a person that likes to get things done in the fastest way possible, I loved getting to step back and watch the children as we showed them how to do something that they’d never done before. Watching them learn, and be proud of the work that they did in their home was an amazing thing. At the end of the week, I thought that not only did we do a lot for the Johnson family in terms of their home, but our relationship with the kids was one that I’m sad to see go. This week has taught me how to see Christ in everyone, and you can get to know a lot about someone by just starting with their name.

Meghan Dorney

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday 7/15/2010 Yakima Mission

Thursday, July 15th

Thursday, the week is coming to a close. Yet I am getting the clich├ęd feeling that we had just arrived yesterday. Looking back from the past three days, we had made a great difference to the house. When we had arrived for the first time, everything was uncomfortable, the site, the work, and the relationships. However, everything had gone through a complete turn around. The site looks great, interior and exterior, and the team is working like clockwork. Again, it all goes back to my theme of perspective. Once changed, it greatly influences others associated to it. Now we are all just waiting in the car. Waiting to arrive at the site, waiting to work.
I have returned to the van covered head to shoe in paint. Well everyone is covered in paint. Today, we had to paint the walls of the bathroom and the laundry room. I was in charge of priming all of the walls in the bathroom. Ray, who was the grandpa of the Johnson family, helped me prime the ceiling. It was an exchange of priming and painting all day. However the best part of the day, was having me, (YES ME) install a light fixture. Having NO experience in electricity, I was in charge of installing a fixture that could possibly electrocute me or set the house on fire. However Pat, who was a great teacher, gave me the basics I needed to install the fixture…We didn’t even need the instructions! The best part was when Pat said, “Let’s test it out.” He turns on the switch, with just about everyone surrounding me, and the bulb shined bright with no casualties. Now I am in the back of Debbie’s van, listening to music and playing 13. To my sponsors, again Thank You! To my family, I love you all.
Ed Navaluna

Today I woke up extra late. The tiredness is really getting to me. The only thing that keeps me going is that the kids at our work site expect to see me there. And I really want to be there for them. So I end up eating a super fast breakfast of just cereal and a glass of milk. I brush my teeth and do the morning prayer. Before I know it I am on the road heading towards the Yakima reservation. At this point the excitement is building and I can’t wait to get to work. I started off by helping griffin replace some drywall and making all kinds of important measurements. Next I got to remove some floor. After that I started scrubbing walls. After that I started painting these walls. After that I got to do some sweeping and then more dry walls. For some reason doing this type of work at my house would have put me in a sad mood. But when I am doing it for somebody else it puts me in the happiest mood ever. I love the reservation

AJ Flanigan

It’s Thursday and the end of the week is coming up. Today I had a hard time waking up. I think that the weeks work is catching up with me. But the work I am doing for the Johnson family gives me an incredible feeling. I’m working with and for the whole family who has to live in the poverty that I could never imagine living in. Today I painted a lot around the house. Mainly in the bathroom and in the laundry room. Also I repaired two holes in the wall with sheet rock. The thing that amazes me is that if I was home and I was doing this work, it would kill me and I would be bored out of my mind. But working out on the reservation with my group and the Johnson family time seems to fly by. Like today the first thought I had about the time, was Pat telling that it was lunch time. Working out on the reservation has been great and the rest of the week I expect the same.

Sean Redmond

Wednesday July 14, 2010 Yakima Mission

Wednesday, July 14th

Our week has some amazing kids on it. They are not only willing to help, they insist on helping. They work together great. The cohesiveness of the group is heart warming. Each of the work groups are really bonding. I am fortunate to be able to be here and work with such wonderful people. It is a very moving experience. This week I am building handicap ramps for those that are house bound. We have built one a day so far and that is the plan for the week. The people we are building the ramps for are so thankful and amazed at what our group is doing. You can see that they are visibly moved by it. On Sunday our kids wrote a song to one of the popular hit songs. Below are the words. We hope to have the video of us singing it loaded either here or on UTube at some point.
We’re St. Stephens and we’re here to serve and learn about our God, we chose the word Ohana to represent our Father and family too. Hey, Young Neighbors lets all do a favor for our family so happily, we’re here for them so willingly. Hey, Young Neighbors we don’t want to miss a single day to show our love, our love, our love.
Pam Redmond

Well we made it to day four and it really seems like it’s been no time at all. I’m working on the Yakima reservation on part of a two week project. This house has six children and four adults living there so as you can tell it is pretty worn down. In my group there is me, Meghan, Sean, Ed, Lisa, Alexa, and AJ then there is Pat and Deb as our “adults”. So far we have taken apart a bathroom and already replaced the floor. But what I was doing was cutting out holes in the wall so I could patch them. Though this was my first time doing this it turned out as a huge success. Meghan Alexa and I were working in the bedroom along with all of the kids to patch up these walls and we were allowing the kid’s to-do their own patch so they could always look back and remember that they had a hand in fixing up this house. Well I have to go and finish up the house so till next time bye.
Griffin Boyle

Wednesdays have always been the longest day to me, even during the summer. So for today, I will be bloging in two parts.
As the morning had begun, I had already gotten that gut feeling that today would be a long one. However that only means that we would have more time to work at our site. We are planning to paint one of the bedrooms in the house and possibly begin to plan and place the particle board for the tiles. Currently I am sitting at the back of Debbie’s van listening to both a collective mix to country and Christian music. For me personally, I have never been a big fan of these genres, however I have actually been enjoying some of the music they play. There was one moment where all came across a suggestive country, something I would of never suspected. However it connects to a theme that I found for myself this week, Perspective. A new perspective not only in the literal but also in the spiritual sense. Now we have arrived at the reservation and just finished our morning group prayer with the children. With the temperatures beginning to rise, and me being stuck inside the van is killer, I will end this part with simply…Do Work Son!
We had just finished another successful day at the reservation. We are now heading back home to “base camp” back at the church for some needed R&R. The focus for today’s agenda was doing a top to bottom scrub down of the walls and ceiling. Moreover, Pat and Debbie were in charge of the bathroom, which keeps looking better as the day rolled on. There was also hole patch up, which was quickly taken care of by one of my team members, Meghan. As for me, I teamed up with Sean and Lisa to work on cleaning the walls and ceiling. Griffin was working with the walls and AJ took care of the floors. Also Father Ed came to the site and helped us work on cleaning the walls and bathroom. Again the day was a success. As I leave off to take a nap, I would like to say some thanks. Thank you to all of my sponsors! Thank you to my family, I love you all. Also I would like to say a special Thanks to my friend Roxanne who has been following recently and letting me know that she has. HI!!!!
Sincerely Ed Navaluna

Our group (Debbie, Pat, Meghan, Lisa, Ed, Griffin, AJ, Sean, and I) just completed our 3rd day on our worksite. So far we have rid up the entire yard of mountains of trash, washed endless walls, patched walls, and torn up flooring. In the next few days we will be installing more flooring, fixing up the bathroom, and painting the bedroom, laundry room, and the bathroom.
The highlight of every day is working with all the kids (Caleb, Izaak, Aaron, Jake, Mathew, and Alyssa). They are always so willing to help with anything they can. Their smiles and energy help keep us all motivated and laughing. :) They are some of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. I also love spending time with their five dogs. My favorite is named Killer, which is such a joke because this dog is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met.
I love how well our group (including the kids) are working together and every day we are becoming more and more like a family. I’m having a blast!
Thanks for all your support!
Alexa Brandt

This is my last Mission with our teens. I have to admit I prayed hard that I would be chosen for the ramp site simply because I heard of this amazing man who taught the teens not only how to build ramps but how to build a meaningful life. Well, here I am. My prayers have been answered and I have savored every moment of this week. Lowell could be retired now, living a very comfortable life living on the golf courses. Instead he lives humbly and gives his time to God by helping others with ramps. He shares life thoughts with the teens throughout the day and especially at break. This man is everything that Mission could possibly be about. Our teens have been wonderful to work with. They are so eager it’s hard to share the work at times because they want to do it all! They really do have such a spirit of sharing, giving, and learning. I feel truly blessed to work with ALL the teens. I feel blessed as well to be in St. Stephen’s Parish with parishioners who fully suppor t Mission. These teens do all of you proud!
Barb Miller

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13th

Yesterday we built a ramp for a woman named Margee. It was really sad because she had a ramp but it was just sitting in her yard. The way that her porch had been built did not allow enough room for the ramp to be attached. Because of this fact, we made a landing to attach to her porch that we attached the ramp too. After replacing posts and finishing touches on the paint, we showed her the ramp. She lowered her eye and started to choke up. She asked us if she owed us anything and we said, “Nothing at all.” At this she covered her face and started to weep. It was a really touching day overall 
Julie Balza

This week, my work group was assigned to build wheelchair ramps at various homes in the Yakima area. Our “construction leader” is a man named Lowell. He lives in Yakima and does projects such as this. He worked with us at our site and taught us how to build the ramps. Lowell was very inspiring because of his motivation and patience. Yesterday, after we installed our first ramp, my group and I went to Lowell’s house, where we painted the rest of the wood for the ramps for the remainder of the week. While at his house, we learned some interesting things about him. He inspired a lot of us, including me, because he had a lot of success with careers earlier in his life, and he could be happily relaxing in retirement. But instead, he has dedicated his life to serving others throughout his community and other communities as well, such as New Orleans. He is happy making others happy.
Jessica Hendricks

So far, this mission has been really cool. Building ramps is a ton more fun than I had expected and the rewards of building these ramps are far more precious than I expected. I’m reconnecting with old friends, meeting new friends, and having a good time doing this work; it’s only the 3rd day and I already know I’ll be coming back next year.
Emily Alfus

On this mission trip my group was assigned to build wheel chair ramps. It made me feel pretty good knowing I was making it possible for people who cant get out of their houses to get out more and more easily. We have been lucky the past two days with the shade.
Matt Mead

It has been a nice change of scenery from the usual suburbs. I have got to meet some great people who I would have never met any other way. The things I have seen have greatly changed my view on the world and people in general. It is a remarkable experience and will look forward to next year.
Nick Woltkamp

It is only day 2 of my second mission trip, and I can confidently say that this year is my favorite by far. This year I am more experienced in building ramps, and don’t even consider it as work anymore. I actually look forward on going to the site and building ramps because I have fun doing it! This year I am more prepared and ended up teaching my fellow missionaries certain building techniques that I struggled with last year. I and excited to see how the rest of the week will turn out and am excited to help those in need.
Joey Buslon

This was my first time at mission. I was assigned to build ramps. It was a great team building experience; I got to know everyone really well. The sessions have been great and have really changed my outlook on life and the people in it. I look forward to a few more awesome days!
Eric Madison

Mission is amazing so far, the week is flying by so quickly. Yesterday our group helped at Northwest Harvest and bagged 4 tons of cornmeal, I am pretty sure that I cannot look at anything cornmeal yellow for a while. We have these sessions two times a day, and they are pretty eye opening if you immerse yourself. Today we helped at a food bank; weeding, bagging food and sorting clothes. Everywhere I look I see local volunteers helping out at the food banks, it is amazing how much this community tries to support each other. I can’t believe we only have 3 or 4 more days!
Patrick Pham

Today was a very typical day. Woke up early at 5:30 to help set up the breakfast and lunch tables. Played 13 a lot before going to program. Worked at the sight sorting cucumbers, cans, and bagging beans and rice. I’m very tired and there is nothing I can do to get more sleep. Hopefully there won’t be a large game like there has been in past so I won’t be too tired.
Luke Kemper

Today was good day of nice hard work sorting cumbers, cans, and bagging beans and rice. I had a great time today I sorted lots of zucchini. I liked the looks on the people’s faces at the food bank when I handed them their food.
Blake Cerna

I have decided to start off with the challenge that was given for us today during the morning session. The challenge was to find out what is causing the need that you are helping to serve. My response to it was that the need is caused by a lack of positive outlook. However I believe that the YNIA and our work will give them a place to start. Yesterday when we had arrived back to the church I had the sense of accomplishment. Which our team should have because we had cleaned up a lot of trash. We were able to completely transform the entire exterior of the house to what it was before. However a part of me felt that accomplishment wasn’t complete. When we arrived today to the sight, we had realized that yesterday was the tip of the iceberg. Our team transitioned from the outside to the interior of the house. Each person had something to do. Whether it was placing new drywall with Griffin, cleaning and remodeling the bathroom for Pat and Debbie, cleaning the wall with the girls and finally removing the tiles for the guys. I myself had the opportunity of cutting up a wall and working with the floor and tiles with Sean and AJ primarily. The moment that stood out to me was that all of the kids that were there helped everyone out. We had nearly doubled our work force! At the end of the day, as we returned home, that sense of accomplishment filled up a little more. However there is always tomorrow, and the laughs will continue. To my sponsors Thank You. To my family I miss you all.
Edelmar Navaluna

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Yakima Mission

Monday, July 12th

Today was a complete eye opening experience for me on Mission. Even though the week has just begun, I have already witnessed so much in the time we spent at the reservation. While it was my first year, I have asked others what it was going to be like working here or there and I would get their response and think it through. However it was there experience not mine. As our group went up to the reservation we were all in high spirits. When we arrived however, we all took a moment to awe at the site we were going to work on. However we all worked together to get as much as we could do with what we were given and we all had the consensus that we accomplished a lot outside the house. All throughout that time we made new friends and bonded together as a team. As we all take a break here at the camp, I believe we are ready to see what is in store for us tomorrow.

Edelmar Navaluna

The first day of work this year was so much different from last year! My team was stationed at Northwest Harvest, which is an organization that supplies food to food banks around the US. We “bagged 2 elephants”! Which is our way of saying: we spent multiple hours scooping, bagging, and boxing 4 TONS of cornmeal. Although we didn’t get to see the faces of the people receiving the cornmeal and appreciating our hard work, it was simply comforting to know that each bag we made (approximately 3,000 bags total) could feed a hungry family in need. I can’t wait for more work to do. My team works so well together and we have lots of fun! OHANA 


Lizzie Rodland

So, today was our first day of going out on our sites. My group and I were assigned to Northwest Harvest. It was great to meet all the other volunteers in addition to bonding with my own group. What we did was bag cornmeal, which is given to those in need. Actually, we bagged “4 elephants” (is what we called it). The “4 elephants” is 4 tons! Yes, ladies and gentleman, 4 tons 
While we were working, I looked around me and I saw everyone working hard, laughing, and bonding; just having fun. We all were working as a team, communicating and such. I was so amazed and inspired. I had a great time.

More to come!

With Love: Jenn Ciriaco

Today we bagged 4 tons of cornmeal. I have never seen so much cornmeal or been covered with so much in my life. My group is working with Northwest Harvest. They had gotten 40 tons of cornmeal recently to give to people who need it. We bagged it up so families could eat it. Even though we worked the whole day doing the same motions I was happy to do it because it’s helping those who need it. Our team worked together very well and had a good time doing it. I am looking forward to working at the food banks tomorrow and helping more. I feel blessed to have this experience.

Christine Baker

Today was the first day of our week long mission in Yakima. We met up with the Northwest Harvesters group and were instructed that our main task was to start bagging the 40 tons of cornmeal that was recently shipped to the warehouse. Although the work was tedious, the bigger picture of the task we were given was amazing. Instead of just looking at the work as bagging up the simple substance, our group was providing food for people who aren’t able to afford the simple luxury of walking into a grocery store to buy a bag of cornmeal. We were providing for them the opportunity for survival and nutrition. In the future, I will not take little things for granted such as buying a box of cornmeal at Fred Meyers. Some people are not able to enjoy the simple task of grocery shopping and are forced by instinct of survival to travel sometimes long distances to food banks. I am looking forward to getting to know some of the people that we will benefit through our work and realize we have a long and exciting week ahead!

Chloe Miller

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mission to Yakima 2010 Begins!

Another season of service begins for the youth and adults of the Yakima Mission. Team One departs today (Sunday July 11th) for a week service, growth and yes, even some fun! Team Two departs next Sunday (July 18th) following the 8:30 Mass.

All our team members are grateful for the generous support of both our parish community and the "Stock Holders" who have made this venture possible. You can follow the experience of our teams on this blog throughout the week.

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Renton, Washington, United States