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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Pat and Megan
- Thursday 7/22- Ramp Building
- Thursday at Mission
- Wednesday at Mission
- Mission So Far...
- Mission 2010
- Northwest Harvest, Thursday
- Northwest Harvest - Nathan
- Thursday 7/22- North West Harvest Briana Jackson
- Bagging Cornmeal at Northwest harvest: when all ...
- Wednesday 7/21 Yakima Reservation
- Day 2 - Northwest Harvest
- Northwest Harvest, Tuesday
- Monday 7/19
- Welcome to Mission
- Team Two Departs for Yakima
- Friday July 16, 2010 Yakima Mission
- Thursday 7/15/2010 Yakima Mission
- Wednesday July 14, 2010 Yakima Mission
- Tuesday, July 13, 2010
- 2010 Yakima Mission
- Mission to Yakima 2010 Begins!
- ▼ July (22)