Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blog – Wednesday 7/11

What a day we had today. This week started off with a rough start. The weather over here is crazy: There were 100+ degree weather over here and just last night, we had a thunderstorm! But today was the first work day. Our group leaders Debbie and Steve talked with us and we ended up visiting two different sites today for work. The first site was a house unit on the outer edge of Yakima, where we plan to paint it lavender. The house owner is an extremely nice lady who lives by herself with a few dogs and a decent home. We had to do a little scraping and washing, but we stopped later on and visited a house in the inner part of Yakima behind Yakima Valley Community College. We had visited this house before due to an address mix-up. When we came back, we weeded and cut branches for her. There were times where we all really felt the heat. But all of the work was worth it after the first stages of work, despite the unbearable heat. By the end of the day, we basically ran out of water. Even Debbie’s van battery died (it had to be jumpstarted twice)! Despite all of these misfortunes, we had an eventful day that challenged our resolve and commitment to continue working in this unusual weather. We all had a lot of fun during the work, the prayers, and the sessions. We’re all looking forward to the next few days working together and growing in faith together.

Kenny Pham

We drove up to what we thought was going to be a shabby old thrift store…boy how wrong we were. The thrift store that my team has been working at for the past 3 days is called “The Lighthouse”. The first time I walked into the store I was stunned by the absolutely beautiful arrangement of flowers and the incredibly organized rooms and shelves. I thought to myself, “this stuff couldn’t possibly be cheap.” I was also greeted by the manager of the store, Debbie, who is one of the most enthusiastic woman I have ever met. Debbie’s enthusiasm is part of the reason this thrift store looks so amazing inside and out. She told us a story about a woman who walked into The Lighthouse and just started to cry. Debbie walked up to her and asked, “What’s going on, honey?”. The woman replied, “Everything in this store is so beautiful….and I can afford all of it.” That story helped me to understand why Debbie puts so much time and effort into making everything perfect…it gives people the dignity they deserve and doesn’t let them think they are shopping at a second-hand store for even a second. She also told us about this autistic man, Ethan, who is a frequent customer and comes to the store often with his mom. One day Ethan was mumbling to himself and walking around The Lighthouse all by himself which was very unusual. Debbie started to get nervous and called his mom to ask her if everything was okay. Ethan’s mom replied, “Well is it okay that he is there? Ethan just got some new medication and he is really scared so he wanted to come to the one place he feels safe in.”…….wow. That story still brings tears to my eyes just writing about it. Debbie has created this sacred place where people can come to for comfort, buy jeans for a dollar, and talk to employees who care. Debbie is also awesome because she creates games every day for us to play. I currently have won two of the 3 games and have $20 to the Lighthouse. Yay! What we do for hours each day is organize the HUMUNGOUS basement full of boxes after boxes of Christmas donations. You’ll see in the pics! Gotta go because I am taking up too much time apparently! Haha

Lizzie Rodland
Hey there, my name is Casey, and I love Yakima! I love coming here on Mission with Saint Stephens to help out, and this is my third and last year. This year I am on one of the reservation sites, with Pat C. and Kelly. I was so excited to hear that I was with them because that is one I really wanted to experience.

We started early Monday morning on the Reservation at a woman’s house, who was taking care of three of her great-grand children by herself who were all around 3-5 years old. From the very beginning I had an immense amount of respect for the patience that she had and because of how concerned she was for their safety.

We were there to fix the sink and toilet in the bathroom, as well as paint in the living room. The job in the bathroom turned into taking the whole sink and counter out of the bathroom, the toilet, piece of sheet rock from the walls, and literally the whole floor. We tore all of the flooring out and the plywood underneath because everything was rotted away due to water damage from the leaking sink that we initially arrived to fix. So far we have fixed and cleaned the toilet so it is ready to be put back in, and the supports in the floor so it doesn’t feel like you’re going to fall through. Today we finished painting the living room and patching all of the holes in the walls.

So far we have worked hard and accomplished a lot, but we still have a lot left to go, so as a team we’re going to pull together and work through it and improve the lives of this family.

The only thing that I have to complain about is the honey bucket that we had to have brought in because we tore out the only bathroom in the whole house, but it’s not bad, so there really is not a lot to complain about. I’m just glad that we could get them something to use for while we’re working.

Its been great and I really hope that it continues that way for the rest of the week!

Casey Miller
Good afternoon my Paul Sweeney and this is my first year at mission. Today is Wednesday and so far so good. My group is assigned to building ramps for people that are homebound. In the beginning we build a miniature bridge and stairs. So today was our official first bridge we built. The lady was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and it was a pleasure working for her.

Our group has bonded really well recently and we’re all really close now. I really like them. When we have our little meetings with our group ours is always the last one out talking just cause we’re that tight.

Thanks for following us St. Stephens,

Goodnight America, rock and roll

Paul Sweeney

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