Monday, July 25, 2011

Mission Trip to Philadelphia

Our mission trip to Philadelphia was a huge success! It was neat to watch God working through the lives of our teens. Many prayers were answered and hopefully lives were changed.

The second day we were there we worshiped with the Folsom Church of Christ. Our teens led most of the service. They were nervous about leading the prayers and songs and serving communion, but they sure did a terrific job. We were so proud!

Staring contest with Robert.

Singing a song they sang in Bible class for the whole congregation.

While we were there we helped with 3 organizations, a pregnancy crisis center, Folsom Church of Christ and CEF. The girls and I worked with an organization called CEF, which stands for Child Evangelism Fellowship. CEF sends groups out into parks and neighborhoods to hold day camps for kids. The camps are like an outdoor VBS with singing, games, puppets, crafts, and bible stories. We did two camps each day while we were there, one in the morning and one in afternoon, in two separate locations. The place we went to in the afternoon had the highest crime rate per capita, we were told. We saw a swat team one day close to our location. We really did feel safe the whole time we were there.

On the first two days the CEF people led the camps and taught the Bible lesson. We helped set up, told the neighborhood kids about the camp and helped keep the kids in line. We also helped with the songs and some of us were able to perform in the puppet skits. A couple of our teens learned how to teach the kids their memory verses and were able to teach that portion of the lesson. Then, on the third day, we got to lead the camp. We led singing, taught the memory verse and did a skit. I was very proud of our teens. They were awesome with all the little friends we met. It was neat to see all the kids come back each day bringing other friends with them. They would report to us that they listened to their songs on the CD we had given them and were even able to tell us the memory verse from the day before. I wish we had a program like this in Denison. Then our teens could develop some deeper relationships with the kids.

Listening to the lesson at CEF.

Avery helping Kaila as she teaches the kids the memory verse for the day.

We learned lots of new songs with cool actions.

Avery holding up the memory verse for Kaila again.

"Who's the King of the Jungle? Who? Who?"

Kaila and Zack's break out group.

This picture makes me laugh. It looks like I laid an egg. No worries, it is just my purse.

All the teen leaders, the girls and I before CEF started one day.

Abby holding the memory verse for Zach.

All of the leaders. It was neat to see them all in action. We learned so much from them.

The group that worked with the Folsom church helped them get ready for a VBS, by preparing props, materials, and by canvasing the neighborhoods to spread the word. They also helped organize and clean up areas of the church.

The group that went to the Amnion Pregnancy Crisis Center helped by transforming their previously flooded basement into a mini store where new moms could get items for their babies for a very cheap price. They painted walls, sorted through clothes that were moldy and categorized everything in a professional way. The finished product was impressive.

The last day we were there we went to down town Philly to see the sights. We saw the Liberty Bell, Town Hall, Christ Church, Love Park, and the steps to the Art Museum (where Rocky ran). I was most fascinated by Christ Church where several of the founding fathers worshiped.

Visiting the Liberty Bell.

Our girls are so strong, they can lift the bell.

City Hall - Where the Declaration was signed.

Sitting in the pews at Christ Church.

We stopped to see "The Thinker" on the way to climb the steps of the Art Museum.

Abby ran to this spot and said, "Look, I am a statue!" Ha!

Uncle Ron got to meet us for lunch and our afternoon sight seeing. Sure was good to see him.

On a side note, Uncle Ron hooked us up with staying at his old college dorms which worked out much better than hotel rooms would have. It saved us a lot of money. It was also nice to be able to meet in the lobbies together and enjoy the beautiful campus. Thanks again for making that happen, Ron. We had a great time visiting with you, too!

Our whole group at LOVE Park.

I always love going on mission trips with our teens. Watching them let God use them brings a lot of joy to my heart.

Cornerstone and Impact

Zenith and Cornerstone and Impact were right after each other which works out quite well. We just stay at Oklahoma Christian for the weekend. Wes did end up having to take the Zenith kids home since there were some problems with the bus, but he joined us the very next day.

The girls and I decided to head to the Oklahoma City Science Museum Friday afternoon. We have been to the Fort Worth one too. This one was even better. There were so many hands-on activities. We couldn't even see everything in the 5 hours we spent there.

We watched an IMAX production of Legends of Flight first, which wasn't what I was expecting, but we still learned a lot. We should have probably watched Extreme instead.

Seesaw on a log!

I think they are ready for Trek!

After some hands-on learning fun we headed to Science Live! In an auditorium a very lively presenter created explosions to teach about chemical and physical reactions. During the show he asked for volunteers. They were told not raise their hands to volunteer. They had to dance to music. Well, say no more, Abby got into the dancing and was chosen to go on stage in front of 100 or so people. She helped blow up a huge bottle. I got in on video. She loved every bit of it!

Abby, The Scientist - View it on YouTube

The next day we headed to the water park in Edmond with our friends Cori and Jason and their girls Riley and Reagan. Jason is also a youth minister and Cori is a teacher. We have a lot in common. It has been so neat to develop relationships with other families at camp through the years.

Splish, Splash!

Good Friends!

After a fun and relaxing weekend we started Impact and Cornerstone. This was the first year we sent one of our very own kids to camp. Avery was super excited! Abby was sad and jealous. Poor girl! Avery ended up having a wonderful first week of camp and is excited about going next year.

Avery and her roomies, Paislee and Henley. Abby is wishing she could be one too.

These two have been friends since they were just babies.

Avery's whole group.

Impact campers from Park Avenue.

Funny faces!

We checked on Avery and her friends from church a couple of times of day for just a little bit. Each time she was having a ball. I am so thankful that Impact and Cornerstone run the same week, so I could keep an eye on her. She was able to go a year early since Wes and I were there for Cornerstone - the perks of being on staff at camp.

Cornerstone was terrific! The classes, activities, and worship were amazing. Again, like Zenith, my favorite part was when we went to the food bank. We did the same thing, but this time we had cauliflower, which I must say is harder to chop up!

I always enjoy going to classes with our teens.

Horsing Around!

We are excited about our service project!

Lot's of people serving! So proud!

Serving alongside friends.

The Middle School Gang!

Friday, July 08, 2011


Zenith, our high school camp, was awesome this year! Great classes by the youth ministers, wonderful messages brought by Mitch Wilburn again, uplifting praise and worship time, entertaining/meaningful skits by UNBOUND, and many fun filled activities.

One of my favorite times of the week was when we went to the Oklahoma Food Bank to help out one afternoon. I always love working side by side with our youth for a great unselfish cause. Our group got to shovel frozen corn kernels into 3lb. bags, which then had to be measured to exactly 3lbs. and then sealed. I was so proud of our group. I heard very little complaining and everyone worked hard. Our fearless leader led us in chants like, "CORN, CORN, CORN!" or he would yell, "WHOLE KERNEL" to which we replied "CORN!" The group next to us had carrots, and we made it contest of yelling and working hard. Avery, Abby, and their friend, Riley, (also a youth minister's kid) were little balls of energy. They were our main carriers of the bags to get weighed. I heard zero complaints from them. When we were done we had to clean up our whole area. You would be surprised at how corn gets stuck to a cement floor.

The whole group!

The swag. Don't ask.

Funny faces with Kaila.


Kaila pounding the frozen kernels loose while Easton watches.

Abby - a hard worker.

Kaci, our terrific intern weighing the bags.

Sing Song faces, girls. Don't you love the hairnets?

What a hottie!

I am so thankful for the relationships we have built through the years with the youth ministers and other staff at camp. It seems like each year just gets better and better.

Scott's Wedding

My cousin Scott got married on June 17th in Richardson. I have to admit, his wedding made me feel old. I remember when he was just a toddler living in Houston, Texas. I would ride his big wheel tricycle and play with him and his older brother. Now he is all grown up and married. We are so happy for him and his new wife, Kristin.

Several relatives that we had not seen in years came for the wedding. Aunt Cathy, Uncle Ed, Andy, Uncle Craig, and my 2nd cousin, Yvonne came up to Denison one day to visit before the wedding.

The wedding was beautiful and sweet. The reception that followed was loads of fun. Both girls really cut the rug. Avery especially surprised us by getting into all the dancing. We know to expect it from Abby, but usually Avery is a little shy about it. It was pretty cute to watch!

The happy couple enjoying their first dance.

Mother and son dance. So sweet!

My Uncle Craig and Dad.

My Uncle Ron and Avery dancing.

Abby really took a liking to my second cousin, Yvonne. My mom and her siblings and Yvonne and her siblings were super close when they were growing up.

Busting some moves!

Instead of a guest sign in book, they had a photo booth where you could put on some accessories and get your picture taken. We got to keep one copy of our pictures and the other copy was put on some paper that you could then leave a message for the new couple. What a great idea! This is the girls while we are waiting our turn for the photo booth.

I am bummed that I did not get a picture of my cousin Andy who, as the best man, gave a tear jerking speech about his brother.

It sure was fun to see everyone. I wish we weren't all spread all over the US. My Aunt and Uncle say they will move closer soon, so I am going to hold them to that.