Thursday, June 30, 2016

Appalachia Service Project - Trip Update

Our missionaries had a great day of continuing the construction tasks they have been working on all week. Things are really coming along and everyone is forging meaningful relationships with one another.

Today our group also got to enjoy a picnic with the staff of ASP and two of the families they have been working with. Everyone gathered together in a beautiful park to share a meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, macaroni salad, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. Kate, one of the ASP staffers, received a pie in the face- a rare honor given out every year at the picnic!

After the picnic, everyone headed back to the center to relax and spend time reflecting on the day and their mission.

We are praying for our missionaries every day! Share your prayers and encouragement for them in the comments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Appalachia Service Project - Trip Update

Day three of the trip included more construction projects but the most important work today was relational.

One of our teams comforted a family whose premature baby was delayed coming home from the hospital. And to make things more difficult, the hospital is an inconvenient hour and a half away. Janice prayed with the mother and father before they left for the hospital and then provided support to the grandmother once they were on their way. The rest of that team had lunch with the grandmother and fished and talked with the other children. Some of our younger missionaries felt that they really connected with the four little boys during lunch which provided even more support and relief to all family members.

Another group has had two days of interacting with a very frustrated home owner who was difficult to console. Our group has had to redo some things on site that were done by a previous group and it has been understandably frustrating for both sides. Julie was able to provide comfort and support particularly to the female home owner who had been trying unsuccessfully to console her partner. She was so grateful for Julie's loving support. All agreed on a plan to continue the mission to provide the family a dry secured home by the end of the week with a new roof.
As the day's activities were winding to a close, the staff invited all of our missionaries to meet at the Dairy Queen for ice cream. There they discussed the jobs that they have been working on and were reminded about the theme of the week- "handiwork." The whole group reflected that we are all God's handiwork and He has made us all with unique and special gifts. Our gifts can all be combined together to make something wonderful.

What a beautiful lesson from our team that we can all learn something from. We are so grateful for our missionaries and that they are kind enough to share their gifts with the world. Pray for God to continue to bless them on this trip.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Appalachia Service Project - Trip Update

After a night of rain, day two of the trip had our missionaries continuing the projects they began yesterday. Our teams had to remain flexible and adaptable as some jobs grew and changed throughout the day. Janice even went four wheeling with one of the homeowners in his yard!

One of the homes that our missionaries are working in has quite a few kittens roaming around. Michele and some of the other travelers have really enjoyed playing with the cats while taking a break from the day's hard labor. We're sure the cats are having fun meeting all their new friends.

Tonight, the travelers will have an opportunity to spend time reflecting on the trip so far and sharing stories from the day. They are also looking forward to hearing a speaker who is coming in to educate them on the history of West Virginia. We can't wait to hear what they learn!

We continue to pray for our missionaries and the families they are working with. May God keep everyone safe and healthy and bless all the hard work that is being done.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Appalachia Service Project - Trip Update

The first day for our team is in the books! Our missionaries worked on roofs, took out insulation, repaired drywall, replaced ceilings, ripped out a walkway, and more. They even got to paint Ravens colors in one of the homes- with homeowner approval of course! Luckily the rain held off until the very end of the day so that they could do all this amazing work. It was quite a busy day.

The team is also making meaningful connections with the families that they are working with. A seven-year-old boy named Dalton hung out with the team all day watching them work and asking questions. He even sat with the group during lunch. One of the homeowners named Tim jumped in to do some work and was teaching some of our young missionaries a thing or two about construction.

Another homeowner was telling our teams about the amount of people who need help in the wake of the terrible floods. He offered to help ASP wherever they needed him.

We are so incredibly proud of our missionaries in West Virginia! Please join us in continuing to pray for all the hard and important work they will do this week. We will provide more trip updates right here as they become available.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Appalachia Service Project - Trip Update

Our Appalachia Service Project missionaries left early this morning to make their way to Brenton, West Virginia. Three vans of travelers will spend a week helping with construction projects and also building relationships with the families they will be assisting.

Our team already saw the effects of the devastating floods in West Virginia on their trip down. They saw businesses and roads shut down, National Guard presence, utility trucks, and mud everywhere. We will continue to pray for the victims of the floods.

All our travelers arrived safely in Brenton this afternoon. Join with us in praying for their efforts and that God opens their hearts to everyone they will meet on their journey.

Keep checking back to this blog for trip updates and information.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Haiti and Kenya Team Retreat

Haiti Travel & Home Teams
This past weekend, both travel and home teams for Haiti and Kenya gathered together for a retreat. The location was lovely Deale, MD and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful! The Haiti and Kenya travel teams will represent our parish on mission trips this summer while the home teams will support and encourage them on their journeys.

The day was intended to prepare the travelers for their trips in more ways than one. One activity focused on contemplating scenarios that could very well happen along the way. Another session brought team members together for partner and group discussions. There was also time built in for quiet, solo reflection and prayer. The home teams provided support and words of wisdom for the travelers. The day was filled with making new and strengthened friendships!

The teams also enjoyed a delicious lunch of Kenyan and Haitian dishes to give them a taste of what foods they might be eating on their trips.

Our Haiti travelers will depart on July 8 and the Kenya team on July 21. Please keep them in your prayers as they prepare for this special journey.

Keep checking back here for trip and travel updates while the teams are away.
Kenya Travel Team

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Partner Spotlight - Acts4Youth

Acts4Youth is a comprehensive mentoring program for at-risk Baltimore City youth in grades 4-12. Single-parent households represent more than 70 percent of this population and more than 40 percent have at least one adult family member who’s been charged with a crime. To offer support, Acts4Youth runs after school and summertime mentoring programs utilizing a curriculum designed to develop character, social skills, emotional maturity and faith. Volunteer mentors serve as one on one coaches, small group leaders, or break out mentors (for 1 or 2 children weekly during school lunchtime).

NativityMissions checked in with one volunteer who is making a difference in the lives of inner-city girls. “Stumbling upon Acts4Youth through Nativity, I never realized that a single meeting would answer a single prayer,” said Joelle Conoscenti. She prayed to find that place, “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,” to quote theologian Frederick Buechner.

Joelle did find that place at Walter P. Carter School where she meets with fourth and fifth-grade girls usually twice per week for break out sessions during school lunchtime. While there is a character development curriculum to implement, she and the girls also plays games, talk, and laugh.

“They face so many challenges and there is so much they cannot control in their lives,” says Joelle. “Giving them the tools to help them grow in resilience and faith, a support system, and someone who will listen, talk through struggles, and laugh with them, helps them to know they are loved, cared for, and valued as children of God.”

Two of those children must have known, at a recent benefit to raise funds for at-risk youth. There, former mayor and current president of University of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, spoke. But it was speeches by two children from Acts4Youth that stole the show. “To see their confidence, their personalities, and their spirit shine through was awesome,” said Joelle.

For Joelle, these kids quickly changed her world. And the days she mentors have become the ones she looks forward to most during the week. She says they are, “sometimes challenging, often hilarious, and always humbling.”

It’s easy to get involved! Acts4Youth has many opportunities for volunteers with compassion, humility, cultural awareness, and weekday availability. Go to our website to find out more information about becoming a break out mentor, small group leader, or one on one coach.