Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prayer...In Action Day 3

My Day 3 (Wednesday) was mostly spent preparing for Day 4 (Friday). But I did get some pictures first thing in the morning. We began the morning picking up the yard around the school. Here is the house right beside the gradeschool, on the main drag for all the volunteers to see as they drive into town:

Here's the school yard we are working on. For those of you who knew Chapman before, you can easily tell the destruction. For others, you can see how the tree in the foreground has basically been peeled, and that under the green tarp part of the gym is missing. We are in the playground area, picking up metal and glass that is everywhere.

The tornado was 6 weeks ago, and new life is springing forth. All the trees that were ripped and peeled are now sprouting new leaves. They look so strange! I wonder what they will look like several years from now.

Here's some evidence of the power of the storm. These metal signs have been folded up, and the metal sign is bent almost to the ground:

Many of today's workers have been with us all week and planned to just work a half-day. But we started a big project just before they were to leave, and so they stuck with it and continued with some really hard work of carrying book boxes and other equiptment from storage pods to a trailer, and from a trailer to the Parish House where the grade school will be.

I am overwhelmed at the outpouring of help especially from members of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas as well as other family friends. When the tornado hit, I knew *I* wanted to go back and do something. But now instead of having one worker each of these days, there are 10 or 14 or...maybe even 30 on Friday/Sat. There's a parable in there!

Thursday is a day of rest. Shawn and I are visiting family, the youth and college students who have been helping are driving down to a youth Happening event in Wichita. Craig Loya, the campus missioner, is busy doing the rest of his week's work in this one day so that he can be present every day of our trip.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prayer...In Action Day 2

Tuesday, day 2, it rained all day.
Two volunteers dropped out before we began because we didn't have our contingency plans in order until around 9:30. Luckily, they'll be able to work for a bit on Saturday instead.

Today, we were able to move more cafeteria supplies and food. The cafeteria went from 0% to 90% complete in the 2 days we've been here:

One problem with getting work done is finding enough trucks and trailers to haul stuff. Another issue is that there are too few dumpsters and volunteers can no longer take stuff to the dump for free.
Today, the daycare finally got a dumpster. It took us about 20 minutes to fill the dumpster, and we still had the same amount still sitting in the alley, and 4 times as much in the basement to be taken out:

By the end of the day, we had gotten through our other work but still had some time. So we started going door to door cleaning the markings off of homes:

I hope we're done with rain for the week. There is SO MUCH still to do to prepare the schools.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Prayer...In Action Day 1

Today is the first day of "Prayer...In Action" in my home town, Chapman Kansas. A tornado hit on June 11th and wiped out all 3 schools and many homes. When I heard about it, I felt I had to do something. So I planned a mission trip from our church in Ohio to Chapman. At one point, 9 people were going to attend, but later on only our family could go. So we put out the word in the Diocese of Kansas. We advertised this as "A Mission Trip You CAN Do" and encouraged people to come for just one or two days. We've had a great turn-out.

Early in the day, we went to one of the storage buildings, and saw a french horn that survived the tornado...sort of...

When we drove in this morning, Alice Louden's house was standing. When we went back to the pod in the afternoon, it was being demolished. She was one of the best gradeschool teachers ever, and a friend of mom's. She died several years ago, and in a way it was nice she didn't have to see her family home like this:

We didn't have enough vehicles to move all the things we needed to, so we moved several things 4 blocks walking down the street:

Prayer...In Action Day 1 famiy friends

I have been talking up "Prayer in Action" with everyone I'm connected with. I've been talking to old school friends. Here are a friend's 2 sisters and nephew who came to help out. They are farm folk and were a great help. Here, they're running a magnet over the playground to pick up nails. We found lots of nails, glass, roofing, etc:

It was great to have their truck! We were able to unload some of the cafeteria stuff from the pod and into St. Michael's kitchen:

And here they are. Thanks, Nancy, for inviting them!

Prayer...In Action Day 1 desk and chairs

Here we are moving desks and chairs from a pod to St. Michael's catholic church lawn to be cleaned:

Scrubbing chairs can make your back pretty tired:

Even almost-two year olds can work:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Traveling VBS: Day 5

Day 5: Akron to Alliance

St. Paul's Akron put everyone up in their church rather than homes. We thought our kids might bother others so we stayed in a motel again this night.

The bikes had a short day, so the kids and took a quick trip to the Akron Zoo (I really noticed how hilly it was as I pushed 2 kids in a stroller up and down their paths!). Here, the boys get an up close look at Ariel.

I got lost on my way from Akron to Alliance. I truly believe my map didn't match up to the actual roads. However, with some phone assistance from the SAG coordinator, we did finally arrive at Trinity Episcopal Church in Alliance (no website found). The church members had a wonderful welcome for everyone, and a yummy lunch. There were signs and friendly faces and lots of congratulations.

Most of the bikers were in by noon or one, with the last few arriving mid-afternoon. As we watched the last riders slowly make their way up the slight incline, I was reminded of finishing my marathon 5 years ago and how grueling those last few miles were--and how appreciative I was of the few people still left to cheer me in.

Day 5: We looked at all we had done and called it good.

And on the 5th night, we rested!

Traveling VBS: Day 4

Day 4: Lorain to Akron

Our day began in a motel because there weren't enough parishioner homes for all the Bike and VBS participants to stay. Needless to say, we didn't make any new friends nor gain any wonderful new breakfast recipes. ;)

The weather had been nice up until today, but today it was rainy. We felt sorry for the bike riders as we drove to the Carlisle Reservation. We ran in to the visitor's center and the kids had a great time playing in their kids space. They packed a whole lot of fun into a fairly small space, and it was fun for all our kids, from 20 months to 11 year olds.

We intended for the Raptor Center to be the main focus of today's field trip. And when the rain let up, we did get out to see the kestrals, owls, hawks, and even a bald eagle.

We were allowed to use a wonderful space for our VBS work time. We sang songs, talked about the story of Noah's Ark (appropriate with all the rain!), and then made dragon kites:

Because it was rainy and the kids didn't have as much time running around, we pulled out the parachute and ran some energy off that way:

We didn't get a chance to try our kites out because of the rain, but here are most of the kids showing off their handiwork:

Day 4: We looked at everything and called it good.

Traveling VBS: Day 3

Day 3: Fremont to Lorain

Our family and the bishop stayed overnight with Tina and Tom. They served breakfast of homemade granola bars that were so yummy, we've already made a batch at our house!

Ann Orr's Granola Bars
3c quick cooking oats
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2TB melted butter
1c flaked coconut
1c slivered almonds
1c mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/c dried cranberries
Mix all. Press into greased 9X13 pan.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, more if you like them crunchy.
(you may substitute your favorite ingredients for the add-ins)

We began Day 3 back at the church where the 8 kids played together and the adult chatted. Then we got on the road and went to the Deer Park. Besides having a whole bunch of deer in the enclosure you walk in, they also have a variety of exotic deer, goats, sheep, large bird (emu, rhea, etc), and peacocks. I think the peacocks were the hit for the group. Here's one a the top of a pillar.

And who knew that deer could be intimidating? But when you've got a bag full of food, the 2 dozen + deer are not shy and did intimidate a few of us. Here we are after all the food is gone:

We had a picnic again under the trees at the park. Then we went in search of berry picking and frozen custard at a stop along the bike route. When we arrived, there was plenty of custard to eat, but their berry crop had been ruined by the recent rains. So we bought a bit of pre-picked produce, ate some yummy custard, and were on our way.

When we got to the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Lorain (no website found), there weren't many people there. We found out they had planned dinner at a nearby waterfront park, so we drove over there and had our VBS lesson in a pavillion at the park. We invited some nearby kids and adults to join in our singing, then we heard the creation story and talked about the Fruits of the Spirit and how we can live each one of them in our lives.

Day 3: We looked at everything and called it good.

Traveling VBS: Day 2

Day 2: Maumee to Fremont

Our family stayed with Stephanie and Steve overnight. Stephanie made a wondeful big bowl of fresh fruit salad, and Steve made pancakes so scrumptious that I asked for the recipe.

Steve's Mostly Healthful Pancakes
1/2c whole wheat flour
1/2c oat flour
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t sugar
1/4t salt
1 1/2c sour milk or buttermilk
(optional: add blueberries or chocolate chips)

Our VBS then met at The 577 Foundation in Perrysburg. We had an hour-long tour and then dug for fossils, checked out the bee hives, and had a picnic on the grass. One of the interesting things in their greenhouse was that they had a group of carnivorous plants, and also a sensitive plant that wilts when touched.
Here, the children are testing different types of basil to see if their nose can tell which one is chocolate, mint, or geranium.

The 577 Foundation also had a really great compost set-up. They have 4 bins, each with a 8ft pvc pipe sticking up out of the middle. These pipes have 1 inch holes in them at several points, and help air reach the compost for faster decomposition.
They begin their compost by mixing 1 part green (grass clippings, food) to 2 parts brown (dry leaves, straw, etc). The next week, that compost gets turned into the next bin, and the compost in that bin gets turned to the next that at the end of 1 month, the compost is ready to be sifted and used. Here is the sifting table:

We then went to St. Paul's Fremont for singing, crafts, and our lesson. We invited the bicyclists and parishioners to join us in a lesson about time and God's omniscience. And the VBS was invited to lead singing during our pre-dinner worship.

Day 2: We looked at everything and called it good.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Traveling VBS: Day 1

Day 1: Defiance to Maumee

Our small but mighty VBS began at the Whitehouse Butterfly House. It was fun to be surrounded by so many butterflies. If you look carefully, there is a bright blue butterfly flying right in front of Charlie in this picture:

Besides having a great indoor butterfly house, the grounds were beautiful and had lots to do. We enjoyed a fish pond, some sculptures, a butterfly meadow walk (which the children ran), and the kids even made their own corn maze in the waist-high corn (it will become a true corn maze in the fall when it's tall).

Later in the afternoon, we settled in at the church and worked on some team building games, singing songs, and decorating our bags and water bottles. Today's lesson was about community.

St. Paul's in Maumee has a wonderful adult respite day care program. We asked if we could sing for them, and were greeted warmly by the staff. We sung a few songs, ending with one where we shake hands, rub backs, and give hugs.
What a great way to reinforce that we are part of a bigger community!

Day 1: We looked at everything and called it good.