Pittsburgh Project 2010

Romania 2010

Friday, July 31, 2009

4th day, we served

Hi everyone! I won't have pics today....we're back late and I need to collect pictures from other people. We slept in this morning and then went and served at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. We hung cabinets, painted inside and out, weeded their flower beds and the hair place across the road, hung shades and washed windows. We were also able to bless them with some supplies. Then we had some awesome fish at a VFW fish fry! Yum! So that's all for today.


Here are some students…..

I’m sitting in front of an awesome fire with so many different layers of anti mosquito stuff that it’s crazy. It’s really hard to type and swat mosquito’s at the same time. And I’m loving this spell check thing. I miss my family like crazy but I’m having an awesome time and the food is so amazing. I think we have ridden like a hundred and fifty miles and I couldn’t have done it without God’s help. We are in the the most beautiful part of the world right now and its so cool!! This morning I woke up and it was so beautiful with this crazy fog. I love everybody in my family and I will see you all soon!! Caleb.

This week has been…an experience. Going back to the very first day, I accomplished my first ever 40 something mile ride (and trust me when I say I was DEAD at the end of the ride) but God helped me through it the whole way. The verse I chose to put on my bike was Isaiah 40:31; “But those who hope in the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This verse is definitely one of my favorites. It just brings me so much comfort and encouragement to know that I don’t need energy bars or a full night of sleep to reach my full potential on the road; all I need is Jesus. I pray daily that God will continue to give me the energy and the drive He promises me as I strive to put all my hope and trust in Him.

Love you, Mom, “Pop,” and Maxxie!

Reina 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hi momma, dad, uncle rob, and grandma. So this trip has been AMAZING so far. Right now we’re all just hanging out around the house and tenting area because we had a huge ride today. I did all the extra riding that only a few of the “serious guys” did and one other girl and it felt great. It was about 75 miles and I had to rely on God so much. There were times when I wanted to just quit and get in a sag vehicle but whoever I was riding with encouraged me. I’ve learned a lot of new terms like drafting or whatever and it really taught me something. When you draft you get right behind someone and they break all the wind for you and it makes the traveling a lot easier. I applied this to my spiritual life because when you’re riding the Christian walk with other Christians then it makes the ride and walk a lot easier. So I’m really tired right now because I’ve done over 100 some miles so far on the trip but even though I’m dead tired and I’m feelin like I can’t go anymore I know tomorrow God’s gonna give me strength to make it. AND I’m making a ton new relationships with people. I miss you momma and daddy and grandma. I don’t miss Nash….(: Hi Sam hope you’re having a great time without me…if that’s even possible(; Save some fun for when I get home. I’m gonna ride way more than you!

Ps. DON’T drink two large monsters before going to a bike ride. You get an awful crash.

P.s.s.s. this is John… I pretty sure I just saw a wild bear cub turn a corner down a path today!

3rd day, 3rd ride

Hello everyone! Today was Courtney Fry's birthday! We sang to her at Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Tahquamenon Falls, and of course meals!

Last night, after I blogged, the students repainted our hosts picnic table.

Birthday girl riding!

This is our tent city....Only a few tents!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Second Day, 2nd ride

Hello! Thank you for your prayers! Please continue to pray for health. Today we rode in the morning. The following picture is the view from the porch of the cabin. I'll post pictures of our "tent city" tomorrow.

The next picture is at our lunch sag stop. We had a prior sag stop after about 7 miles and this was at 18 miles, I think!

We then finished with some riders doing an extra loop giving them 37 miles, while the rest rode 30 miles. Then we stopped at Oswalt Bear Ranch. Here's a picture of the Fernihoughs petting the bear cub that was born in January.

Then we went back to camp for supper and relax time. More riding tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

1st ride

They are on their first ride! Pray for health. Solitary place is beautiful.

Bus ride

Hi everyone! The bus ride is going fine! Cutthroat Catch Phrase going on in the back. We are about two hours from the bridge. Keep praying!

U P trip

We lost our air conditioner..ugh!
Sent from my iPhone

U.P. Trip on our way!

We're on our way! Check back here for daily updates on our trip. We already stopped for breakfast and a few kids stocked up on Mt. Dew and Monsters. At about 3:00, we'll arrive in Trout Lake and ride our first 20-25 miles. Follow us throughout the day on Dennis' or Michael's Facebook or Twitter!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The End of the Road

We are currently loading the bus and ready to head home...we should be leaving shortly. Hopefully there will be a chance for us to get more pictures and a recap of the past few days soon! See you all this evening!

What God has been teaching us...

We asked each of the students to share in a sentence or two what God has been teaching them...
  • I learned that sometimes you have to sacrifice your own wants for your friends. ~Elizabeth Anderson
  • I have learned a lot about humility and I've realized that I have a passion for leading and serving. ~Chelsea Chamberlain
  • I learned how to humble myself. ~Jordan Chamberlain
  • I've learned that we all think we have a hard life but looking at these kids made me realize that we have it good. :) I have learned so much from this trip! ~Mei Dietrich
  • God is love. He is an amazing provider and He can take the worst of things (thank you Baltimore) and create miracles and prayer is so powerful! ~Jamie Fleury
  • It is almost impossible to put a trip like this into words and even harder to condense it into just a few lines. But this trip has completely broken my heart and created a great passion and love for the struggles that these inner city kids encounter. ~Scott Forslund
  • I have learned to always be content with what I have, because others have less than me. ~Sam Jenkins
  • "Sometimes the most important things in life are invisible." One thing I've learned is the best things we could give these kids are not material. Those things are our undivided attention and unconditional love. ~Katrina Kukor
  • God has really showed me some new eye opening things. I now know how bad the world can be but together we can change it. ~Sonya Kukor
  • Everyone needs love, no matter what that persons situation is. ~Katelyn Nuyen
  • I learned to appreciate everything I have and to show God's love through my actions. ~Kylie Oakes
  • This trip God has really opened my eyes and given me a heart for inner city Baltimore. ~Tyler Ohman
  • One of the many things God showed me this week is that even the smallest encouragement or hug went a long way in the lives of these kids and the team! :) Thanks for all the prayers! ~Ashton Palella
  • I learned that prayer is very powerful if it is for the benefit of God. ~Sam Peters
  • I learned that God places certain people in our lives for a reason. ~Courtney Schloesser
  • Prayer and relentless love can soften the hardest heart. ~Taylor Schultz
  • I was so encouraged by the people who live and serve here. They have such amazing hearts for God and are so faithful. I think God was showing me how I need to have a passionate heart for him. ~Alexa Sheets
  • I learned to become a hot cup of coffee and go full out for God and not just be lukewarm and only talk the talk but not walk the walk. ~Austin Sherwood
  • Anything is possible with God. ~Emily Smeed
  • I learned that you shouldn't complain about the gifts and food you get because the kids in Baltimore don't get much. ~Kyle Smith
  • You don't have to like someone to love them and a little love goes a long way. ~Eric Thompson
  • How ungrateful I am and how powerful God is. ~Nick Thompson
  • I learned that I am good at serving and I hope that never changes. ~Nadja VanPelt
  • Be-Love-Serve-Repeat. ~Michael Wiltshire
  • A spiritual fire is better than a spiritual high. ~Wil Witters
  • I learned how much prayer and love works in ways only God can imagine. Also how much hurt is out there and people don't really open their eyes long enough to see it. I am broken and I know God has more for me to learn from this. ~Ashton Wolcott

Friday, July 17, 2009

International Fair

The above pictures are from the International Fair the students help put on for the kids who have been attending day camp here at Charm City Church. For the past four weeks, the kids have been studying four different countries: Israel, Ghana, China, and Mexico. They have learned about the culture of each country. It was a neat night...there was food and activities that dealt with each of the countries they learned about. It was a night that was for the kids to bring their parents to show them what they have been learning. Upstairs we had all different kinds of games for the kids to play with their parents...if you even need a person to read out Bingo numbers, Emily Reifert is your girl!

Student Scripts (7/17/09)

From Paula Humphries:

Hey everyone! Today has been a really emotional day for me. This morning our group went out prayer walking. We walked around the neighborhood and prayed at three sites where shooting and murders had taken place. All of the victims were young kids or teenagers. Two of the three victims died.

The whole thing was a very eye-opening experience for me. To stand in the very places where teens like me were killed really made me think. It woke me up to how much evil and pain and suffering there really is in this world. When I go home, I want to remember this. I don't want to just forget and go back to my daily life. I want to take what I've seen and experienced and do something with it. This city is full of people crying out for help. This is a place that needs Jesus so bad. I'm very, very thankful to have had the opportunity to come here and serve. This has been the best week of my life. God bless!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Student Scripts

  • Dear Mom, Dad, Grandmother, Granddad, Noelle, Gabi, and Isaac, Hey you guys! I miss ya'll tons! It's been a crazy trip here. Thank you for all of your prayers I really appreciate them and they are needed! Your sweet, sweet letters were so encouraging. I'm looking forward to coming home and seeing all of you again! This trip has been good, but I am ready to make up my own shower schedule! Thanks for being such a wonderful family. I think of ya'll!! Love you tons, Dani
  • Hey Mom and Dad! I miss you guys so much! Sorry I haven't been blogging that much but I promise I will write something everyday for the rest of the trip. I miss your hugs mom and I miss your smile Dad. I love you guys so much and can't wait to see you guys when I get home. God has changed me in so many ways over this trip and I can't wait to share my awesome stories with you. Tell Gracie I say hi and mom I won't forget to do the thing you wrote in my note :) I love you guys so much! Love, Chels
  • Hey mom, I love and miss you so much. I thought about you tonight because we had bbq (Reina helped me spell it). Tell Noah and Dad I love them. I will tell you more later (AKA when I get home) because I am to tired tonight. Love, Emily R.
  • Hey mom! So I'm learning lots of new skills here such as how to sharpen pencils with scissors and how to get severely mugged. Jaykay on that last one. But just keep in mind how much worse that'd be than say, spraining my ankle again or something. Anyway, tell Alyssa that Michael's twitter status was a complete lie-I definitely won. Kay that's all. Love you, Bri
  • Hi to everyone at home. Mom, Papa, Rachel, Caleb, and Lydia. We miss you and can't wait to see you soon. By the way, it's still Caleb and Lydia's fault. --Sam and Isaac From Sam only: Hey Brooke, hope your keeping busy as always even though I know your just sitting at the computer waiting for new blog posts. Say hey to nash for me. See you in a bit --Sammm

Student Scenarios

From Taylor Schultz:

On our prayer walk I talked to an 18 year old guy named Ryan. At first I didn't even bring up anything about Jesus; I just got to know him. After that he asked me if I had a "babygirl" which means girlfriend and I said no and asked him if he had a girlfriend. He told me no and that he likes his women like his candy. I like making analogies so I asked him what his favorite candy was. It was skittles. So then I asked him, "What if you have candy everyday for the rest of your life, won't you get sick of it?" He said, " *explicit* yeah!" I then said, "If candy is like women to you, pretty soon you're going to get sick of that lifestyle." I told him that women deserve to be treated with respect and not like an object. Though he was drunk, I could see in his eyes that something changed. The best part was that I could feel the Holy Spirit with me the whole time. God works in amazing ways so who knows what Ryan will do with his life. I'm just so thankful the Lord's plan was for me to go on this trip! I love you, family, and keep it real Rachel!

From Reina Wicklund:

My first week in DC/Baltimore has been...very "eventful." First of all, let me start by saying thank you so much for all of the prayer. I'm glad my day of teaching is over but I can say with a smile that it was an extremely profitable experience for me. Thanks, Wiltshire, for sticking it out with me through all the frustration and being an amazing teacher and role model. I can't even begin to explain how emotional this week has been for me. There has been anger, tears, heart-to-heart talks at midnight and more tears! But there is also the showing of unconditional love which I have really struggled with and taken to heart these past few days. It gives me so much joy to serve these kids in Baltimore. Thanks to all of you for your love, support and prayer. P.S. I guess I need to give a shout out to my fam or my mom will be disappointed...so I love you guys and I miss all of you so much.

From Wil Witters:
It's amazing how god can take what seems like a waste of $13 and turn it into an amazing story. Our first day at Union Station, Michael W., Scott F., and I purchased our very own bff (best friends forever) necklaces. But they were not any old necklaces. These were heart shaped and each had its own word on it. Live, Laugh, and Love. We thought long and hard on who should get which necklace. Reina decided that for us. Michael got live, Scott got laugh, and I got love. I'll never forget the crazy look I got from the cashier, and how stupid we all felt. We wore them everyday of the conference.
On Tuesday night we went on a prayer walk. But this prayer walk was different than any I'd ever been on. We carried signs that asked serious questions such as: "Are you sure?" or "Ready?" or "Need Prayer?" Most felt slightly uncomfortable walking down the rough streets of Baltimore with a sign that asked "Need prayer?" So our small band of six put it at our side at first. As we walked down the street we would greet people, but no more than a, "Hello, how are you?" But as we walked past a man sitting on his doorstep God moved. You see Donald has failing eyesight and that impairs his reading. But as we walked by, God allowed him to read our sign. We were about a block away when we heard Donald yelling for us to come back. When he reached us, he explained he saw the sign and needed some serious prayer. Donald told us that he had been born Baptist but he did not know much about religion now. When he was seven, he was the only person in his 14 person family to survive a car accident. He lived alone under a bridge and by age 50 has never experienced a real Christmas. He also revealed that he had cancer in both lungs and the doctors gave him til Christmas, ironic huh? The streets have been so hard on Donald. He has been stabbed 5 or 6 times and shot once. But all of the pale in comparison to what he said next. He told us that he has never been loved. He had no family, no friends, so he had no love. So, eventually after talking for a while we prayed with Donald. We prayed that God would open his eyes so he would know that God loves Donald. As we prayed I felt God speak to me in a way I have not seen in a while but it was something I'd been praying for. So when our prayer ended and everyone had hugged him, I unclasped my "love necklace" and gave it to him. As I handed him the necklace to Donald I explained to him why I was giving it to him. I want him to be reminded every time he look at it that God loves him and always will. He said thank you and we watched the tears well up in his eyes. He quickly walked away. I will never forget him. And I believe that those $13 were some of the best I've ever spent.

From Samuel Jenkins:
This past week has been one of the most physically, spiritually, and mentally demanding week of my life. Which could be either good or pathetic. God has taught me so many things that I will never forget. Seeing the living conditions of inner city Baltimore has made me so much more content with what I have. I wish I could stay here longer and continue serving the people.

This is for you, Eric Van Pelt!!! :)

The Van Pelt's took great care of the Fernihough boys for some of the time that we have been here in DC, and they were great at posting pictures for them to look at on Facebook. Well, here are some pictures of their student on the trip...we just wanted to be fair and all! :)

Random Fun Times!

For some reason, everyone wants to look like Mandy....or maybe they just ate too much!?!?!

Reina is a girl full of amazing talents...including being able to balance a bottle of Mountain Dew on her head while traveling up an escalator.

Apparently Eric likes oranges...

The Fun Still Continues!

On Wednesday night we helped Colleen and her team with the Metrokidz Ministry. It started at 6:45 and we played with the kids in the empty lot across the street and then cooked hot dogs and such for dinner. It was a fun night with lots of kids!

This morning our students split up into four groups and were sent out into the community to show random acts of kindness. One group of students baked cookies and made cards to encourage the officers and brought them for the local police department. The department was so appreciative of the students thoughtfulness that they gave them a tour of the police department.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday some of our students went to Samuel Morris Elementary School, this is the school that most of our VBS kids attend. Each day ten students helped paint two bathrooms and a classroom. The teachers and the students were extremely appreciative to see our students hard at work at their school!

Introducing...Student Scenarios!!!

We have decided to have a new section for students to share. We will keep the "Student Scripts" section for the students to give personal messages to their family and friends. We are creating a new section called "Student Scenarios" for students to share a specific experience or how God is moving in the lives. If you get a chance and can, go back and read the last Student Scripts and read the one written by Jamie Fleury...it wasn't just to her parents!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Student Scripts

  • I've been learning about forgiveness so far. While learning about love, it has been awesome to see God teaching me that the ultimate way to love is through forgiveness. It has been an emotional, yet freeing experience. -Wil Witters
  • Hi everyone! Today is our 2nd day of VBS. Everyone is exhausted, and yet it is a good thing that we are tired because God gets the chance to do the impossible. I know that for me personally being tired has helped me to be more focused on God and what He wants to show me. Please pray for strength and that we will be focused on God. Please also pray that we will show God's love to the VBS kids and the others that we are serving. Thanks for your prayers! -Paula Humphries (7/14/09)
  • Hey Humphries Family! I've blogged a few times in the last couple of days but I realized today that I have not said hi to you guys--so HI!!!!!! Mom and Dad, thanks for your prayers and support. Noah, keep rocking out on drums and I'll see you soon! Mussy, I miss you and think of you often. I love you so much. Micah, keep being your amazing self and making everyone laugh. I love you all tons. And I'm so glad you are part of my family. Say hi to the kittens for me and I'll see soon. P.S. Kayla Morgan, if you are reading this, HI! Love you girl! -Paula Humphries (7/15/09)
  • Hi Mom, Dad, and Ryan! :) (Lucky, too!) I'm having such an amazing time here in Baltimore. I've had such cool, life changing experiences so far. The people I have met are unique, special, and wonderful. I wish you guys could be here with me. Arlington cemetery was so touching...definitely touching. And the conference was INCREDIBLE. I've made like ten new friends, and the teaching and lessons really changed me. It was amazing, guys! :) Right now I'm waiting for the kids from VBS to come. It's Day 3 and so far it has been so much fun. The kids fall in love with us and are so entertaining to play with! And guess what? I even brought a little girl to love Christ--it was indescribable. Other than the VBS, Baltimore is very sad, to tell you the truth. Yesterday we got to go on a prayer walk with Pastor Mike from Charm City and actually carried signs and told people about God on the streets. I was kind of nervous, but I would do it every night if I could. Baltimore really needs our thoughts and our prayers. So much more has happened--you have no idea! I miss you guys and love you so much! Have a crazy and exciting times in MI! I love you! -Jamie Fleury
  • Love you, Mom!!!!! -Tim Alia

The Fun Continues!

Wow! Day two of VBS was great. We seemed to have a lot more kids. Our students continued to love on the kids from the community. Worship continues to be a favorite time for everyone...students and the kids! The drama was funny and the kids really seemed to enjoy everyone! Reina did a fantastic job speaking and sharing the love of Christ to all of the kids.

After dinner we had the opportunity to help fill bags of groceries for those who need food. The ministry is called Feed the Sheep. In order to take home a bag or two of groceries, each person has to sit through a sermon by Brother Gary.

Later we had the privilege of listening to Stacy share her story with the group. She shared with us all that God is doing in her life. She is actually the prayer coordinator for the state of Maryland for an organization called 24/7 Prayer. God is providing for her in amazing ways and her heart is huge and she has tons of passion for what she does.

Last night was jammed pack! After dinner we headed out in small groups to pray for people. It was an interesting experience because we carried large poster size signs that had sayings such as "Where?" or "Ask me..." or "Need Prayer?" or "When?" or "Are you sure?" The purpose of the signs was to provoke curiosity among the people in the community. Surprisingly, the people we came in contact with were very receptive to us and eager to let us pray for them. Hopefully a few of the students will blog about their experiences soon so we can post them.

Fast forward to this morning...

We were able to go out onto the streets in small groups and just clean up. Don't worry, we wore gloves! By the time we were done we had pretty much filled tons of large black trash bags. As some groups traveled, they ran into some of the VBS kids and the kids actually joined the groups to help them clean up the neighborhood.

One of our leaders, Kelly, came across this beautiful trumpet vine just growing in the midst of all of the trash in the streets. This just goes to prove God's beauty can shine anywhere.

This last picture is of Colleen who works here at Charm City Church. She has been a great resource on this trip and so amazing! She has a servants heart and has truly been a servant to us.