Pittsburgh Project 2010

Romania 2010

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hi everyone. Today we rode in the rain (even me!). Then we came back to camp for lunch. We had a crew go to the church to finish painting and another crew go to Hiawatha Camp to do some work. At Hiawatha Camp, we moved brush to make the camp look nicer. Afterwards, we were allowed to swim at their beach because we had 2 certified lifeguards with us. We had a lot of fun on the blog at their beach. Then back to camp for supper and campfire. John and Judy, our hosts, have really blessed us with yummy meals, despite what jokes the students have been making. We will be back tomorrow about 5:00 pm.

This picture is one of the areas we cleaned the brush out of.

I got in a crazy bike accident today, and it was SWEET!!! Except That I have so much stupid gauze tapish stuff that I can barely move. I just made the sweetest fire in the history of fires!!! It was like art or something. We had this amazing food tonight and then brownies!! I FEEL A LITTLE WACKED OUT RIGHT NOW. Ooops. Stupid caps lock. If mi Madre can give me a ride from RBC tomorrow then I should be there around 5 P.M. And if she can’t she should talk to my Aunt Shannon. Just thought I would throw that out there. Everybody, pplleeelaaassseeee pray for clear sky’s tonight. I miss yaaallllllllllllll. Caleb

Hey heyyy. I am having a fantastic time here…. at fat camp. But sssssssssshhhhhhh that’s confidential if-i-told-you-I’d-have-to-kill-you material… if they find out that we figured out their top secret plot to thin us out, they’ll probably reduce our 100 calorie packs of cheez-its to 50 cals. They already taunt us by dangling pizza in front of our face while we are forced to split a fiber bar four ways. Not to mention the fact that we kill 70 bazillionjilliongillion calories per bike ride. But okay peeps so for shizzle dizzle here’s the low down on our starvage: There was no mission trip – this was just a ruse to make us bike our lives away and tend to their every whim. They purposefully wait for it to rain, and then send us on our way in a torrential downpour. The other day while we were biking a 10000000 mile bike ride, I witnessed my very close and a-week-ago-sane friend fight for his life over a half of a road-killed seagull. This is serious business folks. The same night, after trying my hardest to stuff myself with next-to-none calorie food and coca cola *zero*, I managed to escape my highly guarded tent with my mates and hunt our dinner with my newly found machete (also known as a 10 dollar pocket knife) named Junior. We ate good that night… fruit bat. Yummmmyyy. I’ve heard rumors that if we don’t burn another gazillion cals tonight during a grueling game of capture the flag, they’ll “accidentally” sabotage the bus so it breaks on the way home, and make us bike back to RBC. Of course by that time I’m sure we’ll have thrown ourselves to the massive killer bears to put us out of our misery…so it’s all good.

Peace out cub scouts.


I’ve got a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night…That tonight’s gonna be a good night…That tonight’s gonna be a good, good night. I feel it. Woohoo.


Say “hello” to Seattle for me.


Nikki asked me a few days ago if I wanted to write something on the blog. I told her that I didn’t have anything to blog yet and kinda went on with what I was doing. The truth was that I had no clue why I was even still here.

This past march I was in a car accident. I was on my way to practice for a play I was in when a biker swerved in front of me and I hit him. Three days later he died, he was 12 years old. After that I struggled with so many things, but one was that I had planned on coming on this missions trip, and hadn’t even learned to bike yet. For a while I just assumed that God wouldn’t want me to come, since even the thought of getting on a bike brought back pictures and sounds that I never wanted to remember. But God had a better plan. After talking to a counselor (and practically begging my wonderfully protective parents), I decided to start training to come here.

For the first few days of the trip I struggled. I rode along with everyone else (well maybe a tad bit slower…) but still felt lost, like I wasn’t quite sure what God was trying to teach me, or why I couldn’t have just worked through things at home. Today I got my reason for coming.

I was helping to paint the sanctuary in the church we’re partnering with up here (funny enough, the name of this church is “the church”), and, because there were so many of us working, I had run out of things to paint. So I wandered around for a while trying to find something else to help with, and ended up finding a few of the other students talking with the pastor of “the church”, Joe, and his wife Kay. After talking for a while the accident came up, and I told Kay about what had happened.

Kay and Joe have been through their share of hard times as well, including Joe suffering from PTSD and having panic attacks bad enough to put him in the hospital, and just hearing that someone understood some of the pain I’m feeling brought me to tears of relief. Kay went on to talk to me about God’s plan, and how everyone has an appointed time to die. She told me that God wouldn’t have put me in a situation like that if he didn’t know I was strong enough to get through it (with his help of course). She talked about turning to God in times of need and how important it was that I stay in the word and keep my eyes on Him. The last thing she told me was that whenever Joe started having a hard time he would read Philippians, and thought that maybe that would help me.

So on the bus ride back to camp I took out my bible and started to read Philippians. I discovered another person who understood.

Paul, writing from his jail cell, talks about suffering for Christ. He talks about life and death, and how he almost longs for death just so he can finally be with his savior. But then he talks about Jesus. He reminds us of the example that Jesus gave us, of serving one another and suffering for the faith so that others might believe. Finally he concludes the passage by charging the Philippians to continue to push forward in their faith and to go on with out complaining or arguing or focusing on themselves.

This trip has given me a kick in the pants. To know that no matter what you’re going through or how hard things get, the big picture is not about me. Yeah there are times when I need to heal, and I need to be alone with my God, but those times should not consume my life. My reason for living has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with a loving God who wants to use me to show his love to those he’s created. So, as I start a new chapter of my life, heading off to college and becoming an adult, I am challenged to live not for myself, but for God’s Glory.

- Kieron

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reina being funny, Emily being serious

Psss! This is Reina. We’re not allowed to have contact with the outside world, so I’ve got to make this snappy quick. Simply put, I am very much looking forward to being in the solitude of my home. It’s not safe here. Every time I leave my tent I must carve a path through the fog of mosquitoes with my machete. If I fail to cover absolutely every inch of my body when I leave the indoors, I can expect to be attacked by the flying beasts and discover multiple bug-battling wounds the next morning. We do not have regular meals here (wherever “here” is…) They force us to eat while we are riding, and we only get to rest from biking every 45.5 miles. When we sag, they punish us by taking away our meal-on-the-go for the next 2 days. When we aren’t biking, we’re serving in some way, of course, but there is a twist… We are not permitted to use our hands. Instead, we must do the deed with our feet, or whatever is most useful at the time. By doing this, they say, we are giving them some sort of entertainment while we are out in the middle of nowhere. Oh my goodness, they’re coming! I gotta go. Hopefully I’ll get in touch with you again soon. Over and out.

p.s. The previous message was completely false and inaccurate. Please someone pass along the message to Scott Ryan Forslund that Beilby is safe…but my mission to take pictures of his U.P. adventures has failed. (I forgot to charge my camera’s battery before I left and it totally died on the second day. I was seriously bummed.) Thanks and goodbye.


So…this is Emily Smeed. This is my second year going on this trip and God has taught me new and exciting things from last time! Last year I learned to enjoy God’s creation and that some times I put too much in my life and that sometime I just needed to “stop and smell the roses” in this case stop and look at the starts. Which in the U.P are completely and utterly remarkable. However this year even though the stars are still gorgeous and the rest of the wilderness is still brilliant God is teaching me something new. He’s teaching me that sometimes what I want for my life is not necessarily what He has in store for me. And what he has in store for me is so much bigger than I could ever have planned for myself. Emily Stadt has an amazing story about this that all of you should ask her to tell you. God is doing big and wonderful things through us each and every day. I’m so excited I got to go on both the D.C and the U.P mission trips this summer. And now I’m even more excited to go off to college and see what else God has planned for the rest of my life.

Blessed by God
Emily A. Smeed
Hey everyone. I mentioned that we cut some wood yesterday. Well the pastor of the church that we went to this morning is the one that hauled the wood to her house. Each time he went, he took four of our group with him. He read this note in church this morning.

All words I can think of are inadequate to express my sincere appreciation to everyone for all of their hard work yesterday. So much firewood!!! It should keep me toasty-warm all winter. Thank you.
I also would like to say how much I enjoyed meeting all of the young ladies and gentlemen with the beautiful smiles and lovely attitudes. All of their parents should feel great pride.
Again, I thank you all for your generosity and caring.
Most sincerely, Betty Hall

This is a woman who does not attend church, but this church loves on her and prays for her. Our group showed her God's love in a physical way and she was touched.

Today we are doing some projects around A Solitary Place and doing some painting at the church we went to this morning. So, more later.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hi everyone. This is a picture of our group weeding yesterday.

I forgot to mention that yesterday was Michael and Mandy's 10th wedding anniversary. Michael bought 10 roses and had 10 boys bring them in one at a time to her. Here's a picture of Drew handing her a rose. OK the picture is actually Drew and Mandy hugging after he handed her the rose. By the way, their anniversary dinner was at the VFW fish fry!

These next two pictures are before pictures of the piles of wood we cut.

The next two pictures show the wood is gone....56 cords of wood!

Group picture with Chris sitting on the last piece of wood that needed to be split. The wood is going to different families and a widow. The man whose yard we were in still had a pile on the otherside of the drive and another pile in the woods.

5th day, served again

HI!!! So today we split wood ALL DAY and it was really exhausting. We split most likely a whole forest…not kidding. I thought hauling at the Jenkins was hardcore….no this was HARDCORE. We took the wood to this old widow, and some of her family was there to help us unload. She was so happy just to have us deliver the wood and she brought us out drinks and you could just see in her face that she was thrilled to see it! This trip has been so amazing and I’ve made so many deeper relationships with people I would least expect. I’ve had a couple hardships like our tent filling with water and then it getting holes and the tarp not keeping water out, my air mattress ripping, and all our stuff getting soaked. BUT it made the trip that more exciting and it makes me appreciate civilization so much more. I’m having a blast and I don’t want to leave because I have a new found passion for splitting wood and hauling it but I guess that being home will be nice and maybe I’ll help dad with some of the wood now (: I even split a piece with a real axe and it came in half!
Love you all, except Nash.
See you in a couple days. Mom and dad you better be ready to have me back!!!
Ps. Bri got a knife and I have to sleep with her so I’m a little scared I might not come home in one piece.

Now I’m sitting on a porch looking down over a valley with a couple people playing guitar a few feet away and singing, the sun isn’t setting yet, but it is framed by these clouds and it looks so amazing!!! A bunch of tents blew over today and the canopy thing over the showers. But God was good and nothing got sucked up into like a hurricane or anything. We didn’t do any riding today because we were chopping wood and it was so cool. But I almost hit several different people with an axe, but if I had, it only would have been their ankles so it’s all good. We had the awesomest ice cream with like pieces of brownies and apples and stuff on it. I have to go now but bye everybody!! I love you everybody in my family and I will see you Tuesday!! Caleb