Brent is uploading his pictures to a Mobile Me website, go to here to follow along. I might try to pick out a few to post here each day.:
The sixth and final day of our mission was jam packed and included our return trip. We woke up especially early due to the many things we hoped to accomplish on our way home. We had a wonderful final breakfast. We then split up into two groups. The first group left the church to visit Gold Hill, Oregon’s Mysterious Vortex. After the Vortex they went down to Gold Hill’s park to help clean up weeds and prepare bench coverings for painting. The second group stayed back at the church for a period in order to finish up. After a thorough cleaning of the church, the second group went to Gold Hill Park to do some service work as well. The second group then enjoyed the Mysterious Vortex.
Many were wowed by the vortex’s light bending powers. However, we had at least a few skeptics of the phenomena we witnessed. Things like water flowing up hill and people growing as they walked from place to place were just a few of the amazing things we were entertained by in Oregon’s own vortex.
After our busy morning and a quick lunch, we hit the road and began on our way back to Portland. With only a stop to reorganize the vans and enjoy some ice cream, we made the trip from Southern to Northern Oregon in good time. We arrived back at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church at a little after six and received a warm welcome from our many parents and friends. After the long week, it was nice to see our families again. It was an amazing week fulfilling God’s work and we will all remember “knocking it out on the service route.”
As the wakeup call this morning was later than usual, people spirits at breakfast seemed a bit livelier. However, the day’s work looming ahead of us offered no such leisure. Today was designated as the “dangerous adventure service project” day, in which our small groups were allotted the entire day and some money to tackle any project that they saw throughout the week. We were given the opportunity from the beginning of our journey to keep our eyes open for needs in the community that we could work on as a small group.
The acts of grace we decided to work on included building a play structure at a teen pregnancy rehabilitation center, painting a young couples house and an apartment playground, continuing to work on a fence, and purchasing a new Wii for the youth group at our host church in Ashland. After this long day of work we congregated back in Ashland for a big birthday bash. There was music, balloons, a piñata, and a cake to set the scene to celebrate Nathan Reeve’s 16th and Dea Dea Hilton’s 50th birthdays. Even after the cake was eaten, the celebration continued as we headed to the sanctuary to praise God. From the serious to the hilarious, everyone was given a paper plate award reminding us of the great moments and projects we participated in throughout the week.
After a long day of painting, unloading and reloading the truck, finishing a fence, and rebuilding parts of a safe house, we pulled up to a beautiful campsite at Lake Selmac. A lot of us rushed to the lake to rinse the days dirt and heat from our bodies. After that we roasted hot dogs on an open fire and had a highly competitive timed round of mini-golf. Worship was a little different tonight. We sang and prayed in the dark- but it was intimate. Afterwards, we were fascinated as David Abercrombie answered our questions about religion and spoke about the difference and uniqueness of Christianity.
It was a starry night. Some of us slept outside and work up happy but dewy. Despite the sounds of nature, laughter, and snoring we all managed to get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, it was back to the safe house. Between painting and other work we took a break and drove 45 minutes to the Oregon Caves. They were a cool 43 degree series of caves which were very refreshing compared to the 100 degree heat we aren’t quite used to. Today at the safe house we got a lot of work done. The entire building is repainted and the fence is up, and the community garden is ready to be planted.
At about six o’clock (we worked late to finish the job), we headed back to the church in Ashland where we will spend the last two nights. After dinner and showers it was time for small group meetings. We discussed mission and how it had been for us among other things. Our lucky group (Ashley’s small group) went to Wendy’s for ice cream snacks. Finally, it was time for worship. After that we headed into bed, ready to rest up for our final day of work. Tomorrow we will be working on the projects we found during our prayer walks this week.
Today most of the team went to work at two different sites. A small group including Alex and I went back to the Youth for Christ Center to keep working on the fence. We had face challenges with the project the past two days, and some of the work had to be done over so a small group of us went back to put some more work into it.
The day turned out to be very productive. Everyone in the group worked well and we were able to put all the fence posts in place and pour cement under each one to keep them in place. The fence still needs more work before it’s done, but it felt good to accomplish the task so far. We certainly have more appreciation now for the art of fence building. When I look at a fence now I can’t help but think of how much effort went into building it.
Today we were split into two groups. Group 1 was working on the fence and yard for the teen center across from a local high school. Group 2 was working at a home for women as they rebuild their lives. I was able to work at both sites. At the teen center we had people working on putting up 500 feet of eight foot tall fence. The current goal is to get it finished in one to two days. Other people at the site moved debris, weed wacked, and helped pressure wash a neighbors home.
This trip has been full of new experiences for me. Yesterday I was brave enough to use the chain saw to tear down the fence, and today I used a pressure washer for the first time. I enjoyed doing both activities and they were successful…. for a majority of time.
After lunch I transferred to the Holly Street site. We replaced a set of stairs, removed paint, repainted, and installed a washer and dryer. We went through approximately 19 gallons of paint in one afternoon. We had a surprise from a new crew on Channel 5 in Medford. Josh was interveiwed and they filmed clips of all the students hard at work. We requested a copy of the news story so you can all see it when we get home.
After a long hard day we went to swim at Emigrant Lake. I’m going to leave you with my favorite Bible verse, and I feel like it is very fitting for this trip. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Thank you for your support and prayers.
The past two days, half of the team has been working at a house for single women battling addition, known as the Holly Street House. The house was in a state of disrepair and we had much to work on. There were several different projects at this location. We had team members remodeling a broken outside staircase and pathway and people planting new sod out front. The sod replaced the rocky rubble that was there before. Downstairs in the basement was a total mess. The team took out all of the junk and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, ceiling and floors. The final project was a major one that required many people. First everything on the back porch was power washed. Then pieces of wood were cut to replace old ones falling apart. Finally, all the wood on the deck was painted.
The tenants of the building were so thankful that they used the money they had to buy us a fruit cake, balloons, and a huge, decorated card. Overall, the Holly Street job was a success and much was accomplished.
Today, we broke into two groups. One group went to a housing project for women who are recovering from drug addiction. The other (the one I was in) went to a Youth for Christ building that needs a taller fence. The property was purchased in 2007, and they plan to open it this fall. When we got there we got to work cleaning out the junk in the yard and taking down the old fence. We took down 500 feet of fence, layed out all the supplies we need to rebuild, and drilled 68 holes to set the large posts. The work went quickly and many of us were hot and tired around two o’clock.
A neighbor woman let us run through her sprinkler (it was 99 degrees) and the cooks brought us ice cream sandwiches to cool off. Then we went back to the church for dinner and worship, and ended the night with a swim in Emigrant Lake.
In our devotions this week, we are reading about being shaped by God. This has been related to tools and how some are old and useless, some are being fixed, and some are ready for use. Our goal is to all work towards becoming tools ready for use to serve the Lord. Overall, the trip is going well and we are excited for another day.