Archive for the ‘Mission Trip 2012’ Category

Mission Trip Update #11: Home Again!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

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3:15 p.m.  Yeah!  We did it!  The excitement and anticipation grew as we entered the Bay Area and the youth said, “hey, we see things we recognize!”. As we approached the MPC parking lot, a favorite song from the trip blaring, the windows rolled down, and youth singing along at the top of their lungs, we were greeted by happy parents, ready for the hand-off.

Thanks be to God for a safe trip and all of the wonderful components we were hoping for when we first started the planning.  Thanks to Jim and Anita Allardice and Kevin Fallehy for being wonderful adult teammates on this 9 day journey.  I am attaching our goofy “after” photo so that you can glimpse the joy, excitement, connection, relief, and fatigue of our crew.  Signing off until our next great adventure.  Please join us at MPC on Sunday, August 19 at 5 p.m. for our youth-led mission trip sharing Celebration.  Come hear how lives were touched and worlds expanded.Mission Trip Return-- Finally Home!


Mission Trip Update #10: The Final Push…

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

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Mission Trip Driving Home at SunriseFrom Kevin Fallehy: Sunrise on the last leg. Our fearless leader starting the first shift of the last leg home. Sunset in our rearview mirror and the anticipation of our families and friends closing in on our windshield.

From Katie: We awoke this morning at 4:15 a.m. in Elko, NV and managed to pull off a 5:09 a.m. departure for home. The journey is going smoothly and at 10:09 a.m., we crossed into California. We’ve made four stops so far and have our sights set on Sacramento as our lunch destination.

We are aware that the rest of the MPC congregation is just beginning Celebration this morning. May God continue to keep us connected.

Mission Trip Welcome to CA

Emma shares that she is, “sad that the experience is over, but I’m looking forward to going home to my wonderful family and being able to share the experience with them”. Stacy adds that she is ready to be home, too. Chris says, “take small sips and not large gulps”. Elliot wants to share with you, “If you have a kid or grand kid who can go, definitely send them on a mission trip because it is a really good experience”. This seems like a great thought to close on. Thank you all again for your generous support of this ministry.


Mission Trip Update #9: Leaving Colorado

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

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Hello MPC Family!

Mission Trip Chip SandwichToday marks the first leg in our journey home.  We will drive in four states today, most of it on Interstate 80.  We were up by 5 a.m. and on the road by 6:17.  The drivers are tired, but we’re switching often and holding up well-keeping safe.  We stopped for lunch (peanut butter and banana or potato chip sandwiches and fruit) in Wyoming, about three miles from the state line into Utah.  We had our first sighting of buffalo at lunch.
Mission Trip Buffalo

Back on the road.  Spirits are up and were having a good time listening to music (from multiple generations, thanks to Chris having his parent’s music collection on his iPod), and laughing together as we recall funny moments from the week.  We are definitely well bonded and are just enjoying being in the close family feeling that you develop on a trip like this.

Mission Trip Covered WagonHere’s our group taking a break from the road and imagining what it would be like to make this journey by covered wagon…

Our destination goal for this evening is the floor of the fellowship hall at the First Presbyterian Church of Elko in Nevada. Here’s a photo of our crew taking a break at the salt flats in Utah, with Nevada still many hours away:
Mission Trip at the Salt Flats in Utah

Thank you all again for all of you support of us.

Keep up the good prayers for traveling mercies.
-Katie and crew


Mission Trip Update #8: Rocky Mountain High

Friday, July 27th, 2012

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Today is our “free” day and we are currently in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  We have spent our week in Denver, the mile high city.  Well, we just passed a “2 miles above sea level sign”.  We’re pretty high up in the world!  A former Presbyterian pastor greeted is as we entered the park and offered a wonderful orientation to the park.  He let us all wear his ranger hat.  This is a group photo from Trail Ridge Road.

Mission Trip Rocky Mountain Park

Later that same day…

Well, here we are, our last night in Denver.  We are enjoying the hospitality that was extended to us by the youth minister of the host church, allowing us the opportunity to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics.  We will begin our journey back to Oakland early tomorrow.  What a week!  Thank you for all of your supportive thoughts and prayers during our trip.  Praying for smooth travel tomorrow…
-Katie and crew


Mission Trip Update #7: In the Food Desert

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

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Today our crew broke up into two groups again to visit different sites. The group I was a part of attended a Salvation Army family shelter. This was a challenging placement because the facility was understaffed, And we were left more on our own to figure out how to connect with residents and their children, without much order or support. We were also invited to pull weeds from their garden, and the task felt endless and again, the sun was out in full strength.

Mission Trip Sorting Donated ClothesAfter some progress with weeds and some connecting with the children, we ate lunch and then left for another site visit. At the Action Center we got to experience are large share house facility that provides multiple services including a food, clothing and household goods pantry. Donations were constantly being dropped off during the 3 and a half hours that we were there and because it was such a busy day for the center, they were falling behind on sorting clothes. Staff was needed at the front desk, and so it worked out well that we were there to help out. We sorted clothes and got them out onto the “shopping” area as fast as we could. It was amazing how rapid the turnover was.

The other half of our group was at a day facility for low income people with brain injury and trauma or M.S. our youth interacted with program participants by serving as a buddy while they participated in various activities, such as art, working out, or golf.

Mission Trip Food Stamp Challenge at denUMAfter our time at our various site visits was up, we met back at denUM for a food stamp challenge of trying to find dinner on a budget of 1.20 per person. A major challenge was that we needed to purchase the food while staying in the neighborhood, for which we quickly learned I’d a “food desert”. We all have great compassion tonight for what folks must go through being in this situation meal after meal.

Our evening’s program at denUM concluded with the opportunity to hear from a speaker who was formerly homeless. Again, incredibly eye-opening…

Everyone is going to sleep right now and so I must sign off. More tomorrow…



Mission Trip Update #6: Root Causes

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

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Hello Supporters!

Mission Trip lunch outside museumThis is a photo of our group enjoying a quick snack lunch outside of the Colorado History Center, a beautiful and powerful series of interactive museum exhibits about various cultural aspects of the State’s history.  It offered us some clues toward the question of root causes of poverty.

Mission Trip hugging residentFrom here, we needed to split the crew into two groups to meet the size needs of the service sites we were attending.  The first group headed out to a nursing home, where we were met by a representative of Bessie’s hope, an organization committed to bringing care and joy to residents of nursing homes who receive very few visits from family and friends, if any at all.  We were given an orientation and then helped lead a program with some of the residents, whom we called our “grand-partners.”. We learned how to warmly greet them, engage them in conversation, led the group in singing, helped them with a fan making craft project.

The other group visited a Catholic Charities soup kitchen, where they helped sort donated clothes and prepare for and serve the evening meal.  They served over 250 people.

Mission Trip Serving Bread at Soup KitchenFrom our afternoon sites, we immediately joined up for the urban walking tour, led by our staff contact at Denver Urban Ministries.  It was hot and we were all very tired.  This impacted our experience by sensitizing us to challenges that those on the streets face, with no relief from the elements, the sounds, the glare, the constant movement of a city at work, and the feeling of hunger (the tour was from 5-6:30, and so we knew we would be eating dinner late).  Our eyes were opened during this experience.

Mission Trip Spaghetti SupperWe enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner, followed by recreation, and our evening reflections.  We all agreed tonight that this is definitely an “urban plunge” experience.  In just three days in Denver we have seen and experienced so much, and tomorrow is another full day!  More to come tomorrow.

Signing off,
Your good and faithful servant (Katie)


Mission Trip Update #5: Painting and Serving in Denver

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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Mission Trip Painting ExteriorHello All!  Thanks for continuing to follow our updates.  Today, our job is painting, painting, painting.  Spirits are good, and have been made even better by a frozen Custard (ice cream) and lunch break.  We sought out air conditioning at the restaurant because it’s a scorcher of a day and there’s not a lot of shade at the house.  We’re working hard painting the house of a very nice lady, Judi, who is in need of the assistance.  Stacy Canzoneri, Emma Carray, and Linnea Gullikson enjoyed the opportunity to hear some of Judi’s life story.

Mission Trip Painting, Cooling with a hoseWe have been vigilant with water drinking, ladder safety, and sunscreen.

O.K., lunch break is over!

Praying for physical endurance…

Mission Trip Painting Accomplished

Mission Trip at the Soup KitchenAfter serving dinner to 281 guests at the Rescue Mission soup kitchen, we returned back to our host church to celebrate Linnea’s birthday with ice cream and a cupcake loaded with candles for the birthday girl to blow out.  And then we had our next round of the ping pong tournament that Chris organized.  Jim and Oliver are the ones who will progress to the next round tomorrow.  Today, we worked very hard and are playing very hard.  Everyone agrees it’s time for bed!

Signing off for the day,

Katie & crew


Mission Trip Update #4: First Denver Day

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

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Up early today for a learning program at denUM (Denver urban Ministries). We did a “Penny Game” and joined up with another youth group (from Woodland, Texas) for a stressful adventure, “The Game of Life.”.

During this exercise we were confronted by a barrage of incredibly challenging decisions while having the goal of making it through a single month working within each of our family group’s situation. (When laundry day came, One of our youth was heard saying, “we brought our laundry to my mom’s. That’s what moms are for. (Yes, Nancy, that’s your boy!) Emma Carray’s group walked 4 miles to work because they otherwise couldn’t afford food. All of the family groups had to forgo being involved at their children’s schools and couldn’t take part in after school programs, buying tennis shoes, or other school extras like a choir sweatshirt.

We enjoyed an amazing lunch at the SAME cafe, where all may eat and simply pay what you can.

We then headed off to a low income housing building to offer a recreational program for the kids there. Activities included footraces, face painting, and water balloon fights. Why water balloons? It’s 96 degrees today!

More later… -Katie and the crew


Mission Trip Update #3: Into Colorado

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

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Mission Trip No Name Rest AreaHello!  Happy to report that we are still rolling along smoothly toward our destination.  We passed a sign that read “100 miles to Denver” about 20 minutes ago just as we were driving through Vail.  Passed the charmingly named “No Name” Rest Area.

10,666 (add that that is our current altitude) just before the continental divide!  There is an ominous storm approaching, lighting and all.

Mission Trip, Flags at Half Mast in ColoradoUpon entering Colorado, we see flags at half mast, most likely due to the Aurora massacre.

Still, we feel blessed — as we head down the mountains into Denver, there is a beautiful rainbow in the sky!

– Katie


Mission Trip Update #2: Reaching Salt Lake

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

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Mission Trip Salt Lake CityWe’re 14:13 hours into our journey today and are all happy campers.  Doing great and we see Salt Lake City straight ahead.  We’re about 30 minutes from our destination.  I have a feeling we’ll all sleep well tonight.  Today has truly been a joy.  What a great group!  So proud of them.

MIssion Trip Youth at SLC UCCEvening reflections in the youth room at Holladay UCC, our host church for the night.  We’re all feeling good!  Wonderful hopes were shared about the coming week.. That assumptions will be challenged and eyes opened and that our serving will be well received.  Good night!  -Katie