Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Test for workcamp July 8th-13th

To test if images can be posted via iPhone

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gearing up for our mission trip to Rochester NY. Thoughts and prays welcomed and needed

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home Safe!

The Mission team is home safely! We all made it on the first flight out, and had a great flight home. Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

God helped us! :)

The morning started with breakfast (eggs, sausage, chocolate chip pancakes and oatmeal). After breakfast, we split into two groups. Dan, Mack, James, and Mitch returned to the Head Start program to clean out the storage closet that had the leaking AC (moved toys, old computers, and files). They also distributed 5 lbs of onions to each student's cubby, and found Mardi Gras beads. They worked hard and then joined the other group...

Alison, Mike, Anna, Claire, Amelia, and Jordan went to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church to help with their 4th week of VBS! (check out their website to see some pictures of the church: Pastor Greg Manning talked to us about the theme "Giving God all the Glory". Then he told us the importance of "maintaining order" and "preventing absolute chaos" with the 55 or so children that would be coming to the program. Due to attempting to prevent "absolute chaos" we didn't get any pictures...I felt we were successful in preventing ABSOLUTE was slightly organized chaos :)

We were all in group #2, which was fifteen 7-10 year old boys and girls. We started by serving breakfast to them, and just getting to know them a little. Then we played a few name games and learned LOTS of new songs with dances (i.e. "Joy"--J is for Jesus, O is for others, Y is for you and you and you and you....jjjjjoy, jjjjjoy, jjjjjoy! and "Who's the King of the jungle? Who, Who? Who's the king of the sea? bubble bubble bubble. Who's the king of the universe and Who's the king of me? I'll tell ya! J-E-S-U-S, YES!"). We made foam picture frames, and enjoyed playing baseball and playing on the playground. :) We watched them practice for the special service, where the kids planned on performing a skit from Daniel chapter 3.

Today was the hardest day of the week, but we did get a lot out of it:
-Alison is thankful for a team that was flexible and willing to try all of our sites! Today was challenging, but everyone did REALLY well!!! :) So proud!
-Anna is thankful for the experience with the kids, because now she'll feel more comfortable if she ever was in that situation again. She also appreciates the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teachers more :)
-Amelia is sleeping....
-Claire felt that her self-control skills were challenged. She was empathetic towards the children and their situations, which helped her stay calm.
-Dan now appreciates the children we have within our church family.
-James felt that his patience was tested and he developed positive discipline strategies.
-Jordan learned how to be more patient, even when he is being challenged persistently.
-Mack was thankful for the experience, it opened his eyes to just how different cultures can be.
-Mike had a lot of fun singing and dancing with the kids, and he learned how significant positive role models are to a child's development.
-Mitch appreciates that his parents have brought him up knowing what true respect is.

We've had a great week serving in New Orleans! :) We look forward to creating our slide show and sharing it with everyone in a few weeks! Please pray for safe travels for all of us (and that the "standby fliers" get on the same flight as everyone else!) :)

Thank you for all of your prayers and support! We've felt them!!! :) <><

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Helping the Environment!

Today's Bible verse: Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Today started with breakfast (eggs w/various seasonings, sausage, biscuits & gravy, and grits). After that, Claire and I made lunches for the team, and we were off to the Wetlands in City Park. We met Caitlin (one of the employees of City Park) who told us some amazing history and current facts about the importance of rebuilding the wetlands in New Orleans. This link illustrates part of what we learned about today: (from Caitlin, and at a presentation during dinner).

We did various tasks that will help rebuild the wetlands in the area! We all helped cut and transplant various grass for the wetlands, and Mexican Marigolds. James, Skarda, Mitch, Claire, and I helped weed and move rose trees. Mack, Alyssa, Jordan, Skarda, and I moved A LOT of ceramic pots from a greenhouse to outside so Rich had more rooms to plant orchids. He has a whole greenhouse full of them! Dan, James, Jordan, Skarda, Mitch, Claire, and Amelia moved and mixed soil. We ended our day helping Terry (a volunteer for the Park) weed and move various plants/flowers that they sell to raise funds for the Park. Anna was a great photographer today, but our blog wouldn't upload them tonight :( Sorry! She helped with lots of other stuff too!

We came back to camp, and all were in need of a shower! :) So, we showered and then went to Wal-Mart for some snacks. We made it home just in time for dinner because there was a TON of traffic! Dinner was spaghetti and meat sauce casserole, with bread and banana pudding.

We had devotions and talked about how we need to give all the glory, credit, etc. for our actions and abilities to God. We went to worship and Peter (one of the interns) gave a message about sharing God's Word, no matter who they are, or how uncomfortable it might make you.

It's been a long day, time to sign off and go to bed. One more work day...tomorrow we are going to a VBS program to help :) Hopefully we'll make it back to Head Start to clean out the storage closet where the AC broke.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Our devotion verse for today, Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Our morning started bright and early! We ate breakfast (eggs w/cheese and ham, chocolate chip pancakes, and oatmeal) and hit the road. We ran into a little bit of traffic on the way to Head Start, but made it before 8! As we entered the center doors, we were spotted by one of the boys, who yelled, "Whites!", threw his hands in the air with a big smile, and ran away (in a playful way). We were greeted with many smiles, hellos and waves from the children & teachers. We couldn't play with the children just yet though...they needed to eat breakfast and we didn't want to distract them (that's the teacher in my not wanting to cause chaos so early in the morning!) :) Then, we met Ms. Butler (one of the 3 & young 4's teachers) and Ms. Shaun (the social worker). We had a little introduction to the center, and then washed some chairs while the kids finished their breakfast.

There were 6 classes total, squeezed into 3 classrooms. It was a really spacious center, but we didn't take any pictures inside due to the policies of the center, and for the protection of the kids. They have a small kitchen, 4 pairs of bathrooms, a small conference room, small break room, and a HUGE playground.

We cleaned every chair in the building (I'm pretty sure!), helped with lunch and snack time, and enjoyed outside time with the kids! :) EVERYONE was chasing or being chased, playing catch, pushing kids on the swings, bouncing kids on the bridge, and/or other participating in other various outdoor actives!

Once we came inside (before it was too hot and raining!) Ms. Anna & Ms. Alison helped in one of the younger classrooms (I can't remember the teachers names!). Ms. Anna read "Little Ms. Spider's Tea Party" to the class. Then, she enjoyed the Dramatic play area with several kids; while Ms. Alison enjoyed the block area with a few of the boys...we made patterns and roads! :) Mr. James and Mr. Mack helped the kitchen staff rearrange the refrigerator, move large quantities of bananas and other foods, and helped breakdown all the boxes from the food the moved into the kitchen :) Ms. Claire and Mr. Mike helped some of the teachers in the older classrooms fix up their bulletin boards for Graduation! Mr. Mitch and Ms. Amelia helped decorate the hallway for Graduation by hanging 2011 graduation hats from the ceiling (the teachers were amazed by the height of our boys, and the twins! LOL!). Mr. Jordan and Mr. Dan entertained some of the older kids with arm wrestling and thumb wars :)

After all the playing and hard work, we enjoyed lunch while the kids enjoyed lunch (I enjoyed a ham sandwich that Mack made...even though I really wanted my PBJ that Claire ate. :) LOL!). Then, the boys helped Mr. Johnson (the maintenance person, who works two jobs to help support his family!) set up hoses for water day...which he later realized wasn't until Friday and he has his days messed up; so the boys picked up all the hoses and toys and put them away for him (with a little chuckle and smiles on their faces). Mr. Johnson had worked at Wal-Mart until 3 am this morning, went home, slept until 11 and then came to work at Head Start...he apologized for the mistake, which of course we understood!

Everyone (but Dan and I) helped the kitchen staff set up the lunches for a field trip the school is taking to the zoo tomorrow too! They packed 128 white bags with spoons, mustard, mayo, fruit cups, and cookies. Jordan and Skarda prepped the water coolers for tomorrow too!

Mack & Dan also helped Mr. Johnson mop out a storage closet, which had an inch of water in it because the AC was leaking (we are hoping to go back and help him clean out and organize the closet on Thursday!) :)

After all of that the boys took a break on the playground, while the girls helped prepare snack for the classes.

After all of our hard work, laughs, and fun times, it was time to go. As we were saying good bye, we noticed that EVERY 3/4 year old was sleeping, and most of the 4/5 year olds were too! We tuckered them out...and they tuckered us out too! :)

Some of us made a pit stop at Winne Dixie for ice cream, then we came back to Camp, and did our part for the week! We cleaned the bathrooms and showers, restocked the toilet paper, paper towels, soap dispensers, etc. and swept the lounge and dining hall entrance. It was a long day! Gantor had to be choked out because of "Harry's spell" (which was he had to play with the kids today, which isn't his favorite thing!)...LOL!

We relaxed before dinner (special pork chops, yams and greens...YUMMY!!!!!!!), then had devotion/prayer time. We talked about how Jesus guides us on our life's path, step by step. How He is ALWAYS there, and how we can have hope in Him! The kids did great!!! :) Then we had worship, and Alyssa gave her was amazing, be sure to ask us about it!

Now, everyone is enjoying a huge game of spoons, and I'm going to join them :) Tomorrow we are off to the wetlands in City Park to help plant some plants! We'll keep you posted! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 1 of Service!

The Can-Do Missions theme for the week focuses on how Jesus is the light of the world....

Today was a great first day of service! Our day started at 6 am, then 7 am was breakfast (eggs, sausage, biscuits with gravy, and grits...yum!). We had "orientation" and met Emily(director of volunteer relations), Kathy Wendling (who assigns us to our Human care sites) & Walt (the construction supervisor). They are all amazing examples of servants!

Then James & Mitch were nice enough to make all of our sandwiches for lunch, while Amelia and Anna packed our snacks :) Mack & Skarda made sure we stayed hydrated by filling our Igloo for the day! We kidnapped Alyssa (the intern) and were off to the Community Center of St. Bernard, located in St. Bernard Parish. Please take a minute to check out their website...the founder is from NH, but more importantly it has an amazing story!!!

The Community Center offers MANY different things to the people of St. Bernard Parish & the surrounding areas, including a food pantry and clothing center where people can get all items for FREE! This area was SEVERELY impacted by Katrina, & the BP oil spill....with most monthly family incomes now being around $800 per month!

The teams first task was setting up the food pantry which included setting up shelves and filling them with food (which the boys did most of the stocking of the shelves). The girls worked hard at setting up the clothing center outside, and in one of the trailers shown below (the one on the right).

Mitch, James, and Mack were given the task of cleaning out a freezer that had broke a couple days ago and was storing A LOT of meat...not a fun task, but it had to be done. They worked beside Joe, the food pantry assistant, who was the one emptying the freezer's meat. The boys did a great job! :)

Jordan, Skarda, and Alyssa worked inside the food pantry, helping people "cash out", and carrying items to their vehicle (if they had one). The were poster children for "service with a smile!"

Claire was successfully picked up from the airport, and was able to serve with us at the Community Center for a couple hours, and jumped right into the task of sorting clothing! We were joined by a youth group from Seattle (I think...I missed that part of the conversation, LOL!). Together we sorted clothing for about 2 was a lot of work, and we were really sweaty after (it was easily 110 degrees today!), but we made it fun!

We drank lots of water throughout the day, applied sunscreen, and had a great time serving at the community center! :) We came back to camp and relaxed a little before dinner; which was one of cook Lorriane's yummy homemade classics, red beans & rice! It was really yummy! After dinner, we came together for group reflection and devotions. (talk one of us to hear what we talked about!), followed by worship @ 8 pm. Peter gave a great message about how important it is to focus on Jesus, not all the worldly things that appear to bring went perfect with our day!

Tomorrow is an early start, we need to be gone by 7:30 go meet with the kids at the local Head Start program! We'll need all the sleep we can get to keep up with the 3-5 year olds! So good night everyone, and thank you for keeping us in your prayers!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jesus > Sin

We started this wicked sweet Sunday by sleeping in to a whooping 8 o'clock (6 for Dan and Skarda)! After a few delays we finally got breakfast at Ihop around 11 o'clock. We then found our wonderful rented car had the tire pressure light on. After a fantastic phone call to enterprise they had us take it to Tire Kingdom; while we were waiting for it to be inspected we met a couple from Mississippi (for a wedding) who was interested in what we are doing. We told them we were from New Hampshire and down here to help rebuild through Camp Restore. They thanks us for coming down to serve and even thanked us with a small donation. Turns out our vans tires were OVER inflated... Enterprise FTW (For the win*)!

ZOO TIME!!! With freshly deflated tires we ventured to the fabulously famous fun faring Audubon Zoo (i think... w/e). We saw zebras, bears, elephants, Alligators, yellow cars, 2 headed snake, tigers, chameleons, flamingos, lions, cougars, llamas, rhinos, raccoons, little kids, old people, jaguars, misting fans, and a few AC exhibits, ALL IN 100 degree weather (in the shade)!

We then teleported back to base... We then attended our first worship service then dinner was served (some though skipped dinner to play some ball).

During our nightly devotion we then determined that:
Light>darkness (John 1:15)
therefore in our expert opinion we concluded that in fact
Jesus > Sin

We are looking forward to beginning our week of service tomorrow!

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


We have arrived at our home away from home for the week! It's nice and hot (~93 degrees)! Camp Restore has changed A LOT since 2009! There is now a school where we used to sleep, eat, hang etc., and there is new, AMAZING sanctuary/dining hall (with the great picture of the Last Supper displayed), lounge area, and pool room!

We had our tour of the facility, bunk houses (a.k.a trailers), and the grounds just a little while ago, and now we are just hanging out before we do a little meeting :)

Thank you for all your travel prayers (we felt them as we drove into Boston during an heavy rain storm, as we waited in the LONGEST line I've EVER seen at Logan, and as the "standby fliers" boarded)! Continue to pray for us, and we'll post again tomorrow!


We made it safely to the airport and through security. Our plane is departing shortly!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

One more sleep!

We will be at Camp Restore tomorrow! The team is VERY excited!! We'll keep everyone posted on what we're doing and how things are! :) Keep us in prayer as we travel down! Thanks!!

Jeremiah 29:11 "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your good and not for your harm, to give you a future with hope."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Praying!! As we prepare to travel down to New Orleans June 25th-July 1st, we are praying for those being effected by the floods now. Even though the floods aren't effecting the residents of New Orleans now, there are many who are effected. Please keep them in your prayers! <><

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We are coming back!

Grace Lutheran Church is returning to New Orleans! :) The last week in June! Here we come!! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stanky Legg Time!

The entire team at the construction site - John's house

Sweeney family photos at New Orleans House

Some photos from yesterday -

In the front of the house with FEMA markings - the water was up to the roof at this house, many in the neighborhood were rescued from roofs. The water rose to the roof from the ground in about 7 minutes.

Jon on Matt's shoulders, Scott and Ingrid and lots of dust from sanding the seams.

The owner is 85 and widowed. He is quite sharp and spry and enjoyed all of the youths at the house. especially the young ladies. His house is ready for paint!