Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Youth After School Program

The Youth After School Program is off to a great start. Right now there are 4 students enrolled in the program, and I am actively recruiting more.  We started off the year with a trip to Krispy Kreme to plan out our goals for growth for this school year.  Our goals included categories like academic goals, spiritual goals, relational goals and reading goals to name a few.

This year  I am also continuing Wednesday afternoon workshops. For the last half hour of the day on Wednesdays the kids work on projects outside of their school work. Right now all the kids are doing a cooking workshop where they are learning the basics of cooking.  Each week they get to take home a casserole they have made.  Later in the year we will be having a financial literacy workshop and independent living workshop.  I love being able to offer the kids the opportunity to learn life skills.

Later this fall we will be taking a bowling field trip to practice simple math.  There is a bowling alley in Yakima that runs everything manually, which means their are no electronic screens for keeping score.  This means the kids have to learn to keep track of their own scores.  It is mostly fun, with a little bit of math worked in.  I am excited to see how the Lord grows the program over the coming school year.  Please consider supporting the Youth After School Program by clicking here.

Our very first day

Working at Krispy Kreme

Enjoying donuts at Krispy Kreme

Celebrating birthdays

Cooking Workshop with Susie Maxfield

Friday, August 29, 2014


I wrote this blog last week, but now I am finally posting it.

Today, as sad as I am, I am also very thankful.  The Lord gives us good gifts and he never gives us more than we can handle.  For the last 6th months one of my d-group girls, Judy, has been living with me.  Today her mom came and got her to move her back to a relatives house in White Swan.  When she first came I thought it might be for just a couple days.  But days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and I started picturing her staying forever.

I was out of town when I got the news that her mom wanted her moved back home.  She stayed back with Veronica while I was gone for the week.  I laid awake at night worried I would not make it back in time to tell her all the things I wanted to say to her before her mom came and took her away.  But I made it back and had a few hours with her before her mom came to get her.  I was able to tell her how proud I was of her and how glad I was to have her with me for 6th months and how sad it would be for me without her with me every day.  We talked about how ready she was for school, something she has never experienced in her life.  Thanks to the generosity of supporters she had a new backpack, supplies, and all new clothes for the first day of school.  I told her she was ready for high school! She smiled big and then caught herself and tried to hide her excitement.  Then we looked at pictures of her from 6th months ago when she first started staying with me.  I told her how much she had grown up since then.  She smiled again.

I can not put in words yet, what the last 6th months did for me and for Judy.  I see a lot of growth for both of us.  I was in roles I never would have suspected and the Lord gave me grace even when I didn't know what role that was- mom, big sister? And Judy started to learn trust. I can only trust the promise from Philippians 1:6 which says, "And I am sure of this, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." The Lord began a good work in Judy and in me and I trust that he will bring it to completion in his timing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kids Club Moment

On Wednesday I could only be at Kids Club for a few minutes before I went over to the science fair at the middle school.  I was keeping on eye on the perimeter watching for kids as they walked up.  One Kindergarten girl who has gone to Kids Club a few times over the last couple of years wondered up and sat on one of the giant rocks at the edge of the park. I sat next to her on the rock.  I asked if she wanted to do any of the activities and she shook her head no.  I asked if she wanted to sit in my lap and she shook her head yes.  So I moved her on to my lap and put my arms around her.  I began to slowly rock her. After a minute or so I hears her small voice saying something.  I asked, "What did you say?" She replied, "Nothing." Again I heard her voice and I bent my head down and I realized she was singing to herself.  So I kept rocking and she kept humming.  After about ten minutes she said, "Ok, I'm ready to get down now and play."  And she ran to join the other kids waiting in line at the swing.  It was a picture to my of what God does for us.  He hugs and rocks us and then sends us into community where we can thrive and flourish and learn and grow.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Shoe Boxes

When I was in High school my cousins and I spent a Saturday making personalized shoe boxes.  We spent hours searching through magazines cutting out phrases and pictures that we liked or that we thought described us.  We then glued the magazine clippings to our shoe boxes, covering every inch. We sealed them with a coat of packing tape to make them durable. And durable mine has been.  It is overflowing with all my old photographs and friend's school pictures.

I decided, because my box is so special to me, I wanted to do the same thing with my d-group girls. Neena Clevenger and Payless Shoes saved a bunch of shoe boxes for me. The last two d-groups we have been scavengers searching through pages of advertisements looking for funny phrases, favorite foods, words associated with church or words and pictures we like just because.  Usually when I am really excited about a project I plan for the girls to do, it goes over like a lead balloon.  I was really excited about the shoeboxes, but I had low expectations for their enthusiasm.

Its post Christmas and we just made it through February- month of relationship drama.  Winter is drama season for middle school girls.  Recently the girls have been using me and d-group as an opportunity to get together to talk about the most recent drama among their peers.  I was slightly discouraged, because it seemed they didn't really care about what we did at d-groups at all.  Another reason I had low expectations for the shoebox project.  But they have loved it.  The atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful as they cut and glue and laugh at funny pictures and words.  All drama has seemed to be left at the door when we are working on the shoeboxes.  It has given us the chance to focus on each other and caring for each other which is something I did not expect when planning the project.  I haven't had to awkwardly change the subject from the latest fight at school over and over again the last two meetings.  One on my girls even announced this past week that she prayed out loud for the first time.  She was by herself and really felt like she wanted to pray so she prayed out loud.  I am glad we created an atmosphere where she was able to tell us something that was so personal and so meaningful.
The shoeboxes are still a work in progress, but so is the d-group.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Month of No Sundays

You have heard the phrase "a month of Sundays", but we have been experiencing a month with no Sundays.  We have had to cancel church three weeks in a row because the long house has been on use.  The last two weeks have been because of funerals.  Just a month ago we had to miss two weeks in a row because the long house was booked.  Each week I get more bummed at the thought of going another week without seeing all of our people and worshipping together as a church body.  I know the kids are just as sad if not more sad than me without church.  At least I know I will still have a hot meal and the fellowship of the team or more time with some of the youth. For the kids that is not the case.  For a long time that was case for this community every week.

When our church building is completed we won't have to worry about canceling church because somebody else is using the building.  We won't have to go weeks without seeing each other, because we will have a place to gather.  We are so close to completion- the walls are done, the flooring is being laid, and hopefully the septic system will be finished tomorrow.  One of the benefits of not having a building for the past 10 years of the ministry is that our church has clearly been made up of the people and not the building.  But now this church needs a home and this past month of no Sundays has confirmed that for us.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top Pictures of 2013

I had a hard time narrowing it down to 45 pictures.  I have so many good memories from 2013.  These are just a few of the best pictures from the year.

Bringing in the New Year

youth group 

Whitney's 14th birthday

D-group slumber party

Baby Rosemary's Shower

Veronica's birthday

youth group

Spray paint canvas at d-group 

Both Justine and Miranda painted their canvases for their moms

Art day with the kids

Art Day 

Art Day

Beautiful art

Kristen at the art day 

In the summer we went to Rim Rock Lake with the youth who helped on the work site

Rim Rock Lake 

Jedi and Alexa at Rim Rock Lake

Miranda and Judy drawing with Azi at kids club

new shed the youth girls built at the church building 

Chris helping the kids with the skit at kids club

Mary in the kitchen at church with her helpers Kristen and Lillian 

Lynisha and Alexa working on the shed

boats at kids club

adirondack chairs built by the youth group

Justine and Alexa's birthday at Dairy Queen 

Intern team wearing donated snow hats in August 

Connie and I made surprise cupcakes

Connie and DJ washing the truck for the Harrah Parade

Morgan and DJ

Connie, Judy and Miranda decorating the float for the parade

Justine and DJ at the Parade

Youth Group in the Parade

Youth Group in the Harrah Parade

Anika's 15th birthday 

Our new cat, Jago

In October I went to Chattanooga for a reunion with my college roommates 

painting picture frames at d-group 

5th annual pumpkin carving with the d-groups

The neighbor's goats took over our yard this fall

D-group Christmas Picture

D-group decorating cookies for the youth group Christmas party

Morgan :)

Alexa and Yaanibaah

Connie and DJ decorating cookies

I was very impressed with the time and detail they put into each cookie!