Monday, July 27, 2009

Junior High Mission Trip

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being an adult sponsor on the junior high mission trip with our church. Four adult sponsors, 1 high school youth for music, and 12 junior high kids ready to work headed off to East Bernard, Texas, to help out folks in need. This was my first time on a mission trip and I had a great time.

We left on a Thursday afternoon. Since we would each have a work group once we got there, I ended up driving my own car. I got lucky, though, and got two girls to ride with me. They slept most of the way and we talked the rest of the way.

Our church was the first church to arrive, so we claimed a room and set out to arrange our air mattresses the best way we could so that we would still have a path to walk in. We thought we had done good and were totally full, but when the other churches arrived we had to squeeze two more people in with us. Yikes! It was packed.

Thursday night we met our group, ate dinner and got to hear about what we would be doing the next two days. My group was assigned to the "big house" and we would be scraping paint off the house and then repainting it. After sending the kids to bed, the sponsors met briefly and then we were off to bed.

Friday morning we woke up at 7:00am, ate breakfast, did the chores assigned to our group, made our lunches, loaded our coolers and headed off to the house. Upon arrival at the house we looked for any dangers the kids should be aware of and then got to work. Scraping paint with small paint scrapers is not easy. Luckily we had some hard workers in the group and it went well. We broke for lunch and the safety people came by with misters and popsicles for us. Yum! Then it was back to work. We managed to get most of the house done before leaving for the day.

Since we were staying at the church and there were 80-90 of us total, we showered at the local gym. We gathered our clothes and headed off. I haven't showered in a gym locker room in a long time! Then it was back to the church for dinner and games. It rained Friday night, so our swimming activity was delayed, but we finally made it to the pool and the kids got to swim for at least a little while. Then it was back to the church for worship and bed.

Saturday morning was a repeat of Friday morning. Only this time we were joined by more of the groups at the house. After all, we had to finish scraping and get to painting. Each group took a portion of the house. It's amazing that so many kids could work so well together. They did get a little paint on each other, but what do you expect with a bunch of junior high kids? By the end of the day, the majority of the house was painted. There was still a small area on the back of the house that needed to get done, but one of the leaders offered to come back the next weekend and finish up. The kids should be proud of their work.

Saturday night brought rain again, but it didn't seem to phase the kids at all. They got along well and enjoyed playing games with each other in the fellowship hall until time for dinner and sharing. After that we had a surprise activity. We were told we were having a duct tape ball! Yep. You read that right. We (sponsors included) were each given a plastic table cloth and a roll of duct tape. We had about 20 minutes to create an outfit (worn over regular clothes) to wear to the ball. Some of the kids are pretty darn creative! The ball was a lot of fun.

Sunday morning we woke up, packed, loaded the cars, ate breakfast, and then went to services at the church where we were staying. Several of the kids made comments about how good the sermon was, so that was nice. After service we headed home.

It was a short mission trip but we got a lot accomplished and had a lot of fun. Plus, it was nice to be there with Madison.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Lot of Catching Up To Do

Wow! It's been a while, hasn't it? So, what have I been up to since I got back from Tahoe? Let me tell you.

After I got home from Tahoe, I jumped right into my marathon training. I will be doing the Marine Corp Marathon in October and the San Antonio Marathon in November. I'm a captain for this season's Team in Training run team, so I'll be doing most of my running, including track practices, with them. The Saturday after Tahoe I ran 8 miles!
We also had a lot of volleyball going on with Madison. Games for a summer league on Tuesday nights; games for the church league on Thursday night; and clinics given by a club on Saturday nights. She also went to volleyball camp at the high school for a week.

The next big event was haircut time. Madison had asked to get her hair darkened some and she did, but the dye didn't really take on her hair and it didn't really look all that different. Dalton on
the other hand came out looking very different.

Then on June 21st, I participated in the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon for the third straight year in a row. I wasn't sure how I would do considering I had only swam twice all year. I knew my bike would be strong coming off of Tahoe and I knew the run would be ok. Turned out I beat my best time by 2 minutes, coming in at 1:27:19 and coming in 6th place in my age group. Maybe I should not swim more often? No, it makes me wonder what I might have done if my swim was better. I passed lots of people on the bike, but got passed by two people in my age group on the run. Oh well, there is always next year.

Then later that afternoon, we took Dalton to a residential soccer camp with the Austin Aztex. He was there through Thursday afternoon and had a lot of fun.

And finally, on July 1st, we drove to New Orleans. We went to eat dinner and took the kids for a culture shock walk down Bourbon street (although it was still relatively early so not too bad).
When we got back to the hotel Madison went for a swim in the rooftop pool and then we went to bed. Thursday morning when we woke up we headed to the Cafe Du Monde for breakfast and then caught a taxi over to the port where we got on board the Carnival Fantasy for a 4 day cruise to Cozumel and back.

I did manage to get in a couple of runs on the sea days, but after that I enjoyed the day by lounging in a chair on the deck. The day we were in Cozumel was absolutely fantastic as I found a beach that only allows 100 people in and it's all inclusive. The day we were there, I bet there were no more than 25 people all day. And the guacamole and hot sauce are AWESOME! Not to mention the drinks. Madison probably had 7 virgin drinks that day! We did just a little bit of shopping before getting back on board.
And on our last sea day, I had to race Dalton down the slides. What fun!