S: PhillyDC 2009
BC: "Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened." - Dr Seuss
1: One of the reasons I setup my blog www.beloveserve.com was to have a space for our PhillyDC team to process our experience. Our journey was spent preparing at Hillside Church in London, ON. Then we served with CSM in Philadelphia from July 5-10, 2009. After our time in Philly, we went on to Washington DC to learn and grow at DCLA’09 from July 10-14. Our hope and dream was to become more like Jesus, one day at a time. I think it was a success.
2: I have some serious road tripping on the horizon. I get to drive about 2400km’s in the next couple weeks. What does any good road trip need? A good play list. So I started to scan through my songs for the right sounds. A nice mix of the popular and the less known. A mix of the ages, genres, and messages. All in the hope to provide a soundtrack that matches a diverse experience. See, I have a theory. Maybe its driven by the fact that I watch way too many movies. Maybe its rooted in my experience from working at Blockbuster. Or maybe its fresh on my mind because I recently alphabetized / genre sorted my DVD’s. My theory is this, I believe we think of life, as a movie. We see stages in our lives like chapter marks. We see us as the center character in our epic tale. With others playing major and minor roles. One thing I have learned from my videography days is this – music plays a significant role in setting the tone. Without music, we will feel like something is missing. However, when its right, you forget about the music. The same is true on any good road trip. You find yourself just singing along at times. Other times just mellowing out watching the nature outside the window. And like any good movie – sometimes you need a theme song. I stumbled across a song today that I know will be my theme song for PhillyDC (a mission trip I'm part of, coming up July 5th). This song might even be my theme song for a few chapters in my DVD called ‘life’. I already knew the song. I had shared it with friends, family, and my students. This song has caused much inspiration and tears in my life. Ironically, my mission trip team even spent a prayer session resting in the truth behind the song. But then I discovered it again in a whole new light. One of my favorite musical artists are the David Crowder Band. If you don't know them – find them in concert and GO! Ideally if you can hear them play outside sometime this summer, in God's creation – you will experience a glimpse of heaven. | F Favorite song | Jun 26
3: Anyway, back on topic. I discovered a great song called, “How He Loves Us.” I originally heard it sung by Blaise Pascal from The Olive Branch at London event called, 'Thru the Roof' (my buddy Ian Dowding was one of the vocals on her worship team – he has an amazing voice!). Originally the song was performed by the great singer/songwriter Mark McMillan. Powerful song. You can find it on YouTube. Highly recommend it. Well I heard David Crowder has a new album coming out on Sept 22 called, ‘church songs’. And low and behold the single they pre-released was a cover of, “How he love us.” All I can say is WOW! I have been listening ever since. This will be a song I will be rocking out to on the road to PhillyDC. So, I have discovered one song for my play list – any other song suggestions?
4: FUNDRAISERS - Pizza & Popcorn Night - March Break Bash - Hillside's Got Talent - Flower Sales - Oxbow Golf Tournament - Fusion Tuck Shop - BBQ Church Picnic
5: Thankfully, with the generous support of family, friends, and Hillside Church, we managed to raise over 90% of the cost for the PhillyDC mission trip. Also, the entire team did a great job in the numerous fundraising efforts.
6: BE: Who am I? (identity) My identity is a follower of Jesus Christ, framed in real community with others who have a synergistic, shared passion for the mission of God in the world (walk humbly with God). LOVE: What is my unique contribution to this world? (autonomy) My autonomy is found both in the uniqueness of my own story, as well as the unique ways in which my contextualized community seeks to live out faith in Christ, together and for others (love mercy). SERVE: Where do I belong? (affinity) My affinity is with these people, for these people, with Christ, and for the active mission of God in the world (do justly). | Jun 27 | Be? Love? Serve?
7: Why the website name? Well in short my hope is this is a place where a community of people can be present. Where life together can happen. Where we can learn to be in communion and sharing mission together. Therefore, whoever participates is exactly who is suppose to be part of this. And whenever one is involved, and whenever one moves to another place – we were part of this for just the right amount of time. I want people to contribute and help write these stories. To be active participants. Commenting and blogging. So if you have something to say – please do. This space is only good if you are learning something and/or contributing something. If neither is happening for you, challenge yourself to change or move on. My biggest hope is this, anyone who is in relationship with me (small or large) is part of this. My students, my friends, my family, my acquaintances, my influences, my church, and my self.
8: Daryl “D.” Andrews is the pastor of student ministries at Hillside Church. He is known for wearing shorts in the coldest of temperatures and his love for all apple products. Daryl says, “I am obviously looking forward to the chance to serve those in need, but I'm hoping to see our group grow & bring that back with us to London. I want God to experience us.” | Tanya “Kool-Aid” Andrews is therapist by profession and works at Heritage College and Seminary. She is most known for her love of Coca-Cola and Super Mario Three. “I want this trip to be about freedom. I want us to experience what its like to respond to God in worship. I hope we be ordinary radicals following our King Jesus.” | Brian “Clicks” Malott manages the photo department at Shoppers Drug Mart in St.Thomas. In his spare time he enjoys cheering on his favorite team, the Toronto Blue Jays and capturing beautiful pictures, wherever they may be. Brian says, “I have been on a mission trip with Daryl before and wanted to be part of this trip. I am excited to see students catch a dream of serving God.” | Taylor “Slim” Martin has recently finished a degree at Conestoga College and is heading to Briercrest College & Seminary in the fall. He is most known for his excellence in hockey and superb guitar ability. Taylor wants, “to experience a mission trip because he loves God and wants to help people.” | Meet the Team | July 4
9: Samantha “Rugby” Radley is a student going into the tenth grade at Medway High School. She is known for her love for ruby and soccer, and dedication to her friends. “I am looking forward to new experiences and to do my part to help people in this world.” | Paul “Batman” Mawdsley is a going to South Secondary School for a victory lap next year. He is most known for his love of baseball and video games. Paul has experience on mission trips, he recently went to Manitoulin. “I am going to Philly to serve the homeless and tell them about God.” | Claire “Pokey” McKillop is also going into the 10th grade, but at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School. She is known for her happy spirit and superb ability to entertain any crowd. She loves lime green and Pokamon. Claire says, “I want to go because I love helping people. | Rodney “Thunder” Kennedy is a going into the eleventh grade at H.B. Beal Secondary School. He is most known for his unmatched sense of style and willingness to take on any challenge. Rodney says, “I want to better my relationship with God, to show people there is a loving God. I also want to show people they are important. I want to serve them, love them, and commune with them.” | Tori “Text” Bailey is going into the tenth grade at Medway High School. She is known for her beautiful smile and world renowned texting ability. She also loves pickles and listening to music. “I am going to Philly because I want to help people not feel lonely.” | Taleah “Skillet” Jensen is also going to H.B. Beal Secondary School, but going into the 10th grade. She is known for her genuine love and interest in people and ability to be wonderfully random. Tee is hoping, “to have an experience. I have never been before and want to experience God in a different way.”
10: Yesterday morning, the PhillyDC team woke up too early to leave on our long voyage to the south. During the trip we traveled through New York and Pennsylvania, and Arkansas (Brian lied to Claire after her many questions of ‘where are we?’). For all fans of “The Office”, we stopped in Scranton for lunch and had a photo-op with the ‘Welcome to Scranton” sign. While on the road, at least in the vans I was in, we listened to hundreds of songs, many of he same but anyways, we had lots of fun rockin’ out to the Jonas Bros. and Coldplay. Even with traffic, we got here in time to eat dinner and go on our prayer tour. This morning we drove to a local garden that had been overgrown and poorly run, but we turned it around after a lot of hard work and now it looks great and is ready for another group to go in and plant things or groom it to ‘beautify it’. Unfortunately, this afternoon's activity was canceled because the places were not needing us or closed. So here I am, sharing what happened with you. See you all in 9 days??? sure that sounds right. | Rockin’ on the Road by Paul Mawdsley
12: And Jesus will come through the ground so dirty With worms in his hair and a hand so sturdy To call us his magic we call him worthy Jesus came up through the ground so dirty
13: Mother Theresa always said, "Calcutta's are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”
14: In case you were wondering about the title, i just met a dude from Tampa, Florida who has never seen snow before, or experience poutine poor kid. So I'm supposed to write something intelligent here about what I've learned so far. But the truth of the matter is I'm really just trying to absorb it all. i have a feeling that the meaning of it all is going to hit me later and I'm going to jump out of bed and write it down somewhere else. So far I've experienced my second longest car ride of my life (14 hours on account of the constant uphill construction and slow going traffic we seemed to encounter on our trek) we found out Paul's dog personality, named a blow up shark multiple times, cried laughing, walked some of the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. It's really striking here. The sights leave me awestruck. From the spacious and incredibly detailed city hall (which is the size of approximately 4 blocks) to the once acclaimed “million dollar corner” El train and dusty streets of what seems to be the underworld of the city. I'm amazed by the great divide of rich and poor living side by side simultaneously as if neither of them want to accept the other is around. Not looking into either sides of the spectrum in search for a way out of the box. I don't even understand how they can do that. I find it almost intriguing that a person on the street can have the same person walk by them every day and that person never even recognize their face. It also seems to be that the poorer side of town is the one with the life in it. Despite that life being full of broken promises and hate. The children are still laughing in the streets at 11pm not even conscious of the time of day. | "I've Never Seen Snow" by Taleah Jensen
15: While it seems the business people and higher class are tucked in their fancy condos by 6 to enjoy coke with lime with their 4 hour sitcoms. Not saying that the “rich folk” of the city don't have fun and enjoy the culture of their surroundings or interact at all with the their “brothers” (hence the cities theme of brotherly love) I'm just saying it seems that theirs a great divide. Thats the main thought i have so far. Perhaps it will change, perhaps it will morph into another opinion that still keeps a common theme. But i guess thats for another day, the day it changes.. Don't worry I'm not being as pessimistic as it seems i am. Just voicing my opinion on the much needed merge of lives. It is the melting pot country right? I hope that i get more experiencing with this city. Despite the slight humidity i really love it here. Working in a community garden today was amazing (although causing a flurry of allergies to surface and i did get a good scrape by a 4 inch thorn) and i can see and hear how this area is changing for the better. In the words of the Broadway show “wicked” – who can say if I've been changed for the better. but because i knew you i have been changed for good. Well we'll be making a track record of our journey as we continue on it and you will see that we will be changed. Leaders of tomorrow and past leaders will connect in history and we will show the world how to be, love, serve and repeat it to our children, our friends family and generations to come.
16: "That is part of my favourite Bible passage. Especially Jeremiah 29:11" - Tanya Andrews
17: After working on the garden we tried to help with camp. But no kids. So we went back to CSM home to chill.
18: In west Philadelphia on 1st mission day, in the garden is where we spent most of our day. Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ ol’ cool playing some baseball, kinda breaking the rules. When a couple of guys, up to no good started makin trouble in my neighbourhood. I got in a lil’ b’loon fight, and Daryl opened his mouth “You're going out for dinna at Jim’s on South.” I whistled for blue shark, when it came near it was all pimped out with disco ball on the mirror If anything I could shop all my money away but hometo North 920! * This song was kinda a summary of our day. Part of our debrief process. I hope you enjoyed it. | Think theme song of Fresh Prince of Belle Air
19: A few more thoughts on the next page...
20: Some last minute thoughts from Daryl about Day 2: My most memorable experienced happen right after my last update. We went out and played with neighbourhood kids. We had a very unique experience according to one CSM worker. She said, ‘we don't usually attract teenagers to come hang out with us.’ It was a stretching experience to be around kids at similar ages to our group but with very different experiences and world views. An example that comes to my mind was an interaction in the ‘outfield’ (4 car lengths down the road) Paul had with two of the local kids. It went kinda like this: Hey whats your name. My name is Paul. Hey my name is __________ (legally I cant say that). Where you from? I'm from Canada. Really?! thats crazy So do you live like at home or on your own? Oh I live with my family. Oh cool so you live with your mom? Yeah I live with my whole family. REALLY?! You live with your dad too?! I got to admit, one of my, ‘bucket list’ moments occurred today. We got to play baseball on the streets of West Philly. Playing with a whiffle bat and a little plastic ball chalk drawn bases in a shape resembling diamond Shreddies. Little boys wearing gloves way too big for them and on the wrong hand. Screaming ‘car’ every couple minutes, and squealing as the kids ran around the bases. As most of you know I love baseball. I got to coach a team last year. There is just something special about seeing a child's face the moment after they have hit a baseball. Pure Joy. All the stresses of their life are gone. And they just RUN. Simply beautiful freedom. However, the sad reality is still there. ‘You live with your dad too?!’ This is a foreign idea. Many kids are broken here. And they continue the cycle on their younger siblings. They bully them and mock them the moment they seek any form of love. A little kid who can barely speak reaches up to grab Rodney's hand, and the older kids scream, ‘look – he's gay!’ They laugh hard. The kids face is full of fear. He begs them to believe him, ‘IM NOT GAY’. In reality who knows how long it has been since that little guy held another mans hand. We live in a broken and cynical world. We are desperate for hope. PS – We got 2 students from Tampa Bay to believe Canadians ride polar bears. WOW.
21: C H I N A T O W N
22: "You don't think your way into a new kind of living...
23: ...You live your way into a new kind of thinking." - Henri J.M. Nouwen
25: The more we do ‘together,’ the less individualistic we’ll be. The more we become ‘one’ with Christ, the less comsumer oriented we’ll be. The more we do for ‘others,’ the less materialistic we’ll be.
26: THIRD DAY By Daryl Andrews My first thought when I read that title is to intro with some song from the band Third Day (songs like Agnus Dei, My Hope is You, Your Love oh Lord, etc.). However, I need to keep this post brief as I am breaking the ‘lights out’ curfew. I don't really have a good excuse for missing a time to post beyond one simple reasons: relationships. A wise elder at our church gave me this advice, when I got my new MacBook Pro, “Don't let it get in the way of relationships!” So I try to not let my Apple get in the way of the important things of life. Even though my students call it my baby and say I love it more then any of them...
27: Let me give you a brief summary of our day: We woke up got ready grabbed some breakfast and then chilled on the street while we spent some time getting ready for the day. Rodney and Taylor led us in a great time to reflect and prepare for the day. We discussed suffering. A nice light topic for the early morning. Students and leaders shared. We prayed for one another. And then headed out. We wandered ChinaTown. We broke up into 3 groups and accomplished some objectives. Tried to get a feel for the community. Her beauty and scares. Full of life and art. However, we also saw and heard of the troubles of ChinaTown. If you want to know more – talk to Claire – she is know our expert. An expert of ChinaTown history and stats! Later this morning we entered St.John's Hospice. They offer a wide variety of services including: counseling, daily free lunch, a mailing address, some residential care, etc. A very diverse and meaningful place where men on the streets of Philly can find love and be treated with dignity. A real place of practical help and support. We got to hang with the staff and residence before serving a meal to 255 men from the immediate area. Our ladies took care of welcoming, providing cutlery/dishes, and in the kitchen. While the guys helped with clearing tables and keeping the water pitchers full. We were amazed at how social and kind each man was with his words. They were constantly encouraging our ladies that they were angels and thanking us for being there. However, we were the thankful ones. We got to serve. Jerry – the director at St.John's is so encouraging – and Anthony the food director is a great leader and was a great friend to each visitor. Was inspiring to be around them. The afternoon we spent laughing and playing with some of the coolest kids in Philly! I know I'm bias but we got some AMAZING kids. They instantly included all of us and we got to play games and learn their stories. Honestly, we were all once kids so welcoming and open. What happened to us old timers?! I got to give a shout out to Makil. He found out about our website and said he would check us out when he can go on the Internet. He gives me hope for the future. He is a fine young man who is helping make another world possible, a better world. I am confident each of our students will share many stories of the kids they connected with. Hopefully I can recruit a couple of them to share tomorrow on the BLOG...
28: After day camp we went for Lebanese. YUM! Nothing like a lamb sharma. All the students liked their food even Samantha! We chilled at a park and watched a video from our parents with words of encouragement. It generated many smiles. And hopefully, we gave God a reason to smile today. After debrief we took a photo op on Benjamin Franklin boulevard with our Canadian flag and in Logan Square Fountain. You read that right IN. Too much ‘Friends’ influence on this generation if you ask me. These last couple hours we were chilling at the housing site. However, shortly after we arrived we had kids come and knock on the door and ask us to come out and play. Whatever students were tired went to bed. A few of us went outside and played CURB. Basic concept is this: throw a basketball across the street and have it bounce on the... CURB without bouncing before. Genius name if you ask me. We laughed and played. I broke up 2 fist fights. So weird to see little 10 year olds punch each other so hard they cause each other to bleed. A clear reminder to me that violence is not our answer. Even if our governments still think so. It was sad to sit with kids weeping, and watch them get mocked for being ‘soft’. At the end of the night I had a great chat with one of our students. Prob one of my biggest highlights so far. Just chance to listen and share life together. Thats why I love being a youth pastor Goodnight – I'm getting some dirty looks from the Tampa Crew who are hating the monitor light in our room. Thanks so much for reading and following us on our journey. Please continue to pray and comment. You have no idea how encouraging it is to know you care. Signing off – Daryl
29: "Mission is more than just doing good things for people. It’s a primary means of helping people see what a Christian really is. - Hugh Halter & Matt Smay (Tangible Kingdom)
31: Whatever thoughts we have about God, who He is, or even if God exists, most will agree that God has a special place for the poor. The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered. God is with the mother who has infected her child with a virus that will take both their lives. God is under the rubble in the cries we hear during wartime. God, my friends, is with the poor. And God is with us if we are with them. This is not a burden, this is an adventure. Don't let anyone tell you it cannot be done. We can be the generation that ends extreme poverty. - Bono
32: We only have one more day of serving in Philadelphia. Meanwhile I will give you a brief update of our day. Our students just went to bed so you will have to wait until tomorrow for a more personal update. The Rundown We woke up early and had a quiet time led by Tee and Claire. They had prepared some ‘bigger’ questions for each of us and led us in a time of discussion. Good questions like: How is this experience going to change your life back home? How is the stuff your seeing and feeling like home? How is this different from past mission trips? Etc.? After we went to a place called, Inglis House. They are a huge facility with 255 residents ranging in age from 21+. The only thing they all have in common is that they all are in wheelchairs. The majority are in wheelchairs due to MS or injury. We broke into 3 groups. One group did touch therapy. Another group helped with music ‘spice’ therapy. And the third group hung out with the day visitor program. It was a meaningful time to care for people who once had the ability to walk, run, and feed themselves. Simple things we take for granted. This afternoon we came back for a quick bite at the housing site and then headed out to kids camp at Harold o’ Davis. It was so great to see our kids again. Relationship reconnected like old friends. We shared time talking about what defines a family and how we are all part of God's family. We discussed how God's family should be defined by love. We also played lots of games and shared many laughs, hugs, and football tackles. It was really hard on some of the students to leave, knowing that we wont get to see our kids again. | Sadly almost done in Philly | July 8
33: For dinner we actually went to a church (Broad Street Ministry), serving a meal for the homeless and anyone else willing to attend. It was interesting to see some of the same people. It was also helpful to not be the person behind the counter but around the table. We had chance to be the guest at church over being somewhere we always feel comfortable. I hope that will help us be more inclusive and welcoming of guests who join EDGE in the future. After the meal we joined in on a bible study and discussed, Mark 6:14-29 (nothing like some light reading – check it out!). After we swung by Independence Hall and Liberty Bell, we had a time of encouragement on the lawn. We shared where we saw each other doing well. A real team bounding and soul refueling time. After we searched for Wendy's (a couple students didn't eat much at dinner time – so we went on a hunt for some comfort food.) We actually got home exactly at curfew (oops). And we are leaving at 8am tomorrow morning for the Philadelphia Food Bank (schedule recently changed on us). We need to get ready, breakfast, pack lunches, and have some devotional time before we go so I'm heading offline to get some necessary sleep. Thanks for reading and all your encouraging words. I will be updating the students with your loving words at devotions tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow night we will be at the housing site early and I will convince a bunch of students to share what they are learning.
34: "Vic-Tori" By Tori "Text" Bailey | So far, this trip has been amazing. I've seen and learned, and felt so many things. This week I've seen so much poverty, yet so many smiles. Everyone seems so happy despite the fact that they have very little to survive off of. I've had so much fun being able to make tons of people smile by a simple smile from myself. I had the pleasure, this week, of working at St. John's Hospice. They provide lots of comfort for the homeless and hungry, but we got to help serve lunch to about 255 men. Sam, Tee and I were at the front door greeting everyone as they came through, making them feel a sense of comfort already, and handing them a tray for their food. The men were great to us. I've never been called a lady so many times in my life. It made me feel good, and also put a smile on their face to make them feel just as good. We even got called angels as one man walked through to get his tray! If there was anything i liked seeing the most, it was all the smiles and hope here in West Philadelphia. One thing I learned on this trip was that even though you might not think they have hope, they still have big big dreams. While we were at the Harold O. Davis summer camp this week, I met an eight year old little girl named Ayanna. She decided that it would maybe be a fun idea to make her own game of cards. The game was that every card was worth a certain amount of money, and you had to pay (with the cards) to support you and your family. This is when I got to learn all about her and her family. She told me that she had 3 brothers and one sister. Her sister was the youngest, her brother was a year older than her sister, another brother was a year older than him, and her other brother was a couple months older than her. She had both a mom and dad to pay for as well.Plus she decided to get married and have kids.
35: All of these experiences have kept me in an up-beat mood all week. I've loved everything so far, and I can't wait to get home to tell all of my family and friends all about it. Today was our last day, and about 50% of me doesn't want to leave here at all, but the other 50% is so excited for Washington DC tomorrow! P.s. I hope that your having tons of fun in Virginia mom, dad, Christy and Sam. I love you all very much, and miss you like crazy. I have so much left to tell you. See you soon! Love you. P.s.s. I met this guy named Vic (Victor) and i found it VERY amusing that when you put our nicknames together, we make “Vic-tori” (Victory). HaHa. Hence the title. | Ayanna told me that her dream was to become a famous singer. She did a demo for me, and for a kid her age, she was fantastic. I told her that she could go a long way with that voice if she really wanted, and she agreed with me, but didn't look too positive. As we were playing, I noticed that she would always put others before herself. She bought everything possible for her 3 kids and husband before buying a mansion for them to live in and both a hot tub and pool for her personal pleasure. It seemed like by eight years old, this little girl had her life all planned out.
36: ""If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." - Jesus
37: Photos at Philabundance Food Bank
38: Sunrise, sunset there really is no difference between them both, since i have seen them pretty much on both sides of the horizon in about a 5 hour time frame! but its all worth the lack of sleep! Over the last couple of days, i have been able to experience a wide variety of serving opportunities! in these past 5 days in Philly i have helped clear out an old looking garden(that has been taken over by 6 weeds!), been able to look after children at the Harold O’ Davis summer camp, serve in the St. Johns Hospice, play with the elderly and handicapped at the Inglis House, and finally help organize the Philabundance food bank! through out the few days we have been able to stay with CSM(Center for Student Missions) which is greatly known around Philly. Everywhere we have went to help lend a helping hand always was returned with a welcoming smile! Mrs. Dunn was our first opportunity to show how our team has a powerful stance in doing and serving all for the Lord and to know that when we finished we helped out a sweet neighbour. the task itself was a mission, tall weeds as tall as me and I'm sure they were just as far down into the ground!! but with the sun still rising we pressed on to complete an amazing masterpiece. we all know for a fact that Mrs. Dunn loved to see her new garden the way it used to be when she was able to maintain it herself! “Hi, my name is Benjamin, whats your name?” – Benjamin from Harold O’ Davis summer camp. This place was a place full of memories for myself! with at least 3 or 4 little kids running up to me and hugging my leg just for walking in! Benjamin was the closest to me, we had tons of fun playing “i spy, monopoly, chess(even though he had no idea how to play and many more games!) it was always nice to see him in his class moving around but was frequently the first person to raise his hand to answer questions on how God is working through our lives and ways he loves us! | Be.Love.Serve By Rodney "Thunda" Kennedy
39: St. Johns Hospice was also one of my favourite places this week! my job was very simple and easy and to be honest, probably one of the best jobs there as far as reaching out to the homeless and poor. as i only had to take trays from the men as they were finished eating, i also said “thank-you, have a blessed day!” you would not believe how much respect they have shown me! they were the most polite respectful men that i have ever seen, and even with a smile as they walked out the door, they returned with a “thank-you sir” At the Inglis house for the handicapped, Paul, Brian, and myself got to play a round of blackjack with people who were in wheelchairs and unable to actively move their hands accordingly. to be honest, it was completely weird at first, but after a couple of hands we got right into the game. i had the chance to talk with a great guy and take advantage of his (fake) money. but seriously, we had a fun time playing! “Philabundance” (now say that 10x fast!) Philabundance is the food drive organization down in Philly, and they support over 600 services! i had the opportunity to take down boxes and pop and reorganize skids! i had an amazing talk with one of the staff members there and got to experience his story! | finally, to sum up this crazy week in Philly, i don't think i could write it in such little time! even though i still remember driving through west Philly for the first time and thinking to myself, “i am going to die, i am the only white guy here!” but i have definitely learned a lot since that day! i feel a lot more comfortable in walking outside and playing with little kids around the neighbourhood! our team has grown significantly and is only growing stronger. Together we are accomplishing what we had said we are going to accomplish; be. love. serve. this is who we are! and we are only improving and becoming more closer to Christ!
41: Hey everyone! Miss you all very much. I've had lots of fun and lots of laughs and learned so much! Just to let you know if you're wondering I have tried food at every meal and actually, I've liked 3 out of 5 of the meals. So some things suggested for me to share with you is what I've seen, felt and learned on this trip so far. Seen: upsetting and almost scary things with the cycles of poverty and these peoples’ lives. Also the amount of violence between friends and siblings. Felt: joy and happiness while we were at St. John's Hospice. This is where we served lunch to 255 people on Tuesday. Tori, Tee, and I were stationed at the front door handing out trays and seeing the joy and appreciation on the peoples’ faces and hearing what they had to say was amazing. I don't think I've ever smiled so much. Learned: even the smallest things help. Things like gardening, visiting and applying labels to cans made people so happy this week and they were so grateful for us being there. I also wanted to tell you about a very special boy I met this week . Don't worry mom. His name is Khalil and he's nine years old. I met him at a Harold O Davis summer camp on Tuesday and he is a true gentlemen. He invited me to play trouble with him, which resulted in a fight over who will be red with another camper, then cards, and the matching game. Then he played outside with me until he had to go. On Wednesday we played more board games and did a puzzle. While playing UNO he asked me if I was his friend. After growing very fond of him aver the last two days I answered yes and asked if that was OK. He said it was great because he didn't have any other friends. He told me that no one hangs out with him at school or camp because he always gets in fights. After asking why he fights he replied because my dad teaches me to fight back so I don't get hurt. I was so touched by the fact that playing with him for two days had allowed me to be his only friend. Miss everyone very much and hope to see you soon. And by the way dad, we went in Independence Hall and say the Liberty Bell today and it was amazing. Although I swear the table clothes in the signing room are a different colour in the movie as I say today. Can't wait to see all the other stuff in DC. | The Trip So Far By Samantha Radley
44: This will be short It is very late and we are exhausted. I barely could keep the students awake while we had a 10 minute end of the night meeting. I will offer a VERY brief summary of our day. Feel free to check out Flickr for some pictures. We departed Philadelphia at 8:15am. We made good time and arrived in DC before 11am. Got all settled in at NW Community church. WOW. What a week will do to perspective. After being in Philadelphia with like 50 other people (no offense – they were nice people). This is posh! We have the entire church to ourselves. We have separate ‘wings’ with a toilet bathroom and a shower bathroom in each of our wings. We have some AC. A Kitchen to our disposal. If we came here first I'm sure we would complain – but instead our perspective is thankfulness. We grabbed some lunch at the amazing Five Guys burger joint. We had a mixed vote on if it was better or slightly worse then Webbers. I think it was better. We enjoyed ALOT of tourism this afternoon. We saw the Navy memorial. Also, we visited the Canadian Embassy and got a picture with the boat on the $20 bill (check one out – yeah we were with that boat!) Also, we visited the National Archives (home of the original documents of the declaration of independence, constitution, bill of rights, etc.). Actually the most important document in the building, in my opinion, was the Magna Carta. WOW – that was progressive. After the Archives we did a viewing atop the Postal Building Observation Deck (Sam & Tee did well on the elevator in spite of their fear of falling). After we got our standard photos in front of the White House and went to register for DCLA. | First Night in DC By Daryl Andrews
45: At DCLA our students chilled in the foyer. But don't picture a small space. They had about 20 exhibit booths + a massive store + basketball hoops, inflatable slide + 4 square courts + eating area + ping pong + more The leaders went for a training time and then we went for dinner after. We went to California Tortilla (Cali Mexican food) for dinner. YUM. Rodney noticed one of the bands was in the restaurant (Family Force Five) so Taleah & Claire sat and ate with them. We got to session, LOST & FOUND had started. Very funny set. ROCK = ON. Then a variety of speakers and bands progressed from there. Speakers/Artists included: Francis Chan, Shane Clairborne, Mandee ?, Fred Lynch, Starfield, Skit Guys, funny videos, Kendall Payne, Scott the Painter, etc. A beautiful weaving of Spirit and Truth. We are working thru the Bible starting at Gen 1 and so far got thru the Pentateuch (end of Deuteronomy). At the end of the evening we had a rock concert with FAMILY FORCE 5. It was insane. SO many people all partying and enjoying themselves. Was fun to see so many students have a good safe time enjoying life and screaming there heads off while moshing, jumping, and singing along. Now we are back to the church (we are like 10 minutes with traffic away from the convention center). Off to bed and heading out at 9am tomorrow. We are getting to experience our first ‘lab’ tomorrow. The setup is pretty genius. Basically it is group counseling with a general moderator facilitating the discussion. Each student will be assigned a random group with 7 other students with lots of opportunity to discuss and process what they are learning, feeling, and doing with their lives. Should be a great time. Not sure if any of our students will have the energy to BLOG tomorrow night but I will try to convince one or two of them. Goodnight – Daryl
47: ...the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken." - James Dent
48: Today was the first day of our new “families” and we got to participate in group, we up discussions and activities. Since we were randomly given a number, which assigned us to a “family”, we were all separated and forced to be alone in this new experience. We were no longer this united team of Canadians wandering the great Convention Center. Kendall For me, I was placed in a group with 2 other guys and 5 girls. The leader of my group, Elizabeth, is heading into grade 12 next year which makes me the oldest person in the group. Our group has a combination of people from all over the states. We have some from Ohio, North Carolina, Alabama, etc. Since today's was the very first, we did a few ‘get-to-know-you’ activities and then went on to learn about the days topic: BE. During the afternoon, I spent time listening to Shane Claiborne speak (which was incredible, and i got his autograph), we went to the Museum of American history and saw many cool things such as the Ruby Slippers, Roberto Clemente's uniform, and many other very American things like guns. The Hard Rock Café was where we went for dinner where we saw some cool musically historic items. From here we went to Big Room #2 and saw Kendall Payne, Lost and Found, and the Skit Guys perform. Overall, the DCLA experience has been way better than I ever thought it could be!! Peace and Love | "Ruby Roberto" By Paul "Batman" Mawdsley
51: It's a funny way things work out some time and not necessarily the way we plan them. I had planned to go on an adventure that would be that of a life time. I had made the plans, arrange time off work and was set to go. Then a friend of mine asked me to go on adventure with him and his youth group. The request seemed surreal like something out of a dream and so I said “sure, why not, sounds like an interesting adventure” What an adventure it has been so far. Serving in Philly was life changing not necessarily of those we served but for sure us. The conference so far has been thought provoking and refreshing. A few things I rediscovered yesterday from the afternoon seminar. God is not just looking for us to give him something of our lives. He wants the best we have to offer. He does not want our blind three legged sheep but he wants the pick of the group. What that means when it comes to worshiping him is that he doesn't want us to mumble a few words without passion but he wants us to put everything we can in to it. He wants the best we can offer to him. God is not looking for us to pray some prayer to be saved but he wants a relationship with us. | Summer Adventure By Brian Malott
52: Abba Father By Taleah "Skillet" Jensen
53: I think i have come to understand why the whole Jesus dying thing is so important. (yeah i know that came out badly) So i was sitting there listening to them tell about the story in the Garden and the last supper before Jesus was taken away and betrayed by his own people. They asked us to think of that for a bit. But instead of the idealistic Jesus figure straining for life on some rough planks (an image i try to keep faceless because of the lack of actually knowing what god looks like and not wanting to fall to the status quo of all the pictures I've ever seen) I imagined my own dad. I saw the pain on his face. The anguish in his expression and his raw hands bleeding as he sagged under his weight. I saw the feet that I've seen touch the rim of the waters edge at camp folded on top of each other bleeding mercilessly. The pain in his face reflecting the pain of the world. unlike any accident that has happened to him. I saw him looking down at me and i KNEW he was doing it all for me. I also saw my sister and my mom hanging beside him. Both in equal amounts of pain. But molded to the way they were. All of them experiencing different pains that amounted to the same. My dad straining and i knew i couldn't take him down from that cross. That in order for all of us to get away from the hell-hole of an image, they had to go. And i had to watch. I got it then. I totally understood why people are so touched by Jesus. Because he wasn't just some faceless figure that was so far away from today that it doesn't really matter anymore. He's as close of a father as my real one. And it makes sense that so many people who go without a father go with Jesus. Or need to. Because he's the number one dad in a world where the word dad is said with hate and filled with pain. In a world where boys grow up with an empty spot that they try to fill because “daddy” wasn't there or just didn't care enough. Girls who fill their lives with boyfriends and parties because they never had someone to run and cry to so throwing up after beer pong makes more sense to them. they'd rather slur emotions together then try to sort them out on their own. They can't. And they need Jesus to be their dad. They need someone that they see everyday to imagine being hung by nails being dragged down and put in the worst kind of agony to show them what they could have. And that their new dad doesn't care what they've done when they went without. I finally got it. And I finally get why i have to BE myself. LOVE other people not because I'm seeking to make them perfect, but to fix the brokenness. SERVE a God who loves the people i couldn't love before. and REPEAT it all over again because it’s not a one time deal.
55: First off I want to apologize to any readers frustrated by the lack of posts the last few days. To be honest, since the PhillyDC experience, I have been hibernating. I basically slept, ate, and hung out with Tanya alone (after 11 days with someone around it has been nice to get some alone time). Finally back online, I'm realizing I never really posted the last couple days of our journey. So here is a brief recap of the last two days of PhillyDC Monday, July 13th (last day of DCLA) & Tuesday, July 14th (drive home): We woke up extra early and headed down to the Washington Convention Center. We experienced our last circle time with our Lab room – Kelly Green. Every morning at DCLA we were part of a LAB. A time with about 6 or 7 other random people from all over North America, sitting in a circle, discussing life together. We watched film clips, worked through a work journal, and shared our thoughts with one another. All the while a handful of presenters helped us stay on task and weave the videos and discussions together. I most admit my favorite lab was on Monday morning. The focus of our time together each morning was on BE.LOVE.SERVE. and so on Monday we were focused on serving. One video and one interaction stuck out to me. The first was a video about the Kenosis project. A small group of people who do acts of love, but in secret. A great reminder and challenge on our motives when we serve. The other favorite moment from our last Lab was we had a loaf of bread delivered to our circles and were told to eat. But with a few rules. 1) no bending elbows. 2) no throwing food. 3) most use hands. In the end what is the logical result? you need to feed each other. | At the End of the Road By Daryl Andrews
56: After lab we had our last BIG ROOM time. It was a nice recap. And we had some prime seats for the last session (2nd row). After we enjoyed some free Domino’s pizza! (they were 2 hours late the night before for dinner delivery so they hooked me up) I also had a small prayer answered. I had been praying all Sunday I would have chance to see Tic Long again at DCLA. This was his last event with Youth Specialties. I bumped into him during the last BIG ROOM. It was a short and simple goodbye. To me, Tic is my generations Mike Yaconneli. I will simply say, I will miss his influence on YS and look forward to seeing what is next. The afternoon and evening we spent doing the tourist thing in DC. We hit up the Art museums (modern/contemporary, classical), Air & Space museum, Library of Congress, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument. We also went to Ben's Chili Bowl for dinner. Favorite spot of Bill Cosby (my TV dad). Even with hours of complaining from most of the students, all agreed after it was a great spot to eat (usually the case). We had a couple funny moments during our tourist time. First, our only time we lost each other. The guys van failed to follow us after dinner (even though Paul saw us turn he didn't mention that to the driver). Cell phone had died. DC traffic was in full effect and we hadn't decided where we were headed next. So we both decided to head to Lincoln in hopes the other would too. The best irony. We ended up parking beside each other (a minor miracle as we never got parking spots beside each other in DC up to that point). The other funny moment, atleast for me, was the prank we pulled on Tori. We were sitting at Lincoln, hoping the guys van would show up (or my phone would charge), when all of a sudden the girls saw them. They all ran to greet them. However, Tori left her bag on the ground and totally forgot about it. They all went walking around, enjoy Lincoln. So I thought it would be funny to ‘steal the wallet and a few other things in the bag’. And ‘toss’ the bag into a bush (in plain sight). Then after a long list of subtle and not so subtle hints, Tori realized she had lost her bag and discovered the empty bag that was, ‘robbed’. Half the group was in on it, so that half found it very funny. The other half, were not as happy. However, the real highlight for me when it came to tourist time, was chillaxing on the steps of Jefferson Memorial. We just sat and enjoyed the beautiful sunset & skyline. A great bookend to our journey together...
58: ...We arrived to our housing site to a little surprise. The building was double booked. Oops. We ended up figuring a compromise of using the space (even with one PYSCHO leader from the other group). Got some rest, and headed on our epic drive home the next day. We ended up driving for about 13.5 hours with bathroom breaks, meals, and gasoline top ups. We enjoyed some beautiful scenery as we drove through the forests and mountain sides of West Virgina, Pennsylvania, and New York state. I tried eating a 2lb burger and failed. In all honesty, the patty was 2lbs, so I think it weighed about 6 lbs with all the toppings on it. It was the size of my head. Seriously! I was scared I would feel ill for the whole ride home, but that didn't happen. I was actually snack ish an hour later. We had a small detour on search for ‘Sculpture Park’ (ask Taylor he saw some sign and led us on a mythical goose chase). We had a nice debrief time in a park on the Canadian side of Niagara falls and had communion together. We contemplated John 15 and how we need to be rooted in Christ and becoming healthy branches. We got to Hillside at exactly 11PM (no thanks to the road rage light blinker man) and arrived to a small crowd of family, eagerly waiting our arrival. So those are some of the facts. I encourage you to ask questions and spend some time with the people on this journey. Also, I want to encourage you – whoever you are that is reading this – to continue to be part of this BLOG. Read it, comment, and send me (Daryl) ideas or posts. BE.LOVE.SERVE. is so much more then just 10 days on a road trip – the adventure is just starting!