On (to) Wisconsin!

It has been a busy and eventful week in Lorain. We are on the bus on the way home. The students are delighted to have their cell phones back. As we approach Madison, here are some thoughts from some of the students.

This week has been so fabulishous and everybody in Ohio was so amazing and such a blessing to be around!!! Oh my llamas, all of the people on the team are so great!!! Thanks for all of your prayers and love and support!!!

I am so glad I got to be a part of this trip and that I was able to help someone in need even when it was hard. It was an amazing experience and I grew so much in all the ways (I’m ripped now). But in all honesty it was genuinely one of the best weeks of my life. Also I came up with a really good rhyme. It goes “yee yee skee skee this week was really good for me”. I just want to say thank you to God and everyone else who took part in making this happen. -Maddie A. P.S I miss my dog oh and my family

I just want to thank all of my family who got me to this point. The love and the support they provided was amazing! Although I am sad to leave the beautiful Lorain, I am extremely excited to feel the cold AC again, and of course to see my parents. Thank you for the amazing past week! This experience has given me many amazing tools/ skills that I will be able to use in the future oh and I also gained biceps 🙂 thanks and see you soon, Mom, Dad, Kylie, Heath grandma smith, grandpa smith, aunt Becky, uncle John, grandma Christy, and grandpa Ross! <3 Key

So happy God stretched me with the opportunity to be one of the leaders on this team and serve with this awesome team of students and leaders. Parents-you have many reasons to be proud of your kids. They did amazing this week sweating for the love of Jesus! And making the best of the HEAT and hard work. I highly recommend you seek out a chance to serve alongside your child. Terry

They said write anything I am thinking about. So I’m going to be honest. I am thinking about fast food that I want. I want a large dr pepper, ten piece nugget, and an Oreo mcflurry. – Emily d

Honestly, this was one of the best weeks of my life! I had so much fun connecting with the people on my crew and spending time with everyone on the team. I laughed so much, learned a ton, and formed relationships that will last a lifetime. God’s love for us was so, so visible in the actions and words of others, and I will miss the uplifting environment of this trip. Although the work was hard, it was definitely worth it, and the conversations we had with our homeowner were so encouraging and genuine. It will be hard to leave the people, but I can’t wait to get home for a nice shower, cool AC, and my clean bed:) -Gabi D.

Emily was a hoot the whole time -Lydia k

I learned so much about the community of Lorain, Ohio. I had such a fun time getting to know people around the town. Every day was a new adventure with new projects to be done. I truly enjoyed every moment 🙂 – Brooke W.

Throughout this week, I have grown so much. My relationships with the other people on the trip have grown so much and my relationship with God has become so much stronger. I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity to serve others as God’s hands and feet. In the community of Lorain I could see God’s love everywhere. Even through the hot and sweaty work, everyone was always there for each other and God gave every one of us the strength to push through and be his “pockets of heaven” spreading through the world. Such a great week serving! – Halle F

This has honestly been the best week of my life. I have met so many amazing humans with kind servant hearts. The community of Lorain was so amazing to experience. I have grown so many amazing relationships with people on the trip and with God. Knowing that we could all be God’s hands and feet this week was still rewarding and life changing. Getting to help some people in the community that necessarily couldn’t do the tasks necessary to fix up their homes really touched my heart and seeing the finished product of the work we did really just made me feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to help people in that community. I honestly wouldn’t trade this week for anything. I will never forget this experience. – Makae C

This experience taught me so much and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to serve on God’s mission. Thanks for the support everyone! Syd

And that’s a wrap.  30+ students and their faithful leaders have successfully completed  our mission trip to Ohio.  What was our mission?  That depends on the person.  For some, it was escape for a week from all the pressures of home.  For others, it was a chance to be with friends for a week.  For yet others it was a chance to serve and grow spiritually.  Whatever the reason, I am confident that 100% of us on the trip grew in some new way.  I encourage you to ask us questions about the trip, listen to our stories, and maybe give us a little space to catch up on rest in an air conditioned room.  Thank you for faithfully reading our blog this past week.  To hear more, please join us at our trip show and tell on Sunday, July 28 at 11:00 am at the Brader Way site.  Tom

 

 

Final day in Lorain – quite a variety!

Friday was our last full day in Lorain. We all had a variety of options of things to do. Here are some highlights of some of the things that happened.

Seven of us went to the Neighborhood Alliance, a local shelter, with a cooler full of Popsicles (cherry is the best), several bags of squirt guns, lots of bubbles and a tarp for creating a slip-n-slide. On this very hot afternoon, it was really fun! It is a family shelter, so we got to play with the kids there and got to know them better and just enjoyed having fun and being in the moment. We made so many great memories and met some amazing people and learned about the amazing shelter and how much they impact this amazing community.
Makae, Lydia, Ally, Josie, Morgan, Syd and Tom

For dinner, Next Step Ministries hosted a block party in the neighborhood. They provided the food and we provided the service, we invited the neighborhood families, led fun and games (until Landon broke the kickball!) and generally hung out with folks from the neighborhood. It was very hot (105 degree heat index) but a lot of fun!

After returning to the church, we had a talent show. There were many acts and some amazing talents were on display.  No, that picture of Terry is not upside down!  Enjoy the viewing – we will leave the sounds and actions to your imagination for now.  Perhaps we will have a video or two from talent night at our debrief on July 28.  Come and see for yourself!

Thanks to everyone for reading the blog this week and commenting.  The students have been very interested in hearing and seeing your comments.  It’s also been fun juggling small group leadership and blog master responsibilities.   

Tom

Report from the girls!

Report from the girls… It’s been a fun-filled week on our worksite building a deck for Joanne. We have been able to work hard together as a group completely from Waunakee and we’ve built our bonds. There’s been a lot of progress on the deck, starting with fixing the joists, screwing on boards, and building railings. There was even a homeless shelter down the street from our worksite where we were able to tour today and hear about the amazing process they have for their residents. The men (it’s a men only shelter) are able to be educated through classes there, they’re able to shower, wash their clothes, and keep their belongings safe during the day. It was super cool for us to see and today due to the heat advisory here in Lorain, we brought the men cold Gatorades to cool down. It’s been a really eye opening learning experience working on our site and see what it’s like for others in different communities who are impoverished. We’ve been working on being slow to judge and seeing others in the way God sees them. Pretty cool right???! Our team was quick to gel together and it’s been fun getting to know everyone on a deeper level and creating bonds with everyone who’s on this Go Team. Can’t wait to share the stories with you mom 😉
-Crew 6 (Syd, Alli, Morgan, Josie, Bailey, Abby, Sandy, and Rachel)

Hey everyone, this is Emily Davis speaking on behalf of Crew Three. This week we have been working on a house shared by two people named Billy and Edward. We ate lunch with them all four days and during that time we got to talk about our faith, beliefs, struggles and many other things. These two have been living in this house together for about eight years and it was really fun talking to them about their faith journeys. Some of the projects we were working on this week were finishing the deck that had already been mostly built, building the stairs to the deck, insulating a room and tearing down a ceiling. Day one was a little slow, but days two and three moved much more smoothly. Day four (today) was a pretty frustrating day for most of us with how little time we had to finish so many projects, but in the end we all got to a point where we were satisfied with the work that we had done. Although we are looking forward to seeing you all and being back in air conditioning, we are all sad to see the week coming to an end. We have all grown very close and shared many unique experiences so get ready for many stories.
– Emily, Lydia, Brooke, Christa, Terry, and Key

Editor’s note – this evening we had an awesome experience at sunset on the shore of Lake Erie, followed by a dance competition won by Andrew Zhai, one of our leaders using his black belt karate moves!  Nice work, co-leader Andrew!

 

Midweek check-in. A lot done and lots more to go!

Dearest friends and family,

Hellooooo from Ohio! My name is Jayden. It has been three days since the Blackhawk team arrived in Lorain County. Since then we have experienced breezy, warm summer days while serving in the community. It would be fair to say that my teammates and I are feeling fairly energetic, despite the low amounts of sleep each member is receiving (possibly due to the humidity of the sleeping rooms, or the growing smell of sausage sticks or something). Most kids are handling their withdrawal from phones pretty well, while others are obviously not.

My crew has been working on rebuilding a porch for Arlene and John, who are residents in a nearby neighborhood. Today, we have seen visible progress concerning the shape and structure of the porch. Our crew has been fortunate enough to experience Arlene’s and John’s encouragement and gratitude, and plans on finishing the porch tomorrow.
Blackhawk church has also been incredibly active outside of the volunteering hours. Students and leaders have visited great local ice cream shops and convenience stores, tossed balls and frisbees in the late hours, competed in chess and card games and much, much more.

Today we cleared all the construction debris from our site and, with the help of another team, took it to the dump.  There, one of the dump workers shared his personal testimony with us.

I believe that it is going to be a very successful week, and that Blackhawk will accomplish a lot.

I’d like to thank you for the time you have taken out of your day to keep up with Blackhawk’s mission trip, and to the leaders for trusting me to blog appropriately.

Additional members of this team include Trey, Josh, Andrew, Emery, Jackson, Landon, Tom and Kaylee, our Next Step leader. 

It’s not all about work, ya know?!?

Hello friends and family:

Our group seems to have developed a relationship with a local ice cream store. On Monday afternoon, 5 of us went for ice cream at K-Cream Korner, a local ice cream shop. It tasted great after working all day in 85 and 90 degree heat. So…Monday night most of our group went there. They were no longer open but…Tom the owner was there and he asked his crew to reopen for us. We were thrilled!

They have a special place in their heart for mission trip participants (even giving us a discount). They also make their own orange sherbet  Mmmm, good!

Then, on Tuesday afternoon…

After a long hot day of hard work, Tom (one of the leaders) took some of us out for ice cream. It was a great time and the ice cream hit the spot. We had a wonderful conversation and it was a perfect way to bond. Overall, it was a great second day and we can’t wait to continue making memories!

Kiersten, Halle, Makae, and Lydia

 

Crew 1 update

Crew 1 has been working phenomenally on the fence at Miss Sheila’s house. She has provided us lunch so far, making it much more accommodating for everyone. We are currently all done with the railing on the fence and have just started the picketing. A girl named Morgan who lives down the street has kept us company with her kindness and jokes. It puts a smile on her face when we come and hangout with her as she has grown up facing a lot of adversity. Miss Sheila is a very motivated, kind-hearted lady; she still manages to make sure we are all fed and that everything is going well even though she just got back from the hospital yesterday. We have been keeping Miss Sheila in our prayers and hoping for a speedy recovery. Overall it has been a busy but fun-filled week with meeting Morgan and Miss Sheila. Crew 1 is excited and looking forward to our next few days of finishing the fence!

Sincerely,
Andrew, Henry, Drew, Owen, Tyler, Luis, Giorgia, Annabel, Payton, Grace, Nick, and Kayla

Fantastic First Day!


Our first day of work was spent framing the base for a deck and ramp. It was tiring work, but a day well spent with our fellow teammates. It was so cool to see how our team worked together, encouraging each other and laughing with each other, to make a lot of work seem like a little. We were very excited to meet Ms. Cindy, the homeowner, and we also got a chance to walk her dog, Mr. Yappy. We look forward to talking with her throughout the week and learning more about her life. Some of our highlights from the day include purchasing a bag of fresh ice, realizing we didn’t get sunburnt, digging a 42 inch hole, watching our project progress, working with an awesome crew and talking together during lunch devotional. We saw God in so many ways today and cannot wait to see more of his work through the rest of this week. Yay God!!

Sincerely,
Gabi Dobereiner and the rest of Crew 2

 

We arrived!

We arrived to a warm welcome from the next step staff, and got all settled into our tightly compacted rooms! We had a great home cooked meal of chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes! We then went to worship when the next step staff told us rules and what we will be doing on our job sites!
-Josie + Ally

This morning we woke up to some beautiful music and some yummy biscuits and gravy. After breakfast we went to devo and read a story. We’re headed off to our worksite to build a deck and paint. We are so excited!
-Lydia And Brooke

OHIOOO

 

The road to Ohio has begun and we kicked off the trip with a large group prayer to send us off. Everyone is loaded on the bus and excitement buzzes around us! It’s 9 a.m. and we are already ready to stop for lunch 🙂 Please pray for safe travels for us in our journey to serve others. I can’t wait to get to know everyone on the trip and create connections. I’m also looking forward to finding out where my group’s worksite is, because it could be anything. Our bus driver is super fun and energetic and our leaders were so excited when we arrived. The team is ready to go and serve others for God, and we all can’t wait to see where the mission trip takes us. Stay tuned for more (; -Syd, Morgan, Josie, and Alli