Final Wrap Up
We have all made it home safely and had a blast! Thank you to all the youth, young adults, and adults who made the trip possible this year! We so appreciate everyone’s prayers and support this week as we made a wonderful impact on Joey, Belvia, and Isabella’s lives.
And finally, I have to give credit where credit is due… Juliette got me.
Many were tired from the previous three workdays, but we managed to rally and finish the walls and boarding up the roof. The insulation team started on the walls and by midday, were three quarters through! Along with all the progress in work, there were many a furry friend to keep us company on the worksite. The pastor’s two dogs, Charlie and Harley, roamed around, bolstering the energy of the weary and keeping up the moral of all. There was also snowball, the ½ pound kitten who visited us from time to time. The trailer is beginning to take shape and starting to look like a home.
– JohnPaul D’Andrea
PPC choose the motto of Caring for ALL with Faith, Hope, and Love. We travelled to West Virginia to be hands for God’s work and determine how to live out this creed. Today’s devotion asked the question: So What? How does one live this way? Well, let me tell you how 28 youth, young adults, and regular adults answer this question. We travel to the worksite in vans, then spend hours roofing, installing siding, taking out rotten wood and moldy insulation, framing rooms, collecting trash, and laying floors. No complaints. Seeking to help others. Operating power tools. Swinging hammers. One team, one goal- creating a home for a family in Gilbert. We cook, share, and clean up meals. We wait patiently for showers, participate in daily devotions, and play games. We are always inclusive, welcoming, and joyous. Caring for ALL by helping the less fortunate and supporting each other. Faith in prayer, study, and sharing. Great hope for the future with these young people in charge. Basking in God’s love in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. I am proud and humbled to be a part of this amazing PPC Mission Team.
As we returned to the work site after lunch, productivity hit an all-time high. Two large windows and a door were installed, along with some walls. The roof was finished, the black wall on the side was finished, and a wall of siding was finished. Also, the inside insulation was started and finished with immense speed. We had a heartwarming talk with the house owner, and he told us what it meant to him. As we left, I saw the work we had completed during the week and I was impressed and excited about all we had done.
After wrapping up a delicious leftover dinner, Isabel rang the gong and we gathered for a large group devotion to reflect about our day and our week here in West Virginia. We divided parts for the incredible worship service we have planned for Sunday (10am, be there or be square) and then did a deep clean of the space we’ve occupied this week. I was very enthusiastic about vacuuming the entirety of the common space and Caroline, Isabel, and I enjoyed the satisfying sounds of the (mostly boy caused) messes of the week getting sucked up into the vacuum. We did some pre packing for our early departure tomorrow and then gathered in a circle for time to share about how each person on the trip has made an impact this week. We shared stories and compliments, had some laughs, and some of us shed some tears (I won’t name any names, but the Mamalian girls may have been slightly teary-eyed). It was an amazing way to wrap up our week here and we’re so excited to come home and share more of our experiences with you all!
Tonight, our devotional was a little different. A tradition on the mission trip is that on Friday night we sit in a circle and shared how people have positively affected our experiences on our trip. Everyone had beautiful and kind words for each and every person in the group. The mission trip was an amazing experience, and we were all able to reflect on and talk about it. We talked about what we all did for each other and how so much love was spread throughout the week. We also conversed about how much our motto for the week, “Caring for ALL with Faith, Hope, and Love,” really held true and how we accomplished exactly that. Although many different emotions were present during the devotion, we all concluded that we ended up succeeding in Caring for all with Faith, Hope, and Love.
– Ryan Kunst
We have finally arrived at the final evening of the week following one of the most chaotic yet productive construction journeys east of the Mississippi. Representing the exhausted vibes consuming the team, our nightly energy boost was rooted in the sum of the leftovers from our previous nightly meals. As a wrap-up representation of our weekly message of caring for all, our meal-planners Wendy and Susan took the responsibility off our final cooking team of preparing the exquisite mac + cheese, baked beans, and salad supplements, as well as preparing the kitchen for food serving. We thoroughly enjoyed our final family meal together, reflecting on the most hilarious of the weekly events. And to their dismay, the team that thought they got off easy with dinner for the night had handed to them the final dish chores for the trip, which was a responsibility impressively taken with graceful hands from the shorthanded team. Even more hectic than dinner was the rewarding dessert experience clearing the bottom of ice cream tubs, popsicle boxes, and popular Klondikes. Around all the excitement, Colin managed to break our only official FDA classified ice cream scoop, which only seemed to be the start of recklessly destructive behavior. Because what was fueled by the excessive sugar rush was the intelligent decision that NFL-level draft challenges were best performed in the hallway enclosed by decorative and fragile artifacts, which soon ended in a shattered ceiling light fixture. So on that note, it is currently 11 pm and we are only on two broken things for the night, yet the younger portion of the group has already kicked off embarking on their traditional all-night expedition till the Saturday sun rises over the rolling West Virginia hills. Onwards PPC, we look forward to sharing our story with you Sunday.
– Chandler Kuhn
- We almost made it the full week without breaking anything…
- Siblings during the Night of Sharing always brings tears
- The team crushed clean up and we didn’t even have to sing the song
- I thought we wouldn’t be able to leave the worksite without adopting snowball the kitten.
- Beverly may be gone, but she will never be forgotten
- Juliette didn’t attempt to magnetic clip me. She never could have even if she tried. There’s always next year.
- What’s the over-under for how many kids stay awake the whole drive home tomorrow? My guess is 0.
- These photos were taken:
- This video was taken: Worksite Baseball
Susan woke us all up by singing “Rise and Shine” at 7:50 AM. Breakfast crew was working hard, preparing a very fancy meal of pancakes, french toast, eggs, and “subpar- inedible-floppier than a fish- bacon” (cooked by chandler) as quoted by Matthew M. The rest of the mission team got ready for the day while the breakfast crew spelled out “mission trip” in leftover pancake batter (see picture below). We headed out the door to another productive day at the worksite!
– Juliette Mamalian
Morning work started for me with a quick trip to Lowe’s in Logan: On the way there I saw at least 100 future projects for us that make our current project look like a cake walk. On the way back I picked up a guy hitch hiking a ride home from night shift. At the job site we were met by the dog on the corner who greets us everyday with approving eyes. Joey’s Belvia’s and Isabella’s house is taking shape. We quickly divided into a few crews: inside we had a crew finishing the subfloor, a crew working on doors and windows, a crew working on framing punch out. Exterior crews were on the roof and exterior walls. Everybody got into a groove and by lunchtime we were well advanced on all these tasks
– Bobby Srour
After lunch we returned to the work site to finish work on the roof, windows, and walls. The roof team were troopers as they worked in the hot sun. We finished putting the siding up on the walls and wrapping them. The roofing team got about two thirds through the roofing. The front windows were installed with lots of measuring and rearranging of walls. Finally, the front door was installed and Wendy Kuhn had the honor of giving Joey the keys to his house which is now fully walled and floored.
– Colin Davies
The trash trailer that was full to overflowing yesterday was empty when we got to the worksite this morning. Pastor Cab took it to the dump which is an hour away and paid to dump it there. He told me you have to reserve your time and spot at the dump. Knowing personally how heavy the debris bags were, how many of us it took to fill the trailer, and remembering all of the spare nails and screws that were sticking out of the boards and bags in the trailer, I asked him if he had someone to help him at the dump or if his trailer tilted upward. He didn’t have a tilt trailer and he said the person with a dump truck next to him offered to help him but the line behind that guy was so long at the dump that Cab didn’t think those waiting would appreciate waiting even longer for him to help someone else, so Pastor Cab unloaded by hand, himself the trash trailer. When he saw my incredulity he said matter of factly and with a twinkle in his eye, “this is what the pastor gets to do.” He did not seem to mind one bit!
-Emily Berman D’Andrea
For dinner, pastor Cab treated us at the local BBQ. Right when we got there, Katie the cat (see photo) gave us a warm welcome. We all ordered food and sat down admiring the view of the mountains. The food came out surprisingly quickly and we all enjoyed the hickory smoked chicken and pork. Then, we all took photos while Sebastian attempted to steal a toy ATV. Finally, we drove up to the peak of the mountain and took a group photo!
We went back to the Church for devotionals, we talked about love. We talked about loving things people did throughout the day. The whole group had a case of the giggles during scripture reading. Chris introduced us to a song that you guys will hear on Sunday. We then broke into groups and talked about how love is shown through God.
- Sebastian is a friend and protector of all animals, including hornets
- Capture the flag is a full contact sport and the highest risk activity we’ve done this week
- Roof Crew doesn’t know when to quit, or take breaks
- Beverly survived the hammer drop
- The giggles can strike at any moment
- My sources have confirmed that one cannot cheat in spike ball
- You can’t mess up tie dye
- Another one bites the dust:
- These photos were taken:
After two days of hard work, we woke up early this morning so we could get to the water park early. This morning, the breakfast crew was awesome and woke up at 6:15 to get breakfast ready for everyone. Included in the breakfast were amazing scrambled eggs made by the amazing Harper. To close it out, Matthew Mamalian said a short and sweet prayer.
Today’s devotionals were centered around hope – which is the second piece in our faith, hope and love message that we have been living out here in Gilbert. During our long, but peaceful car ride to the adventure park, my car group listened to a video about hope and its relation to the Bible. One meaning of hope is “to wait for” which comes from the Hebrew definition of the word and stems from my hope that we would finally reach the adventure park. I was simply anticipating an exciting future. In the Bible, hope is not only an optimism for a favorable future, but a vision that God will help make great change in the word. As I think about the work we’ve done throughout the week, I think of all the hope that we spread to Joey’s family in their greatest time of need.
– Roman Conway
Wednesday, August 4th was the fun break day from working hard on our project for the mission trip! We traveled over to the Ace Adventures Water Park in Minden, West Virginia. We had a blast as a group and there were a wide variety of exciting activities to choose from such as: the zip line, obstacle course, slides, the blob, etc. The obstacle course race was a top highlight consisting of many slip ups into the water, some physical motivation for others to fall into the water, and the pyramid ending. Sebastian McFeaters was your winner and it led into a pyramid brawl to end it all off. Another highlight was the anchor inflatable where people jumped off and used great teamwork using a little bit of quantum physics to create a chain reaction and send people flying. Handing the mic off to Tali Smith who will tell you more about the exciting Water Park adventure!
One of the highlights of the day was the blob (See first Bullet Point Below). The blob is a giant inflatable blob looking thing, where one person sits on the end and another person jumps off a plank from above and launches the other person into the air. Almost everybody got launched today by the best and most committed launchers ever: Charlie T, Bobby, and Chandler. People went flying, a few people even saw God, but we all made it through. At the end of the day, after another group-run of the obstacle course, the very last tower needed to be fixed. While we waited for the staff to re-inflate it, everyone sat under a different tower connected by a (slippery) walkway. One thing led to another, and as there had been an ongoing battle to just push everyone off all of the obstacles all day, an official fight started on the walkway to see who could take down the most people. There were many challengers to the champion Chandler, and in the end he was defeated by three 10 year olds who we didn’t know. We had a lot of fun, got out a lot of energy, and bonded with each other.
– Tali Smith
We participated in several devotionals on ‘hope’ today. These included listening to a short video, the lyrics to a Christian song, bible verses and each other’s perspectives and reactions. We discussed hope in our lives and what acts of Jesus, our friends and perfect strangers gives us hope. We listed what we hope for broadly and in particular. There was hope expressed for the end of COVID, the world, our local mission host church and one of the beneficiaries of our labor this week. Finally we discussed how important hope is in our individual lives for our attitude and trusting God to get us through our challenges even when things don’t quite as well as we hoped. In the end we all hoped for a safe and satisfying next two days on our project…. And more fun along the way—- especially with our new tie-dye mission T-shirts!
A cute example of hope came after I rode the zip line into the lake. I wore my water shoes in— but came out of the water with no shoes. Susan kept asking ‘do they float?’ My response was ‘how do I know?’ Susan and Wendy kept peering out to the water, and behold, the toe of a shoe popped out of the water. A considerate 8-year old picked it up after his ride because Susan told him it wasn’t a shark fin. That, and Wendy’s and Susan’s encouragement gave him hope that the other shoe would surface. It didn’t. While there was disappointment, I realized it was not such a big loss. I assured us I would just order a replacement — a half pair of shoes!!
- Caroline, Juliette, Harper, and Chandler are all survivors of the blob (click names for video)
- Blake holds the record for the most front flips
- Roman was the only one brave enough to fully take on Bobby T in wrestling, and it ended quite like how you’d expect
- Preston beat Nick in a game of chess
- Charlie N did both the huge water slide and zipline
- Harper is undefeated in card games
- My sources are now wondering if one can actually cheat in spike ball
- More Victims have been claimed:
Day 3 started off with less of a bang (literally… Charlie T was asleep so the wake up bell was not abused)! Isabel started off the day “caring for others” by pleasantly surprising her cooking team by waking up 30 minutes early to set up the “gourmet breakfast buffet”. I been told the buffet was delicious, however, I was half asleep on a recliner munching on some cashews. After getting fueled up we filed into the vans and made the exhausting journey to the worksite (2.5 min drive)!
⁃ Matthew Mamalian
Per year, 20,000 mobile homes catch fire in the United States. On Tuesday, August 3rd, the volunteers on the PPC mission trip had the privilege to help rebuild one of the victims of a mobile home fire’s trailer. On an early Tuesday morning, 28 members of the mission group went over to the disfigured trailer. We came just as the day before, ready to help. What I saw during the morning was extraordinary, people were willingly helping each other, people working together, and making phenomenal progress as a whole. Once we first got there everybody went to where they left off from the day before, moving around to where others needed help. When we were tearing up the floor, just about everybody joined in. It started off as just people taking turns trying their best to individually remove the floor but once we combined our efforts and thoughts together, we went right through that floor. We all played our part in destroying the flooring. Sebastian, going ham with the sledge hammer. Harper and Caroline prying the boards loose. And Blake, unscrewing the screws. While people were destroying the floor, members were tirelessly measuring and shaping insulation for the floors. With group members taking turns measuring, cutting, and placing, the whole group got the job done making it look like as if professionals had done it. The insulation couldn’t have been completed without the stapling crew. The amount of times I’ve seen Beverly expertly dodge being get hit by a 2×4 while under the floor stapling insulation is shockingly high. Nobody can forget about the group who cleaned up the rubble from under the trailer. When we first got there on Tuesday morning, I look down and I see a tarp full of trash and rubble, I remember thinking to myself, “I could never be able to clean this.” But just before lunchtime I look down at the same spot and I notice that all of the rubble is gone! It was incredible. Last but not least, the trench digging group. This group showed no lack of hard work. Arriving early in the morning, digging two feet trenches which made its journey from the electricity post to the trailer. It wasn’t easy, the group made their way through thick rocks, cement barriers, and a lot of dirt. The group achieved their goal of making its way from the trailer to the electricity post mid-morning. Matthew had probably swung the pickaxes and clear with the shovel around 500 times. Lastly, none of Tuesday’s morning could’ve been how it was without the guidance and wisdom of Charlie, Bobby, Marshal, and Chris who had gone around all morning providing help for every group who needed any. Tuesday morning is an ideal example of people having an altruistic attitude in helping others who need it.
After a busy morning we gathered for lunch and heard from a representative of the West Virginia Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps. There is so much need in this community and it affirmed our commitment to the service work and our shared desire to share our faith, hope and love. In our small group devotional, each group discussed “Faith.” I am so grateful to be a part of this experience and this family and for the honesty and sincerity of each my group members. Unfortunately we were quickly back at work- but mindful that with God all things are possible!
After lunch, we went back to the worksite. We fixed up the foundation, roof, added a window and door, and finished the floor insolation and most of the floor boards. We are all happy it didn’t rain too much and only one person had a near death experience (see bullet point below). We also got to work some more with Joey, the home owner. We also spent some time bringing in a bath tub but then brought it back out and making stick spears.
The devotion tonight consisted of the groups reading, analyzing, and interpreting some scripture about what does it mean to be a Christian and what does it mean to have faith and/or believe. It led to some very interesting and very good discussion about certain aspects of Christianity/Presbyterianism that help us to define ourselves as Christians and more deeply ground us in our common belief and individual beliefs.
- Alex saved Charlie T’s life as he tragically almost lost his balance
- Nick has joined the fall through the insulation club
- It’s the bottom of the twelfth inning and team Preston and Matthew K are up 1 on Matthew M and Ryan.
- Chandler was caught posing like a French model
- Bobby S still hasn’t taken a break during work, but says he’s having fun.
- My sources are saying that Preston and Tali cheated in spike ball.
- Juliette is on a quest to magnetic clip everyone on the trip without them knowing
Our first work day began with a bang! Breakfast crew (Beverly, Caroline, Bobby, Sebastian, Chris, Marshal, and Wendy) dragged themselves out of bed at 6:30, all perfectly on time which was a surprise, and set out cereals and muffins. Wendy led the dauntless brigade and by 7 it was time for everyone to wake up. Charlie Trenkamp was enlisted to wake up the boys. With what could be construed as far too much enthusiasm, Charlie rang his bell loudly and all the boys popped up alert and most definitely not disgruntled. Everyone filed into the kitchen on time and after a delicious breakfast we were ready to start building.
Today, at the worksite we started work on the trailer. Work started slower at the beginning while everyone got used to using tools and finding their jobs, but as time passed, we shortly started to fly through the projects. People picked it up and preformed several newly acquired skills- from putting in flooring and insulation to reenforcing walls, using power tools and putting on roofing. Some memorable events occurred including the owner of the trailer’s dog joining our work force and falling through the insulation to the ground, removing huge rocks from the ground blocking electrical wires to the trailer, and Charlie slamming a sledgehammer through the old floorboards.
Well, I put a hole through the floor with a hammer (editor note: as he was safely instructed to). I helped put up a large rectangle of cotton candy in the floor. I helped dig up a hole that is big enough to fit me in it. Everyone was working very hard, especially to get one particular rock out of a hole we were digging for some wire. At the end of the day, we had a fun time. My favorite part was when the dogs came out and we got to play with them. I was tired enough to forget to bring a towel to take a shower. Hi mom and Dad and the little gremlins I call my brothers.
– Sebastian McFeaters
Tonight, we gathered as a whole and debriefed about our day and experiences. We discussed how we put forth faith, hope, and love through our actions and words. Then, we broke into smaller groups and explored the deeper conversation of helping others in need, sharing personal stories and past experiences, and reinforced how we should be grateful for all we have. A specific example was when Marshall, an adult joining us from California shared a story about how he selflessly provided some basic necessities to a less fortunate man who was sleeping in a park across the street from him. This was a moving story that definitely changed our perspectives for the better!
– Caroline Beardall
- Turns out rocks can break shovels… wish we knew that before it happened
- Matthew Mamalian supposedly is a pro spike ball player, but lost to Preston and Tali?
- Chandler, Sebastian, and a dog all fell through insulation
- Beverly got the part!!!
- Charlie and Bobby Trenkamp didn’t skip triceps day
- Juliette is rocking a new Justin Bieber look
- JohnPaul and Grant are a bit too good at demoing buildings…
- Only three Band-Aids were needed today and Susan is now officially our residential Nurse
- These pictures were taken:
We made it safely to West Virginia! After dropping our stuff at the church we will be staying, we headed to Giovanni’s for some pizza!
At the Pizza Shop, we were welcomed warmly to West Virginia.
After a night of games and unwinding, we head to bed to get ready for our first day of work.
That’s all from our first day! Check back tomorrow for refl ections from the kids after our first full day of work.