It’s been a while. Okay, a long while. Although it’s only been a trip of only one week to Yeadon, Pennsylvania, it feels like it was a month, another month since I got back, even though it’s been two weeks – and a year since my last post. Oh, life. So, what’s been going on since then? I will start at the beginning – at the start of the Yeadon missions trip.
We got there on a sunny Sunday morning, in the church parking lot at 8:00 in the morning. My dad had to run to the ATM to grab some money for me – $49, including the cash from his wallet, to be exact. At about 8:30, we began our journey. It wasn’t really planned, but there was a girls’ van and a boys’ van. Because they have cooties. 🙂 I got the very back seat, so I was able to sprawl across and take a good, long nap on the entire two and a half hours we were in the vans. When we arrived at the Group Work Camps (that’s the ‘brand’ of mission trips) site, there were ambulances and fire trucks. We were shocked – what had gone wrong? We later found out that someone on the staff had connections with the emergency workers in Yeadon and was able to get us to use their vehicles for the week to transport things like drinks, paint, ladders, etc. We stayed at a school – it was a little shabby, but it was very nice to be staying in rooms. The VPC girls – my church – were fortunate enough to have their own rooms. Other girls from other churches had to share rooms. And now I will share with you what a normal day looked like.
At exactly 6:45 in the morning, the loudspeakers in everybody’s room would go off. “Wakey-wakey work campers!” And then the loudspeakers would proceed to play some ridiculous song – ‘Where Is My Hairbrush’, ‘I Have No Bellybutton’, and stuff like that. Eventually, we would make our way out of our sleeping bags and into the bathroom, where we would wash our faces. After that, we’d get changed, then move on to the cafeteria for breakfast. Sometimes the guys from our group were already there and we’d sit with them, but if they weren’t we’d file through the line and sit by ourselves. After breakfast, we would gather our things and move to the gym, where we would have a quick morning meeting & prayer, sing a few songs, and talk about something that we’re going to do in devotions today. After all of that, we all gathered our things and headed to our worksite.
But the first day, Monday, we were placed at a different worksite – our original family had just had a death in the family. So we went to another woman’s house, where we worked on her patio’s railing. We had to do a lot of scraping, and at the very end of the day, we got to spray paint the railing. When I say we, I mean my group – five people, including me. Our group was fairly small, since others usually had one or two more people. There was me, Marissa, Tim, James, and our leader, Joan. Marissa was very nice. Turns out she lives in Georgetown – the DC area! Tim and James were very different, but happened to be from the same group. Tim… I’m concerned for him. He said he smoked and stopped a little while ago (I’m not sure if he’s 100% stopped or will stay that way), and he says he’s ‘not very religious.’ He also says that he only goes to youth group, and doesn’t go to church or Sunday school. He also mentioned that he almost didn’t come to this trip because he was hung over from some party the night before his group left. James – well, I can tell he has some serious ADD or ADHD problems. He just acts, talks, and moves differently that others, and we can tell. Then Joan, who is probably in her late-40’s, is very petite and nice.
Together, we repainted that railing. Then, from Tuesday till Friday, we repainted an upper level of a house. We did some serious reworking! But in total honesty, that house needed to be torn down and built back up again, because it was so damaged – the paint was peeling, the ceilings were sinking, and when we went to that bathroom, our knees were smooshed against the sink. Literally. But the family didn’t want to give it up, because it had been in the family for generations. Most of the time we filled in holes and cracks with Spackle and painted the walls with primer, but the last day and a half, we did the painting as fast as we could, because we knew that time was running out on us.
After we got back from our worksites, it was a race to the showers. Grab your things, and off to the races. Because if you didn’t move fast enough, you would be stuck at the back of the line. After showers, you had a few hours to yourself to do whatever you wanted – to journal, nap, play cards, talk with friends, and the like. After that, everyone would go to dinner. Then evening devotions in the gym. After those devotions, we would go and have some devotions with our youth/church group.
Speaking of youth/church groups, we had a bit of a mix-up with that. Coming to Yeadon, we thought we would all be working together, or at least something like that. Turns out, only four people got to work together. Well, one group had two people and another group had another two people. Which was disappointing. But when we had devotions, it got a little teary. And some people were a lot teary. Make that most people. Were teary. Including me… because it was tough stuff. And when we shared things during our youth group times, I think I shared stuff in the right way, but I wish I’d shared more. Things like I can’t do this, and my dad comes in at night just to sit with me because I’m doing this, and it’s hard – because most people don’t understand otherwise. Like I said, tough stuff.
But we also had our fun times. Grace, Emily, Thea and I ran out to Wal-Mart because we had to get some socks, canned food, razors, shampoo, and other stuff – and we went in the rain! It was practically hailing while we were in the store, and then once we were running out, we had to take our shoes off. Fun stuff. Then, on Wednesday, we got to leave our worksites early to do whatever we wanted with our youth group. We saw the Liberty Bell, George Washington’s fireplace, where the Continental Congress met, and things like that. But the best part was that we got to eat Philly cheesesteaks! I was stuffed by the time I’d finished my cheesesteak, so I handed my fries to anyone who would take them. That’s about it – but one last thing. Care cards. I’ll just refer to them as CC, because typing out the entire thing would take too much effort! 🙂 CC were basically notes of encouragement, and we all wrote some to each other. In our work groups, in our youth groups, and to anyone else who we wanted to write them to. For most of mine, I didn’t write my name. For some, if they knew my name, I would shoot myself. For others, I signed my name, and wanted them to know it was me. But for some other CC’s, I didn’t sign my name, I wouldn’t have minded if they knew. But still. I’d rather nobody know that I’d written a CC than everybody know each one that I wrote. Because that would be a global emergency, I’m telling you.
But, all in all, the Yeadon trip was a blast. Not only was it super-fun, but it was a super God-enriching experience. The best part was, about a week later, we got together at Panera to say bye to Dan, a leader – and everyone was there except Greg, one of our leaders. We ate lunch, played a few games in the church basement, and we had a great time.
We are getting together as a group on Labor Day, the day before school starts, so there will be more to add from that experience. Not only that, but my family and I are going to Cape Cod on Thursday – and today is Tuesday! We have to go then for the boys’ demo in New York for the United Nations, but after that, we’re at the Cape! This was a long post, but might as well add a few more words. All that to say, more to come later!