Friday, July 17, 2009

SERVE 09 - Thursday - Saying Goodbye

It's Friday afternoon. After a 12 hour sleep I feel ready to write the final day of our SERVE 09 experience. I'm feeling better today, and I hope Rey is too. He came down with the flu we think on Thursday morning, and wasn't doing well. No update yet, but we hope he is doing better.
Before I get to the events of Thursday, let me tell you about Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, and FINALLY REVEAL to you who the practical jokers towards me were (yes, they couldn't keep it a secret any longer). After our mentor meeting and putting everyone to bed, Shellie, Rey, Tamara and myself spent some time unwinding and reflecting....(I was TRYING to get my blog entry done earlier, but it didn't work, hence the 3:3o am entry).
I heard during this time that the whole mentor group was picking straws to see who would get up in the middle of the night to perform the last practical joke on me.
Well, after posting the blog, FINALLY, I decide to change my sleeping location yet again....gotta keep those jokesters on their toes you know. :) I moved from the balcony down to the stage area behind the chalk board. I did that because the two jokers knew where I was sleeping and I didn't want them to pour water or anything on me in the wee hours of the morning.
I fell asleep for about 2 hours but was awoken by sounds on the stage of the sanctuary. It was Alex wandering around and checking out the drums (yes, he did play them too : ( ) I yelled his name and he almost fell out of his skin. I think he thought it was GOD talking to him telling him to leave the sanctuary, which he did very quickly : )
Apparently later on when I was reading a portion during Shellie's talk time and being GOD, Alex broke out into great laughter....he recognized my voice from earlier and yes, it WAS God talking to him..... : )
Well, I awoke at 7:30 and went right to my room. Here's what I found. Water, water, water.....there was no note, so I'm not sure what the significance of water is/was. Some of the cups had fallen over, so there was a bit of a spill on the floor. People are going to think I have a bladder problem when all of this gets cleaned up.
Well, after the day was over, and we had a small mentor's gathering to figure out who was going home when, I picked out the two culprits, and guess what, I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. The two who are guilty of all of these antics were Elysha and Joanna. Ha, BUSTED!
It was an honor and privilege to be part of such a great scheme, (and even more fun getting them back on Tuesday night when I wasn't in my room. They were VERY mad that I outsmarted them.....).
Now, everyone except me was in the know. Even parents who were reading the blog apparently knew too. You helped make SERVE09 more fun, and you didn't damage anything or hurt anyone, and those are the kind of practical jokes that have lasting positive memories.....but as I told Joanna......if it's not you, I'll apologize on the blog to you, but if it is you, I'll find a way to get to your home and get you back. Take my word for it, if I can, I will be coming when you LEAST expect it....
So, I will also do what I promised Hannah and Chris. I will apologize to them for accusing them (even though I knew it wasn't them). Hannah certainly has it in her to do these sorts of things.....she gets it from her father (Sorry John).
So, Hannah and Chris....I'M SOOOOOOOOO SORRY I THOUGHT IT WAS YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU !!!!! I hope you can forgive me....and in case you can't, well, God tells you you need to !! : )
Now, on to the final day's events.
I found several of the group back at the warm fuzzy table writing things to their group members.
I also found the kitchen crew hard at work again. Nick working hard again. Just a final note of thanks to ALL those who helped out in the kitchen. We ate well, and you served well. Without all of you, SERVE would not happen. Thanks.
Here I am after only 2 hours of sleep, trying to kick start the mind with some coffee....It didn't work.
Apparently there was extra caution tape lying around and Nick decided to get decorative.
I was talking with Bea about something, and had my camera on, so I decided to just snap a picture from hip level. Here's the result. She has a nice smile don't you think ? : )
After breakfast it was time to begin the clean up. The rooms were VERY messy, as you saw last night. It took most people a 1/2 hour to get things arranged, but I think it took Amy about 1 hour. : )
There's the prankster on the left. can two people living in a room make such a huge MESS (tee, hee).
I see that Rachel was emptying her SHELF. Apparently it came in handy for her...which it should have with all the STUFF that she took along with her; and she only lives in Barrhaven.
When packing up was done there was down time to play games, or talk before saying goodbye.
Parents are always invited to come for the morning worship and small group time. Many came out. Here are Jodi's.
Here are Kevin and his mom.
Shawn's dad came to get him. Shawn was VERY excited to see his dad. I went outside to witness the event and captured it on video.
Sara and her mom.
Oh, and Ethan and his mom.....I keep forgetting that some of us on the planning team didn't see our children for much of the week either. Ethan and mom are getting reacquainted.
After down time it was time for our final worship and "Shellie" time. Amy and Jovita are up singing praise to God.
Shawn and even Jodi got up to do the same with instruments.
Charlotte and Taurie also jumped up for some songs that required actions.
Shona is worshipping.
Joanna continues to work hard. Thanks for doing the video Joanna.
It touched my heart to see everyone worshipping God in their own way this week.
Shellie once again amazed us with her gifts for communicating the Gospel message to us. Here Nick is trying to see his face in a mirror, but Shellie is making it very difficult.
Sara got the fun task of playing with clay.
Today was the final day of our "Extreme Makeover" theme. Earlier in the week we had demolished a building. Today was the great "Reveal." We called on everyone to "MOVE THAT BUS" and reveal the new home you see here. We too have new homes when God makes over our hearts.
After worship time we once again gave out quilts to those participants who were new this year. Last year our quilting group made 11 quilts for the participants to take home. This year we gave out 8 quilts. They are beautiful labours of love. The mentors got to pick out an appropriate one for their participant during our Wednesday night mentor meeting time.
We ended our time with a final song of blessing and raised hands in unity. My Friends, May You Grow in Grace.
Alex had a GREAT time playing his guitar and he wanted to express his thanks to the praise band. Here he shakes Dan's hand.
He also wanted to thank Natasha for all her work as leader of the praise team. Thanks Natasha for what you did this week. Your praise and worship time was uplifting and God honoring. Thanks to you and the team for giving of yourself. We hope we see you again next year.
Then it was time for our final Small Group time. Everyone finished off their own block houses. Here is Jodi's completed.
Andrew (L) and Adam (R). Soon having to say good-bye.
Tyler (L) and Ethan (R) putting the final touches on their home.
Rebecca with a lot of sticker stuff. The craft times were AMAZING, as your kids will show you when they begin to talk about what they have taken home. Thanks Bea and Grace and all those who helped make the crafts so amazing. You are truly gifted people.
For the final craft time, we made 12 photographs of various events during the week, and they put them into their photo albums. Here is Caitlin doing just that.
Joy (L) and Taurie (R) working hard.
I'm getting a bit punchy with the little sleep I had. I don't even remember having this picture taken, or who took it........
Here is a picture of all of us as the community of faith. I don't know if I put one on my blog yet, but I thought I would now, just in case. We all have a hard hat next to us with our name on it.
Some people wanted their t-shirts signed.......
Here is the Ingersoll (I think) group that came this year.
Just a cute picture of Ethan. Had to put that in.
Then it was time for lunch. Pizza....!!!! Yummy, though I wasn't very hungry.....more tired than hungry.....
Here's the pizza.
Watermelon for dessert.... I don't think Caitlin likes watermelon ????
Joanna, well, just being Joanna : )
Now, most of you heard all week long that it was going to be Shona's Birthday (today actually). She came up to me at the beginning of the week and more or less demanded a cake on Thursday. She wanted chocolate icing, red lettering, and strawberries.
Did we do okay Shona?
One of our mentor Mom's took it upon herself to make three cakes. Here is the second one.
The final one. GREAT JOB Wendy !!!!!!!
Here Shona in her GLORY! : ) Happy Birthday!!!!
After lunch it was goodbye time for the participants. Everyone was gone by 12:30 ish and then it was time to bring Calvin CRC back to its normal state of being. : ) Here's Harold taking down our community collage.
Vacuuming needed to be done.....
As well as sweeping....interesting that Annette is working and Joanna is just WATCHING!!!!! (Tee, hee). We also cleaned up the stage, put all the craft supplies away, brought the extra food to Jericho Road and cleaned up the kitchen. I have some last minute cleaning to do with all the stuff that ended up in the youth room, but that's for next week.
Ethan was having a long day, got tired, and ended up falling asleep while we cleaned up. Cute.
Eventually we got the church cleaned up. The mentors departed for the most part, and the planning team took some time to relax at Harold and Bea's home. Soon we were all off for home. Everyone made it home safely but there was some excitement in getting Elysha and Melissa to the train station. I got them there literally as the train was pulling in. I should check my watch better : ). Seems that they weren't destined to get home quickly and the train was stopped due to a gas leak. Thankfully the delay wasn't long enough to prevent them from connecting in Toronto and getting home about midnight.
So, another SERVE is completed. The halls of Calvin are quiet right now. Though I'm glad it's over, I'm sad it had to end. I look back on what has taken place and I am humbled by how our participants can teach all of us so much about life and living.
I'm doubly honored at our mentors who have come here, some twice, and spend 24/7 with their participants. Some participants being easy going, and others, well, not so. I would be lying if I didn't say that some of our mentors had some difficult times during the week, but they always prove to be GREAT learning experiences for life and those are priceless moments that we need to embrace. I hope they have.
Thanks also to the group who came from my youth group as mentors. You did AWESOME and I saw much maturity and growing during your week as mentors. Thanks for stepping up, and thank you parents for letting them come.
Four final notes:
1. Pictures will be coming to all you participants and mentors via the internet. I will need the email address of each participant's parents ( I have all the mentor's email addresses) so if you could send me yours at sometime soon, you'll be getting instructions on how to download them in about 3 weeks.
2. The Video's will be coming in about 3 months.
3. One final blog entry will happen next week sometime. Something of more of a reflective note, with an ode to the practical jokers and Shellie. Stay tuned.
4. I often wonder about the impact we have when we hold a SERVE like this one. I received an email from a parent and I've included it below. It reminds me of why we do this. If any of you other parents of participants would like to offer your thoughts about this SERVE program, we'd love to get them from you so I can share them with the planning team and use them to promote this SERVE next year to new folks who may be wondering about it.
Please send any thoughts or comments to Thanks.
........and yes, we are still in discussions about next year's possible SERVE.....we'll let you know in October.
So, I end today's blog entry with the words of Shawn's mother.........(I hope you are ok with me sharing them...).
. . . Being a parent of a serve participant, we so much appreciate all the very many people who make this mission trip happen. Whenever a missionary comes to speak at our church, or a mission group goes off to do what the Lord needs them to do, our adult child turns to us and says, "my Ottawa too?". For a person with disabilities to go on a mission trip and be able to minister to others is such a wonderful thing. As a parent, it makes me cry with thankfulness and joy. I too, hope that there will be more Serve opportunities across this beautiful country of ours.