Thursday, July 11, 2013

SERVE 2013 - Day 7 - It's over : (

SERVE 2013 - Day 7
It's OVER : ( !!!!

It's 7:05 pm and I'm at home now. Many others are on the road at the moment travelling home. 
It's time for one last blog entry about SERVE 2013 and then it's off to bed for me.  : )

Today was a shorter day.  We concluded at 1 pm, and were cleaned up by 2:15 pm.  

Today is always the sad day; 
Time to say good-bye.  

I awoke at 7:30 this morning. It sure wasn't easy getting up, but after splashing cold water on my face, things got better.  

 I grab the camera from Chris each morning because he can't seem to get up on time.  It allows me to get these awesome pictures of people barely awake. Good morning Jonathan.  Rise and Shine. 

   Once again, I made Chris' day. 
You can do it Chris B.  Get up.  !!!!! 

Good morning Zachary.  
Looks like you had a good night sleep.   

 Niesje has made a habit of sleeping in the youth room.  She moves back to her original room in the morning.   

 Our last breakfast. 
Francine enjoying the scrambled eggs and toast.  

 Alex is beginning to pack already. 
Way to go.  

 Joy... where do you begin when it comes to packing.....bahahahaha!  : ) 

 Becca packed up before breakfast.

 After breakfast it was time for everyone to pack up their stuff.  For some, that was easy. For others....not so. : ) Rachel sure has an interesting way of deflating her mattress.  

 Joy, continuing her pampering in the morning.  

 Chris didn't get much sleep this weekend.   

 Mary Jane brought her dogs along so show everyone. 

 They were enjoyed by many.  

Lisa.  Always smiling.   

 Lisa and Valerie praising God in the parking lot.  

 We changed things up this morning.  Instead of worship first, we did small group time first. 
Here's Jessica preparing her picture craft. 

Ben was a great group leader.  Here's Ben and Steven working on today's final craft. During our last small group time we invite parents/families to join in as well.  Several did this year. 

 After small groups, it was time for worship. 
We rocked the church once again and then Mark and I were up. Our final time to work together for a while...sad.  : (  
Here's Mark, sleeping on the job AGAIN!!!!!  

I will miss being his boss.  
I'll miss being able to wear this tie as well.  : ) 

 Mark has just gone LIVE and is doing his broadcast.   
Today's theme was BE BOLD!  

Another strange picture of Jonathan. 

Mark continues his talk. 
He did a GREAT job this week.  

 Jordana and Mark reading Scripture. 
Jordana was quite nervous, but she did very well. 

 Worship time to end things off. 
Our final worship time. 

We ended our worship time with "Written in the Word" again.  The praise team went SUPER fast this time. 
It was great to be part of.  Jessica and Sarah kept up with the actions quite well.  

Before leaving, we have a tradition here at Ottawa SERVE, in that we give out hand made quilts to our first time participants.  
Here's Ryan receiving his from Carissa.  

 Francine receiving her quilt from Joy.  

 Lisa receiving her quilt (It has food on it) from Valerie.  

 Jessica receiving her quilt from Jessica and Rachel. 

 Jordana receiving her quilt from Sarah and Amy (where did Amy go?)

Finally, Deshawn receiving his quilt from Jonathan.  

After quilt giving away, I had some closing remarks and many thanks to say. We closed our service by getting in a circle and holding hands while singing "My friends may you grow in grace"
A touching way to end our week together.  

 And now the good-bye's begin.  

 And also the pizza and juice begin.  
John's lovin' it.  : )

 So is Joy.  

 A spontaneous group hug erupted in the middle of the fellowship hall.  

 Joy and Ailene don't seem to be happy about something.  I bet Chris H did something again.  : ) 

 Tyler is in a VERY good mood.  Skipping everywhere.  

 Sarah saying good-bye to John.  Touching. 

 All packed up and ready to head home.  

 After most of the participants left, we cleaned up the church.  Well, we put most things away, and Mark (not our speaker Mark) will spend the next days vacuuming, floor washing, and putting furniture back.  By Sunday you won't even notice we were there.  

 I had to take some items back to RCHS that we borrowed. Thanks for letting us use them. 

And so ends another Ottawa SERVE project.  
A great week, with great people, and great memories. 

As a planning team, we made our way to Bea and Harold's for some time to sit back and relax.  We toasted another SERVE and remembered the many fun things that happened during our week together. 

I wanted to end this entry by having our mentors and others share their thoughts and experiences with you all [Not all were able to make comments]. Enjoy their thoughts (some more profound than others: ) ) and may you have a blessed day. 

Next blog entry won't be for a while, but if you get bored, you can always go to many of my back entries and remember the fun times that have been had here at Calvin CRC. 

Ben - Mentor
Well, I certainly feel more like I did when I got here than I do now ( : ) )! I have had a great time hanging out with Steven this week; we did a lot of crafts. Mark was a great speaker. I have enjoyed helping out with skits and in any other way needed. It has been quite the week, and I hope to do it again next year!

Bea - Planning Team  
Serve is exhausting!!!  It means starting to think about the theme in January, wondering what to do with it to make it relevant to our special needs participants, thinking about it some more, getting input from others, brainstorming, and then praying because I have no idea what the specifics will be.  Then, when just starting, the ideas start to flow, and finally a daily small group assignment takes shape.  Lots of revisioning happens and finally all the nitty gritty prep work begins.  By this time we've had several host team meetings and the whole picture begins to form.  The excitement builds! 

By the time we begin the week, I've got it mostly figured out!  Serve is God's work!  He makes it all come together!  God allows us to commit to him and he makes it happen!  So now, instead of seeing the work that's gone into it, I see only that I am blessed!  Blessed in worship, blessed in seeing the wonderful mentors, blessed to get to know the participants, blessed by many willing hands doing all the work, blessed in all the activities, and I'll say it again.....blessed to sing praises with such a wonderful group of people that God made!

Serve is hard work, but I am richly blessed!

Steven - Mentor Helper

I had a good time at SERVE. It was fun with Shawn & Justin this week throughout all the activities we completed.

Joy K - Planning Team

SERVE was a whole different experience this year since I was not a mentor, but more of a helper/small organizer. I’m so glad that I was able to be part of it once again though, and I love seeing all the interactions and friendships created and strengthened through the week. Honestly, I can’t imagine a summer without SERVE. It is always a highlight in my year. It is evident that God really blesses this camp. All the people that take part have gifts to share and it makes the week such an adventure and a “joy” to be a part of. 

Rosalie - Helper

I have really enjoyed this week.  I took on the challenge, hoping for some time to myself because I seem to get little of that at home.  I ended up having to drive every day and I am so glad I did.  I have learned a lot from the participants and the mentors. They are a great group of young people willing to give up themselves to do God’s work and show God’s love. I recommend this week to anyone who wants to see the love of God at work.

Justin - Mentor

SERVE was awesome again this year! It was a bit of a challenge at times, but overall, I had an amazing week with Shawn. We learned a lot about each other. A week with Shawn is always full of surprises!

Mark - Speaker

Dear Lisa, Jordana, Jessica, Francine, Deshawn, Kyle, Shawn, Alex, Zach, Steven, Ryan, John and Tyler – you showed me the love of God this week! Thank you for teaching me how to “Just Be”! My heart is flooded with gratitude towards the mentors, congregation of Calvin CRC, kitchen staff, leadership team, and everyone else that made this trip possible - 
Thank you!    

Becca - Mentor

I was nervous coming to SERVE week, but I’m glad I was able to take part in it. I knew God was leading me to be a mentor but I wasn’t sure why, or how. I may never know the exact answer to my questions, but I can see that God used me in ways I can’t even imagine. 

Caralynn - Mentor

This week has been an awesome experience. I’ve loved getting to know everyone, getting to spend time with them, and learning from everyone here. The participants in SERVE have made everything so enjoyable for me and I am going to miss them all. I hope that I will see everyone next year. 

Fayth - Mentor

“I love God, I love God, I love God, He first loved me,” was a song we sang this week. This week was about sharing God’s love with everyone. Love was shown through worksites, worship, small groups, activities, and even meal times. This week has been very quick, but also completely worth it. There have been a few new people that have been really awesome to get to know, and the regulars are just fantastic! There have been some low’s of the week, but the amount of high’s far surpass anything that could have been low! What an amazing week! 

Jonathan - Mentor

You may think we're crazy for wanting to be on call 24/7, for wanting to spend a week with people who are not as capable as we are.  SERVE is something that you cannot really understand until you experience it. Yes, we help them spell, work, and even shower sometimes. The thing is that they do more for us than we do for them. 

How many people do you know that would ask random strangers for their name and phone number, only because they truly wanted to be their friend? 

How often do you get madly excited, only because you rode in the front seat of a car? These people that we serve show us how to appreciate all of our blessings. One week is not enough to learn all you can. It just breezes by, leaving you thinking to yourself, "Wait, what just happened?" I'm coming back next year- I still have a whole lot more to learn.

Jessica - Mentor 

This week was filled with a variety of challenges that needed to be overcome. It was one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. Taking part in Ottawa SERVE for the very first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I could not be happier that I was able to be a part of this amazing trip. Individuals with special needs have a great deal to teach us. More than anyone else, they have accepted exactly who they are and are able to ‘just be’. I have learned so much from so many kind, Godly, and joyous people. I am so incredibly thankful for each and every one of them!

Carissa - Mentor

I always look forward to this week; even though sometimes I can get a bit nervous for it. I always look forward to the friendships that are made and the things we can learn from our speaker. I learned a lot this week about patience and ‘Just being’. I would like to thank my participant Ryan. He was a pleasure to have and he taught me a lot this week. Ryan, you are truly an amazing person and I hope you had a fantastic week. Blessings to you, Ryan, and I hope to see you again next year.

Joanna - Planning Team - Participant Leader

At the end of each year I always wonder why I keep coming back and the answer is always the same: I had too much fun to care about not getting enough sleep. Every year is a new experience; there are new people to meet and old friends to catch up with. I enjoyed getting to know everyone and I look forward to the every twist and turn. I enjoy Shawn’s unique personality and the going on “car rides” with him. Playing tag with Steven and worshiping with people who express the way they feel God’s love in so many ways, continues to amaze me each and every year. Thank you, Ron, for asking me to be a part of this week and putting up with my craziness.

Niesje - Mentor

Wow! SERVE is finished for another year! This past week has been an amazing experience for me. I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, and I am extremely thankful for all of the great memories I have made in this past week. My favorite part of this past week was seeing the participant’s blossom into the beautiful gifts that they are. Thank you to Mark for the amazing messages that he shared with us, and thank you to Ron for putting up with me this week, and putting a smile on my face every morning!

Sarah - Mentor
(Author's Daughter)

I had an amazing week here at SERVE. I reconnected with many old friends and made many new ones. Many new participants came this year and I was able to get to know many and spend a lot of fun times with them. I was touched by how deeply caring many of the participants are (even to strangers) and how they were not afraid to JUST BE. 

Some highlights for me were the Talent Show, the Agriculture Museum, Jericho Road and our Daily Mentor meetings. It was so fun to be able to laugh after a long day. Worship times were so fun and really inspiring to watch. I really felt that we could all be ourselves and not worry about judgement. I was also reminded of many things, one being the value of friends and what a blessing they are.  

I was reminded of the importance of optimism and how it affects everyone around us. God blessed the week with many willing volunteers and one very important, amazing person, Ron (my Dad. You did a great job this week Dad!). I really hope that Calvin will, Lord willing, be able to continue SERVE for years to come.

Amy - Mentor

Throughout this past week I have learned so much about the mentors, participants, and God’s work in action. I enjoyed watching the participants open up throughout the week and their unique personalities and gifts started to grow on me. The SERVE community, here in Ottawa, is an amazing group that I have learned so much from. This week was challenging but rewarding; an amazing experience.

Valerie - Mentor

I learned a lot about being patient over the course of this week. SERVE was an amazing experience and I hope I can do it again next year.

Chris B. - Mentor

WOAAAAAAH! SERVE was awesome this year. I really got to know Tyler over the course of the week; he is a really nice guy. Lord willing, I will come back next year to have even more fun.

Nicolette (with one ‘l’)

This week was different from any other week in my life. It was a joy to watch these participants grow in Jesus. You could see that they had a great time. Not only did they learn and participate in new things; I learned and grew in many ways as well. I enjoyed my week much more than I had expected and won’t forget it any time soon. Hopefully I’ll be up for the challenge next year too. Thanks Ron, and everyone else, for putting a smile on so many faces.

Lucy - Mentor

This was my second time being a mentor for SERVE. It was just as rewarding and incredible as the first year. I had a lot of fun being partnered with Nicolette and there was never a dull moment with Alex around. It was a week filled with much laughter and a few tears. Overall, it was an amazing experience. 

Ailene - Photographer

As a photographer this year instead of a mentor, I could observe SERVE from a completely different perspective. I love taking part in SERVE because the whole community is always swarming in complete welcoming. The people are absolutely amazing and all contribute to making this week a complete success. While behind the lens, I could capture memories for everyone. I hope that my pictures will stir future laughs and help enhance a growing SERVE community.

Nancy - Helper at Large.  

John 15:12-13, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  We are to love each other as Jesus loves us and I was a witness to this during my week at SERVE.  God’s love in action, the practice of sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, and giving.  It is a privilege and blessing to be a part of this ministry.

Rachel - Mentor

Wow - so much fun, laughter, joy, and love. Learned lots, grew lots—and had a lot of fun with lots of Jessica's!  Thanks for the great talks, Mark, and thanks to everyone else who put so much effort into crafts, small groups, activities, etc… we had a blast. I experienced the fun, love, and laughter of God this week. Thanks participants! 

Rachael - Mentor

SERVE 2013 was my second year as a mentor.  The first day (mentor-training-get-to-know-you-day) I felt instantly at home with the other mentors and was suddenly super excited for the rest of the week.  The second day, when the participants came, it was a switch from the day before; I started to feel nervous and unsure of how the week would go.  My participant, John, and I took a day or two to get to know each other and figure each other out.  By Sunday, we were all getting along and laughing together like old friends.  I’ve had an AMAZING week! I’m going to miss everybody.  Niesje (my mentor partner) has been great to work with and I’ve learned so much from John.  I cannot wait until next year. : )