Middle School Charlotte Mission Adventure Day 1

I love middle school students!  They are full of energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to help others.  Today, we began the Charlotte Mission Adventure with 13 middle school students.  Over three days and two nights, we will serve at six different locations helping others in our community.

Today we began our morning at Rama Road Elementary School helping with some painting projects, including the blue safety line and the bright yellow concrete poles that separate the children from the buses.  We also painted four of the benches that the car riders hang out on.

While some youth had never painted anything before, some seemed like old pros.  It was nice to see everyone pitching in and helping as they were able.  Even hobbling around on the crutches as I was, I was able to lend a hand and show some painting techniques (and even quoted The Karate Kid – “paint the fence, up and down not side to side”).

After a brief lunch at church, we headed out to clean our section of the stream that runs beside Sardis Road.  Our group cleaned close to a mile of the stream and pulled quite a bit of trash from it.  Everything that is thrown from a passing car goes some place and unfortunately, most of it winds up in the stream.  So we cleaned it up and help tidy up God’s kingdom.

After an all you can eat pizza buffet, we headed over to David Abercrombie’s house for his infamous slip and slide.  The youth loved it!  David usually hosts high school students (as he has been a high school Advisor for long enough that one of his former youth now has a child in youth at Sardis!) but had a blast hosting the very energetic middle school students.  They loved sliding down his hill and couldn’t get back up the hill fast enough to do it again!

We had a devotion tonight about serving everyone, even “…the least of these…” as Jesus put it.  The middle school students’ insight and hearts should encourage everyone, especially our church and their parents.

Please be in prayer for us as we continue to serve in Christ’s name!

— Adrian Martin

Day 7 by Jack Bohlen

Day 7

Yesterday we arrived in Cusco on the bus and we checked into our hotel. It’s also a school built in so a couple of the guys and I played basketball. Next we walked through the plaza in the city and looked at cathedrals and political cartoons of trump and Bill Clinton. We then arrived to the market which was actually inside. There we shopped for all kinds of nicnacks and alpaca apparel. It was a fun experience because we could barter for prices so of course Adrian got ripped off and payed 40 soles too much for an alpaca blanket but he’s still a little mad about it so we try not to bring it up. After that we came back to the hotel to drop off our things and head to museums and dinner. First we went to the Incan museum and saw some of the ancient architecture and culture. Second we went to a chocolate factory where we got to try some chocolate and taste some of their desserts. During the tasting Kyle Bartel came up with a cool alpaca sweatshirt and told us he got it below in a handmade store for a reasonable price. After that everyone started to slowly migrate down to the store until we were swarming the place. A lot of us bought some alpaca gear and we all started to dress like natives even though we don’t look them. Lastly we went to a buffet dinner where we ate tasty alpaca and different types of potatoes and ended the evening with a show where a man made everyone a drink that helped with sickness. Currently everyone is healthy and ready to go to machu picchu where we will not be able to blog.

-Jack Bohlen

Day Four by Jack Bohlen

I am 15 and I go to Providence High School. Day 4 of Peru was much more exhausting than yesterday. Today we worked with all the cement pouring and when you don’t have any machines to move materials or mix cement it’s a little more complex. Digging cement and the red clay in the 4 ½ feet deep holes is not at all like dirt or beach sand so the shovels up to the surface or into the wheelbarrow is much heavier and is hard on the back. This however made lunch and dinner taste so much better. Another challenge is the thin air and altitude. I myself have exercise induced asthma so bending down and shoveling with a mask on to keep out the dirt and dust makes it very hard to breath. So we have a saying that is get swoll. It means get stronger basically and it’s a fun saying to give us motivation and keep on going. Although we try our hardest we still can’t do anything right.  The Peruvians told me I needed to get out of the hole because he was afraid I would mess up which I was because they wanted perfect rectangles and I had a blob. You might think digging rectangles in clay with a pickaxe and shovel is easy but you are wrong. Every time I would scoop out my chiseled clay it the hole would look the exact same as it did before.

I did meet one man at the site who is a pretty cool guy. He was born in Italy but lived in Columbia so he can speak Spanish very well. His English however needs a little work but he gets the message across. And the first day he said I need strong brothers to help me and he pointed at me and Charlie Tucker. So I looked behind me to make sure he was actually pointing at me and indeed he was so I puffed out my chest and very manly like said what can I lift for you. And that’s how we started to get to know each other. After that we talked about each other’s’ past. Charlie and I saying we are from North Carolina as we lifted 100 pound bags of cement like a macho man would. When he said he was from Italy I started to get excited because I went there for spring break so I had some knowledge on the place. The first thing I started talking about since it was lunch time soon was the food. And he was surprised to see I knew some about the culture, and as the day went on Charlie and I would talk to him more and really liked him. So after a couple of chats and hard labor we became his go to guys which was kinda neat.

The cool thing about this trip is we all get along and talk to everyone in the group. There aren’t really a lot of groups or cliques; we all just laugh together in the common room upstairs (which is where all of the guys sleep). Altogether we are always upbeat and ready for the next task unless we have to clean the outdoor toilets then we are all “coincidentally too sick to work anymore”.  Also today we got our Peruvian money so we went out and splurged on the fascinating food and candy that is very cheap to us. I myself got a 3 liter bottle of Fanta because the water has a funny after taste and I like the different taste of cane sugar.

Also the view is amazing everywhere and I love the night time because the stars pop out in the night sky and it’s amazing. That’s really the only good thing about night because we can’t sleep well with the concerts or the pigeons that fight each other on the roof in the morning but other than that it’s breathtaking

Day 3 by Gracie Bartel

Hi my name is Gracie Bartel; I am 17 and go to Providence High School.  This is my first international mission trip. It has been quite the experience so far. I am really enjoying myself and already learned so much about the culture. It is cool to speak Spanish to people who are not my classmates. The views everywhere are gorgeous and the people are so nice. Today at the work site I washed rocks and shoveled dirt and helped setup lunch. There were many odd jobs to be done and I wanted to help with all. There are so many dogs everywhere and they are sweet , we named most of them after characters from the Emperor’s New Groove. At lunch we ate this super yummy soup and I spilled some on my pants and now everybody calls me “Barfpants.”  Basically everything here is different from in the US.

 

 

Summer is Here!

Summer is finally here!  You can feel it in the air, you can see it in children’s faces, and you can feel the excitement as schools begin to let out.

At Sardis Presbyterian Church, the Youth Ministry kicks into overdrive with our summer activities!  We will start off with The Great Escape Middle School conference where 18 youth and 4 adults will travel to Lee College in Cleveland, TN for a week of spiritual growth, fellowship opportunities, worship and singing, and much more!

Then the High School Youth Ministry will take 20 youth and 6 adults to Peru to work with Rev. Sara Armstrong and Rusty Edmundson, the missionaries that Sardis has sponsored for almost eight years.  We will work side by side with Peruvians as we share what it means to be a part of the Church universal.

Youth will then serve at Vacation Bible School in various capacities, from helping to lead recreation to shepherding classes to reading Bible stories and much more.

The Middle School Youth will then engage in a three day, two night mission trip here in Charlotte, serving at six different agencies.  We will sleep at the Sardis House, serve in the mornings and afternoons, and then play in the evenings!

The High School Youth are traveling back to the Montreat Youth Conference at the end of July for a week of renewal and growth.  We will worship, have keynote, play, meet new people in small groups, and grow closer to God in this special place.

Throughout all of this, we will still offer times for students to gather and be in fellowship with one another.  We will also host Sunday School on Sunday mornings as we look at major characters from the Old Testament.

The Youth Ministry does not slow down during the summer but we are excited to offer life changing opportunities for our middle and high school students.

This blog will help detail some of those adventures.  We aim to share what is happening at The Great Escape, on our Peru mission trip, in Charlotte with the Middle School Mission Adventure, and at Montreat with the Youth Conference.

We hope this blog will bless you as I know the participants on these trips have been blessed.  You are free to live vicariously through us using this blog!

This summer, as you relax, please remember in your prayers the youth and adult leaders of Sardis Presbyterian Church who are involved in these life changing opportunities.