Archive for the “Mission Trips” Category

Steve & Willy @ The Headwaters of the Mississippi

[Fifth entry in a series on my mission trip to Minnesota.]

Wednesday was a half-day of labor with the rest free for restful (or not so restful) recreation. My group headed up to Itasca State Park, home of the headwaters of the Mississippi. You see, Lake Itasca is the starting point of the mighty Mississippi river, which happens to flow right past Saint Louis. Of course, way up here in Minnesota, the mighty Mississippi starts out as a dinky little stream flowing out of the lake. It’s the many tributaries such as the Missouri and Ohio rivers that make the Mississippi the mighty beast that Saint Louis knows and loves (and sometimes hates). However, since it’s so small up in Minnesota, it’s quite the tourist attraction to wade the 15 feet or so across of mid-calf deep water and thus say that you walked across the Mississippi. It’s kind of like going to the North or South Pole in order to walk “around the world”, only more convenient.

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[Fourth entry in a series on my mission trip to Minnesota.]

{{ Due to the graphic nature of this entry, parental discretion is advised. }}

On Tuesday, while I was roofing, my fellow roofers and I saw a strange sight. These two dogs wandered over to the house that we were working on, and they nonchalantly began copulating. At some point during the act, the male got himself turned around so that he was standing butt-to-butt with the female. However, this was problematic because they were still in the middle of intercourse, and they were now stuck together. They tried as hard as they could to pull away from each other, but that proved physically impossible. All they managed to do was to pull each other around the yard. Eventually, the male was able to settle down enough that separation became possible, and they both seemed rather relieved to do so. It was rather humorous to watch, but, ouch, that had to be uncomfortable.

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[Third entry in a series on my mission trip to Minnesota.]

Soon after our arrival at camp on Saturday, my group decided that we wanted to invite the others to a campfire one night and have s’mores. When we went into town on Sunday, we picked up all the necessary ingredients, and on Tuesday we decided to have the fire. After dinner, a couple of us went up to the fire circle, and since I was the only Boy Scout present, and an Eagle Scout at that, I ended up with responsibility for the fire.

The first thing that I had to do was decide what kind of wood structure to use. Should it be a teepee? A lean-to? A log cabin? I voiced my assessment that we should do a log cabin, which tends to make a nice campfire. Willy suggested that we do a church. The logs at the fire circle were rather fresh and sappy, so we had to go down to the woodshed to get some nice, dry, dead logs. When we returned with some choice pieces of timber, I constructed a log cabin, while the others filled it with crumpled paper and kindling. To top it all off, and to satisfy Willy, I also added a steeple, thus making the log cabin a church. The paper—actually glossy catalog pages—was a little hard to light, but once the fire got going, it burned wonderfully. I did feel a little guilty about burning down a “church”, but those were some good s’mores!

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[Second entry in a series on my mission trip to Minnesota.]

Before our trip to Minnesota, my friend Willy and I were recruited to do four devotionals during the week. These were supposed to be given at our evening worship service back at camp on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. There was no devotional necessary on Wednesday, because that was our half-workday and we’d all be out on the town in the evening. Willy had the idea to do the four chapters of Jonah for our four devotionals, and that worked out really well with our schedule for the week since there is a natural break between chapters 2 and 3 that would line-up with the break on Wednesday. We also decided that Willy would do chapters 1 and 4, and that I would do chapters 2 and 3.

When we got to camp on Saturday, we found out that we had to do a fifth devotional on Sunday. This gave us two options. We could either come up with a fifth devotional immediately, or we would have to mess up our beautiful Jonah schedule and its strategically placed break in the middle. Willy and I both felt that the latter option was quite undesirable, so Willy quickly put together a quick introduction to the Biblical mandate for racial reconciliation for the Sunday devotional, which seemed like an appropriate topic given the nature of our mission trip. Unfortunately, such a controversial topic went over like a ton of bricks, and we should have seen it coming.

On Monday, Willy was ready to start the devotional series on Jonah, however it was decided to cancel the worship service in favor of playing basketball with some of the people the groups had met earlier in the day. Thus, when Tuesday came around, and it was my turn to lead the devotional, I had to do both chapters 1 and 2. Nevertheless, the devotional turned out very well. I got good feedback from my group, and I was told that even the other group, which had been so put off by Willy’s devotional, liked it too. I suppose pointing out the Covenant connection between the Hebrew temple and Christ is less controversial than racial reconciliation.

I was scheduled to give my second devotional on Thursday, but that day we found out that what we had originally been told—that we were to do four devotionals—was actually correct. On Friday we were to go to a special service at the church on the reservation where the pastor would speak, so the four days for the devotionals were actually Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Thus we were left with just one more time slot to do another two chapters of Jonah. Since chapter 4, as the conclusion of the story, was the more important chapter to focus on, Willy, who had prepared for that chapter, took on the job.

Although each of our devotionals on Jonah turned out very well, I was a little disappointed that we had to condense our material from four devotionals into two. During my preparation on chapters 2 and 3, I gained an increased appreciation for Jonah. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to do a deeper presentation someday.

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[First entry in a series on my mission trip to Minnesota.]

Minnesota. Way up North. Lots of trees. And mosquitos. It’s all rather beautiful.

However, what isn’t so beautiful is run-down housing, and that’s what I was up there to fix. During the week, my group worked on two houses. The first house needed the front half of its roof replaced, and some new siding panels on every side.

  • Monday: I stripped off a bunch of shingles, removed some of the old siding, and even started inserting the new siding panels.
  • Tuesday: I spent the whole day on the roof putting on new shingles.

The second house, which was actually a trailer, needed some new siding in addition to having some of its windows painted.

  • Wednesday (half day): I put primer on the siding panels.
  • Thursday: I scraped paint off the windows, and put primer on them.
  • Friday: I painted the siding as others put it up.

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