Welcome to Second Presbyterian Youth Ministry!

Welcome to the Blog that is entirely dedicated to the youth activities at Second Presbyterian Church! Here you will find the latest information on outings and gatherings, photos, and more. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Final day of VBS (Thursday, July 17)

Today was the final day of VBS. The Bible verse that we highlighted today was about Peter trusting Jesus to cross the water. The kids got to make a picture that illustrated the scene. Also for the fifth time this week, the kids got to sing their favorite song "Sapo", which is about a frog. One of the most unforgettable experiences from this mission trip was the kids reactions as we wrapped up the week. Although the parting was difficult, the kids gave multiple bracelets and other items to members of our mission team. The smiles on their faces and their truly generous spirits made this trip a memory that we will keep with us forever. This also reminded us about the importance of putting God first, and that we can tend to get wrapped up in the materialistic culture of America. Another thing we picked up on from this trip was that while we come from a completely different culture, these kids are just like we are. They just want to be loved and a simple smile and friendly "hola" surpasses the hindrances of the language barrier! At the end of the day today, we reflected on the week as a team. A reoccurring theme in our discussion was God's role in our everyday lives and our tendency to not put God first. Like Peter, sometimes our faith in God is wavering, but as a whole we would like to remember that if we put God first, he will always provide for us. Overall, our team collectively expressed our desire to return and continue spreading God's love and Word to all human beings, whether it be in a foreign country or back home in Roanoke. Thanks to everyone in the congregation who helped to make this trip possible for our youth and guests! We appreciate you so much! --2PC Youth

VBS Day 3 - Queen Esther (Wednesday, July 16)

This warm sunny morning, 2PC piled in our bus with our Domincan translators and friends to head to VBS with a total of 32 passengers. In the schoolyard we were greeted with waves, smiles, and “Buenos Dias!” from kids and their families. The music team kicked it off with “Cambiare mi Tresteza” which translates to “Trading All my Sorrows” and “Si en Verdad Eres Salvo” which is sung to the tune of “Happy and You know It.” This session of praise was wrapped up with a enthusiastic "repeat after me" prayer ending with "AAAAAAHHHMENN." We then split the children into groups by age and began crafts and recreation. Our first group for the crafts were the 9-12 year olds. Todays craft involved making and decorating crowns. Each kid got the chance to be a king or queen for the day. Once we handed out the crowns they then got to decorate them with jewels, pom-poms, and rick rack. While the 9-12 year old were making their crowns the 7-8 year olds were busy playing in recreation. They played many games which included soccer and a Dominican form of "baseball." The way they usually play does not involve the usual bat and ball but instead their arm and a soccer ball. After the rotation was finished we all met up for the daily puppet show and end-of-the-day song. We also sang Happy Birthday to a girl after the puppet show. As the kids were leaving for the day we passed out ring pops which went along with the royalty theme. They quickly became a big hit! While some of us were at VBS, the construction team also had a successful day. Today was the first day that we had the chance to go to the school and help construct the third floor. The goal of SRI is to complete the school and have it hold children for grades K-7 until they eventually move on to the high school across the road. The day consisted of mixing concrete, lifting the buckets of concrete, and filling holes in the cinder block walls. After a delicious lunch, we continued the day and started sawing wood and nailing pieces together to eventually create an important part of the soon-to-be school. This experience is one that not everyone will be able to say they had. When the school is finally finished, those of us who had this chance will have the excitement of being able to say, "Ï worked on this school and now children are able to enjoy a day of school with friends." The long day wrapped up with a trip to the site where the new clinic will be built and then a tour of the already existing clinic. We then headed to a delicious dinner and straight to an amazing ice cream store (all in the back of a pick-up truck). Although we are all exhausted, we managed to have another fun filled day full of great experiences. Blogged by: Sidney Murray, Ali Sharpe, and Madison Grehawick

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fiery furnaces and chickens catching a ride (Tuesday, July 15)

Today was day two of Vacation Bible School and our story was about Nebuchadnezzar and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, with the angel. The older kids got to make their own "fiery furnace" and the characters involved. The little ones focused mainly on the angel. In recreation they played soccer, lost a ball over the fence, and the kids jumped at the opportunity to climb the fence to help go get it. For music we sang a song about a green frog in a river with a friend named Jesus, and also sang the song "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart..." but in Spanish. The kids had lots of fun!! After Vacation Bible School, we took a trip to the local market for a scavenger hunt to find random items. Some of the different items to look for included: cat on a leash, chicken catching a ride (on a bus or moped), and a homemade grill. After an hour of roaming and searching the market, the winners were treated to ice cream, while the losers had dish duty for dinner. We had another delicious Dominican dinner with mouth-watering pineapple cobbler for dessert. Afterwards, we had a free night which consisted of endless games and bonding. Nicole, the medical coordinator for Solid Rock International, taught us how to play the intense, Dominican version of dominos, which turned out to take a lot of strategy and attentiveness between teammates. We're looking forward to another full day tomorrow, packed with more Vacation Bible School and a small group going to do construction on a new clinic! HASTA LUEGO AMIGOS (-:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

VBS Day 1 (Monday, July 15)

Today was the first full day at the Guest House in San Juan de la Maguana. After waking up with a general lack of sleep from adjustment to the unfamiliar noises and the heat, we had a delicious breakfast and heard a morning devotional from Kari full of profound insights about the nature of poverty and the importance of perspective. We then loaded up the bus and trailer and headed to the location for VBS in el Rosario. When we arrived at the school kids were already waiting for VBS to start. With a quick set-up and gathering of some kids around the village, VBS began. Today there were almost 175 children that got to participate in songs, arts and crafts, and recreation. Stacy Potter put it best when she said "Once we just gave up the notion of control everything seemed to run smoothly," After we ate a quick lunch and got back to the Guest House we had some free time. As a group we decided to visit a cathedral in San Juan that has a viewing point at the top which is the tallest point in San Juan. A large part of the group made the climb up spiral stairwells to the well-worth it view atop the cathedral.For dinner we got to enjoy our first authentic dominican meal prepared by Kari. After dinner Dan exchanged our American dollars for Dominican pesos and some local vendors came to sell some hand- made dominican goods. The group chose from exquisite paintings, jewelery of the larimar stone, baskets, or a tailor who can duplicate or just make any item of clothing in a fabric of choice. Finally, we went to a baseball field to scrimmage and intermingle with some local domican softball players. We formed teams of both Dominican and American players, in the end it was a close game with only a few minor injuries and a lot of fun. We cannot wait for the next great day that lies ahead of us and the adventures it may bring. ~Anne Johnson, Joe and Kyra Jamison

Monday, July 14, 2014

Greetings from the tropics! (Sunday, July 13)

Last night we arrived in the Dominican Republic. After a long day of travel, the group made it through customs, and then packed into a bus that would take us to the hotel. For some, it was revisiting old memories. For others, it was a new experience, as most didn't move their heads away from the windows as they observed the many new sights and sounds of Santo Domingo. We finally arrived at our hotel, got a good night's sleep, and prepared for another day of travel. This morning we woke up and had a delicious breakfast. Then we hopped on the road and headed to the guest house in San Juan. Upon arrival we were greeted by Dan and Kari. They also had a lovely lunch prepared for us. After lunch we had orientation and prepared for the week ahead. Then we had free time where we could explore the town or play around. When outside the compound we met two little boys who joined us in kicking around the soccer ball. Later on we had dinner and then headed to a church service. The means of transportation were riding in the back of pickup trucks, where our hair was blowing in the breeze. The church service was different from what we are accustomed too. They had a band and a lively service. Even though it was in Spanish, we still felt very moved by the pastor's speech. We headed back to the compound, played a game of "Identity Theft", and got ready to end the day. We are excited and prepared for what lies in store the rest of the week! - Ben Lewis, Katie Leivy, and Madison Bloomfield

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kirby's reflection

During one of the last few weeks of school, I sat down with the head of the upper school to discuss the grading of my senior speech. For that thesis paper, I had defended the point that the Agriculture Department should be placed on the minimum wage standard. I was inspired to research that particular issue after my experience at the Beth-El Farmworker Ministry on Second Presbyterian’s mission trip during the summer of 2013. The head of the upper school was thoroughly impressed I was again traveling down a second time to work with the same community, but for me, that’s what made it all the more special. After becoming so adamant about farmworker’s rights throughout my research, I couldn’t wait for this year’s trip back down to Wimauma. This mission team was a combination of experienced-goers and novices, both with the youth and adults. The intimate size of the group was different from the previous year, but we still managed to be just as, if not even more, productive. We again worked with Javier, our projects coordinator, who enthusiastically greeted us as we pulled in late Sunday night. On Monday, we did a lot of clearing out and sorting in both the attic above the sanctuary and the offices adjacent to the sanctuary. On Tuesday, we, again, assisted with the mission’s weekly food drive. We divided the jobs out; some helped specifically by packing the frozen food items into bags, others carried bags out to the patron’s cars, and still others distributed jugs of orange juice outside. It was so neat to see familiar faces, as the connections made last year were still relevant this year. On Wednesday and Thursday, the drywall projects in the offices with the help of Santos went underway. It was the first experience most of us had with drywall, but all the same we worked enthusiastically to do the best of our ability with the project. All in all, the 2014 Mission Team accomplished a lot. As they say, we were small, but mighty. The mission trip itself was even more special to me as it was my final one. The work we did in Wimauma, although it does not solve the underlying problem these workers experience, assists in the betterment of their daily lives. Just knowing that made this trip one of the highlights of my summer.

Dylan's reflection

I learned a lot this trip. It was so much fun too. Austin and I did most things together while we were there. When we were helping the people, you got a good feeling that God will do something for you in return. I'm really glad Santos was there to help us as well. We didn't know how to do most of the things, but with his help we caught on pretty quick on how to do it. I also learned you can't do everything by yourself, it takes a team to do a big project like this one. Everybody did such a great job and kept their spirits up. Even when they wouldn't want to do something, they realized that they need to do it for other people, not themselves. I hope to go on more trips like this one! I had lots of fun!

Cate's reflection

My experience in Wimauma, Florida would be described as eye opening. I discovered the bits and pieces of the rural life and how our produce section works. My experience definitely exceeded my expectations and I am just as excited for next year! Our first destination was in Savannah, Georgia. I really enjoyed the Sunday school class which we attended at First PC, Savannah. It was interesting to talk to the people who seemed to be very active in the church. I also found it neat that I spoke to one lady who was from Winchester, Virginia. We said our goodbyes and began our trip to Wimauma. The first day, I was nervous that I would not get to do much because I had not been here before and that I would be clueless. However, I did connect with some youth I had knew but not exactly known. I enjoyed bonding through cleaning out the closets and listening to music. One job that had spoke to me since it was brought up was drywall. I never had thought of myself as a mechanical person but I really got into it! Taking charge in the drywall setting surprised me of what I am capable of. After drilling, sanding, plastering, and etc. I feel like I can build a house! Before Sister Nancy came I was a little frustrated because I wanted to finish dry walling. Eventually, my feeling changed as she began to speak about how farmers are cut out of the minimum wage, what it like to grow up here, and how child labor is very much still alive. She reminded me that I'm very blessed and that I'm here to help. Her words continue to speak to me and tell me that it starts with us to make a difference. I wasn't happy to leave Beth-El. The thought of not knowing whether I would come back or not was sort of freaky. Although I did like Wimauma, I was very excited to go to Clearwater, Florida! My favorite thing about Clearwater was eating at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill. It was a nice way to conclude our time together as a mission team. In conclusion, my experience was eye opening because 1) I learned that I am awesome at drywall, 2) I learned about life as a farmworker, and 3) I realized that I truly do have it easy. My hopes for next year are to be a crazy active member in Philadelphia and that I will be more open to the group. My experience at Beth-El will forever be stuck in my corazón.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Meg's reflection

This year’s mission trip to Beth-El was truly amazing. Our group this year worked so well together, and I loved being able to get to know everyone better and bond throughout the week. I was again reminded of how hard this migrant farmworker community works just so we can slice up fruit so easily for our everyday meals. I loved being able to interact with the community during the weekly food drive. In addition to practicing a little Spanish, I was so touched by how appreciative they were for just carrying food to their cars. When attending the Beth-El Tuesday night church service, even when I could not understand all of the Spanish, I could see and feel how strong the faith within Beth-El was. I am so glad I was able to worship with them. Even when we were doing less interactive tasks like cleaning out rooms or organizing items, it was good to feel that we were doing something, even if it seemed small, for this amazing mission, which reaches out and helps such hardworking people. I also enjoyed learning how to put up dry wall, even though I was definitely not so good at it! I feel so blessed to have been able to go on this mission trip and experience the amazing people at Beth-El.

Caroline's reflection

Well, I’ve gone on yet another mission trip. For some reason the fact that I was leaving hadn’t hit me till I was already on the bus. It was weird, while I was excited, something had changed, this was my first real mission trip or any long trip for that matter with my sister Alex. I guess that might have affected the build up to the day we left. But it turned out it really had no affect on me once we left. This trip was a whirlwind of excitement and many new experiences, anyone need any dry wall done. We had such a small group this year that so many things were different. This is the smallest group I’ve been with for a mission trip, but, surprisingly, I found the small group worked much better everyone actually had something to do all day. Working was the best part, time flew between breakfast and lunch before we knew it, it was time to start winding down and get ready for dinner. It’s so hard to remember all that we did because the week flew by, but what I’ll remember most would be the bonds that grew between us. Many of us, six of the ten kids, were already pretty close but on this trip that bond grew to be so much more. Whether it was playing cards; hey 14, Ali and I will take you any day in kemps, or just relaxing before bed and sharing stories about our lives we just spent so much time together. And even the newbies, they eventually began to be comfortable approaching us, which is an accomplishment because we are all pretty crazy people. So even though it was a very new experience so many memories were made that the trip was amazing.

Ema's reflection

This year’s trip to Beth-El was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had with 2nd Pres Youth Group. Although I had been introduced to the harsh realities of migrant workers’ lives on this trip last year, it’s easy to let those concerns take the backseat when you come home and life gets hectic. This trip reminded me of the innumerable things I should be grateful for and how often I take them for granted. Every day at Beth-El I was amazed by the cheerfulness and generosity of people whose lives are much harder than ours. I’m also very grateful I got to spend time with such a wonderful group of people. It’s nice to be reminded that when I go off to college this fall I’ll be able to come home to an incredible church family. Plus, since my dad was on the trip, I got to share a special experience with him before I go to school. I’ll always remember this trip as a fun, eye-opening week and an important part of my faith journey.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Austin's reflection

This was the first year that I have gone on the Beth El mission trip. I got to meet so many new people and got to know people from our church. I learned how to do new things. It was a fascinating experience where I got to meet and learn about migrant farm workers. It’s always a blessing to know that you are helping people that need your help. I would like to thank the church for their prayers for our mission team. I would also like to thank Elizabeth for setting up this mission trip to Florida. I would like to thank our whole group for helping me feel comfortable on my first mission trip. I also appreciated Hank and Jeff playing basketball with us! I would also like to thank the Beth El staff for helping me and teaching us new things. This mission trip has brought me closer to people in our church. I’ve also gotten to know the adult advisors that went on the mission trip. I also made new friends within the group. The games that we played always brought some laughs! Being with this group makes me want to go on more mission trips in the future. This mission trip has taught me, and this group, so many things such as dry walling, weed eating, and so many more “life skills” that we all can use in our everyday lives. We also learned how to shower in an outdoor shower house, which is a memorable part of the trip! We even learned how to cook pizzas without an oven! We also learned about the migrant farm workers and many of their hardships in their everyday work. Javier reminded us that everything we do is needed, even taking out the trash! This has been the best mission trip I have been on. I hope to go on many more. Seeing people’s smiling faces, gives you the best feeling, knowing that you made their day by giving them food and items from the thrift store. Helping others is a life lesson that everyone needs and I believe it’s what God wants us to do. I would like to thank everyone that made this trip possible. Thank you for all the blessings and prayers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lily's reflection

This mission trip taught me a lot about being grateful. During the trip we helped out at Beth-El's food pantry. We sorted food, handed it out, and helped people carry it to their cars. Even when we couldn't understand each other, they were so thankful. This really made me think about everything I have and how I should be more grateful. I am also thankful that I got to know people in my church better. I got to meet people I wouldn't ordinarily talk to. During the trip a lady came to talk to us about farmworkers' lives. She told us about which produce is picked by people, what working in a field is like and the dangers of farm work. Before this I didn't know how difficult and dangerous farm work was. One of the big projects we worked on was cleaning out and dry walling rooms. Before this experience I knew nothing about construction, drywall or drilling. I thought that drywall was like styrofoam and easy to cut. I can tell you now that it is not. However, plastering over the screws and edges is fun. This trip was lots of fun and it taught me a lot.

Olivia's reflection

This year’s mission trip to Wimauma, Florida was my second mission trip experience. Last year I had my first mission trip experience at Beth-El in Wimauma, Florida. This year’s trip to Beth-El Farmworker Ministry was a very meaningful experience for me. This year our group was able to do projects like cleaning out an attic, doing dry-wall, handing out food at a weekly food pantry, restocking bags of food for the food pantry, and washing vans. Our group was also able to attend a Tuesday night service at Beth-El. The service that we attended was special because it was in Spanish so the pastor had to help translate for us. During the service there was a time were the members of the congregation were invited to stand and ask for God’s help with things like their attitudes and health problems. At the end of the week it was amazing to look around and see how much work we had accomplished in just a few days. After hearing about how hard people have to work in terrible conditions for us to get the produce that we can easily access in grocery stores, I am now more thankful for all of the fruits and vegetables that I see in the grocery store. This year’s mission trip was an amazing experience that has let me grow closer to God through helping people and witnessing His work in Beth-El Farmworker Ministry.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ali's reflection

I always look forward to this trip because every year brings new memories and relationships! This years trip to Wimauma, FL was extra special because I got to share the experience with my mother! Even though our group was smaller this year it didn't change how much fun we had together! We all grew closer to each other and to God! I had so much fun with the work projects which included, clearing out an attic, learning to drywall, helping with the weekly food pantry, making food bags, and washing various vehicles! I also enjoyed hearing Sister Sarah speak to us again about the migrant farm worker's lives and work! It re-opened my eyes to what I learned last year and reminded me again to always be grateful! It's always heart breaking to hear the truth about their conditions, but at the same time it was good for us all to hear! I will never look at the produce section in the grocery store the same again. I will be forever thankful for all of the time, work, and sacrifice each migrant worker puts in for me to have fresh fruit and veggies! I wish everyone could come on this wonderful trip and get to experience the amazing Beth-El community! It is hard to grasp that we won't be returning next year, but for the time we were there it is comforting to know we made an impact in someone's life!