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!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Kaitlyn Dickson Reflection of BSM During the Philadelphia mission trip I learned many things. I learned how to do simple tasks such as mowing and painting walls. I also learned about the people going through homelessness. A few people helped me learn that I should not judge people by the way they look. On Monday, we were able to eat breakfast and socialize with people who were either homeless or couldn’t afford food. During this time a guy, named Billy, sat down with Chasity, Caroline Smith, and me. He didn’t have the nicest clothes on and he carried around a bag with him. We later learned that he traveled by foot from Philadelphia to Virginia. He likes to do art and music. He was homeless and went to breaking bread often. Billy was easy to talk to and had many stories to tell during our time together Later in the week, we had a tour guide come in. His name was Andre and he went through homelessness twice. The first time he was laid off his job and the second time was by choice. He told us his story then went over some reasons why someone would be going through homelessness. A few examples are by choice, growing out of foster care, and being laid off of their job. Andre was very nice and had a sense of humor. A lot of people from Philly knew him. While we walked around, I learned many things about homelessness. He showed us where some would go to sleep, the way they communicate, and the history of it all. I learned that if it was below thirty-five degrees or higher than hundred degrees then the homeless would be allowed to go into any public building to rest. On Thursday, it was my turn to serve in breaking bread. I was told that Thursday was the busiest, but I was more than ready to help serve. I was waitress along with Caroline Smith. We were assigned section five and while the food was being prepared, we had a little time to talk to the guests. All of them were very polite and not one person said anything rude. There was one guy who stuck out to me the most. His appearance was different and would probably throw some people off. He has a lot of tattoos and two of them were tear drops under his eye. He talked to me first and we had a normal conversation. He was very nice and very polite to me. Every time I gave him food he would say thank you and one time he even called me ma’am. Although his appearance might give off the wrong vibe, does not mean one should judge him because of it. I learned so much during my week at Broadstreet Ministries. All of these people helped me open my eyes and notice that money and appearances don’t make up a person. To know a person, one has to make an effort and talk, instead of just judging and deciding who they are.
Caroline Smith’s Reflection This year was my first mission trip, which also happened to be our church’s first trip to Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and were immediately welcomed by the church community into their worship service. The sanctuary was beautiful, filled with many colors, including origami birds and windmills hanging from the ceiling. There was another group there with us from Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD. Throughout the week we all became great friends, mostly through playing cards. We were split into groups and given a different activity every day of the week. My group consisted of Aubree from BSM, Kaitlyn, Ali, Chasity, and me. We were given the chance to help out in 5 different communities. Monday was Beacon Church, Tuesday was a tour and Manna, Wednesday was sorting mail at BSM, Thursday was Breaking Bread, and Friday was Teens for Good. From painting walls to serving food to people experiencing homelessness, there was never a boring moment. At night we had lessons from stories in the Bible taught by members of the staff at BSM. I learned to forget all of society’s stereotypes, especially about people experiencing homelessness, and just talk to people to learn their stories. Above all, I will never forget all the great memories I made and the amazing people I met.
Olivia Smith BSM Reflection This year’s mission trip to Philadelphia to work with Broad Street Ministry was an amazing experience. During just one week of work with Broad Street I was able to package food for people with diseases who have a hard time buying their own food, sell newspapers to raise awareness about homelessness, serve food to people needing a warm meal, weed an urban garden that helps provide fresh fruits and vegetables to people in the neighborhood, and package boxes of food that were sent to elderly people who are unable to buy or afford food from grocery stores. While I was in Philadelphia I worked with many organizations including Manna, Philabundance, One Step Away, an urban garden organization, and Breaking Bread with Broad Street Ministry. After a week at Broad Street my perspective of homelessness and people who are experiencing homelessness has significantly changed. I learned a lot about why people are experiencing homeless and how people who are experiencing homelessness have become homeless. I am so thankful I was able to grow closer to God and see His work while I was at Broad Street and I am thankful that I was able to have this experience with my sister and my friends. My mission trip experience with Broad Street Ministry was extremely eye-opening and impactful and I hope that I am able to return to Broad Street to work with them again.
Reflection by Ali Sharpe, rising Senior. The trip to Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will always be one of my most treasured memories. Before the trip I would have never imagined how much it would change my perspective and attitude towards issues in society. Our week was loaded with new experiences and eye opening moments. When we arrived at Broad Street we were split into neighborhood groups and with those groups we traveled to different locations over the course of a week. Aubree, part of the youth initiative staff, was our leader and Chasity, Caroline Smith, and Kaitlyn were also in my group! On Monday our group traveled to Beacon, a church devoted to caring for the community around it. Beacon serves as a light for people going through dark times and gives them hope for the future. They also are very involved with the children in the community and have many after school programs for children to create art in a safe environment. While we were there we painted, mowed the lawn, and helped prepare for the upcoming art show. On Tuesday we went a tour around the city with Andre, a man devoted to helping the homeless community because he too has been homeless. He broke the wall of stereotypes we each had regarding people in the homeless community and opened our eyes to a side we have never tried to look for. He took us to different murals around the city and different locations people experiencing homelessness can get help. That afternoon we went to Manna, an organization that prepares hot meals for people with life threatening diseases such as cancer and aids. In just two hours we helped prepared 750 meals! We left feeling tired yet accomplished! On Wednesday we got the opportunity to help sort mail in Broad Street's mail system. Broad Street allows anyone to use their address if they do not have one so they can obtain the crucial benefits they need to survive and get a job. Broad Street has over 2,800 individuals using their address!! We worked all morning sorting and filing mail. That afternoon was our free day and we enjoyed walking around the city! We went to a food court type place for dinner and got ice cream for dessert! Thursday our group got to serve in the daily Breaking Bread meal hosted at Broad Street. The unique part of Breaking Bread is that anyone can attend the meal and they are treated like guests. We served them as if they were seated in a restaurant! This was probably my favorite experience of the week because I didn't feel as if I were giving out a handout, and I got to connect and listen to amazing stories! On our final day we traveled to the Carousel House and helped garden in their urban garden. Each summer they allow teens to come and garden and learn life skills through a program called Teens 4 Good. We weeded, and sprayed plants. At the end we got to harvest various vegetables and pick fresh raspberries! I am so thankful for the wonderful opportunity I had and I hope I can go back next year!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday wrap up

Chubby little kids always want to be held. However, children at VBS are the most devoted, adorable, children who are all about getting attention and love from the "Americanos". The neighborhoods are very poor, but the residents are always keeping a positive attitude when we would visit. The children were always excited to see us, and the parents were always excited to talk to us, despite them not speaking English. Overall, the trip was worth remembering forever. The happy faces and the laughs were so enlightening to see, and it feels good to feel like you were the reason they were so happy. Holden Johnsen ........................................................................... Our last day of construction was a very successful one. We were able to nearly finish the first side of the concrete wall. Our team finished the rebar for the entire side and poured concrete to fill the majority of it. Our day was highlighted by Edwin's fall into the creek. I really enjoyed working and bonding with people who I had not known before the trip, including the Dominican workers. Our team really enjoyed working together and we were able to have fun and get to know each other well working as a team. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of something that will help many people in need in the future. Max Revercomb

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Miercoles in the Dominican

Today on the construction site we laid out forms to pour concrete in as the foundation for the wall. Afterwards we laid down rebar supports inside the frame and manually twist tied them together. once that was done the concrete was made and poured into the forms. Jack Irons .................................................................................. Today we participated in VBS and visited the barrios. Throughout the day at the church we met many new faces and reconnected with others we had met in the previous days. Playing many outdoor games, singing and dancing, and constructing arts and crafts we had not only a tiring day but the experience of a lifetime. Connecting with all of these children has not only been an amazing experience but has made a huge impact on my life. In addition, walking throughout the barrios was a fun experience. We played with kids of all ages and played many different activities. We had an awesome but tiring day. Katherine Douthat ............................................................................. Throughout the week I have been working in the VBS portion of "Bibles And Bricks". The experience has been unbelievable with all of the children jumping all over you wanting to take pictures, hold your hand, or get on your back. I've learned that the most important phrases with these children are "Hola", "Como estas", "Como se llamas?" or "Tomas un foto" meaning do you want to take a picture. That's all these kids want to do. They just want to enjoy your presence and have fun with new friends. I'm glad to be able to join these great people that are also working in Bibles and Bricks. Alexa Cannon

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Martes Update from the DR

Today at the construction site we had a fun day full of hard work. At first we bent rebar into squares using this metal nail contraption that probably the DR only uses. Then next we put a ton of rebar into the wooden holder for cement that we made yesterday. Doing that was very time consuming and a lot harder to do than it looks. We had to tie these small metal pieces around the rebar over and over again until we did it right. After we set up all the rebar we were ready to cement. Half of us made the cement and the other spread it out evenly. It was an awesome but tiring day. Edwin Saunders Today at VBS the number of kids almost doubled and extra benches had to be brought out so that all the kids had a place to sit. The puppet show was the story of Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh's dreams and the craft involved the kids decorating Joseph's colorful coat. Although the original plan of gluing pipe cleaners to the jackets failed, we were able to come up with another solution for the second group of kids. For the rec portion of VBS we played a game where the kids threw bouncy balls into buckets. The kids loved singing songs as always and were full of energy and excitement. At the end the kids learned a memory verse and many had the one from yesterday and today memorized, which was very impressive! We then danced and gave piggy back rides until lunch. Needless to say it was a successful second day! Madison Bloomfield

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dia dos

About the first day of work from the perspectives of Anne Johnson, Kate Robertson, and Cathy Shoulders. Today was a busy day for both the VBS and construction teams as we were put in new territory. The VBS took place at Pastor Enol's church who is Solid Rock's pastor. This church allowed for more organization than our previous location over the years. We had about 100 kids which is fantastic for the first day! As a normal day at VBS here goes, we started off with songs to energize the kids, a puppet show with a new stage handmade by the Potter family from a large box they had around the house. After the puppet show the kids were split into groups based on age where they rotated between crafts, games, and a snack. At the end we brought the kids all back together and sang a few more of the kids' favorite songs and learning the memory verse of the day (Daniel 3:28). After the kids left we cleaned up, ate lunch then headed out to explore the town. We were hoping to venture through the Cathedral but at that time the guard was not there to let us in so we will try again later. Back at the guest house we prepped for tomorrow and spent time in the Barrios with the kids. I, Cathy, have been privileged to have been on 5 mission trips. On each one, I have jokingly said, "We need t-shirts that say 'Volunteer - you get what you pay for.'" Each trip has been a joy, but, coming to the DR with this wonderful group of adults and youth has changed my slogan. After a day of working to build part of the wall that will be around the new clinic, I sat in the courtyard deepening friendships. I have eaten like royalty! And tonight had the privilege of playing softball with local Dominicans. So I found my new slogan "Volunteer - this day was priceless." As Cathy mentioned, we were lucky enough to get to play softball with the locals under the lights at a local field. This is always a fun and entertaining experience as their skill level magically increases when the Dominicans are up to bat. When us Americanos get up to hit, they love to help us out and pitch softer and kiddingly miss the ball when it lands. We managed to end the day with only a few minor mishaps, unlike our travel experience, a few more sunburns, and many memories already. We all have been blessed with this opportunity and trip already and all look forward to the rest of the week! Thanks for your support, love, and prayers! Anne, Kate, and Cathy

Sunday, July 12, 2015

First Day in San Juan

WE ARRIVED!!! After a long day of rescheduled flights we arrived in Santo Domingo at different times! The majority of the group arrived around midnight and a few stragglers arriving at 2:30 am. We enjoyed breakfast at the Fiesta hotel before we departed for San Juan around 9am. We arrived at Solid Rock in time for a delicious lunch including fresh mango, watermelon, and pineapple. After lunch, Dan and Kari, the Solid Rock administrators, laid down the rules and explained Solid Rock's mission which is to help the poor physically, mentally, and emotionally. We then visited the construction site where the future clinic will sit in the next few years. Next we learned some new songs and prepared for tomorrow's VBS. After this we had about an hour of free time which some people used to rest while others played with some kids in the local neighborhoods called barrios. After a little bit of free time we enjoyed a tasty dinner before heading off to an evening church service. We can't wait to work on the construction site and with VBS tomorrow!! Adios from the DR, Madison G, Olivia, and Ali

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.