I've been struggling with how to best describe the week, and tell the story here and have decided that the best way is probably in little bits...
This post will be the executive summary... All the important details with as little story as I can bear to tell.
Want to know the facts, and just the facts? This is them from my vantage point.
- We left RVCC at 5:00 AM, and made great time.
- We stopped in Columbus for breakfast, random exits in Northern Ohio and Pennyslvania for gas and bathrooms, and Niagara, Ontario for lunch.
- We arrived at the Youthworks site at almost exactly 4 PM.
- We settled in, had dinner, had some student and adult orientation, were given our assignments on work teams for the week, had some time to worship, a devotion, and time to sit and talk in our church group, and then called it a night
- We met John Reside and the rest of his crew from Springfield, Illinois
- The other church (from Northern Ohio) had van trouble, and didn't arrive until the middle of the night.
- First day on work crews.
- My group went to the Ina Grafton Gage Home for the Aged.
- We spent the morning hanging out with residents, and potting flowers.
- In the afternoon, Mason and I powerwashed the back patio while Sarah & Sarah played bingo and socialized with the residents.
- Some of our students and leaders went to Booth Industries.
- Some of our other students and leaders went to St. Judes Academy for the Arts.
- In the evening, we took a Street Walk starting at the Salvation Army Gateway Shelter and visiting both moderately poor and very wealthy areas of Toronto.
- During the walk, we got to hear from Anthony, an ex-drug addict and resident of the streets of Toronto.
- At the end of the walk Anthony was open to questions about life on the streets, drug addiction, getting clean, and shared a bit more of his life story with us.
- We returned to the church for church group time and bed.
- My work crew changed sites from Ina Grafton to St. Francis Table, where we met Brother John, Sam, and Dominic.
- We, again, had one crew travel to Booth Industries and one crew travel to St. Judes.
- On the way home from the work sites for the day the big church van broke down.
- Chris Moore did an awesome job (with the help of Reed Nutt) of getting the kids back safe, and the van in for repair.
- In the evening we played kick-ball at the playground behind the church where we were staying.
- We rounded out the night with worship, devotions, prayer, and church group time.
- Transportation was tricky today because we were short one large van.
- The work crew from Booth was transferred to St. Judes, and the St. Francis crew was dropped off enroute.
- This placed 12 of the 16 members of the RVCC team at St. Judes and 4 of us at St. Francis.
- Due to transportation issues, we had to split getting the crew "home" from St. Francis into two groups. The girls went first and Mason and I waited for the return trip. Had a good time talking to random folks at St. Francis while we waited.
- Van was fixed by mid-afternoon. Reed, again, assisted us in picking it up.
- Went to China-town after dinner for some random shopping and wandering around. Our time there was very short, but fun.
- Worship, devotions, prayer, and church group time rounded out the night before bed.
- Two RVCC crews to St. Judes
- One crew back to St. Francis Table.
- St. Judes crew had a very moving day, and it sounded like many tear-filled good-byes.
- Myron volunteered at St. Francis today. He made our day!
- After showers (and before dinner) I managed to squeeze a walk and talk in with a couple of our students, was a great time.
- After dinner, our evening activity took us to a local park to play games (frisbee, red rover, freeze tag) and watch a local Christian artist play music (Jason Moon).
- Had great conversations at the park.
- Back at the church for the evening. Worship was followed by a foot washing service. This was very moving for many of our leaders and students.
- Church group time was very emotional as well, with some really cool thoughts and revelations by members of our group.
- After church group time there was pizza, ice cream, and crazy fellowship in the midst of sad good-byes. (Thanks to CMoore and Reed for the snacks!)
- Eric tried to wake the guys up two hours early because he misread the clock.
- We got up, packed, cleaned the church, filled out evaluation forms, took some photos, and loaded our vehicles all before 9 AM.
- We said good-bye to the Youthworks staff, and the other churches and headed for Casa Loma, via Tim Hortons.
- Got a little lost looking for a Tim's, which wasn't where the GPS said it should be.
- Made it to Casa Loma by 10.
- Sight seeing and exploring at Casa Loma till noon.
- Went to the Eaton Centre Mall downtown for lunch in the food court, and walking, talking, and shopping.
- Headed to SkyDome (a.k.a Rogers Center) by 4 PM.
- Took a large group up into the CN Tower.
- Had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, in Skydome.
- On the road by 9PM headed for Niagra Falls.
- Arrived at the hotel a little after midnight due to bad road construction and traffic.
- Did breakfast "on our own" and met to leave the hotel by 10.
- Did sight-seeing (Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, and walking around) till noon-thirty.
- Crossed the Rainbow Bridge back into the US at 1 PM.
- Chris had an interesting discussion with the border crossing gaurds. This will be the source of much laughter for years to come.
- Drove home pretty much straight through from Niagara Falls to Waverly Ohio.
- Stopped for dinner and gas a couple of times along the way.
- Drove through crazy rain between Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.
- HUGE thank you to Sarah for talking with me and keeping me awake for 6+ hours.
- Started having transmission (??) trouble with the white van on 71 south of Cleveland.
- Chris did a great job of getting the van and all of the occupants home safe.
- Arrived at RVCC around 9:30, unpacked, said good-bye, and headed home to crash.
Once again, this is the bare-bones version of what happened during the week. If you read this blog and you have any access at all to one of the kids that went on the trip, please take the time to sit down with them and hear their stories.
My plan from this point on is to blog some of my own stories, and encourage the kids (and other leaders) to find an outlet to tell their own.
I honestly believe that people were changed this week. I know that I was.
Can't wait to keep hearing more stories.
Praying that everyone is adjusting to "real life" without letting go of the things that impacted you while we were away.
That's it for now.
- Roogles out