Thursday, July 3, 2008

Home Again

It's 3:18PM and I just walked through my front door about 15 minutes ago. I can't believe that I miss everyone from my team already...especially the teens! Peter the Great, Trevor the Destroyer and Princess Monica! Those are my new names for the three wonderful, hard working teens that OSLC chose to go with myself and the other adults to Maine. Our last day at the Root Cellar consisted of walking through the neighborhood to promote the Root Cellars new Neighborhood Crime Watch Program. Unfortunately, the crime rate in the area has risen to the extent that people are afraid to leave their own homes. Some of us here on the North Shore couldn't imagine being afraid to walk across the street to visit a friend or to the local Cumberland Farms for a quart of milk. But, in this neighborhood fear goes with the territory. Peggy Hinmans goal is to do away with those feelings and to that end is working hard with the local police to turn fear into confidence. It starts with getting everyone in the neighborhood educated about what to do when crime knocks on their front door. We walked door to door with instruction packets and window stickers to get them started. We let them know that in this country they didn't have to fear the police like they did in their homeland. Instead they could actually work with the local law enforcement to apprehend those who would threaten their peace and security. They were all so relieved to hear these words and couldn't wait to open their instruction packets. The root cellar not only provides spiritual food, clothing and a place for kids to hang out, they now provide people with a sense of security. God is definately working hard in Portland Maine. If I had my way, I'd be heading back there tomorrow. There is always next year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Peter the great!

All week we worked in the morning and helped out in elderly peoples homes. The first day though we demolished a hotels cubical walls and it was fun. I kicked a hole in a wall, we found a peach drink that seemed to be down there for years. It was chunky and it was the worst thing I think I have ever smelled. All the other days, we painted doors red, railings black and decks blue. Its been a lot of work, but I am glad to see the people smiling.


Simply Monica

My favorite part was demolition, because I thought destroying the walls was fun!


A word from Trever!

I enjoyed helping out with various projects like painting and helping the kids with their crafts. I feel that I made a difference in their life's as they did the same to me.



Well it has been an adventure! What a inspiring trip. We are only 1 1/2 hours form home and you would think we were thousands of miles away. We have walked through the communities and found so many people in need of one simple thing, LOVE! I sat on Monday with the children during the opening of VBS, where we were talking about how Jesus forgives all of our sins. A young boy of about 9 years said to me "Jesus forgives everyones sins?" I replied yes everyones! He in turn said, "not mine!" So I asked him if he wanted Jesus to forgive his sins and he said "yes"! I said if that's what you want then it is done! I told him that all Jesus wants is us to ask and it will be done. His reply was "even the bad sins?" Of course I said yes, even the bad ones. The expression on his face was unexplainable! I believe that it is those unexpected moments of conversation that we can minister, and surprise even ourselves as to what we really know about our faith. Believe me, I was surprised how easily those words of encouragement flowed from my mouth.


I can't believe how my little, tiny life can make such a huge impact on others that I have just met. My time here at the Root Cellar in Portland has been filled with the ups and downs, joys and sorrows of meeting and making new friends. I say joys and sorrows because it's always a joy to know that you can make a difference in someones life with just a small act of kindness. The sorrow came into play when I listened to some of the heartbreaking stories some of these people had to tell. The stories about the war torn, poverty stricken countries they hailed from is enough to make the most seasoned veteran cry. The unconditional love and acceptance they have found here in America, particularly at the Root Cellar, is the reason for all of the "ups" they have in their lives today. To be able to put food in the bellies of their children or know that their husband or wife can walk safely to the store and back, brings tears of happiness to their faces. Peggy Hinman, the director here, is a dedicated woman with one goal in bring the love of Christ into their hearts. She has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. I will miss this place.


I want to share with you all about Peggy. We have learned so much from her in our time here. Peggy is the woman who has been our director at The Root Cellar. When we first met her, we immediately saw her heart for the Lord and her commitment to the people that The Root Cellar serves. Peggy shared the history of The Root Cellar and many stories of people they have helped. It is amazing how many people know Jesus because of the Root Cellar and Peggy. When we listened to her stories, her message was clear. You do not need to force Jesus on anyone. The key to reaching hearts with the Gospel is to build a relationship and love the people around you and eventually God will open their hearts to the Lord. Be ready with the gospel whenever the teachable moment arises. Over and over we have seen the importance of loving relationships in the success of The Root Cellar. Peggy said that when Christ changes your heart, you go out and touch the community by serving, by touching the community you change the world because the people that you touch go out and do the same. Peggy is truly an amazing person making a huge difference in the world. If you get a chance to come to the Root Cellar and meet Peggy you will be truly blessed as we have been!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lynn Kasch

This has been a wonderful trip. I am sorry to have to leave and go back to work, but it is audit season!!!!

Like the Florida trip in 2005, I have enjoyed working on the projects with the Portland Housing Authority. My Dad repaired and fixed so many things for the ladies in his church. He left behind a legacy of service to our Lord that my brother and I have picked up and continued.

I really thought working on these projects would be my strong suit, but working with the children and the VBS has really been wonderful too. These children are so precious. Everyone is just beautiful to me. Today, we served lunch to many children. Some of the families have come here from Somalia and are Muslim.

The Root Cellar has been very considerate and serves hot dogs that are all beef (no pork). Peggy, our coordinator is so wonderful. She is so personable and talks to people and establishes true friendships. It is so much easier to bring the Gospel to a friend than to broadcast it over a crowd. She is truly saving one more for Je sus.

P.S. I did look at their audited financial statements. I audit not-for-profits all the time and I just couldn't help myself.

Day 2... Jessies view

It is day two of our missions trip, and sadly, my last day. In the past couple days, I have done everything from pushing kids on the swings, to demolishing and breaking walls. All in all, i had loads of fun.

One of my favorite things was using a power washer. Every single time i turned it on, i would lean backwards due to the force of it. I used it at a senior center, and also painted and scraped the doors of the furnace rooms.

Another one of my favorite things during this trip was seeing all the little children and doing the lessons and games with all the Sudanese and Somalian children. Just looking at their faces put a smile on my face. All of them were so cute and they were all so happy. One little boy, was being teased and bullied by two other boys who ruined his craft. So he left the room crying, and i left the room with him for about an hour and a half.

I tried almost everything to make him laugh, but it didnt work until, once everyone else left, his friend came and spent time making him laugh. He left happily with a smile on his face, and so did I. So, on to the next blogger! See everyone in Massachusetts soon!


Day 2 -- Battling the Blog

Hi everyone!

We are trying desperately to get this blog updated, especially with photos. Before long you'll see if they make it up or not.

We are having an awesome time here in Portland Maine. We've demolished, painted, cleaned, hosted a cookout, and worked with some really special kids. I've personally loved the hugs and looks from some of the kids. Their names are tricky, but the fact that they all speak good English makes it easy to communicate with them. We've taught them about Following the King and Knowing the King which was about Jesus forgiving sins and there was a bit about forgiving each other as well. A very useful lesson!

Anyway, I'll sign off so others can write and perhaps we can upload some pictures. See everyone soon!


Monday, June 30, 2008

The Wrecking Crew

Well, day two of our mission found us, not at the Root Cellar, but at a housing complex owned and operated by the Portland Housing Authority. The first thing we did was to demolish an entire room in the basement of a 16 floor complex. Although everyone worked hard there was one person who stood out among the rest of us. Her story goes like this.

"In a time of Ancient Kings and War Lords. The people cried out for a hero! She was Xena...I mean KAREN, Warrior Princess Demolition Leader!" Our team leader was a one woman wrecking crew. She knocked down walls, moved refrigerators and stoves, pulled up rugs and nails like nobody's business! To say that I was more than impressed with her skills as a wrecking ball is an understatement.

Shortly after that we moved on to another complex where we found ourselves happily painting the outside of furnace doors at elderly housing and the seniors that we met were more than happy to sit in the beautiful sunshine and watch. But, then again, we were more than happy to paint. Of course painting with Peter, Trevor and Monica wouldn't have been fun if at least one of them didn't walk away with bright red paint all over them.

See? God does have a sense of humor. The end of the day had us back at the root cellar where we put on a stellar puppet show that the kids just loved. Coupled with games and crafts, all in all I'd say God blessed us with a very fun-filled day.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looks Like We Made It

The hour and a half it took to get here in Carol Read's van was very uneventful and before we knew it, we were parked in the parking lot of The Root Cellar. This very nondescript brick building looks very small on the outside but, once you step through the main entrance you will discover that it is quite a large and spacious building. Our first contact was with Peggy. A serious woman of God who very generously allowed us to cook a meal that the Root Cellar provided for us. However, before that we were fully engaged in shampooing rugs, painting a bathroom, replacing ceiling tiles and rehearsing a puppet show (just one of three) that the teens will be putting on. We got quite a bit done in just under 5 hours. Needless to say we are all exhausted. God is Good.

Commissioning the team

In the June 29 church services, we had a formal ceremony commissioning the team. This consists of a prayer. During the prayer, people from the congregation place their hands on the team members.

The significance of this is: a) It is a practice that was done in Biblical times; b) it's a symbolic acknowledgment that the team is representing the people of the congregation; and c) it is an act of corporate involvement of the congregation.

Portland Maine Mission 2008

Our Purposes

--To strategically fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus—by putting into practice Jesus’ command to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’

--To teach Sudanese, Somali and American children the awesome love of Jeus through Safari-themed Bible lessons, games, music, crafts

--To distribute food and clothes to those in need in Portland, Maine at the Root Cellar. 90% of the population the Root Cellar serves are African Immigrants—mainly from Sudan and Somalia

--To paint the teen center bathroom at the Root Cellar, shampoo the rugs and replace ceiling tiles

--To help with community projects near the Root Cellar that include painting, yard clean up, minor repairs, etc…

--To encourage the Root Cellar staff through Jesus’ love

--To host a Citizenship celebration for Immigrants and their families who have become USA citizens over the past year—Happy 4th of July!

--To strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ and one another