Monday, June 29, 2009

OSRP Update (Orange Shag Removal Project)

With the youth safely home (more on that when I get pictures) I want to report a monumental occasion for me and my ministry here at Grandview. I've been here 11 years and I STILL haven't eradicated the orange shag carpet from Grandview's decor. However, as of last week all orange shag has been removed from the Grandview floors.

I promise to press on to rid the church of the one final patch of orange shag (the old stairwell has orange shag on the wall beneath the hand railing.

Below are the pictures. I'm sorry my iPhone doesn't capture the fullness of the glory of the orange shag, but if you've seen it then you remember it. You don't even need pictures.

Orange Shaginator: Neal Voke

A crew of volunteers arrived on Sunday night; just one week ago. They moved everything out of the library, foyer, and Fireside Room.

The professionals moved in on Friday and removed the old brown and the orange shag.The concrete floor in my office was able to breathe again.

Then the new blue took over. Welcome, new carpet!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Puebla Update #5

Short and sweet.

It's been an amazing day and an amazing week. We can't wait to tell you all about it. We'll see you Sunday night.


I don't know how much more information I'll get from them while they are traveling home. If I hear anything I'll be sure to post it, though. I'm sure the cell towers will light up once they land in Baltimore.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Puebla Update #4

More From Ryan (sounds like things are going great!)

We worked a half day today, but we worked hard while we were at it. Most of us got after the large wall we've been painting all week and those combined efforts got us near the finish line. There's also been a good deal of indoor painting going on with Larry leading that charge. They completed their second room today. So needless to say, we've got some painters on our hands. They've done a great job.

Meanwhile Jim Dollard and I, with a little help from Logan, built a swing in the front yard that many of the students at El Pozo are pretty excited about. That was a lot of fun. The blocks to complete the driveway project also came in today and that will be the item on the top of tomorrow's to do list.

After our morning of work we all took cabs to downtown Puebla to eat lunch and walk through the market. Lunch was great, but I don't remember the name of the restaurant. Everyone had a good time at the market and I imagine many of you reading this will be the beneficiaries of some of the purchases made today. Enjoy. We also took a quick look through the Church of San Francisco, Mexico's biggest Catholic church. It was quite a site to see.

After worship and dinner our group spent a relaxing evening at the campus house playing games and telling our favorite jokes. It was a great night. It's hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day, but it's been an amazing week. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We'll look forward to sharing all of this with you when we get back on Sunday night.

Buenos Noches

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Puebla Update #3

This morning's report from Ryan:

Wednesday was another good day here in Puebla and one characterized by weather that you might expect in Mexico. The sun was up early and the day was hot. The big project of the day was getting after the big wall. Most of the group was employed either painting or scraping parts of the wall. Now you should know that painting this wall was a project most of the El Pozo staff (as well as most of our leaders) did not expect to get done this week. However, by the end of the day today, most of the wall was covered with one coat. Work will continue as a second coat is required, but things are progressing nicely.

Work has halted on the driveway project, however, as there has been a delay in the delivery of the bricks. Nathan and Heath (another staff member) have a phrase for episodes like the one surrounding the delivery (or lack thereof) of the bricks. "TIM" they'll say; "this is Mexico". We are,however, hopeful of picking up that project tomorrow.

Today was the day for my group to go the orphanage so I can say a little more about that. It's a state run orphanage kept in a nice facility near downtown Puebla. The children, of course do not speak English which presents an interesting challenge for gringos and gringas like us. It was a pure delight though to interact with them and see our own students work through the language barrier to play with and love on the kids. You had Meghan carrying on a conversation with a four year old on the swing, Sydney playing house with two little girls (playing house by the way entailed Sydney being locked in a playhouse and forbidden to exit. She was a good sport), Logan and Jeremy with little boys on their shoulders all day, Xander playing frisbee and Josh changing his first diaper in the nursery. Logan also took the time to convince the little boys that my name was "Careful" which made for some interesting exchanges throughout the day. All the students did a great job and really enjoyed our time there.

Tonight we all went out to eat. Half the group went to a restaurant called "Las Flautas" while the other half went to "Munchis". My group was at Flautas and the food was amazing. Tomorrow we'll try Munchis while the other group will try Las Flautas. It's been a lot of fun to interact in the Mexican culture.

One thing the kids keep talking about is how wonderful it's been to interact with the Mexican students who attend El Poza and are around this week. There's Betty, Carlos, Yuyo, Steph, Mario and others. They are all kind and outgoing and our students are really developing friendships with them that will make a difference any time the McDades are mentioned at Grandview in a pastoral prayer or otherwise. El Pozo is no longer just an idea but a place with faces that we know. We'll look forward to sharing their pictures and stories with you when we return so you too might know El Pozo not just as a place but as a group of people striving to follow the same God we follow at Grandview.

Contine to pray for us. God is at work


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update #2a from Puebla

I'm out of synch! In order to keep things simple, I'm calling this report 2a (that way future reports will be labeled the same on the church website as they are on my blog).

Here's the latest:
1) One of the two biggest projects is the stripping and repainting of the concrete perimeter around the campus house property. This is probably a fifteen foot high wall that totals well over a hundred yards in length surrounding the property. It has to be scraped and washed and repainted. Almost everyone has had their hand in this project at some point during the week, and painting began today even as preparing continues. This will be a nice improvement to the property and a great accomplishment when it's all done.

2) The other big project is the installation of a concrete brick driveway in the drive up to the parking lot. The current drive up is comprised of loose dirt and very little gravel and is susceptible to washing away, particularly during Mexico's rainy season in the fall. This job has entailed digging down about six inches over an area of about 250 square feet. Once the ground has been graded and leveled the bricks are installed by hand. We made a lot of headway on this today and are awaiting the delivery of more bricks with hopes of finishing tomorrow.

3) There are a number of construction projects going on that a number of our guys and gals are assisting in. These include the installation of a bathroom closet and the construction of some benches in an outdoor eating space. These I've been less involved in but I do know that a number of kids have gotten to wield hammer and saw.

4) There are a number of other miscellaneous projects going on, some of which I may not be aware of. The encouraging news is we're making head way on many of them as the kids enthusiastically pitch in to help. Pray that this continues.

Today was surprisingly cool and a bit rainy in the morning. By mid-afternoon things had cleared off, and we got to experience some good old Mexican heat. However, come rain or shine...

If you're praying for us, be praying that that these students would be as attentive to and excited about what God will teach them through this trip as they have been about their work here in Puebla. We've got our hopes set high.

The days are long and the nights short, but we'll continue to try to keep you updates. Be well.

Buenos Noches

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Puebla Update #2

(Zander Murry in the pic above as he tries to disguise his excitement about heading to Mexico!)

From Ryan Bader:

We are all here safe and sound, but Sunday certainly was a long day. It began at 3:00 in the morning when I took 10 folks to the computer. After some check in excitement, they made it safely to New York and then to Mexico City. They arrived here at the El Pozo campus house by 5:00, almost perfectly on schedule. They second group took off for the airport around 6:45. Both of those groups made it out of Baltimore and into Dallas safely and as scheduled. That's when the waiting began. Long story short, we finally arrived here at El Pozo at 2:30 in the morning local time (3:30 body time), but still in good spirits.

Yesterday was a great day. The morning was spent in orientation. We experienced many of the things that the Mexican students would take part in during a normal week here at the campus house. It was a great way to be introduced to the ministry and understand what our place in it would be during the week. After lunch, we started working, and the kids did great. We got some prepping a wall to be repainted, others working on putting in a driveway, and still others installing a cabinet, cutting back trees and doing all sorts of other work around the house. Today will be a full day of work and half of our group will go the the orphanage in the afternoon.

The evening was spend in worship, followed by an incredible meal of Mexican tacos. Last night was an interesting cultural experience. We attended Lucha Libra, the Monday night Mexican professional wrestling main event. It was, as we say, quite a hoot. We'll tell you all about it.

Everything's going great. Thanks for the prayers. I'll try to find more time to update again later.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Report #1: Thanks to Carla and Larry

Here it is:

Everyone is at the campus house safe and sound.

The last of the group got to Mexico City about 9 pm according to the airline website and then to Puebla about 2 am due to the accumulation of several delays.

Today's activities included a delicious breakfast, a brief overview orientation of the campus ministry's weekly activities, a delicious lunch, and then working on projects at the campus house -- yard work, cleaning, painting . . .

Tuesday and Wednesday: 1/2 the Grandview group will go to a local orphanage and 1/2 the group will stay to work at the campus house. The next day, the groups will change places and the group that stayed at the campus house will go to the orphanage.

The McDades have evening activities planned and I'm sure we'll hear about them as the week goes on.

Larry says that it is not too hot - 70's - 80's with a breeze.

The guys are staying at the campus house. The gals at the home of a staff member.

That's all I know for now -- From the background noise, it sounded like they were having lots of fun together.

I Know Nothing

Hello faithful parents and friends of those traveling to Mexico for the youth mission trip.

I'm supposed to report their progress to you. I'm supposed to be the very hub of information in order to keep our tight little community up to date.

I'm sorry to report that I know almost nothing. No emails. No texts. No updates on facebook. No twitters. No phone calls.

Carla did get a call from Larry and the first group arrived in Puebla about 8pm last night. I don't know who was in the first group, though.

I'm sorry everyone. I make a lousy hub of information.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Catch and Release Day

NOTE TO PARENTS: It's 11pm ... the crew has arrived at Mountain Christian Church.

This blog entry is brought to you buy The Big Picture, the Summer Sermon Series beginning on July 12th, to be interrupted only by Enoch Nyador on Sunday, July 26th.Now to the pics ... Matheus says good bye to his little brother, Filippe.

Then the junior high kids returned.

And I got my Anna back.

Kara returned and looked tired, but happy.Emily and Travis ... will help lead the youth to Mexico.

Logan looked happy and ready.

The parents were in good spirits, too.

Sydney, Alexis, and Meredith ham it up.

This is the whole crew, lined up and ready to go.

Blane at the lunch.

Josh at the lunch.

Jim at the lunch.

Ryan, the fearless leader.

Craig and Donna were there to say good-bye as well.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Scattered for Mission

As a father I have tried to impress upon my daughters the importance of following God's call. All the while I have known that my high ideals could (and probably would) become difficult the older they got. It's easy to talk about the importance of missions from the pulpit, but it gets a little more difficult when you put your daughter on a plane to Mexico as an intern missionary for five weeks.

The day has now arrived. Meg is on a plane from Dallas to Mexico City as I type. Anna is on her way to Knoxville (UT Vols ... the heart of the beast) with the junior high youth group. I've got one daughter at home.Meg isn't alone. She has Katy with her, and that makes me happy as well. I hope that Meg and Katy are always friends. Their adult lives will be all the richer for these experiences they will share and (hopefully) relive together from time-to-time.
Here is a picture of Anna and the junior high crew as they were leaving this morning. I can't even begin to tell you how pleased I am that they have been growing up in a church that challenges youth to focus on something besides pizza parties and banana splits (they do SOME silly things, but Dana and Ryan both focus the children/youth on the most important things).
If you want to pray for them. I will let you.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The CAT Team Hard at Work

No time for commentary today, but I thought you might enjoy seeing the Christian Action Team hard at work. Thanks to all who are volunteering their time and their sweat.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

UP is worth your time.

Because I rarely make it to the theater, I don't report much on movies in this blog. But yesterday Anna had surgery (on her ear lobes, nothing serious) and to lighten the mood afterward we all went to see UP. Anna and Cora have wanted to see it for a long time. I, however, didn't have high hopes for it. The ads didn't appeal to me much.

To my delight, however, the movie was wonderful. It has everything. Humor. Pathos. Deep sadness. Triumph. Visually it's magnificent. I left the theater thinking, "Man, when they want to, American movie makers can accomplish great things."

There were times when I was glad I was wearing 3D glasses because I didn't want people to see me tearing up (I take after my mother that way). There were times when I laughed out loud (which I rarely do at a movie). Pixar has made some good movies, but this one is easily my favorite, and that surprises me.

When it comes to cartoons, I'm from the Bugs Bunny generation. I usually want my cartoons to be silly and pointless. Sometime during the 80s cartoons became politicized and they attempted to have meaning. I think Captain Planet was the first to try to use cartoons as a vehicle to win the hearts of kids for a specific agenda. I've lamented that change in cartoons many times. But if it took 25 years of cartoons wondering off the "silly and pointless" path to arrive at this movie then the wondering was worth it.

Kudos, Pixar! I applaud you.