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!

Friday, July 15, 2016

DR 2016 - Thursday, July 14

Hola from the Dominican Republic! It’s Olivia Smith and Rachel Delaney reflecting on Thursday. We had the opportunity to go to Vacation Bible School and construction today. We started the day with Vacation Bible School at a nearby church where we walked around the barrios (neighborhoods) to find more kids to come. Then we sang some familiar and some new songs in Spanish. Members of our team acted out the parable of the lost coin as Pastor Enol read the story from the Bible. We then split into groups: crafts and games. Both of us helped with games for the second half and Olivia helped with crafts during the first half while Rachel did games. During games, we played with chalk, bubujas (bubbles), and pelotas (balls). Some kids just wanted to sit, talk and take pictures with us (the girls mostly wanted pictures of Rob). Then we went back to the church to sing more songs and let the kids recite the verses from the week. Then we piled into trucks and cars to get back to the guesthouse for a delicious lunch. After dishes were done, some of us prepared to go to construction while others visited the barrios, helped with tasks around the guesthouse or rested. At the construction site, we helped make mortar, shovel rocks, filled in the space between bricks with the mortar, and were made fun of by the Dominican workers for taking a group picture. In the past year an enormous amount of progress had been made. Last year there was only half of one side of the wall surrounding the new clinic. This year one and a half sides of the wall surrounding the clinic were finished and some walls of the clinic had been built. Being a part of the construction team allowed us to see the way Dominicans build structures and see the hard work it takes to make it happen. It was humbling to be a part of such a huge project that so many people have contributed to in order to make it possible. After we got back from construction, we took a quick snack break before heading out to the barrios to play with the kids one last time this week. We took pictures with the kids and gave many piggyback rides before it started to rain when we had to say goodbye. We raced through the rain to get back to the guesthouse, and then Patty gave us a tour of the current clinic. It was really interesting to see how the sanitation and other conditions of the medical office here are so different from those in the US. Kyle and Josh, a couple helping Dan and Kari this summer, then took a group of us to a nearby stadium with basketball courts, a track and more. This gave us a chance to experience even more Dominican culture and have some interesting conversations with the people there. We returned for an amazing dinner of cheesy vegetables, meat, fresh fruit, salad, cookies and more. After dinner, our group met for an evening devotional where we reread the same passage that we read the first night here. We then finished our meeting with the sharing of communion. We now prepare to return to Santo Domingo and, soon, the United States where we hope to share and use what we have learned in our everyday lives. -Olivia Smith and Rachel Delaney

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

DR 2016 - Wednesday, July 13

Buenas noches! We got up this morning at 6:45 to a delicious breakfast of baked oatmeal and fresh Dominican fruit. Each morning before breakfast a different staff member from Solid Rock leads a brief morning devotional for our group, to center our day. Today a staff member named Kyle talked about worries and learning to surrender them to God and pray for peace, which was very encouraging. After breakfast, we split into VBS crew and construction crew and headed out for the day. VBS had a great turnout of over 200 kids. We sang fun songs and learned about the story the Prodigal Son with a fun puppet show. We enjoyed doing the craft and games with the kids, who were all so happy to be there. After VBS and lunch, we went to the local market for a fun scavenger hunt competition. It was so neat to see more of the Dominican culture, interact with local people, and see all of the different things sold there. After the scavenger hunt, we had free time. Many of us went into the barrios to play with the kids, which is always such a joy. Then as a group, Ken took us to the clinic construction site, which was amazing. As we both went last year, we can testify to the tremendous progress of the project. Last year, we worked on the surrounding wall of the clinic, and when we went today we witnessed the walls of the clinic itself. It is huge and we were inspired by how much of an impact it is going to have on the community. It truly is a revolution. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at a local restaurant called Bienvenidas, where we had wonderful Dominican food, including rice and beans, fried plantains, and even fried cheese. Then we went to Bon, an ice cream shop, which was refreshing. As we have done each night, we met as a group at the guesthouse and broke down our day, talking about what moved us, surprised us, and where we saw God's presence today. It was another beautiful, hot day in San Juan. over and out Madison and Meg

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

DR 2016 - Tuesday, July 12

Today, Larry, Andrew and Warner (myself) worked at the construction site of the new clinic. We continued the work of yesterday's group by completing the forms for the concrete foundation of a section of wall around the clinic. Soon, concrete will be poured into the wooden forms we helped build and a cinder block wall will be built on the foundation. The work wasn't easy for us. We were very impressed by the efficiency of the Dominicans' work. They did a great job guiding us and teaching us skills to help us work better. It was very satisfying to see the forms completed for that section of the wall. However, it was also humbling to know that once the concrete is poured and has set, our forms will be disassembled and reused. -Warner McGhee
Day two of vacation Bible school had a much larger attendance than the first day. Each kid really seemed to enjoy all the activities we had planned for them. For instance, I encountered a young boy who was really struck by the beauty of his cup-cake wrapper turned flower craft. Their ability to find joy in very little things was very moving. After a walk from the guest house to the city, we finally arrived at the cathedral. The whole building was very unique from the church we had attended on Monday. The cathedral had a steeple that the majority of the group climbed up. The view was absolutely beautiful and I am sure the locals are very proud to live in such a neat area. There was a female softball team awaiting for us at the stadium. We divided up into two teams and started the game. While I was playing in the outfield I initiated a conversation with one of the Dominicans on my team. I learned we were both the same age and that she had a sibling living in the US. Although my team lost, I really enjoyed that us and the Dominicans came together and played baseball. -Cate Duckwall

Monday, July 11, 2016

DR 2016 - Monday, July 11

The 2016 second presbyterian representatives awoke this morning to a tremendously vibrant sunrise and an outstanding meal put forth by the members of Solid Rock International. The first day of vacation bible school and construction work had begun! As the wind blew through our hair during the truck ride to the community church, we looked with amazement and awe as we witnessed the locals going about their day. The loud noises in the street, the local people, the animals, and the vendors equally contribute to this unique Dominican Culture. Upon arrival at the church we were greeted by a massive swarm of local children ready to sing, dance, and worship with us. The interpreters began the presentation with a number of children's songs and dances, to which the local children were extremely bold and willing to dance and sing. The amount of love, joy, and appreciation these children have was absolutely contagious and extremely inspiring to us. As the vacation bible school came to an end at 11 o'clock, we said our good byes (until tomorrow) and headed back for a some lunch. Immediately following lunch, our group ventured into the barrios to meet and play with the children. Walking through these barrios is like walking through an entirely different world. It is amazing how little these people have, but it is astounding how much love and kindness they were willing to share with us. Later that evening, our new Youth Pastor, Rachel, challenged us with a question, which was: When was a time that a person showed you unexpected kindness? I think the entire group would agree that the Dominican people are the epitome of what it means to share kindness. The Dominicans, young and old, are willing to meet new people, who look different from them and can't even speak the same language, with welcoming smiles and warm hugs. Part of these reason that our church hosts this trip is to introduce and educate the dominican people about God. But, more importantly, we are hear to learn from the Dominican people about humility and true happiness. We will remember our experiences here for the rest of our lives and hopefully we will learn to cherish what we have, because many individuals have far less than we do. -Alex DeFelice

DR 2016 - Sunday, July 10

On Sunday July 10th, we arrived at the guest house. We started with an exaggerated but necessary orientation program, and ate lunch after a prayer. We later went to the barrios, or the surrounding neighborhood, and had an eye opening experience by witnessing how much fun these young children could have using just their surroundings. After dinner, we went to a Dominican church service like no other service I have ever been a part of. They had a talented band that played what could best be described as Christian Rock with a Hispanic twist. They sung in Spanish, but were kind enough to put the words on the screen in English for us. The service was up-beat and welcoming to everyone regardless of our inability to communicate. The barrios and the service were an intense and humbling experience for all. -Joe Boxley

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