Sunday, September 1, 2019


Hello all you persistent readers.  It's Clark again with these words.  Too bad my typist Sarah is not here to make this job easier for me.  I just had to express my feelings that this was another successful and fun mission trip.  And thanks to all my fellow "missioneers" for doing their part and using their talents, for it was truly a team effort.  No doubt some of us even learned a new skill or two.  I for one used a nail gun for the first time, as well as a table power saw, and still have all my ten fingers with which to type this last installment!  Praise the LORD!  Perhaps now I should list all the team jobs since, like I said, we needed all of you. 

  We never would have made it to North Carolina and back were it not for our very capable drivers:  Bill, Elvis, Mel, and Carmen.  The youngest member of our group was Emily, and she was in charge of administering First Aid.  By God's grace, her services were not needed, except for the mysterious case of a swelled eye lid which she developed on our last day. I pray that she is now ok and ready for school again.  Mel worked in the kitchen to prepare our evening meals and even a hearty breakfast on Saturday before we departed.  Tori, Son Chu, Jo, and Soon also assisted in the kitchen.  Our staff photographer was Lorene, but many thanks to everybody who snapped photos and submitted them.  Many thanks to the work team leaders: Rick did inside work such as hanging doors and installing trim, Elvis on the roofing, Carmen on the flooring, and Greg on the painting, etc.   I should also point out that in the 2nd house that team Rick visited on Friday Lorene also was very helpful in putting on the outlet covers for the light switches and electrical sockets in that house.  Being a part of Team Rick I know just how hard he worked to hang the, at times stubborn, doors in the houses.  He certainly remained cool under pressure.  And he really does like to cook and eat those wild mushrooms in his gourmet dishes, just in case you were wondering what he did with them.

  Carmen of course led devotions each evening and really made us think about why we were in Fayetteville in the first place.  I liked his demonstration of the water glass that was full to overflowing.  He said that we could try to keep all that water (Holy Spirit) to ourselves.  But that would be selfish, since when we give it away to someone else, God always fills our glass right back up.  And that is why the Jordan River is like that everlasting flow, for us to continually use.  Else it goes to waste by emptying into the toxic Dead Sea.  As we read in Galations 5:22, The harvest of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.  You might also call these these the Fruits or Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I recall seeing all these being displayed on our mission trip, so good job team.

     Davis, being an accountant himself, was the perfect man for the job of keeping track of our income and expenses.  And as usual we came out ahead.  Once again, as Rev. Peter reminded us, God is a terrible accountant, meaning that his blessings are in abundance, and are more than we need.  Matt not only assisted Davis in keeping track of the money, but he also did the shopping for our group: everything from food for the kitchen to supplies for the work sites.  The Environmental Specialists, Sarah E and Emma,  had the task of making sure that the jobs sites they were at were kept neat and tidy, and also the church, including the kitchen.  And thank goodness they took out the trash as needed.  Our water people were Kyle and Tori.  They made sure that the coolers were stocked with ice and water bottles every morning, and for calling out the frequent water breaks, which we certainly needed in the heat.  The Laundry Lovers were Rachel and Maddie.  They were charged with keeping that little area clean and for keeping things moving.  I thank Maddie for personally showing me the location of the laundry room, as it was like walking through a maze just to get there.   Jo and Rick made sure that our lunches and water jugs made it to our work sites each day.  And Lorene handled all those paperwork forms that we had to fill out.

   Now let me mention our trip leader Reverend Peter.  He no doubt spent many hours planning and praying for this trip.  So much so that he certainly deserved that sabbatical and family vacation over the summer.  Thanks to Bill for filling with the mission trip details while he was away.  And I should note that since Rev. Peter was in charge of the daily work assignments, he could have chosen any job available.  Yet there he was up on that roof, along with Elvis, Bill, and those young people, doing what I would have to consider was one of the harder jobs.   (Such a shame that I have an all too healthy respect for heights.)  I'm sure that he would just say that his hard work was all for the "Glory of God."  Amen to that.  We should be reminded of this whenever someone asks us what we did this summer.  So let me just say that "We LOVE you Rev. Peter!!"

   I recently heard that several families from our sister church Plains are going on a mission trip to Nepal later in Sept.  I'm sure that the several plane trips alone would be exhausting, not to mention the jet lag from being in such a far away place.  Let us keep them in our thoughts and prayers.  

   Well thanks again everybody for making this trip a big success, and can't wait til next year!!  God Bless!

         This is your very blessed journalist, signing off from Mars, Clark.  

Friday, August 16, 2019

Mission Trip 2019, Fayetteville, Day 5, August 16, 2019

Good evening mission trip blog enthusiast.
I hope you have liked what you've seen and read so far.
Today is our last day and is met with mixed feelings.  I am glad to be done working and ready to come home but I am going to miss this place and the new friends we made. 

As usual Kyle was the last one to get out of bed in the morning.  Greg always has to wake him up. 

It was another cloudy morning, somewhat cool but VERY humid.  So, we were forced to wear shorts and t-shirts.  It did get hot in the afternoon.  The weather could not decide if it wanted to rain or not.

Rick's team, having finished their first assignment yesterday went on to a new house.  It is further in the woods but farther along.  It had ceiling fans, electricity, lights and even Air Conditioning.  Sorry to all you guys that had to work outside in the hot, miserable temperatures again. 
We expected to do a lot of trim work but the other teams that were here previously had done most of it.  Rick did hang two additional doors in the house, but due to the limited amount of work available we left the house early.  2:30 exactly.  We drove straight home. No swimming in the lake. 

Greg's team was joined today by Carmen's group.  When we got to the house, rather than having 4 members we had 11.  All 11 of us were outside the house waiting to replace the door that had not  been brought to the house yet. So, the only thing we could do for the first half hour was watch Greg hang the new ceiling fan.  Once the new door arrived, Carmen and crew were quick to get started.  It took most of the afternoon to put in the new door.
The crews also worked together to replace the hand rail leading to the house and finally lay the quarter round in the living room. We left the house almost complete.  There is only a little quarter-round left to put down and trim around the new front door.  Greg, Carmen and Mel worked until 4:30 while all the other crews were swimming, getting clean or relaxing. 

Elvis fortunately did not get the rain at his house that we got at our house.  His group was able to get the weather proofing down and most of the shingles. The ridge vent still needs to be installed.  All the rain and weather will stay out of the house.

One group went to stop at the Lake on their way home and went swimming.  They had lots of fun. 

When we came back to the church we were given our green, United Methodist Disaster Response -NC conference t-shirts.  This is the organization who organized the crisis relief efforts here in Fayetteville for the PDA.

Rev. Peter and I did get to see the church sanctuary even though from where we are staying, it is hard to find.  It is quite large and beautiful.  I pretended to give a sermon from the pulpit while Rev. Peter sat in the front row and listened to me.  Then I went and sat in the back to see what it was like to be a "true Presbyterian".  It was hard to see everything from way back there.

We ended the work week with our usual Friday dinner out at Fuller's BBQ buffet.  It was full of all kinds of scrumptious food.  Most of us did eat  the buffet.  A few of us had dinners brought to the table.  I can't tell you how many things I had on my 3 plates.  Everyone at my table finished their plates, except Kyle and Carmen who must not like seafood as much as they said they did. 
We all had a good time. 

Mel has promised to make us a wonderful breakfast before we leave tomorrow.  She is going to make eggs and bacon. 

Friday night devotions:  We all know what TGIF means.  Carmen taught us a new one.  TGIFN (Thank God I'm forgiven).  We read Matthew 28:16-20, The Commissioning of the disciples.  Carmen pointed out that our mission work was Worshiping God.  He said some people don't believe in God because they don't want to get help from others.  As a Christian we should always be praying we get help from God. 

During the next week we are to consider: What did we learn about ourselves during this mission trip?  What did you learn about God? and What did you learn about others?  Overall, "How is my life different because I went on this mission trip?

We plan to have our Mission presentation at Old Union on Sept. 15th during the services.

Finish this sentence......"Anytime you do things in Gods name and help others you ________" If you need the answer, ask Carmen.

Jo tried to teach us the song "I have decided to follow Jesus" with hand motions. None of us but Jo could do it. 

May the Lord bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.

Signing off from Fayetteville for the very last time, this is Clark and Sarah.

Good bye and God Bless.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mission Trip 2019: Fayetteville  Day 4:

Let's start by recapping what happened before bed last night.
I tried to wash my clothes but the washing machine was quite busy so I had to wear some dirty clothes today.  Hopefully I didn't smell too bad today.  (My clothes are now in the dryer).

Also, I meandered through the church and noticed there are about 100 rooms in this church and many rooms have a comfy couch or chair in it, and I tried many of them.  The only thing I have failed to find while walking through the church is the main sanctuary.  Rev. Peter is going to show it to me in person tomorrow.  For now I settled on a picture.

Because of the rainy and stormy night, I had trouble sleeping so... I slept in.  Lorene and Rick were patiently waiting for me.  We have the longest commute to our work location. It takes about 30 minutes to get there.   On the way there we pass through Fayetteville State University and the large Fort Bragg military base.   At our work site we frequently have fly-overs of large military aircrafts.  Some are quite large.  I wonder how they stay in the air.  At least the house we are working on has a lot of shade trees in the yard to keep us cool.

Today, I continued with the quarter-round trim boards and base boards.  Rick got the last door hung.  
Then he and Davis started putting in the thresholds between the rooms.  (FYI, a threshold is the board that runs on the floor in the doorway between rooms).
Davis and I learned quite a bit this week about trimming; and to think my teachers said I was unteachable!
Tomorrow we will be going to a new house because we finished all Kelly had for us to do at our first house.  We will be doing similar work there.

Greg and his crew were able to roll out the vinyl-linoleum.  They just need to put quarter-round down, hang the ceiling fan and frame a new front door.  

Elvis' crew is still busy working on the roof at their home. On one side of the house they had to tear out all but the roof joists and start from there.  All they need to do tomorrow is put on the weather paper and shingles on the second half of the roof.

Carmen and his group continued to work on the flooring.  Tomorrow they will start by helping Greg's group change and frame the front door at Greg's work site.  Then they will complete the work at their job site.  

We were blessed with a delicious dinner Mel made for us.  She made wonderful lasagna, asparagus, zucchini and garlic bread.  If you so desire to try her cooking, you could visit her restaurant, "Mel's Place" in Cabot, Butler County.  
As soon as our group got back to Highland Church Jo treated us to a cold frozen treat in the form of Drumsticks, and we also had ice cream tonight after dinner!!!! (Thanks to Jo)

Tomorrow, per tradition, we will have dinner out.  We will be going to Fuller's BBQ buffet.  They also have seafood.  

Carmen once again led a wonderful devotion.  We discussed Mark 10:35-39.  Jo was very passionate about her faith.  She is not shy about spreading the gospel.

I personally liked how Carmen spoke about the Sea of Galilee being full of life and how it forms the Jordan River, which flows into the Dead Sea which is toxic to life.  God is like the Sea of Galilee, giving out water like the Jordan River into the Dead Sea.  
In case you have difficulty remembering the name of the place the Dead Sea... remember the mnemonic device, "The Dead Don't See."

Rev. Peter also gave a mini sermon about Organized Religion.   He said organized religion has a very important role in our society such as mission trips, hospital and institutions, and organizations that help people.  

Peace be with you all and good night. This is your reporter and typist signing off.
God Bless you
Clark and Sarah  

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mission Trip: Fayetteville: Day 3
Welcome back all you blog enthusiast.  We had another busy day on our mission trip.  It rained very early this morning but it did not dampen our spirits.  

Before falling asleep last night there was quite a bit of activity (and noise).  
Sarah was in the weight room, Mel (it's really Melanie, but she refers Mel) was singing in the shower, and Tori and Kyle were playing pool again.  

And now, the work for today.  Once again we were in four different teams at three different work sites.  The roofers were once again the first to leave so they could beat the heat.  Elvis made sure the team did quality work rather than mediocre.  This of course made the work load more and required work that was not previously on the schedule.  Our work here is not government work but work for the Kingdom.

Greg's group was able to complete the majority of the painting.  They also laid some of the sub-flooring until they ran out of staples.  They plan to finish the sub-flooring tomorrow as well as roll out the vinyl-linoleum.  They have to dodge the large furnace in the living space.

Carmen and his group continue to build and move walls.  It seems the blueprint continues to change 
but the team has proven to be very flexible.  

And as for Rick's group which I am a member, I am so thankful the nail gun has a safety.  I had it pointed the wrong direction before being directed how to use it properly.

After a half day of work we were given free time.  We met at the church at noon for lunch and then separated again into three different groups.

One group went to a man-made, chlorinated lake and enjoyed the sun and cooling off.  They saw a young boy at the lake that took several attempts to jump off the diving board.  After he finally jumped the first time, the team cheered for him, and the young boy continued to jump over and over.  

Another small group went to a Nature Preserve and hiked a trail through the woods to a covered bridge along the river.  We went about a mile.  It was very hot.  There were actually other people on the trail.  Mel and Matt also participated in a trust activity with God.  They crossed the water using the railroad tracks rather than using the paved nature path.  And of course I was the third member of this party because Nature is my middle name.

And a larger group went to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation.  The Museum was beautiful and contained a lot of information. The team "rode" two simulators while they were there.  

Interesting fact for the day: Rick likes to pick wild mushrooms.

Special shout out to Jo for all the pizza she bought us and to Mel for making a beautiful salad.

Carmen once again led devotions.  Like the boy at the lake, we learned the first step is the hardest.  You've got to trust God first and then jump.  

Jo commented that it is better to pray than to worry.  

Let me remind everyone of Old Union Church's motto:

Encourage one another and build each other up."
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Peace be with you Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  We are all tired and going to bed.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fayetteville Mission Trip, Day 2: Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hello all you blog enthusiast.  Thank you for keeping in touch with us and for praying for us. We need all the prayers we can get.

And now some things I forgot to say yesterday:
Happy Belated Birthday to Emily. The youngest member of our crew.  She is now old enough to do more than just stick on band-aids.  She turned 14 yesterday.!
Also, thank you to Elvis and Bill in van 1 and Carmen and Mel in van 2 for driving us here safely.  

This valiant roving reporter tried Jo's spicy Korean cucumbers at dinner yesterday.  As a journalist I felt it was my duty to try something new.  The cucumbers are not so bad.  I was tasting for the sake of curiosity and good reporting.

Also, Rev. Peter corrected me. I forgot the 4th commonly used expression from his sermon on Sunday.  "I can hardly wait..."  Like, "I can hardly wait for a trip to a colder climate."  We should be saying I can hardly wait for tomorrow's hot temperatures again so we can enjoy our day off outside.  

Last night, Tori, Carmen, Davis, Kyle and Mel, after much searching, found the billiard table! (It is in the library but you cannot see it from the door.)  Apparently they passed by the room several times without noticing the pool table in the back.

Now as for today, at the house on Vass Road, our team leader, Rick, continued to work hard/struggle to make the new doors fit in the old frames properly.  Lorene helped everyone and traveled to each site to take pictures including some below.  Myself and Davis continued to put baseboard on correctly.  We made less mistakes today.  The Vass house is now half-way done.  Tomorrow we hope to move on to hanging the kitchen cupboards.

The folks (Greg, Kyle, Sarah and Emily) at the Pierce Street house finished painting the walls, pulled up the old carpet and padding and began hanging the new ceiling fan.  Tomorrow they hope to lay the new flooring and finishing painting the trim work.

Carmen's group finished putting in new flooring in the house they were working on while Elvis' group continued to work on the roof which is now about half-way done.  

And now, things not to do while in North Carolina:  one should not leave their lunch outside of the cooler.  You will find it later, covered with ants.  Which means...... you may enjoy chocolate covered ants later.  It is a healthy, delicious, high protein snack.  Lesson learned (by Clark.).  

Special thank-you to our kitchen helpers who prepared delicious fajitas and tacos. They included Melanie and our delightful Korean trio. 

Just a reminder, you can take a shower whenever you want to but you cannot do your laundry until after 6:00pm.  

Carmen led devotions once again today.  We started with a beautiful hymn sung in English and Korean.  Son Chu, Jo and Soon sang "Precious Lord Take My Hand."  
And, we learned Jo has a wonderful story about how she came to Christ.  Before you ask her though, make sure you have a box of tissues.  The story brought Mel to tears.  

We are sporting our Presbyterian Disaster Assistance t-shirts, which we all wore after dinner (and the rain) for our group photo, with the Highland Church's steeple in the background. and have been promised a t-shirt from the Methodist Disaster Relief group.

As usual, God Bless you and keep you.  Thank you for reading this.  
This is your blog journalist Clark (and my skilled typing assistant Sarah), signing off until tomorrow.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Presbyterian Mission Trip 2019:  Fayeteville

Rev. Peter went on a summer sabbatical and learned many things.  On Sunday he spoke beautifully about 3 commonly used expressions including "Remember When?" "What if..." and "If only...."
But most importantly Rev. Peter learned during his sabbatical to "Do what you're doing while you're doing it.'  Do not become distracted by worldly issues.
We are learning while serving to use our 5 senses..... pay attention to what is happening around you.
Don't worry about the past, you can't change it.  Don't worry about the future, God is in control. Focus on the present.  Let the Spirit lead you.

Instead of saying "Remember when we went to WV?....the drive was much shorter." Speak about how much more fun we had because the ride was longer.

Instead of  "If only the vans had showed up on time", say I actually had time to take an afternoon nap.

And, instead of "What if I had decided to just stay home" think of the opportunities you would have missed here in Fayetteville.

We were called for this as the disciples were called. (Just like Carmen taught us during our devotions tonight).

The trip to Fayetteville took almost as long as the as the movie "Logistics" which is 857 hours.  (Thank you Kyle for that bit of trivia).

On the way to Fayetteville, we only stopped once and God led us to help an elderly couple who needed their car battery jumped.  We were more than happy to take and additional 10 minutes to help them.  So, as soon as we arrived Rev. Peter made us go to bed.  And that is why you are getting Sunday and Monday combined.

Work Day #1:  Monday, August 12, 2019

We started the day with an orientation at the Crisis Relief Center.  We met Kelly, our project manager. He told us all about the previous hurricanes including Matthew in October 2016 and Florence in September 2018.  People in Fayetteville are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.  Some of the work we did was recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

We broke into 4 different teams to work on 3 different houses.  One group did roofing, At the same house the other group worked on the floor. And at the second house the team prepared the room for painting and new flooring.
The roofers created a large mess for those working on the floor and without a broom, there was difficulty cleaning the mess.

Our host church, Highland Presbyterian,  is quite large and very beautiful.  We have wonderful amenities and they have graciously provided us with all we need.

To end, if I learned one thing, and I think I can speak for Davis as well, we don't want to quit our day jobs.


Hello all you persistent readers.  It's Clark again with these words.  Too bad my typist Sarah is not here to make this job easier for...