Saturday, July 28, 2007

We're Off

I'ts 5:22 Saturday morning and we're about to assemble our caravan at the church and then hit the road. Last night we finished loading the truck and trailer. It rained. About a half hour before we were to load, it was raining cats and dogs. Thankfully the rain turned into a drizzle for most of the time while we were loading but geez, that's rough on us curly headed girls.

Does Dennis look happy here or what?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seven TONS of Stuff

We (Brian and I) are just back from picking up the rental van, the rental truck, and from picking up 7 TONS of product from Matthew 25 Ministries!

We have diapers, Bounty - the quicker picker uper, LOTS of laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner. Tonight we will also load on the Avon products from Caring Partners! I may get more pics up again tonight - maybe.
Good news! I talked to Shelly today - the trailers we will be staying in are now airconditioned!
Team members (former and present) YOU should feel very good - Shelly said that word in the village is that we may have BIG numbers at VBS. Each work camp that comes they ask if it's Fairfield. They really look forward to our visit and that is because all who have gone in the past have done such an excellent job!

Click on the pics for a larger view

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two Days and Counting

I think we're ready. In a way I'm always ready and yet never ready. But at this point everything is in place. Well sort of ... I'm aware of two crew members who are ill. One with a bad sinus infection and the other with a dental problem. Please pray that these two get well and begin to feel better. It will be miserable for them if they feel bad out there without the comforts of home.

All the trucks/vans are ready to go. Oh, I do still have to pack a few boxes. Last night someone brought in 6 more electric heaters. I've lost count of how many of those we are taking but it's probably somewhere between 20 - 25.

Today I'm taking a personal day. I'm going to try not to be available unless it's an emergency. I need to get myself packed and a day of sanity would be good before we head out.

Tomorrow it begins. We'll be picking up the rental van then picking up the 24' truck and taking it to load the pallets. Tomorrow evening we load all of the stuff in my dining room, hallway and garage as well as team luggage and bedding. Check back late Friday night or Saturday - I'm going to try to get a short (really short) video up ...

The latest view of my dining room/hall - we need to go

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Food Shopping

John, Josh and I went shopping for food again this morning. We had already purchased all the non-perishables but today we bought the cold food.

FYI - we ran into someone from church at Meijer who greeted us with the words, "what a lovely couple". I'm not sure he realized at that point that I was not Sophie. When he did realize it, he didn't say anything but was probably wondering.

So if you hear stories .... it was innocent mission trip shopping. I promise!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Four Days

Pre-trip chaos seems to be the standard. We leave early Saturday morning and we have 2 of the 5 vehicles we're taking needing some sort of work.

Last night Shane was here working for over an hour and a half on the wiring for the truck/trailer. It's still not fixed. Charles is coming over tonight to see what he can do.

Last night Charles checked out the van sine the Youth brought it home from their trip saying something was wrong with it. It will be getting new tires sometime this week.

Tomorrow we buy the last of the food.

One team member is in unbearable pain from a tooth - and has no dental insurance to take care of it.

Yeah, things are going about normal. I've got to remember to start video taping all of this.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bring on the Jack Daniels

This morning Brian, Josh, and I went to Middletown to Caring Partners International to pick up some product they had for us to take. We laughed when we got there because it was almost all packed in Jack Daniels boxes. There is all kinds of Avon products (lotion, deodorant, perfume, foot cream, shampoo) as well as children's blankets, Band Aids, 2 pair of crutches, 2 canes, and 2 walkers. The estimated value of all we picked up was $2000.00 worth of product.

We loaded it into the back of Josh's pickup and the three of us crammed into the cab of the truck feeling like a bunch of rednecks with our whiskey. A police officer drove past, slowly, but thankfully didn't stop us. good is this going to look driving onto the Rez with JD boxes.

click on the pics for a larger view

The Freezer

The first year we were at Pine Ridge we had access to a freezer which came in really handy to store all of the frozen food and ice we used. When you feed a crew of 25 or so plus the missionaries, plus up to 100-150 kids each day for 5 days, you need a lot of ice and freezer space. Last year the freezer they had been using was gone, it was old and finally bit the dust.

This year we decided to purchase a new freezer for them and take it out with us. We wanted an upright one and a roomy one. The prices on those things are rather high but hey, God is not short on cash so why not go for it.

We didn't say much to anyone about our hope of buying a freezer but every so often someone from our church family would approach me and hand me a check or cash with the instructions to use it in any way it was needed. We held that money separately and it eventually added up to about $450.00 - the price of the freezer!

The freezer is now sitting in my garage and is ready to go on the truck this Friday. For those of you who gave - THANK YOU!

Click on the pics to see a larger view.


I hit WalMart early today and bought all of the notebooks for the village of Allen for 2008. I also bought all of the erasers. All we need now are backpacks - about 124 of 'em. What we really need is CASH to get them.

After we have the village of Allen taken care of, we will start all over again and I'll be buying the same things for the village of Wounded Knee. It's our hope to provide a backpack and school supplies for the children in both villages in 2008.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Stuff

Just got a call today from Caring Partners International. They have product for us! It's good product too - Avon, and not the trial size things but the retail sizes. Monday Brian and I (and maybe Josh) are heading up there to pick up what they have for us. Now to find room for it. We'll find room ... we'll make room. If we can get 30+ kids in a van we can surely get all this produt in the trucks.

Details, Details, Details

Yesterday and today Brian and I have both been in "Pine Ridge mode". We've been taking care of all the last minute details.... getting a check from the church to deliver to Matthew 25 Ministries for the pallets, getting a check from the church (from the mission budget) for the Pass Creek Church, writing thank you notes to people who have given toward backpacks or the freezer or who have donated paper products, and confirming reservations and getting proof of insurance.

It seems the list of those little last minute things never ends. I feel tired already and the trip is still ahead of us. That's OK, we'll all be more than tired in a couple of weeks.

I know my family as well as a few other families who are going are also facing some major stress. Everything from impending surgery to illness, to family chaos. It's no surprise. It seems each year we have this. I think the enemy tries to wear us down before we go - and maybe discourage some from going at all.

So, pretty much, things are going the way they usually do.

If you're reading here, our team would really appreciate your prayers.

Monday, July 16, 2007

12 Days and Counting

It's been an interesting morning. Here's the story ....

Back in January I reserved a 24 foot truck like we always do for the trip. That was to take all of our supplies, the backpacks, and our own sleeping gear and luggage. We also reserved a 12 passenger van which we would take along with the two church vans.

Then, sometime in May (I think) John had the excellent idea of contacting Matthew 25 Ministries to see if we could get pallets of product to take to the reservation. We had worked with them before on the Hurricane Katrina relief trip. We found out that it was going to cost $170.00 per pallet so we held the auction to raise money for the pallets. We were able to raise all that we needed for this project BUT we needed a truck. Again, thanks to a VERY generous man in the church, we were offered his business truck to take. And then yet another VERY generous man offered his 16 foot trailer to pull behind the truck. So the transportation was solved.

Last week we received confirmation that we were indeed getting 8 pallets of product. I contacted the place where we had reserved the 24 foot truck to see if we could drop it off out there as we would now have the second truck and trailer and there was no point in driving back an empty truck. I thought this would save us both rental money as gas money. BUT, they do not rent one-way.

SO, I got on the Internet and began searching for another 24 foot truck. The problem was that all of the truck rental places were charging more for one-way than Ryder was for 2-way.

SO, I got on the phone and began haggling. After several phone calls and many recordings I found a real person and going through that person's supervisor was able to talk them down to the same price as the Ryder truck. So we're good - a good rental rate plus we won't have to buy gas to drive an empty truck back home.

So after going from having a truck but no pallets, to having pallets but no truck, we now have both!

Now as far as backpacks for 2008 - we are really in need of MONEY.

I've purchased all of the school supplies for the village of Allen for next year. But our account is now almost empty and I still have to purchase 124 backpacks. Walmart has raised their prices over last year too. BUT I did find a place online where I can buy backpacks cheaper. Right now we need about $800.00 to purchase those backpacks.

That will take care of the village of Allen. I was really hoping to be able to purchase backpacks/school supplies for the village of Wounded Knee as well but at this point, that is not looking like it will happen very soon. A number of people have promised checks but I've yet to see any of them. We can always wait and purchase school supplies later - the only reason I had wanted to buy them now is that now is when Walmart has the REALLY CHEAP school supplies available. After August or so, they will be gone and we will have to pay a higher price for the same school supplies.

But hey, I've see God do bigger things before and I'm sure that if it's His will, He will provide for it. And if it's not His will, we have no business doing it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good News!

We just got word from Matthew 25 Ministries that we will be getting the following:

  • 3 Pallets of Diapers
  • the remaining pallets will consist of laundry detergent, paper towels, cleaning supplies and soap

We will also be taking a check from the mission budget at church for $1,500.00 for the Pass Creek Church.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Backpacks 2008

WalMart has their school supplies out so I hit them early today. We now have all of the folders, pens, pencils, glue, and crayons for the village of Allen. I still need to get notebooks, erasers, and rulers - they didn't have those out yet. I'll be checking with them in the next few days to wipe those out too. Once we have all the school supplies I'll be buying backpacks. Once we get all 150 backpacks and school supplies for the village of Allen, I will start stocking up for the village of Wounded Knee. I want to do one village at a time since I don't have any idea how much money we will raise and I want to make sure we have enough for at least one village. I'm really hoping that we have enough for both villages in 2008, but we'll have to wait and see.

Now for the story that if you're sadistic, you'll find funny.

Walmart generally opens the cases of school supplies. Occasionally you can find cases of notebooks that have not been opened, but most of the school supplies are opened, which means - you have to count each individual item just in case someone took one or two out of the case.

If I need 450 folders, which I did, then I have to count out 450 folders individually. It's a pain but whatcha gonna do. Today I was in the middle of counting folders, all 450 of them, that is typically a challenge in and of itself because if you have ADD (as I do) you can lose count very easily and have to start all over again.

Today it was a bit more of a challenge than normal because as I was counting the sound system was throwing out congratulations to various associates from around the country for their years of service at Walmart. So, here I am counting and over the loud speaker I hear, "Thanks to Sally for her 18 years of service at Walmart. And thanks to June for her 14 years of service. Thanks goes out to Ben for his service of 21 years, and a special thank you goes out to Bill for his 24 years of service at Walmart". That went on for a while. I kept wondering how many people have that many years of service and how much longer they were going to keep repeating numbers while I was trying to count.

EVENTUALLY they said, "Let's go to some music now". Oh THANK YOU, I thought, grateful that they were not going to be shouting out numbers anymore. Then, to my great dismay, the song that came over the sound system was "One, two, three, like a bird I sing". Oh gosh, can we stop with the numbers already?

Monday, July 09, 2007

20 Days and Counting

It is officially "Crunch Time". 20 days from today we will be pulling into Pine Ridge Reservation!

Here is what is happening this week....

Today I went shopping for misc. stuff to complete our VBS Celebration of Hope African Safari Party. I had this pic that Cody took on his Honeymoon blown up to a poster size and mounted on foam board. This will be our "Pin the Tail on the Zebra" game. Connie is busy making "tails" for it. Cute isnt' he?

I also bought face paint so Cody, Josh, and Jeremy can paint the kid's faces like tigers, lions, and so forth.

I finished buying last minute items for the VBS Droplets presentation I will be doing each day and I finished up the Crew Devotional / Schedule booklet and have begun printing it!

John has contacted Matthew 25 Ministries and they assure us that they have product for us. He should be hearing from them today to finalize plans for picking up the pallets.

If you haven't heard, a very generous man in our church bought a case of the coffee we are selling to give to Serve City. It's amazing how much good a package of coffee can do. Not only is it helping people in Third World countries, and helping us raise money for Backpacks, now it's helping the homeless in Hamilton too!

Time is moving along quickly! We will be there before you know it!