Student Serve Blog

Last Travel Day

Where to start?

Last Monday, when we were picking up our tools and materials before heading to our worksite, I was told I would be on the most challenging site. That made me very nervous. It was clearing a yard for a couple and their son. Jenna, the mom is in a wheel chair and they are unable to keep up with the yard. It was very overwhelming to walk into a yard that is 320 ft long and know where to start. There was stuff everywhere: old cars, a boat, vacuum cleaners, leftover construction supplies. My team of kids were amazing, we made a plan and got to work. By the 4th day, it was amazing the stories we got to hear from the homeowners. Just about every item in that yard had a story to go with it. I had both Ben and Logan on my team and got to spend a lot of time talking and getting to know them better as we were working!

We did take a lot of water breaks as on the first day we cut down most of the trees that provided shade. This meant working in the hot sun during a heat wave. At the end of the week we planted a new tree in the back yard to replace a big tree that had died but had a lot of sentimental value to Jenna. At the base of the tree we placed a rock that we had all signed. The whole idea came from the kids as I challenged them to think of something that would be a reminder to The family of our time there. They out did themselves this week. 

As for the kids we brought with us... We soon got named the Canadians. I am so proud of each and every one of them. They tackled things this week that they wouldn't have at home.

All of our kids went up to the front of the church nightly to praise God. They sang and swayed to the music and felt the presence of God! The leaders have been great to spend time with as well. If you really want to get it know someone, spend 2 solid weeks with them. Going into the trip, Sherry Wine and I really didn't know much about each other; other than our daughters are best friends. We have come to realize we have a lot in common except she is way crazier than me!!! It has been a great couple of weeks but I have to say I can't wait to be home to sleep in my own bed not have to live out of duffle bag anymore! Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers for us! Only one more travel day left!

Sherri M

We've Done A Lot On This Trip

We’ve done a lot on this trip.

We’ve been in Las Vegas, Hollywood, San Francisco, we went in a big casino, and a lot more. But I’m not going to blog about that. Instead I’m going to talk about today, the seven-hour drive that we turned into almost thirteen.

We woke up at 6:30 AM in a luxurious hotel in downtown San Francisco and left at 8 for our drive. It was long and tedious, every time I looked at the clock I thought it was much later than it actually was. Around two-ish we stopped at a beach for a picnic lunch. It was a lovely sight, the weather was perfect, nice and warm with a bit of a sea breeze. I particularly like it because I kept walking away then showing up with random remains of sea creatures. The skull of a fish, a hollowed shell of a crab, and exoskeletons of shrimp, and stuff like that. Most of the other people didn’t really seem to like it and wouldn’t let me take any of them back home with me, not that I’m surprised. I spent the rest of the day in the very back of a van with seven other people having barely enough room to move my legs without touching someone else.

We finally arrived at the church we are staying at tonight at 11 PM. When I heard that we were having dinner after we get to the church we are staying at for the night I expected something like pizza. But when we walked in, we saw people waiting in the kitchen for us with home cooked casseroles and ice cream with freshly picked blueberries and blackberries for dessert.

Before I went on the trip based on other trips I expected that the serve week was when we see God working and the driving days are extra fun days, but now I see that I am wrong. He graced us with his beautiful creation and amazing people giving us dinner.


The Most Memorable Moment

During my Serve trip I spent the majority of the time working on the worksite, mostly painting. I was really hoping to make a connection with the women at our worksite, Angel Steps. Unfortunately, we had a lot of work to do, and the women had their own things keeping them busy.

I thought I hadn't built any strong relationships with any of the people there, especially the kids. But on the last night three of the kids sat with me during the worship service. They wouldn't stop talking, so I had to take them outside so they wouldn't disturb the service.

While we were outside they wanted to show me their singing. All three of them sang to me! They were slightly shy at first, but in the end they all sang loud and clear. The kids were so humble, but they were so amazing! They cried when they had to go back home, I started crying too. 

Even the ladies I had barely talked too hugged me and thanked us. Two of the women at our site came to the front of the church. They talked about their past with domestic violence and their addictions. They were crying because they felt as though God was ignoring them. But now they were so happy, they thanked God. Now they want to come to church whenever they can, and they want to go even when they are out of the program. 

They even gave us a poster with their hand prints and thank you messages. I'm so thankful to have made connections with those women and their children. And I hope what we have done stays with them for a long time. Also that the love and passion they felt for God during that service stays with them throughout their time at angel steps.

Thank you for your prayers and support! Your contributions have made a difference.


Isaiah 40:31

As many or few of you know I last minute decided to go on the Serve trip this year to California. Don’t ask me why I had a sudden urge, but I believe that things happen for a reason and I was meant to be here.

On my way here I arrived a day earlier by plane since I had family vacation the previous week(s). Being put on a plane (my choice and only choice) I was going through all sorts of emotions of being freakishly EXCITED and somewhat nervous all at the same time, so being forgotten to be picked up at the LAX Airport at around 10:15 at night by myself was definitely NOT on the list of things I wanted to experiment while on my very first airplane ride.

On the bright side, I’m still alive and writing this so it couldn’t have been that bad…

On the other bright side, the pastor from Bellflower church and her husband kindly picked me up at the airport a half-hour later and welcomed me to there home for a place to stay for the night.
The next morning (the day everyone arrives) I went to the church early with Pastor Bonny's husband to help set up and be a part of welcoming everyone when they arrived. The moment I really knew that I was meant to be here at serve was when Bonnie, Tonya, and some of the other ladies noticed and pointed out to me that the Bible verse on my back “Isaiah 40:31” was Bible verse we were focused on throughout our week which is “But those who hope in the Lord; will renew their strength and rise up on wings like eagles”.

Our week on serve was all about Renew and renewing our faith with God, and even though my faith with God fully didn’t get renewed. I know my faith with him started to be renewed with him because he showed me where I was supposed to be.


God Has Called Me Here

These days at Serve and before Serve have really come to impact me as a Christian and me as a person. I really like to take everything that happens and really look deep into the meanings of everything that is happening.

The first night in the church was a really good time, everyone was getting along and playing games. I liked this because everyone didn’t have Wi-Fi or the ability to use their phones which made everyone come together and connect with one another. It is really heart warming to see stuff like this happen. Even traveling in the cars with different people in the church group that I didn’t really know was a good and fun experience. It's fun to meet and talk to new people. 

I really like how our church leaders turn things that seem like that wouldn’t be fun into great and memorable times. The first days at the actual church that hosted the trip was awesome. I was able to meet new people and old friends that I met 2 years ago. It's awesome to meet new people and connect with everyone. The work site that I am at is insanely tiring, Sometimes I want to just stop and quit working on the job site, but I always remember that God has sent me here and he wants to lead me to help people. I have to stay focused and remember that helping people is always a good thing to do.

The people that I have met at the worksite are great people. I have connected with the father the most at the worksite because both of us are interested in cars and stuff like that. I will be very sad to leave this place but will be just as thrilled to come back anytime soon. 


We Stole Sherry's Curling Iron!

On Monday we started working on the Foley house which is a drug and alcohol recovery place that allows women to bring their children to live in. We have pretty much been painting the whole time and accidently taking off cupboard doors when we weren’t supposed to.

In our free time, before supper we started playing a game called Spot It, it’s a card game that gets pretty competitive. More competitive than Dutch Blitz! After getting woken up every morning by Sherri Wine’s annoying morning song, the girls decided to hide her curling iron. Later, after she thought someone stole it, we unfortunately and unwilling wanted gave it back to her from Julie’s bag.

On the Olympic night all the Canadians dressed up head to toe in red and white, showing our Canadian pride a little too much.

-Janna and Cole

Craig's Story

Frank and Craig

I spent four and a half hours talking to Craig at the Allan House and this is his story. Allan House is my worksite for the week. Allan House is a transitional house for recovery drug addicts and alcoholics.

Craig is a former drug abuser and former pastor. Started with weed and crack cocaine, then he stopped. He started going to school to be a licensed vocational nurse. He lost his job as a nurse because he went back to using drugs. He stopped using again, to pursue seminary school. Craig was voted to be a pastor by his congregation. He was a pastor for 10 years until he was so overwhelmed and frustrated he made one bad decision; he walked away from the church to get high and never came back. His wife had to tell the congregation what had happened to him.
After Craig got out of jail, he went to his Mom’s house and she told him to get help. She said that if he was to continue he would end up in prison and she could die before he got out. While Craig was in prison, his mom was on a cruise and got back to Florida where she had a major heart and died. Craig never did see his mother again.
Craig was on his last $20 and got one more hit of crack and was looking for a way out. He walked past a Hispanic man lying on the ground in Skid Row, stole his wallet and took off. Then he woke up, the police chased Craig and caught up with him. The police were going to charge him but the Hispanic man said, “No jail!” The police repeated that they wanted to charge him but the was pertinent that Craig should not go to jail. If Craig was to go to jail, he was looking at a 25-year sentence; a death sentence.
Craig was looking for a way out; a sign. As he walked past the police station he heard a voice in his head telling him to go into the police station. He ignored the voice and continued to walk past the police station. The voice got louder, and this time he listened. He told the police his name and that he was suicidal. They put him in cuffs and in jail for 3 days. From there he went to another house for 10 days before he was accepted at the Allan House.
Evening Worship
At the Allan House he leads prayer and worship every Sunday. Craig has been 99 days at Allan and vows not to go back to drugs. He is known as preacher Craig, brother Craig, and inspiration. He has 2 kids a 1-month old granddaughter. His goal is to find a job and go to school to be a counselor so he can work at Allan House.

Please keep us in your prayers.


Ball at Long Beach

The beautiful California Sunday morning started early at 6:00AM as the group of boys including myself woke up to wait for the vehicles to drive us to the junior high school to shower. The weather was one of the many things I enjoyed about being here in California as well as the torturous heat that isn’t as often in Canada.

The morning was very early and the rinse was only awakening for some of us. We then sat outside waiting for the ride back most of us had missed. Sitting outside, we were grateful that we weren’t being scorched or frozen. When we all arrived back to the campus we had a wonderful breakfast. Breakfast burritos with bacon, eggs, and hash browns was one of the many great things that helped a lot of us through the morning.

After the meal we continued to personal devotions where we proceeded to pray to God together and have a one on one interaction with him about ourselves and personal issues we are confronting.

Once we had our breakfast we entered onto the stage of the church to be introduced by the people of Rosewood and be kindly granted blessings from them. We were then seated from the stage to sit down and we all praised God loudly as we sang songs together. After we all left the church we went outside to take a group picture and then we all split up to go do our own things during break.

     After some of us had naps we proceeded to lunch to eat some food called salad. We were all grateful for our dismissal after lunch as we were all impatient waiting to go to either Long Beach or Hollywood. Plenty of groups met outside to load into the vans.

Once we all thankfully made it to the beach, we all unloaded and went to start the day with a game of basketball. Geoff, Ben, Curtis, and I chose our teams and played until we began to warmup. After warmup we started to take this game of basketball seriously by making a bet on a 2v2 game where me and Ben obliterated Curtis and Geoff making them pay for our milkshakes. After all it was a pretty good day at the beach.


The "Therapy Car"

Today was one of the best days yet. In the morning, the guys took less than 45 minutes to get ready, leaving the guys waiting for another hour or so before the girls finally got all their makeup and whatever they do in their own time.

We drove off to the Coca-Cola Store and the M&M store in Vegas. First, we couldn’t find any pace to park so the caring leaders, Geoff, Sherri and Frank stayed with the cars while all the kids went off to have fun on the strip. I bought birch beer at the Coke store which is like root beer but even better. When we were getting prepared to leave the strip, everyone realizes that Sherry W was still in the Coke Store, this was a mistake because the parking lot was free for the first hour, and we made it back just in time. The drive was really boring, but I had the opportunity to ride in the “Therapy Car”. Geoff and Curtis were really successful in annoying me to the point where I wanted to jump out the car.

In Bellflower, I finally got the chance to reunite with people I haven’t seen in 2 years. I also got the chance to meet lots of new people, most of them making fun of my accent. To introduce us to the Rosewood church, we got into our worksite teams to compete in a fun “obstacle course”. My team won for the 2nd year in a row by then five minutes.

We worshiped in the church which was very loud, very contrary to Inglewood. We ended the day with a talk with our worksite groups and a root beer float for a snack.

Thank everyone who reads and the ones who don’t for supporting us financially and spiritually. It is awesome being here and I hope it stays that way.



Seth V


Emma lost her bag!

Today we drove a long 7 hours to the city of Las Vegas. The original plan was to arrive in Las Vegas around 2 but instead we stopped like every hour. We stopped at Subway for lunch and keep on driving until we hit the Arizona sign and took a picture.

We opened the door and a huge heat wave hit us. Today was around 45 degrees, and that is really hot. This was my first time going to Las Vegas and when we first got there it just looked like any other city. After driving back from the mall all the lights around the strip we turned on and it did look pretty cool

We walked around the mall and everyone keep spitting up and then, Emma M thought she lost one of her bags and we had to walk back to the fossil store and it turned out Sherri had it. The pool was cold at first but it was really relaxing after the day of driving.

I am looking forward to making our way to California tomorrow and starting our service work. Thank you for all your prayers.

-Emma W

Shopping in Vegas!

We travelled even more today, we left Salt Lake City today and headed to Vegas. We got in Vegas at about 3:30 but of course on the way in we have to stop at the Nevada sign where it was 47 degrees!

When we got into Las Vegas we got to our house that we booked for the night and started unloading bags and got rooms figured out and settled in. We had some fun just hanging out at the house.

Then we piled into the cars and headed out to the mall. First, we went on a bit of an adventure around Vegas trying to find some pizza to eat for supper.

We ended up going straight to the mall to do some shopping. We went to an outlet mall. We found lots of stores to explore and have fun in. Then after some shopping, we decided it was finally time to search again for supper. We found a pizza place in the mall and sat together in the food court and hung out and talked and ate pizza.

Then shopped for a little but more then met up and headed home. At home we decided to go for a swim in the pool in the backyard. We played some jackpot and did some swim races. I am looking forward to another day tomorrow. Thanks for all your prayers.

-Emma M

Frank Hates Cinnamon Candy

So it’s day two and we’ve driven about 17 hours in total, I’ve slept about 15 of those.

There’s not a whole lot happening but being with Frank has taught me a few things, like don’t buy him cinnamon candies. He hates them.

Then we got to the hot springs which aren’t really hot springs, it’s a river with a knack for scraping knees and butts. Katie’s now a pro, she was thrown off twice but pulled through! Next stop Vegas!



Today was another typical travel day. Up early, a quick breakfast of cereal and yogurt and quick departure from Helena CRC. We spent a grand total of about 7 hours in the vehicles today. We did the long stretch from Helena MT, to Lava Hot Springs in Idaho. This was awesome, for a cheap tube rental you can go up and down the river a few times.

It’s a small river with gentle rapids that takes about 20 minutes to float down. Rule number 1: never get out of your tube. A few of us, Frank, Katie, Emma, and myself all fell out of our tubes. Some of them were lucky enough to get back in but Frank and I were not; and we have the bruises and bumps to prove it. All in all, it was great fun and nobody was sunburned.

After the river, we packed everything into the vehicles and made the short 2-hour drive to Liberty, Utah, where we have rented a house through Airbnb. This place is great, a full house and yard. We have settled in and the crew is making supper. We are looking forward to a restful night of devotions, bonfire, and fellowship. There have been some great memories already, and we are only getting started. Can’t wait for more.


Edmonton to Helena!

As per the usual, the first day of driving was long.

Leaving Edmonton at 4, most of the morning was spent either trying to stay awake, or attempting to find a comfortable position to sleep in. As we pulled into Red Deer, looking for doughnuts, we were disappointed to find that the doughnut mill was closed. Pressing on, the next most interesting thing was a bit of traffic on the outskirts of Calgary, after which it was smooth sailing.

Personally I spent most of the ride reading or sleeping, until we got into Helena, and unloaded everything at the church. At the church we went on the ceremonial train track walk, (we did that last time too). On the way back, we met a couple of horses, one of which was missing an eye, kind of creepy. From about 6 to 10, we played a few games, including but not limited to: Anomia, psychiatrist, etc.

All in all, it was not a bad day by serve trip standards


From Friday

Today is Friday but honestly it feels like its still Tuesday. The week has just flown by and I wish it could have lasted longer. I have had such a great time in Arizona, from the people to the projects it has just been a great experience. We had people come from Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas and most importantly, Canada.

We worked at the garden and greenhouse where we were staying, at a nearby school, at the kids club hosted by the mission and a nearby house.  One of my favourite things was hiking The Window Rock. Another super cool thing was meeting people from all over America and even though we didn’t know each other at all we instantly bonded with each other.

My mom went with me on this trip and I was totally against it at the beginning because I thought she was going to act like my mom the entire trip but she promised she wouldn’t and she kept true to her word. It was a really neat experience having her on the trip with me and I would definitely go with her again.

There was two things I disliked about this trip, the first was having to wait around for a while sometimes, and the second was having to say goodbye to my new friends. You could definitely feel God at work the entire week. From the group singing and devotions to the people we met and their intense love for God and for each other. When we were on the mountain you could feel God in the wind and in the brilliant sunset.

Thank you so much for supporting and donating to us, it might just seem like and expensive dinner and giving away your empties but it has helped us have one of the most amazing weeks of our lives. Thank you.

- Andrew


Making Memories

The week has flown by and it’s been a wonderful week.

The first work project day Jarin, Tirza, Geoff and I along with another group of people went to the middle school (where we showered every day at 3:00) andswept up stones, picked weeds, giant weeds with long roots, cut down some small bushes in an area where the caretaker said kids would hide at night so they could get back into the school at night, and we did some painting of lines on the parking lot. It was very hot but the kids worked without complaining and drank a lot of water and completed the project.

Our group’s second day of work was preparing for kids club for the events they were going to enjoy in the afternoon.  We were at kids club for two days and our kids had so much fun running around, playing games, giving piggy back rides, singing and bonding with the kids from the area. 

We have seen Jarin, Tirza and Andrewbecome quick friends with kids from Texas, Oregon and Pennsylvania and were easily caught up in games of signs, cards, apples to apples, football. We have enjoyedso much laughter, teasing, joking and fun together making memories that they will never forget.

Ask Geoff about the one-eyed dog on the pickup site and ask Jarin about his climb up the mountain conquering some fears. As we make our way home today we get to enjoy each other’s company for a few more days and my prayer for these three kids is that the memories they make will last forever and that they will know how deep and how wide the Father’s love is for them.


Andrew got left behind

I'm going to start off by telling you that Keith tried to drive away without me in a ghost town beside a sign for Mexican Hat.

Other than that I have had a very good trip. We had a big water fight with the summer camp kids one day and the other day I was weeding and planting trees beside the Good Shepherd Mission, our home for the week.

Some of the enjoyable parts have been comparing the differences between the United States and Canada, playing games together, and meeting new people. The thing I dislike the most is how cramped the SUV is and it gets really uncomfortable after a while.

My favorite thing about the whole trip was climbing Window Rock as a group. It was an amazing view and an amazing hike. Overall I have had a great trip so far, thanks for your prayers. - Andrew

Hugs and Piggy Back Rides

I have been so impressed with Geoff's leadership skills on the trip so far. Well, that's what he told to write for the beginning of my blog entry because I had no clue how to start. Fort Defiance is great I was expecting more heat though... everyone here is so nice and inviting.

Yesterday we went to the kids club ALL the kids want hugs and piggy back rides and so inviting and this is so neat to experience. While we waited for the kids to show up we played games and talked about how Canada and the States are different. We played with water did singing crafts and just played with the kids. The kids have so much love even though they know they might not see us again. After kids club, we went to the school to take showers even though you had to take the quickest shower ever it was still great. Yesterday was the 4th of July so we got to celebrate by going to the rodeo most of us were excited to go but it didn't start till 8 so we decided to go to McDonald's for ice cream; so in the McDonald's there was at least 30 of us. When we got back we had a worship service.

This worship service was so different from the day before no one was holding back on how they worshipped.

no one was holding back on how they worshipped.

After that, we stayed outside to watch fireworks I was so excited for fireworks because they apparently are much better. They were okay but they are better in the big cities. Sitting outside was really fun as we waited for the fireworks we talked about stuff they have in the states but not in Canada and vice versa we just kind of messed around and had fun so a great end to a great day.

Thank you for your prayers.


Can't Wait for Taco Tuesday

I am finally in Fort Defiance!! We had a fun and relaxing drive down here. I could tell everyone was excited to go on this trip as soon as we left Edmonton. The jokes and silly comments made the trip down feel like only one day rather than three.

Today we did some personal devotions in the morning and the theme for this week is God LOVES Us. After devotions we spent the day going to something called kids club and got to play games, sing songs, and have a huge water fight with the kids from around the community. There was only 25 kids who came to kids club today which was below the normal amount but we made the best of it. It was amazing to see how the kids were not shy at all. They wanted piggy back rides all the time from anyone of us.

For tomorrow we will split up and some groups will go back to kids club and other groups will do work projects.

I think my group will be either painting or gardening we will get our marching orders in the morning. It has been great to meet the other volunteer kids and leaders form other churches.

The majority of them are from Texas so I'm sure taco Tuesday will be a big hit. Speaking of food I'm going to eat dinner now so that's all I have for today.

Thank you for all your prayers- Keith

Mac & Cheetos and One Liners

Well, I guess we made it here in with relative ease, we did have small problem at the Lava Hot Springs in Idaho and a certain Burger King just outside of Arizona (in which Geoff forced me to endure an order of Mac and Cheetos.) Save for those events, the ride down was okay in the grand scheme of things.

Last night we finally arrived at our destination and started meeting the people we would be spending the next couple days with. We ate with them, sang with them, and today we will be working with them at different work sites around the area. 

I'm excited for the experiences and growth that this trip will provide. - Jarin

Three weeks ago I had no inkling that I would be in Arizona on the serve trip. Geoff approached me about chaperoning and I was very hesitant. I didn't want to make it uncomfortable for Andrew as well as did I want to use my week of holidays sweating profusely and being cramped in a vehicle for three days down and three days back. But with prayer and talking with various people and my family, here I am sitting in a large room in a Mission in Fort Defiance, Arizona. The views on the drive were so spectacular, beautiful mountains, scrubby bushes, red rocks and stretches of land where there was nothing and we wondered why people live here and what do they do. Humour is never far in this group, with each kid having a wicked sense of humour and one liners that keep us laughing. I am happy to be here and to see these three kids grow, change, form deeper friendships with each other and with our Lord. Today we begin our adventure with the kids club as a whole group of 68 people and then off tonight to celebrate the Fourth of July. Andrew and Jarin are both sporting their amazing patriotic shirts to get in the spirit of the day.  

Thank you all for your prayers. - Karen.