Austin Missions Trip Day 2

Everyone slept well and enjoyed the cooler temperatures that the morning brings. We were up at 6:45AM and ready to go.

One crew was assigned breakfast duty so we helped serve and then clean up from all the campers eating. After breakfast, we had our morning program and then went out to our work sites.

Two crews worked on sorting clothes, organizing food, and preparing for the food pantry distribution that took place tonight. They also will help with distribution tomorrow and interact with all the clients coming to pick up food or clothing. The ministry serves 200+ families each week so we know tomorrow is going to be a busy morning!

The third crew was involved with playing with the kids at the local Boys and Girls Club. They colored, played games, read books in the library, and interacted with over 100 campers there. The campers were immediately drawn to our kids and formed friendships quickly.

We returned from the worksites around 2:30pm and got ready to visit a local park. Champions Park is advertised to have a climbing area, dinosaur fossils, and splash pad. We assumed the area would be popular, however upon arriving, we were the only ones there! They splash pad was closed for water conservation so we didn’t get to cool off that way. The temperature reading was 109 degrees!

We enjoyed playing at the park for about an hour before heading back to camp to shower and get ready for dinner. One of the crews had dinner duty so they were ready to serve food and clean up as well.

After dinner, we helped set up for the evening distribution of food at the pantry and then completed our hospitality task of cleaning the bathrooms. All the kids were eager to clean, sweep, and mop. If you want to have some help at home, I’m sure they will be as eager! ūüėČ

We cleaned and then headed to the evening program to learn more of the days theme of trust. The kids had good discussions and a time of worship.

We wrapped up the evening with devotions and cards games and ice cream. Oh, and a special violin performance!

We are all ready for bed and winding down for the night. Tomorrow will be fun with not just work but also sightseeing. We have loaded up on waters and Gatorade so the heat won’t drag us down. The kids have been bonding and having a great time together. You would be proud to see your kids serving, caring, and working hard. Thanks for letting them come!

Austin Missions Trip Day 1

We made it! A long day of travel has everyone sleeping soundly now.

We left New York bright and early, but a little later than expected. Our plane was brought back to the gate because of a light that was malfunctioning. There was no issue but the pilot wanted maintenance to check it out before we left. We ended up sitting at the gate for about an hour. We had a good flight down to Nashville otherwise.

With the delay, we were very tight on time to make our connecting flight in Nashville. Thankfully, the plane was held for our group and we ran off one plane to get on the next. We then flew safely down to Austin where we picked up our bags. Well, all but one bag that is. In the rush of the transfer, one bag did not make it but we are waiting for it to be delivered anytime. Hopefully soon!

We then went from the airport to take a picture in front of the famous ‚ÄúGreetings from Austin‚ÄĚ mural and then over to In-n-Out for lunch.

After lunch, we headed to Wal-Mart to purchase items for the Community Gift. Each child was given $5 to spend on items for the missions ‚Äúsurvival kits‚ÄĚ for people who have fallen on hard times. The kids picked up toiletries and the like to bless the community.

From Wal-Mart, we grabbed some ice cream before heading to our lodging facility. We unpacked, had the opening meeting, ate dinner, and then went to find out the different work assignments for the groups.

One group is working with the local Boys and Girls Club to run summer camp for children. Two groups are working a few days at a local food bank and then two days at an organization that has horses for therapy for children with special needs. There is a camp happening this week and our two crews will help with the campers.

Overall, a great fun-filled day of travel, new sights, and adventures. We look forward to the week of serving!

Preparing to Leave for Austin, Texas! Missions Trip 2018

We are heading to Austin, Texas for a week of serving the community in need. We have a group of 19 going down July 22nd-27th.

Here are some trip reminders for those going:

1) Payment – Earlier today, you received an email from me listing how much is still due on your child’s account for the trip. The trip must be paid-in-full before we leave on the 22nd. Please use the online form, which is included in the email, or let me know if you have donation checks/cash to turn into me for your fund account. Thanks!

2) Luggage РIn packing, please limit your belongings to one bag. One bag is allowed (must be smaller than 62 inches and under 50lb). All items (sleeping bag/pillows/blanket, etc) must be inside bag. A backpack or purse is allowed on the plane but contents must follow TSA guidelines. The suggested packing list is attached, in case you need it. 

3) Electronics РYou may bring your preferred electronic devices for the travel down to TX and back to NY only. As soon as we arrive at the lodging facility, I will collect them all. Yes, this includes cell phones, iPods, gaming systems, etc. They will be kept in a secure location and will be returned on Friday at the airport. Remember, electronics are allowed for travel but bring at your own risk.

4) Food РAll food and drinks will be provided on the trip. If you would like to bring snacks for the plane, they must be without peanuts and easy to transport. Also, if you would like to have an extra snack while traveling or a souvenir from the trip, personal money must be used for those items; they are not paid for by the trip funds.

5) Leaving for Texas РWe are meeting on Sunday, July 22nd, at LaGuardia Airport at 5:30AM at the Southwest Ticket Counter, Terminal B. That means checking in to our flight at 5:30AM. That means you MUST be on time at 5:30AM. This does not mean arrive at LGA at 5:30AM, park your car, and then come inside to find us. This means you are standing inside at the counter at 5:30AM. The plane will not wait on us. Neither Southwest or TSA require photo identification from your child for the flight; only the boarding pass is needed.

6) Arriving in NY – We are scheduled to arrive back in New York on Friday, July 27th, at LaGuardia Airport at 10:25PM. Please meet us at baggage claim for Southwest Flight 309 from Dallas at 10:30PM.

7) Follow us in Texas! – Learn what we’ve been up to each day and see pictures by following my missions trip blog:¬† It will but updated each night around 10PM.

Praying for you!
Leslie ūüôā

York Missions Trip 2017 Day Five

Well, we made it through the last day at our work sites! The kids were great and really did grow in their ability to serve others. We started our day with breakfast and the morning program. After loading up the three vehicles, we headed to the different nursing homes to help.

One site interacted and played games with the residents. They even led a community UNO game and brightened the day of many of the seniors. The second group cleaned a resident’s unit and heard interesting stories while eating cookies with milk. They too played “Christian Tai Chi” with the residents. The last group set up for the community picnic, took residents to the morning activity of “noodle ball” and then served food at the picnic before cleaning up. The groups were released early from their sites, which left enough time to grab some ice cream and treats on the way back to the lodging site. All the kids enjoyed the surprise!

Back at the school, the kids played card games with each other and then went to the high school down the road for shower time. We then were able to come back to the school to enjoy some down time (none of the crews were responsible for dinner tonight). Yes, you see many pictures of card games. They love playing! We enjoyed tacos for dinner and then had cleaning duties around the lodging facility. We had to vacuum the program area and clean the bathrooms.

Afterward, we attended the evening program. We reflected on the week and shared memories with each other. There was much laughter and sharing as all the kids said the week superseded their expectations. During our devotions, we each said one word to describe the week. Some of the words shared were, “worthwhile, “determined,” “relaxed,” “patient-er”, and “loving.”

After devotions, we had the kids write Care Cards (notes of encouragement for each other) before heading back to the program area for the “Lip Sync Show.” A few of our kids participated but everyone excitedly watched. After the show, the kids went to pack and play games.

We plan to wake up as usual in the morning and then load up to head home. Our goal is to be gone by 9AM so we can arrive back to the Syosset campus between 3PM-4PM. See you soon!

York Missions Trip 2017 Day Four

The morning started with the usual 6:45AM wake up call and then down to breakfast. We had a short morning program and then we were out again to our different work sites. One group spent the day interacting and encouraging the residents through conversations as well as games. Another group helped with cleaning and then interacted with residents by helping them make dog treats for a local animal shelter. The last group cleaned the grounds outside of the nursing home and then assisted with transporting residents to different activities throughout the day.

The kids are growing in their comfort in talking and interacting with the senior citizens. They are excited and look forward to talking to those at the nursing home. If you compared the kids from the beginning of the week to now with just one day left, there is a huge difference! We are proud of them as they stepped out of their comfort zones and became willing to do whatever jobs were asked of them at the nursing homes. We pray the attitude and mindset continues past this week!

After the work sites, we all headed to the school down the road for warm showers. We had gone a few days without them since we were at Hershey Park yesterday and missed the shower times. (No one seemed to want to skip out of rides and fun for showers!) From showers, we came back to the place we stay so one crew could start on dinner preparations for the whole camp. They worked hard and fast to feed everyone, which everyone loved. Dinner was chicken, mac & cheese, & salad. (You’d be happy with how many of your kids are eating veggies!)

After dinner, there were several card games going on and everyone enjoyed the fun. We then went to the evening program where the focus was on Jesus’ forgiveness and the start of new life. We were challenged to walk with Jesus and many of the kids shared with our group how God had spoken to them during the program.

We shared some of our thoughts of the program and announcements afterwards. I was able to read the comments from the blog posts and the kids enjoyed hearing from all of you. Thanks for commenting!

Everyone is now playing games again – girls are going strong with UNO and the boys have a few card games. They all love to play games! We will soon be in bed and resting up for our last day of serving at the nursing homes. One crew has breakfast duty in the morning, so they have an early wake up.

Thanks for thinking and praying for us! We are having a great week!

York Missions Trip 2017 Day Three

Here is a quick update for the day. We just arrived back to the school after a long day of work and then fun. We started the day with one crew preparing breakfast for the whole camp. After we ate, we attended the morning program with worship and devotions. Then, we headed out to our work sites. We had everything with us so we could leave straight for Hershey Park after working till 12PM.

One crew celebrated a resident’s 94th birthday, interacted with the residents, and played games with them. Another crew pulled weeds and cleaned in the nursing home. Lastly, the other crew cleaned up outside the nursing home from the storm and then transported the residents to a church service. They even were asked to impromptu sing songs in front of the seniors. They did excellent!

Hershey Park was a blast for the kids. Many rode roller coasters for the first time while others enjoyed the classic amusement park rides such as the swings, bumper cars, and the like. We ended the day at the water park where the kids had fun on multiple rides and ate dinner “beach side.” After showering and souvenirs, we loaded up again to arrive back at the school for bed.

Tomorrow is another full day as well with work at the nursing homes and school. We area all having a good time and building great friendships. There are great memories being created as well!

York Missions Trip 2017 Day Two

The day started early for our group. We had a wake up call at 6:45AM and then headed into the cafeteria for breakfast. Amazingly, the boys made it there before the girls…and there are double the amount of boys than girls! After breakfast, we had our morning program with songs and devotion, as well as a few safety rules for our worksites.

All three of our work crews are at nursing home facilities. One crew is at an assisted independent living facility and were assigned activities such as Tai Chi, billiards, and visiting the residents for conversations. They learned a lot about the men and ladies there, enjoying hearing stories from the past. Another crew at the nursing home enjoyed playing games, helping with crafts, and bowling with the residents. They also were able to visit the residents for encouraging conversations. Lastly, the third crew at a different nursing home helped bring residents to different activities/games in their wheelchairs, participate in the games, set up/clean up and serve at picnic lunch, and then serve/interact with residents in their rooms. Overall, everyone enjoyed the new experience (many had never been to a nursing home) and enjoyed serving the elderly.

About the time we headed back to the school where we are staying, a huge thunderstorm with lightening and hail came upon us. We had to run inside and avoid the rain, which was impossible. We gathered our showering items and headed down the road to a local high school for showers. Some had cold…some had warm water, but we all left clean!

One crew had dinner prep duty back at the school for the whole camp. They did a great job making sure the lasagna, salad, and rolls were ready to go. Another crew was then responsible for clean up of the kitchen and cafeteria. Again, everyone worked together and made sure the job was done perfectly. We then had some down time for games and fun with each other.

We just came from our evening program with devotions and music and games. We also enjoyed going around in our youth group time and share how each person brings joy to our group. We had fun hearing from the group and were blessed by the encouragement. Everyone had fun and we are prepared for tomorrow’s work assignments, fun afternoon at Hershey Park, and food duty too. One crew is assigned to getting up at 6:30AM for breakfast prep so they are ready to start early.

It is almost time to get ready for bed. The boys and girls are winding down and spending time in the rooms with games and building friendships.

(Sorry…pictures are in reverse order of day events)

York Missions Trip 2017 Day One

We made it here to York safe and sound. Everyone is excited to be here!

After leaving the church around 9:45AM, we set out for a sunny drive through NYC, NJ, and into Pennsylvania. We stopped for lunch around 12:45PM in Trevose, PA (somewhere along the Turnpike) at Wendy’s. We definitely overwhelmed the small town restaurant!

We arrived in York around 4PM and were welcomed by the Group Missions staff leaders. We unloaded, set up all our rooms, and then went to the opening program for an overview of the week. After enjoying a quick pizza and salad dinner, we went to the program area to receive our work crew assignment and to learn where we would be going for the week. (You’ll even see below some of our kids acting in an impromptu drama”). Our group of 19 has been divided into 3 work crews. All crews are assigned either a nursing home or senior citizen independent living facility. Our groups will interact with the residents and help with the activities there. We are happy to help wherever needed!

We had a great time settling in and learning more about each other. The boys have games going in the room now while the girls are enjoying “story time” and playing goofy games with each other. Our lights out come soon and we are in need of a good night of sleep as we anticipate a busy day tomorrow.


York 2015 Day Five

Well, everyone is back safe and sound to Long Island! We had a great trip back and loved having been some fun along the way!

This morning, we packed up and ate a quick breakfast. Then, we headed to Hershey Chocolate World for a tour of how chocolate is made there. This was a perfect first stop since the park only opened at 10AM and we had time to spare. 

Then, after the tour, we went on to Hershey Park for roller coasters and rides galore! All the kids wanted to ride so we were able to travel in a group. There was one roller coaster that we split up in but later convened back together for lunch on The Boardwalk. 

From lunch till about 3PM, we were at the water park and it was a beautiful day! After changing from wet clothes, we went back to Chocolate World to shop for souvenirs. There was a lot of sugar purchased so I hope your child shares!

We were back on the road for the trip home. We stopped for dinner at Chick-Fil-A and arrived back to church around 10PM. We were later than planned but all were safely back with smiles. 

The trip was great. The kids were awesome. The leaders inspiring. And God was honored. Thanks for another missions trip!


York 2015 Day Four

Today was the last working day for our crews. With projects to finish and people to wish farewell, it was a bittersweet day. 

The summer camp crew finished maintenance projects around the grounds. There are some pictures below from there work all week. We are proud of the hard working boys!

The low-income housing unit crew weeded and cleaned the grounds again. There was a lot of tall brush as well as ivy to clear for the residents. The people were so thankful since most are elderly and cannot do most work around the place. The staff of the complex gave us pizza and drinks to say thank you. 

The food pantry group spend time distributing food as well as dropping off food to two locations with people in need. 

The afternoon was as usual with showers and free time. Our group was on dinner duty tonight for the whole camp. We helped prepare, serve, and clean up the food. The kids did a great job. 

After dinner, there was a huge game extravaganza with everyone at a park nearby. We all loaded up into our different vehicles to go and played together at the park. 

After games, we came back for the evening program for a short lesson on how Jesus Reframes our Future and gives us the power to live for him. We also recapped the week of work through a great slideshow of pictures from all eleven work crews. 

We had cake for dessert and then for a special activity, there is a movie in the auditorium for everyone to enjoy. Lights out is at 11pm tonight so everyone is still full of energy now. 

Hershey Park tomorrow! We will leave camp at 9AM tomorrow, head to the park (about 45 minutes away), and then spend a few hours there having fun. We will leave at 3PM from Hershey to go home. That should give us 5 hours for a 4 hour trip…I hope we will be back to the Syosset campus between 8-9PM. See you then! 

Enjoy some pictures from the week!