Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall Mission Trip, 2016 to Presbyterian Children's Home

This weekend we went to the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega, Alabama. This is the second time the youth group went but my first time going. We went not knowing what we were going to do or how we were going to help. We ended up helping to remodel the new thrift store that the home got. They just got the keys to the building this week. This is their second thrift store. The thrift stores provide employment for the mothers when they first come to the Home, which gives them work experience and access to childcare. It's neat because the thrift stores pay for themselves! We stripped peeling paint off of walls, took out patches of rotting wall, and did a bunch of painting and cleaning. It was a bunch of work, but we got the building move-in ready. The adults started moving things in on the last afternoon. We had a bonfire Saturday night with some of the residents. Chelsea, one of the amazing staff members gave a devotional and we ate s'mores. Which, speaking of that, there was a shooting star. Anna and Cindy had never seen one. Too bad Ted missed it! Saturday was amazing. We got to have a tour around the school. The school has four houses, like Hogwarts. Of course, we couldn't miss out on ice-cream our last afternoon at the Pop the Top Soda Shop after a weekend full of hard work. Overall, the weekend was amazing and I can't wait to go back!
--Sarah (one of the newest members of the SHPC Youth Group)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Back Home! Back to Make a World of Difference

We survived the week! We are home, and we had a great week. We thank all of the people that prayed for our safe trip home and for us to have a good week. We have a great church family! Ask us about our trip and what we learned! Help us as we try to be the difference in our church, family, friend groups, and world.
SHPC Youth

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday--The Final Day!

With this being my first trip to Montreat, I didn't know what to expect.  Having spend a week with our youth, I have a new appreciation of them and a stronger interaction with them.  Also, Montreat allows the adult volunteers to join their small group sessions.  This setting put me in a group with 20-24 youth and a couple of adults, with none of us being from the same church.  While in this group I was moved by the stories they shared, some of hardships, some of faith struggles, and some of encouragement.  Our faith is ever changing and these youth are ready to jump into the fray as we all try to figure this whole thing out, which all I have to say to that is Thanks Be To God!
--Rudolph (Rudlo)

Running buddies!

Ice-cream social with youth from the Presbytery of South Alabama

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Final Countdown: Thursday

My youth group and I started this beautiful Thursday with pancakes for breakfast prepared by Samantha. Rodger delivered another moving sermon. After our small groups, he joined us at the house for lunch! He is very personable and captivating. My mom grilled burgers and hot dogs. Mrs. Cindy made fries and delicious cheese dip. Every Thursday at Montreat, they host The Variety Show. Our very own Ruth Harper performed! The whole auditorium sang along with her. We're so proud of her for getting up in front of 600+ people on her first year attending Montreat. I am very thankful for the opportunity to bond and get to know these exceptional youth. 
Mary Hunter Davis 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday!

It was indeed a wonderful Wednesday as we awoke to smells of fresh coffee and breakfast being prepared by the ever-busy Mrs. Cindy and Mrs. Mary Alyce. Today was a special one as the entire afternoon was allotted for "back-home" group bonding time. Of course, our group from flat Alabama decided hike up Lookout Mountain. The seemingly vertical climb was worth the struggle once we saw this view: 
The journey up was nothing short of a test of perseverance. The real motivational push for me came when Mrs. Cindy exclaimed that she wanted to beat all of us youth in getting there. Her determination and the "No!" I heard whenever I asked her if she wanted to take a break, was a model of strong faith.  She paralleled the spirit it takes to have a lasting and rewarding relationship with God. The top of the mountain gave me a profound view of my surroundings and my personal faith. 

-Sam Fry

On the way up here I was unsure about how I would be able to connect with this unknown youth group, as I have been away for 4 years in college. I did not even know a few of the people in our group before the trip. But from the moment we arrived at Montreat, I was welcomed with open arms, which is a testament to the youth and their incredible leader, Anna. The ladies instantly made a connection with me, even those I had not yet had the pleasure of knowing. I have enjoyed sharing a room with my sister, Ruth, and Mary Hunter, which has promoted a unique and meaningful bonding experience. 

Having a sister, it took me a second to acclimate to living in a house with younger boys. However, today I was able to play a card game and really connect with them on their level. They were still laughing about the card game late into the night, and I continued to enjoy the comraderie. These boys are truly special. 

Tonight was "Meet Me at the Market" night. We enjoyed different tents outside similar to a farmers market, with booths by real artisans such as leather working, clay pottery, herbs, face painting, and square dancing with a live band. Below is a picture of the booth that made tote bags from tshirts:
As this is my first time at Montreat, the activities and themes were new to me, but I have loved the recreation and events here that add to the unique and incredible experience.

-Ali Fry

Keynote, which is the morning worship time, has proved our favorite part of each day.
The speaker, Rodger Nishioka, who will be joining us for lunch tomorrow, is a captivating storyteller who drives his points with anecdotes that are not only relatable but tug at the heartstrings. The crowd is often in tears. Part of his lesson each morning allows audience participation. This morning, our very own Andrew was brave enough to voice an answer that Daniel suggested. As everyone else offered an opinion, Andrew gave factual information that was the perfect answer that exceeded expectations. Rodger and the entire auditorium were dumbfounded. Needless to say, everyone now thinks Andrew has Daniel's knowledge about the bible and its history as well as his own charm, musical abilities, and his brother's moose hat. 

Another segment of the Keynote highlighted 1 Corinthians 12's theme of unity with body parts as an example.
The back-home leaders were piled onto the stage, and all of the youth of our group rooted for Anna. Even though she wasn't picked to hold a giant cut-out of a foot, our group embodied the message of the story, as we chanted her name together loud enough for her to hear.
Honestly, I think that support she felt from us and the fun we had showing her our love was the best takeaway...even if we can't say we saw her face embedded into a giant styrofoam foot. We love you Anna! 

We also want to take this time and tell you, our church family, how much you and this experience mean to us. This time we have spent growing closer with the rest of the youth group and as sisters has been priceless. This is truly a mountain-top experience in our faith journey. Thank you for all of your support in our lives as you have watched us grow up. Even though we will soon be in Birmingham, we will always call Spring Hill Presbyterian Church our home. 

-Samantha and Alexandra Fry

Some more fun photos:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taco Tuesday!

Today we had a awesome breakfast. I had to do a skit in small group about the blind beggar and it was pretty funny. We also acted very responsibly and prank called Clay Spaulding. We ended saying that we wish he was here and that we are sad he won't know the origin of The Moose Hat! We also had some of George's ice cream it was good. And we also went fishing again and that was fun too. It's been a great day so far.
Charlie Rice

Monday Madness! Day 2

Today was our first regular day at the Montreat youth conference. We begin our day with a yummy breakfast. Then we went to keynote. Our keynote speaker is Rodger Nishioka. Our favorite story was about fish names snerdless the gerp. He was a fish who was set free in a bathtub, but instead of using his freedom to swim in figure eights, he swam in small circles still. Today was the first official day of small groups. My small group is very interesting. We played lots of fun games including a game where the leader starts a rhythm and everyone has to follow. The person in the middle of the circle has to figure out who begins the rhythm. It was a bunch of fun! The fishing crew has continued to fish. They've discovered that Hawaiian bread is the best bait. After worship tonight we had Montreat Olympics. We began with a frisbee contest. But we got into true form when we did the volleyball competition. At the beginning of the week I bought a moose hat. It's become a fun joke and adds to pictures! 
It has become the defining item for our group. The Moose has almost become our spirit animal as a group. We close the night by eating brownies and playing Apples to Apples. We are enjoying our time so far! 
Bryan Ayers