End of the week, already

This week absolutely flew by.

Work days 3 and 4 were an absolute blur and the internet connection here barely let me send some pictures to Facebook, so I appreciate your patience.

Each worksite made a tremendous amount of progress on the trip. We were very lucky to have met wonderful residents, the Dempsey's, Ms. Smith and Mr. Sampson.

We were each touched profoundly by how this little pocket of work we did for them will increase their quality of life tremendously.

Mr. & Mrs. Dempsey will be able to get out of their home now and their roof is on its way to being finished. Leaving them with a dry home!

Ms. Smith's wheelchair ramp is very complicated and the difficulty to complete was high. Though the students did great work, you can tell that they were very sad not to have completed the project. Next Step indiciates that it should be compelte in the next week.

Mr. Sampson's garage has been completed demolished and is really far down the path of reconstruction. He'll actually be able to use his garage as he's getting a new (to him) car this weekend so he'll be able to take his wife to-and-from treatments.

But the work wasn't the only amazing thing that happened this week.

Wednesday night we heard the Gospel message given via video from Francis Chan a well-known and well-respected Christian leader. Each of us took the time to pray over something in our lives that is an obstacle in our accepting Jesus or our relationship with him. We each wrote that obstacle on a little peice of paper and nailed it to the cross. It was an incredibly powerful time of worship.

On Thursday after our workday was done, we had an opportunity to have dinner with friends in the community and then worship in a re-done former catholic church that had been reopened as a non-demonational church. It was absolutely beautiful inside and we were welcomed. There we worshiped and it was an incredibly moving experience. We took turns washing each others feet just like Jesus did for his disciples. We also took a lot of time to pray over each other and share our special moments with each other.

It was absolutely powerful.

This morning (Friday) we decided to give it a go at the beach, it was 63 degrees outside and the water was only 62 degrees! How crazy is that!

A lot of the students jumped in and swam while others looked on from the shore.

We grabbed lunch at Five Guys, a burger & fries place and watched a movie together.

Tonight, we will be worshiping together one last time. The crazy thing is, with the four churches represented, you can't even tell what church anyone is from any more... they are all great friends and are incredibly sad to be leaving each other. Isn't that the way it always is with camp or blended mission trips.

Hopefully, I'll have time tomorrow after Cedar Point to post more. Until then... April & Mike

Work Day 2

It is the end of day 2, and we're all tuckered out.

After having sugar-highs last night from the ice cream social that the church members at our host church made for us, we definitely had troubles getting to sleep on time (lights out was supposed to be 11 pm--the rumors are that some kids were up 'til 2 giggling and talking). Some of the staffers stay up until all of the students make it to bed.

On Crew 1 (they're roofing a house and removing/rebuilding a wheelchair ramp) they finished all of the jackhammering today. Ben and another student really rocked the jackhammer. The roof is almost completely off of the house and the kids are super sore from the jackhammer and sunshine.

On Crew 2 (they're working on a garage) they tore down the remainder of the siding and drywall and took all of the debris and loaded it into a trailer for the dump in the morning. They also discovered that some of the anchored boards at the bottom of the walls were really rotted and they needed to be replaced. Tomorrow we'll be squaring up the garage and begin sheeting the walls.

On Crew 3 (a wheelchair ramp) they finished removing all of the ramp and started digging 4-ft deep holes for posts to go in. We'll be finishing up the digging tomorrow and beginning to set some of the posts to start the construction of the ramp.

Tonight we enjoyed Taco Tuesday and made great tacos from the taco bar. We made a trip to Wal-Mart to replace a broken waterbottle and buy a pillow. Then stopped at Fenicks, a local frozen custard place. We enjoyed the custard and now we're enjoying our last few minutes of free time.

It was a great day today. Make sure you check out the #NextStepOhio hashtag on Facebook and Instagram. Mike and April are trying to post things when they can, but things have been crazy busy. We sent a whole bunch of Go-Pro footage to be made into a video. We'll post as soon as it is ready!

We are having a lot of fun, working hard and enjoying our trip. We each miss home a little in different ways. And... can't wait to post more pictures.

Work day 1

After a good night's sleep, Day 1 started by being awoken to guitar music and singing.

We hurried and got dressed, did personal hygiene and headed down the hall to make breakfast (cereal--it took a lot of effort) and pack our lunches. (Check out the hashtag #NextStepOhio on Facebook and Instagram for pictures we post as we go).

Then we did our morning devotionals and headed over to the worksites.

We stuck a GoPro on one of the kids, so you'll get to see some videos of digging and demolition once we get enough internet power to upload them (poor Katie Roquet from Wesley is waiting patiently for those to upload).

But, we also took a lot of pictures that will be uploaded, too.

Each worksite was a little different, Kalli and Ben took turns using the jackhammer while they're demolishing a concrete wheelchair ramp. Some of the boys were stripping shingles off of a roof that needs repaired.

Another group took cleaned out a garage--which involved moving a 70s era Vega that had four flat tires that were rusted into place and didn't run. They also began the process of stripping the garage down to its studs/frame (removing the siding, an overhang and some sheetrock).

The third group pulled up a wooden wheelchair ramp and helped transplant some greenery.

Each group had a lot of work cut out for them and it seems like they did a really good job! Mike has been capturing a lot of video to share with you.

All of the students have made other friends and even are beginning to sit with them at mealtimes. Our worksite crews are mixed with people from all four churches that are here this week. So, we're really getting out of our comfort zone.

After we returned back from our worksites we took turns showering--in a trailer. You'll have to ask your students about that adventure. We learned that Ohio has just as many Mayflies as Iowa! And those Mayflies really enjoy the shower trailer.

After showering, we had free time until dinner, which was excellently prepared by our Next Step staff. The congregation at the church we are staying at hosted an Ice Cream Social for us after dinner, so we had the opportunity to meet some of the parishioners and enjoy a sweet treat.

Finally, we wrapped up the night with worship and are now heading into free time.

We've been busy pretty much every moment of the day and there has not been time for us to post all of the pictures. But, we hope to soon!