Ukraine – Day 3

Today we got to spend the day at Candlelight Ranch for the second day in a row. We got to split up into two groups of five and do multiple projects all around the camp. While one group was flattening gravel for a zip line and organizing a shed on the dock, the other was cleaning out some plants at the front gate, hanging a net for archery, and clearing out space for a stream to flow. Just the way that everyone was reacting to our work and how grateful they were for us to be there was all the motivation we needed. The smiles on their face as they saw our hard work was just amazing and we had so much fun doing this for their ranch.

Ireland – Day 3

After sleeping in this morning, we met up at school and hopped on our bus to head to the location of the day. Our adventure led us back to the lovely St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church. After unloading some tools and grabbing paints and pool noodles, we got to work painting our Dragons nest! With the dragon eggs completed when we last visited, we were determined to finish all of the components for the medieval nest. With some members working to put up a beautiful cross along the mindfulness path behind the building, others stayed inside and painted. While the girls were jamming out to music, painting, having a fun time making the vision that the church had imagined come to life, the boys slipped out to run an errand and grab a sweet surprise. Celebrating the birthday of Mary Claire, the boys brought back yummy ice cream sweets and refreshing sodas for everyone, which we enjoyed while we sang to her. Today’s tasks, assigned by our friends at the church, was pushing to get ready for the Vacation Bible School events put on every year for the children involved with the church. The staff and everybody involved with St. Luke’s put on this program to help children learn about and get closer to Jesus. With every component that goes into this project, we were thrilled to be a part of such an impactful project and glad we could help the sweet people at St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church. We had a wonderful day and hope to come back in the future!

Kentucky – Day 2

We started off the day with breakfast tacos then we set up the tables we had different teams one team made the legs other teams made the cross bar and the last team made the top of the table. After we did that we ate lunch then we started sanding the stables  after all our work was done we had a devotional and takes about what GOweek really means. Then we played frisbee.

The Church on Congress Avenue – Day 4

Today was our last day at The Church on Congress Avenue. We continued working on our various projects. Some of us went to a nearby apartment complex and delivered more VBS/TCCA flyers. We also continued to make confetti eggs (cascarones), bracelets, and continued to cut out name tags and paper towel rolls. We also started to make goodie bags for the kids too! We helped to vacuum the second floor of the church. Our VBS crew continued to work on their depot set for the stage. People were cutting, painting barrels and working with cardboard. They’re excited to help bring an awesome VBS to this church that will help the kids get to know Jesus better! 

We had a lot of fun this week – We particularly enjoyed spending time with each other, working together, and going out to eat on Congress Avenue – it’s a cool part of town. We enjoyed spending time with the people of this church, getting to know them and help them out with various things. Please pray that we take our experiences from this week and not take them for granted. GoWeek is special and we are all grateful for the opportunities Hyde Park gives us to serve!

Pillow Elementary – Day 4

Today, the goal of group members Jason and Jeffrey was to help out Mrs. Guerra, a first grade teacher, with some simple tasks. They created name tags for each student in the class and tied yarn to each tag so that the kids could wear them around their necks. Other group members Georgia, Sienna, and Gwen helped out kindergarteners in Mrs. Moore’s class by decorating her bulletin board to represent that class’ theme: Superheroes. They spent the entire morning coloring, cutting out, and stapling different shapes to arrange the board while including the names of each child in a creative way. Brock, another helper, looked after Mrs. Brooks’ first grade class while she was out of the room.

Meanwhile, Jasmine worked in Mrs. Buckley’s 4th grade classroom to organize and categorize books. She also colored in our group’s poster which thanked Pillow Elementary for having us. The poster was then passed around to all group members to sign and leave notes to the students. Mrs. Frenzel’s 3rd grade class got some help from group members Ava and Bell with decorating their Olympic board for the upcoming school wide track and field day. Today was a day of preparation, and our group did well working hard with the students to get them ready for tomorrow. At the end of the day, our group had a time of fellowship over lunch at Chili’s. We ask that you pray for our big day tomorrow and the continued strength for our group to finish off the week strong. 

Ukraine – Day 2

Today we drove down to Candlelight Ranch in Marble Falls. Candlelight ranch primarily serves special needs and at risk youth, as well as their families. Our first task was to do some maintenance on their garden. They had planted different types of edibles greens and native flowers, but it had become somewhat overgrown. We put a layer of fertilizer and mulch over the existing soil and picked out the weeds. Next, we worked on a stairway that had been eroded by horses they recently led down it. It was caked with mud, so our task was to uncover the rocks again and put mulch around the sides to prevent further erosion. We are going back tomorrow, so we’ll see what work they have in store for us then.

-Sarah Vaughn

Ethiopia – Day 2

Hi friends! 

I know everyone was so disappointed when we were told that GOWeek this year was cancelled. However, I am so thankful that we were able to find other opportunities serving together right here in our own community. 

Today was a great day serving the ARC of the Capital Area, an organization dedicated to empowering Central Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Team Ethiopia went to the ARC and helped teach an art class. Today’s lesson was focused on painting cherry blossom trees and most of the students chose to participate in the lesson. But, some chose to work on their independent artwork. The team shared lots of smiles and laughs with the students and got to see some very cool artwork, such as power rangers, toilet paper rolls, a portrait of Frida Kahlo and a beautiful German church. 

Overall, the team really enjoyed getting to meet new people who were so loving towards complete strangers. Their carefree spirits inspired me to be open to new people and things, even when they are outside of my comfort zone.     -Harper Esterak, Team Ethiopia