Day 4: Finishing strong

This was our last full day in Galveston before departure on Friday. We spent most of the day working on small projects, walking through the neighborhood again learning about ourselves and the people. We even were able to pray for people and hear stories about leaders on the trip that went through life struggles similar to what we see in Galveston. We learned! In the afternoon, we went back to street camp to play with the kids. We had a blast playing games, throwing paper airplanes, singing songs, listening to a quick bible story, and doing crafts one on one until it was time to say goodbye.

There were some tears and special goodbyes as we left for the day. You could tell by the reflection time that some of the kids really loved on us well too.

During our nightly download and devotional time, we shared words of affirmation and encouragement with one another. Each and every person in the room was called and known by name. Though the changes may be subtle and small, God definitely was able to get into the hearts of everyone on this trip, even those who flat out refused to have anything to do with prayer or devotional time. Whether it was for attention or a deep seed of rebellion, we will not know at this moment but one day, the seeds that were planted this week will grow. They will bear fruit. They will make a difference in someone’s life. Here’s to great week of service and quality time in Galveston!


Bahamas Day 7

We had a a trash container delivered to the Sandbanks and arrived in the morning to start cleaning up.  The community is filled with trash partly because they don’t really have anywhere to put it!  The last few years during GoWeek we have loaded up trucks and hauled off trash with just a little help here and there from women in the community.  We always engage the younger kids not in school to help us – hoping to teach them new habits!  This year, with the container in place and a plan to have it emptied monthly – even the men in the community joined in to help.  In just a few hours we filled an entire 30 yard container with another pile that will fill it again!  It truly was an incredible experience to be working with the community instead of just for them.  Our HP kids were lifting cast iron tubs, hauling freezers that had been sitting full for probably months or years (YUCK!), and filling bags and bags of trash.  In the end we had hugs and God’s blessings from people in the community!   Needless to say that everyone needed a quick rinse before we headed to the school to finish our garden and play with the kids one last afternoon.  Hot and tired your kids stepped up to mix concrete, finish setting rocks, haul soil and plant seeds/plants to complete the memorial vegetable garden for a teacher that helped us get our ministry started.  Just as we finished the bell rang and we were able to play with the kids for an hour while they waited for the bus.  The day not yet over 🙂 we headed to the community for last good-byes, helping with homework and a few tears.  Our HP kids truly had an impact on everyone in the community!


Guatemala: Adios!

We are at the hotel Barceló in Guatemala City tonight. It was so hard saying goodbye this morning.

Here are the pictures I have right now. There may be some that have been posted previously along with new ones. I’ll also get everyone else’s photos and post those tomorrow during our layover in Atlanta.

Bahamas Day 6

IMG_1015IMG_0961IMG_1035IMG_1005IMG_1010IMG_0955IMG_0970IMG_1000IMG_1045Best day yet!  Today we had an all day VBS for Treasure Cay Primary.  We started very early this morning prepping 150 hot dog lunches and headed to the school at 7:45!  We set up 12 stations of mini rockets, basketball whiffle ball, soccer, paracords, ring pop walks, polaroids and many more!

We had kids assigned to each grade and they had them all day – for 7 hours!  We started in the classroom writing our verse on shirts: Eph 2:10  “We were created in Christ, Jesus to do good works” and we taught them the Praise and Worship song and dance – Every Breath I Take!  Yes, even the boys learned the dance during our evenings at the house!
Then our kids spent the day rotating to different stations every 15 minutes – they went from station to station shouting their team chants and ended all together with a great talk from Coach Carp and a dance party!  We also had all 150 kids sing Happy Birthday to Ms. Kammy who has been tirelessly cooking our meals and doing everyones laundry daily!
Finally home at 5:30 to see how the locals climb coconuts down from the tree and open them with the machete!
We rewarded the teams hard work with dinner on the beach!  Your kids had their patience tested today with some having as many as 33 kids to two leaders in the class – they handled it with amazing grace!
Technical difficulties loading photos – Stay Tuned!

Central Texas Food Bank — 3/15 (The End)

Well, we did it. GoWeek 2019 with the Central Texas Food Bank is over. We arrived at the Food Bank early this morning, so we checked in for our shift (9:00 in the warehouse) and waited until it was time to get to work. Cooper was pretty tired, so he decided to seize the opportunity and take a nap (see pic below). Before long, it was 9:00 and we gathered up to hear a few instructions and then headed to the warehouse. It’s a pretty big job, so they brought in another group from Oracle, a software company, to help out. The warehouse is where boxes of donated goods are taken off of pallets and sorted to be sent out to partner organizations, like churches and community centers. Today, there were several teams w/ different tasks. Most of the product we dealt with was frozen meat and the like, some had to identify whether the food was safe to eat; there were several groups at the conveyor belt sorting different types of meats, (frozen lunch meat, turkey, ham, ground beef, etc.) or prepping it to be put on pallets and sent back out of the warehouse for shipping. While the rest of our group manned the line, my dad and I made labels for the different products. For each “category” — lunch meat, ground beef, etc. — we had to write down its five-digit item number, the type of meat, and its weight. It sounds hard, but they had all that stuff written down for us already, so we just had to copy it over. Ultimately though, every box going out needs to be labeled, so we must’ve have made between 500 and 1000 stickers! At least we didn’t have to count a bajillion sporks this time. Label-making is more my speed. Anyway, with the help of the Oracle volunteers, we helped provide a total of — drumroll — 7,750 MEALS! We were able to come together, not just today, but all week, and contribute a whole lot of food to our community and state as a whole, and as a result, lend our hands and our hearts toward the ultimate cause — getting out of our comfort zone and loving on people! Jesus taught that when we serve, practicing humility and kindness towards our neighbor, then we also will experience God’s love and increase in our desire to obey Him. I don’t know exactly how everyone else in the group felt, but I am for sure more in love with God after this week. The work He can do with less than 100 people, even just one person, has the potential to change lives, for instance, providing 7,750 meals to those in need.Why? it’s simple. He loves every one of us, rich or poor, hungry or fed, beyond any level of affection we could ever imagine. Service is our small, but meaningful way of sharing that message of love to those around us. He loves you, He created you, and He wants you to trust in Him. Once you do, you’ll never be the same, and, if you let Him, He’ll use you to do amazing things. Give it a shot. It’s worth it. Thanks for praying for us this week, and I hope our stories have given you a little hope and joy. Thanks for reading them. One final time, I’ll ask you to pray for us. Pray that our experiences from the week will last, and that we will never forget what God did this week in us and His providence for the Central Texas Food Bank.

Thanks for reading,



Pillow Elementary Day 5

Our last day at Pillow has been memorable. I am going to really miss everyone I worked with. The connections we all made with the kids were so genuine and strong.

Today all the Hyde Park Volunteers were running stations for track and field day. Some were doing throwing contests, dance offs, and the parachute game. Jilly Nickens and I were in charge of the relay station. We did potato sack races, kangaroo-hop races, and egg races. It was so fun to see each group of students run to our station with excitement and then compete and encourage one another.

We ate Schlotzsky’s for lunch which was generously provided by Pillow and we got re-energized to go play and dance with students the rest of the day.

Today was one of the most fun days I’ve had here at Pillow in both of my years. I loved being with the kids outside when they were free from school work and able to run and play.

As we left with big hugs, some lasting till the very last seconds, everyone felt that their hearts were full. Even though today was our last day, I encourage everyone to keep Pillow in their prayers and thoughts as the year progresses.

Pillow has been an amazing experience this year and I am so happy I was able to participate. Thank you to Ms. Polski and Mrs. Mullen’s and everyone it took to organize this trip. It has been truly a blast. Also, thank you to everyone who has been following along with the the blog. Y’all rock! I hope you enjoyed the daily updates and pictures.


Kate Newman

Team Philippines-Speedway 3rd Grade- Day 5

GOweek has come to a close. It’s been a memorable week of serving others, praying together, and learning about local organizations that provide much needed services in the Austin area. Today’s run at Camp Mabry was windy and cold but we had a blast getting in as many laps as we could. We even had the opportunity to see a helicopter take off! It was exciting to hear that Hyde Park School has officially donated over $16,000 for Batten disease over the last three years. Today was truly a victory lap. Thank you again for supporting GOweek!