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Day 1, Friday July 23

          Luggage loading was between 5:45 and 6:15.  Breakfast started at 6:20.  The breakfast consisted of blueberry muffins, monkey bread, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and egg-bake.  Pastor Bob said prayer for breakfast.  Before we departed everyone joined in a round-of-prayer.  We were on the road, for our very first mission trip ever, at 7:15 a.m.

          Keshia, Beth, and I rode in the car with Pastor Bob and Cheryl.  Whitney, Rachel, and Trisha rode in the van with Alan and Dan.  Somewhere between Illinois and Indiana we talked to each other over the walkie-talkies.  The adults ended up taking them away from us.  (I guess we were talking too much, or something )

          We had our picnic lunch at Spoon River Rest stop in Illinois.  I said prayer.  We had Subway bread provided by Beth Viet, bologna, turkey, cheese, lettuce, and chips.

          We arrived at our hotel, Days Inn, in Columbus, Indiana at 6:15.  We all wanted to go swimming once we were in the hotel.  We ordered Pizza Hut pizza for supper.  Our Bible study that night was about Compassion.  Also Cheryl, Trisha, and I got locked out of our hotel room.  Somehow the doorstopper fell behind the door and prevented us from getting in.  The maintenance guy took care of that!  He just rammed his shoulder up against the door and pushed it open.  (Why didn’t I think of that?)

This is our youth group loading up to go to Kentucky.


Pastor Bob and Danny deciding on how to pack the trailer.


These are house boats the way saw along the river in Urban, Kentucky.


Samantha and Keshia playing “go fishin” on the way down to Kentucky.


Day 2, Saturday July 24

          After we were packed and ready to go, I said our breakfast prayer and pastor said prayer for a safe trip to Annville.  At noon, Eastern Time, we ate in the Rite Aid Pharmacy parking lot in McKee, Kentucky.  Trisha said prayer for lunch.

When we arrived in Annville we were shocked to find our dorm not out in the middle of nowhere!  It is a very nice campus.  When we left Dumont we did not know that we would be sharing the campus with the Barnabas House.  The Barnabas house is a home for boys, between the ages 12 and 17, that have done drugs, committed crimes, etc.  There is a swimming pool, a basketball court, and a volleyball net outside in the grass.

          For supper we ate at a small diner in town called Marlene’s Place.  The food was excellent.  When we came back to our dorm we were introduced to two of our guides, Jake Moss and Dana Folkerts.  We also met Dana’s wife, Tanya.  Jake and Dana told us some rules for us to follow.  We had to be quiet by 10:30 and all lights had to be off at 11:00.  They told us not to go over to their dorm or cross the sidewalk between the two dorms.

Dana showed us around the campus.  He took us to the pond.  He forgot to warn us about little potholes along the way, though.  I was walking across the bridge with the other girls.  When I got to the other side I managed to step in a hole.  I twisted my ankle and fell flat on my you-know-what!  I couldn’t get up right-of-way and was afraid I had landed in poison ivy.  Luckily I didn’t land in poison ivy and I could still walk on my foot.  (I guess God chose me to liven up the day a little, because everyone had a good laugh.)

          Dana introduced us to the game, Carpet Ball.  It’s a game that he made up.  He built a trough-like structure out of wood and stapled carpet on the inside.  Two people play, one at one end and the other at the other end.  Each person gets five pool balls.  You use the ‘8’ ball to knock the other person’s balls of the table.  It’s a very fun, competitive, (and not to mention dangerous) game!

In bible study we learned about how our God is gracious.

P.S.  While we were at the pond we found out that two boys had escaped and ran away.  We’re all very scared and I’m having trouble falling asleep!

This is the church for Jackson County ministries.  About 25 people attended service including us kids and adults.



Our trailer box made it safely on the trip down to Kentucky.  Otto Tjaden did a great job putting it together.  We also had a great time decorating it.


Our 22 room dorm in Kentucky had plenty of room, but no air conditioning.


This is the house that Keshia, Alan, Sam, Beth, Danny, and Frank put insulation in.  They also worked completed the drywall on the inside.


Day 3, Sunday July 25

          We ate breakfast in the lounge of our dorm at 8:30 a.m.  Keshia said prayer.  After we ate Alan gave devotion.

          Us girls had Sunday school at 9:30, with Pastor Henry C. Walters, in the sanctuary on the campus.  Church service started at 10:30.  There were only about 30 people, including us, in the congregation.  We had lunch in the dinner hall on the campus at noon.  The Barnabas boys were also eating in the dinner hall at the same time as us.  Pastor asked them if they would like to play a game of volleyball against us.  Shortly after lunch we versed them in volleyball.  Instead of playing one game we ended up playing three strait games.  We beat them in all three.  After the games we hopped in the pool and cooled off.  We were told later, at around bible study time, that this was the first time they had ever played or interacted with a missionary team here before.

          We had supper in the dinner hall at 5:00 p.m.  That was very early for most of us!  When we were finished with supper we went back to our dorm and played the card game spoons (I lost every time.)  We were finishing a game of spoons outside on our porch when some of the Barnabas boys came over we took a few pictures with them.

          That night, in bible study, Pastor told us that those boys have a lot of respect for us because we showed them compassion by playing volleyball with them and not treating them differently.  I found it very ironic that the first night we had learned about compassion and last night we learned about being gracious and today we had shown and witnessed it with the boys.  In bible study tonight we learned how God is slow to anger.  (I’m anxious to see what God has planed for tomorrow!)

          P.S.  Today we witnessed our very first Kentucky thunderstorm.  The thunder echoed so much that it was incredibly noisy!  But we all enjoyed it very much.

The whole group in the living room of our dorm.


Beth and Keshia at their first project, putting silversteel on the trailer house roof. 


Alan mastering the art of supervision.


Day 4, Monday July 26

          Today was our first day of work.  Beth Keshia, Alan, and Danny stayed on the campus with one of our guides, Frank.  Pastor, Cheryl, Rachel, Whitney, Trisha, and I went with Dana to a small farm trailer house. Our job was to knock out the windows between the new addition and the house, stuff insulation, and put dry wall on the ceiling.  It rained almost all day.  I take that back, it POURED almost all day. 

At night, after it stopped Pouring, we glanced out our windows and saw the Barnabas staff members jousting on scooters!  We sat out on our porch and watched them for awhile.  They noticed we were watching and said we could play with the jousts.  The jousts were really like a foam tube duck-taped to a stick.  We didn’t joust like we were supposed to, we just beat the tar out of each other.  One of the staff members told us the rules, but when he noticed we weren’t following them he brought out one joust for each of us and let us all just beat the stuffing out of each other.  That was our entertainment for the night!

In bible study we learned about God’s loving-kindness.

P.S.  The slow to anger we learned about last night was witnessed through Dana Folkerts.  Today on our first day of work, he had to be slow to anger because all of us did not know what we were doing in most things.

Beth worked hard measuring insulation to put up on the walls.


  We installed insulation and put up drywall in his 16 x 32 house.  Bobby is holding his baby Chihuahua “Taffy”.


“Where are your horns mister?"


Day 5, Tuesday July 27

          We woke up, had breakfast, and went on to our second day of work.  Today Beth and Keshia’s group had to leave campus and work on another site.  The needed more people for this job, so I went with them.  Our job site was a recently built house for a man named Bobby.  He had been living in his truck.  Now he lives with his sisters.  This house was 16ft. by 32ft.  Not very big, but seemed like a palace to Bobby.  I stuffed some more insulation, we hung dry wall on the ceiling, and we don’t have all the insulation on the walls up yet.

          After our hard day’s work we came back to the campus and had supper.  For supper they served chicken and dumplings.  After supper we washed our clothes, for the first time on this trip, and had the chance to play volleyball with the second group of Barnabas boys.  They live on the second floor of their dorm and have more restrictions than the first group of boys we played.  These boys beat us in the first game.  Our excuse, of course, was that we’d been working all day and we are all exhausted.  We revived ourselves and won the next two.  After we changed a load of wash we had the chance to rematch the first group of boys.  We beat them in the first two games and lost the last.  We all agreed that there was a little, no, a lot of cheating going on there, though.

          Tonight, in bible study, we learned that our God is a jealous god.  He is jealous for us because he loves us so much.

Beth and Keshia had a fight with the silver steel, and the silver steel won.


Danny taking a break with Sam putting insulation in the windows.


Alan trying to make it look like he is doing something.


Day 6, Wednesday July 28

          The day started off the same as Monday and Tuesday.  We ate breakfast, worked, and played some volleyball.  Last night we wanted to have a bon-fire with some of the Barnabas boys.  This morning Pastor Bob asked the Barnabas staff if they would allow the boys to come to the bon-fire with us.  (The bon-fire was out by the pond.)  They said there would probably be only five of them that could go, if everything goes well.  Turns out only four ended up coming because, when we were taking pictures after the volleyball game, the fifth boy lightly tapped one of us girls and got in trouble for it.  We were thinking this would be a little fun time, play carpet ball, roast marshmallows, and make smores.  Turns out it was more than just that.  We learned a lot from the boys.  We started off the night playing carpet ball, but ended talking and becoming close friends.  One boy talked to Pastor Bob for a while during the bon-fire.  I saw them pray together.  During bible study that night I found out why.  The boy told Pastor that he was in a gang and is afraid to leave the Barnabas Home and fall back into his old ways.  Pastor said they prayed for God to give him the courage and strength to stand strong in God’s name.  Another boy has been in foster care for one year and a half.  He was sent to the Barnabas Home for drugs.  He’s really starting to change his ways.  Since he’s been in the home he’s been going to church, reads the bible, and loves to pray and talk to God.

          Tonight we found out why God sent us on this trip.  We were sent here to build and improve homes for people, but there’s one more reason we weren’t expecting.  Each one of us was chosen by God to be here and make an influence on the Barnabas boys.  Jake says he’s never seen so much interaction between the missionaries and the boys before.

Keshia, paint, and gravity, a bad combination.  


The trailer house was to be use as part of a school for the Barnabas boys.  We put silversteel on the roof, new flooring, cut down trees, and cleaned out the gutters.


After we had ripped up the old floor it was Danny and Alan’s job to replace it with new.


Danny working hard to build floor boards for the new floor in the trailer.




Cheryl, Pastor Bob, Trisha, Whitney, and Rachel worked hard putting up a new deck on this building.  Digging post holes proved to be quite the experience in the rocky soil.


Day 7, Thursday July 29

          Today we only had half a day of work.  The rest of the day Dana took us caving, and to Flat Lake Falls.  The Cave was very pretty, yet quite chilly.  It stays fifty-five degrees inside all year long.  After the cave we came back to the dorm and took showers.  We were all very muddy and dirty after the caving.  After our showers Pastor Bob said that the boys had a gift for us.  He said to be out on the porch when we were finished getting ready.  We were all sitting on the Porch waiting, with our anxiety levels rising.  Then the boys came out of their dorm.  Six of the boys walked up, one at a time.  Each of them handed one of us a necklace made from a hemp plant.  Last night at the bon-fire the boy that had been in foster care for over a year told us that he likes to make these necklaces.  He said it takes him one hour to make one necklace.  It was the part of the trip that touched us the most.

          To get to Flat Lake Fall we had to walk through a hay field and down a path.  The fall had a big drop off.  But at the bottom the water was only eight feet deep.

          When we came back from the waterfall we played one last game of volleyball with the boys.  Later we had another bon-fire.  We had invited the boys earlier this morning, but they couldn’t come. At the bon-fire we had the opportunity to visit with Jake Moss and his wife.  We came back to the dorm and started packing our bags for tomorrow.  I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to leave tomorrow.  Tonight’s Bible study was about the Way, Truth, and the Life of God.

This is Trisha handing a roll of insulation to Cheryl for the home we were building.


Rachel securing the drywall.


Day 8, Friday July 30

          This morning we were all anxious to leave Kentucky and see flatter lands and healthy corn in fields.  At the same time though, we didn’t want to leave our new friends in Annville.  We all had a great time while we were there.  We said good-bye to our guides and to one of the staff members, Tim.  He had been really nice to bend the rules a little and let us interact with the boys so often.  We set out for Bloomington, Illinois at 8:30 a.m.

          We stopped at noon (Central Time) in Indiana to eat at McDonalds.  We got settled in and back on the road at 12:30.

          We got to our hotel in Bloomington around 5:00 p.m.  We ate at the Cracker Barrel for supper.

          Tonight’s Bible study was about God’s love.

Teamwork getting it done!





Cheryl and Sam stuffing insulation in the new addition to one of the homes.


Getting ready for another day of work Trisha, Sam, and Whitney are working hard getting insulation out of the truck.


Three Kentucky children at one of our worksites before the rain.


On Monday it just poured.  These the kids thought it would be fun to create a mud slide.


Day 9, Saturday July 31

          We’re closer to home and are very anxious to be there.  Were anxious to see our families and to sleep in our own beds.  We were on the road and headed for Dumont, IA at 8:00 a.m.  We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s in Iowa City.  We arrived at our Dumont Reformed Church at 3:00 p.m.  We were very happy for the safe trip back.

          We made history in these nine days: it was Dumont RCYF’s very first mission trip ever, and the staff members in Annville had never seen so much interaction between the boys and a missionary team before.  We had a tremendous time, we were all touched deeply by this trip, and none of us will ever forget it.  We all know that it wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous amount of help and support by our congregation and community.  We thank them so very much.

Dana Folkerts, our guide, was from Allison, Iowa.  He showed us the cave, waterfall, and worksites.


Dana, Rachel, and Whitney taking out a window between the old section and new addition.


On Thursday we visited Flat Lake Falls.  This is where Alan, Trisha, and Keshia slipped and took a tumble.


Here we are at a Flat Lake Waterfall.  It was quite the adventure hiking to this secluded spot.


To get to the bottom of the waterfall we had to cross a stream.  The rocks were very slippery.


Danny after “bravely” diving from the top of the falls.


Back in our dorms after Whitney was brave enough to do battle with a Kentucky wasp!


We played volleyball with the boys from the Barnabas home.


Some of the boys from the Barnabas home with us after playing volleyball.


Here we are with the 2nd group of boys. 


Whitney is ready to spike/punch the ball over.


This is all of us in the living room having nightly Bible Study with Pastor Bob and Cheryl.


The fantastic mission team.

Front Row

Pastor Bob, Cheryl, Danny

Middle Row

 Samantha, Trisha, Whitney

Back Row

Frank, Dana, Keshia, Beth, Rachel, Alan, and Jake