Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2010 News about The MCC Youth Ministry Project

The MCC Youth Ministry Project provides an opportunity for Youth all around MCC to meet, grow in relationship and be in conversation and community with each other as they reach out to their sisters and brothers in the church and are active in ministry outreach projects throughout the world.

As of June 2010 the current Leadership Team consists of:

Rev. Jennifer Glass
Amanda Ackerman
Rachel Meyer
Tim Helm
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

The first two trips were in 2008 and 2009 and the groups went to the Dominican Republic. While there they provided summer Bible schools to over 70 children and joined together with MCC Santo Domingo in worship and fellowship. Plans are in the works for the 2011 Project.

If you would like more information, you can find it in the following ways:

On the web: http://mccyouthproject.blogspot.com/

Facebook: MCC Youth Ministry Project

Rev. Jennifer Glass
office: 717-715-1650
cell: 310-625-4177
Skype: revjennifer.glass
email: revjenniferglass@mccchurch.net

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Conference Calls

Every month or so we all call in to the conference call line and chat with each other. These are different from the calls we had before the trip. We know who we are talking to now. We recognize voices and have shared histories. My understanding of these calls is that we get to talk to each other and just keep in touch. A voice holds much more meaning than a text message or email.
For a couple months I have been looking forward to tonight's call. Ana Rosa and Yonathan were going to be on the call with us. They went back to their primary school and sat in Rev. Barrera's office and chatted on the phone with us. Both of them started by thanking us for supporting their education. Yonathan said that he really enjoys physics and Ana Rosa loves math. She said that she was a little surprised by how high her grades are. She is really excelling. We were all very excited to hear these kids talk about their school and their friends. Then we each took turns telling them a little about what we have going on in our lives. I was very impressed by both of them for their attentiveness and genuine interest in our lives.
Finally, we had to say goodbye to Yonathan and Ana Rosa and he had a chance to speak with Rev. Barrera. The entire mood of the call changed. Rev. Barrera reported that the American economic situation has made its way to his small primary school in the DR. Giving is down and he has a shortfall of about $5000 USD for the year. If he cannot secure more funding then his school will have to close in February. I was shocked to learn that he needs only $1300 USD per month to keep the school open and educate all of these children in El Tamarindo who have no other access to education.
Needless to say, we were all affected by this news. The decision was clear. We need to speak up in our communities and try to raise awareness and funds for this school. We know that there are others who will heed the call to support the school and we want to be a part of the solution. We cannot stand idly by and be content supporting two students' education through the Rev. Arlene Ackerman Far Reaching Faith Scholarship Fund while one hundred fifty others are left with no place to learn.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Rev Arlene Ackerman Far Reaching Faith Scholarship Fund

Giving the children of El Tamarindo, Dominican Republic
a future with hope.

The Youth Scholarship Fund was named in honor of Rev. Arlene Ackerman at the recent Region 3 Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Please help give these children a future with hope!

The Rev. Arlene Ackerman Far Reaching Faith Scholarship Fund provides scholarship
and financial support for students identified and supported by the
MCC Fellowship's Youth Ministry Project in the Dominican Republic.
Your contribution of $50 will provide a scholarship recipient with the funds needed for school fees, books, uniforms, and supplies. Please support the MCC Youth Group in this effort!
Send Contributions to:
MCC-DC c/o Rev. Ackerman Far Reaching Faith Scholarship Fund
474 Ridge Street, NW.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Please make checks and money orders payable to MCC-DC, and list “Youth Group Scholarship Fund” in the memo portion of your check.

MCC-DC is a registered non-profit organization; contributions are tax deductible pursuant to IRS regulations.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Me no hablo el Espaneolo only el Spanglish

I was nervous about having to communicate in Spanish for a whole week...I struggle enough with English! I can't write in Spanish, or read in Spanish or even talk in Spanish! Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, a lot a bit. But I do struggle with it. It's very common for me to misspell words, or not pronounce words correctly and I often make up words that don't exist anywhere other than in my Eileen brain. But not being fluent in Spanish is not that bad; several members of our team didn't know any spanish other than "Si" and "burrito." But what is bad is that I was in charge of translating our play for Daniel and the Lions Dens. Yeah, A+ to whoever came up with that idea! Oh, I'm just kidding. I know a more Spanish than I leading you to believe.

So I worked hard to translated about 1 out of the 4 or 5 pages for Daniel and the Lions Den before I delegated the work to my sisters. They each took a half the story to translate. They complete threw away my translation. Apparently, unlike me, my translation was not awesome. But they translated it perfectly! So thank you to Mary and Lupe for all your hard work (even though it look easy when you did it) on translating the story. The play was great, the kids had fun and it couldn't have been done without you.

I also wanna give a big shout out to my main man Jesus (as in Jesus Christ Son of God, not as in every other boy I went to school with Jesus AKA Chewy) for allowing me to speak Spanish surprisingly well during this trip.

Moochewsgrassyass to you guys! That's the proper way to say and spell "Thank you" in Spanish, right?

Friday, Saturday and Sunday Recaps

On Friday evening we visited the Colonial Zone for a couple hours and did some touristy things: walked up and down the streets checking out all the side walk vendors, went into shops, took pictures and I chased the pigeons that were gathered around a statue of Duarte. Those pigeons were way tough! Total Rambo status! They didn't even budge, so I kicked one! Oh, I'm only kidding, but on video it looks like I kicked one. It goes without saying that it's a pretty hilarious video, hi-lar-i-ous! After tormenting the local pigeons we went to a pizzeria and shared a meal with our Christian brothers and sisters from the local MCC church plant. Their company was awesome and the pizza was dee-lish! After dinner they gave us a tour of Parke Duarte which is a safe haven for the local GLBT community. You can count all the places there are for the GLBT community to go to on 1 hand. Many of them are in the closet and you can't blame them. It made me aware of freedom that I'm blessed enough to take for granted in America. After our tour of the park we piled back into the gua gua and sang praise songs all the way home. Once back at the Candil we stayed up late talking, taking pictures, causing havoc on neighboring hotels and bonding over the roaring of thunder as we stretched our mosquito ravished bodies out on towels on the roof of the hotel. We talked of evolution and Creation, beats, the Chinese language, the many names of God, Joseph with his colorful coat, Billy Bragg songs, Callamas and the impossible task of counting stars. They put on a show for us as one by one they raced their way across God's expanse. I couldn't count them all, whether shooting or stationary, but trying to made me think of the enormity, beauty and perfection of God's creation. We got 2 hours of sleep and 1 set of bags under our eyes.

The only thing on our plates for Saturday was worship service at night so we managed to get permission to go back to the Colonial Zone for a few hours in the afternoon. This time I didn't chase any pigeons. Worship service with the church plant group was AMAZING! It reminded me of how the bible tells you to remember what your faith was like at the beginning when it was fresh, bold, unwavering and you would follow Christ even unto death. It was a powerful service! They were so nice and friendly and so energetic that I couldn't keep up! They gave a sermon on the bible and homosexuality. It was very informative. Heck, if Rick Warren was there we might have converted him! The choir was amazing! It was as if they would die if they stopped singing and dancing! So they didn't! Their hospitality afterwords was just as beautiful. We sang worship songs on the way home again. Saturday would be our last night together and we would have to be up by 5AM so we decided we shouldn't even bother going to sleep. We can sleep when we're dead!...or at least when we get on the plane. We rested on the roof until about 3AM when a sudden down pour of rain sent us scurrying like rats down the stairs into the dry safety of our rooms. We checked in for another 2 hours of sleep and another set of bags under our eyes.

Sunday was our last day in the DR and I found it extremely difficult to leave, not because I wasn't ready to return home but because I didn't want to wake up! We drove to Santo Domingo and waited for our plane. Then we waited for our plane some more. Then we continued to wait. I don't know why we kept waiting... the original plan was to skip the plane and stay in the DR. Our plane had a flat tire and our flight kept getting delayed every hour and a half. We waited for 8 hours. Wow! Funnzies! Really, but not really. Tim was on the phone all day working with the airline and our travel agents to re schedule flights for everyone. He earned his paycheck that day, that's for sure! I mean he would have, if he got paid, but he doesn't, so i guess he didn't. Anywho, we eventually managed to leave the Dominican Republic and fly to Miami International Airport. I had the longest fight ahead of me because I'm on the West Coast and everyone else is East Coast, so i was the first to go. I snapped a few more pictures and flew home to California...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Obamakalama (and other inexplicable mission trip notes)

First, I would like to give thanks to:

  • God
  • Our sending partners and home churches for funding this trip and praying for us
  • Our Dominican staff for keeping us well fed, safe, comfortable, and providing on-time, reliable transportation
  • Cindy Acker for her Bible study curriculum
  • Rev. Jen for the pre-mission planning work
  • Regional Elder AJ for her leadership and faith in our MCC youth

My memories from Mission Trip 2009 include:

  • the heat (the DR1 news service reported that June was a temperature record breaker)
  • overdosing on electrolytes (who knew?)
  • the pool, the roof, the colmado, and all points in between
  • a year's suppy of bactine
  • sabrina and our free doctor visit (and tour!)
  • charles leading the el tamarindo parade in his hip hop, pipe cleaner, designer glasses
  • eileen's crazy camera angles
  • jermaine (no explanation needed, my friend)
  • pancakes en la manana
  • news flash: the mosquito population posted a code yellow due to lack of blood donors since the departure of the mission team.
  • tmsbc (too much sabrina butt crack, i am now in therapy)
  • ruddy, the mighty stump remover
  • angel's dominican posse
  • big boys do cry....
  • the crushing six hour delay at SDQ
  • braids and tats
  • pulling an all-nighter at la clinica with amanda, carlos, and our dehydrated leader
  • prom night in a box
  • reflections in the pool....
  • rachel takes a dive
  • $1,500 youth gift to school
  • kelly takes a fall, and another, and another
  • ruddy taking out the stump (is that a repeat?)
  • jonathan, our scholarship recipient, standing by the gate on departure day
  • my attempt to end hunger in the DR by ordering 12 super size pizzas
  • MJ - gone too soon.....
  • falling asleep in church
  • magnetic bracelets
  • $1,200 youth gift to mcc santo domingo
  • amanda singing at mcc santo domingo
  • rev jen's emergency notebook
  • big girls do cry....
  • the carnival -- absolute pure JOY!
  • the ultimate youth labor violation - packing 90 gift bags for the kids in a super hot room
My favorite quotes:

"I had a great time today, but I really stink right now."

"Where's Ruddy?"

"If you are going to get me to the hospital, you are going to need a better plan than trying to carry me in that chair!"

"Amanda, telephone!"

"I am not calling home because I am afraid my Dads will make me leave early."

"He's your boyfriend, REALLY?!?"

"No, I don't think God made us miss our flight because we broke the Covenant."

"No entrego a SeƱor Daniel"

And, finally, to the 2009 Mission Team, here is my prayer:


Please allow Amanda, Angel, Sabrina, Christian, Alex, Eileen, Rachel, Jermaine, Kelley, and Charles to continue being who they are, giving of themselves, so that others will continue to be blessed, by You, through them.

Amen y amen.

After a long night's sleep

I am feeling a little refreshed this morning. Ready to spread the word about the DR and their needs to others. All week we discussed the need for water. We needed to drink water; the people in El Tamarindo needed water; AJ needed more water. This morning talking about the water situation makes it seem even more dire. When we visited the houses on Tuesday afternoon we tok a very long walk to the poorest parts of the town. On our walk I saw 2 small children playing in water coming from a broken pipe in the ground. This was the same water that we were afraid to wash our cuts and scrapes in; that we wouldn't even brush our teeth in; and one of these children was filling a cup with it. Not only were they inviting the germs from the water, but also from the dirt street around the pipe. The question I asked this morning is how can we help get clean water to the whole community?

As you may have heard, our flights home were not without complication. We spent 8 hours in the Santo Domingo airport waiting for a new plane since our apparently had a flat tire. Although we were all tired and wanting to get home, I was happy to have the few stolen hours with my new friends. My new family. In these few short days we have supported each other through 2 trips to the hospital, loss, tears, fear, countless bug bites, homesickness and laughter. I was just not ready to let everyone go yet. As our flights were all rebooked we got disconnected in the Miami airport. Checking in had caused some of us to miss saying goodbye to others. Since this would just not do, those of us with a little time made a frantic search to find our comrades' gates for one last hug. I fell short by 4 people. I travelled the D concourse from end to end, twice, searching for the familiar faces. Finally I had to give up and sat down at my gate to wait for my group to be called. Just as the group before me was called, Rachel came hurrying through the concourse with tears in her eyes hoping she had not missed my plane. This was the sight I needed to dry my tears and leave with a smile. A hug from a friend to send me home to my family ready to share our experience with the world.

You guys are one of the greatest gifts that I have received from this trip. Thank you, each of you, for the love and encouragement. I assure you that our relationships will continue and that together we will begin to change the world.