2015 Mission Trip



2015 First Presbyterian Mission Team
2015 Mission Trip
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Mission Trip 2015

This year was my 7th mission trip and it was like no other. There were many similarities but in the end it was completely different. The food, drama, and wake up times were similar to previous years; but the good thing is that there were many more differences than similarities. Myra and Bernard were definitely different from the other families we have met; like being fiancés for 14 years, having 4-5 children and many grandchildren (that we had the pleasure to meet and hang out with during our stay in Virginia Beach).

There are many things I am going to miss coming home from this mission trip, but there also are many things I will not miss. I will miss being a big group together; it could be anything from ripping down sheetrock to just enjoying some down time in the common area with everyone. Having everyone together and laughing about some funny joke that someone said or just talking about what we would do the next day is another I am going to miss. I’ll miss all of the hugs at the end of the last day of chapel, meeting all of the other church groups, and even all of the tears that happen after the last chapel. I will not miss all of the band aids that I had to use because I would cut my fingers on the worksite with shipping knives while trying to carve crosses out of sheetrock. I won’t miss all of the drama that happens on every mission trip, the food (even if it was catered), and I also won’t miss that 7:30am wake up call to eat breakfast at 8:15am or so.

            Over all this mission trip was a blast! There were many fun times and sad times to be shared but we all shared them together which is the best part. I hope to see everyone go back for another year of mission work, whether it will be hands or hearts. Thank you to whoever supported and prayed for us on this journey. I hope you will help us again so we can serve with even more people next year.

Elizabeth Kerr

Myra's New Bible

Memory Shirt


Thursday, July 30, 2015

The onsite work with Myra and Bernard wrapped up shortly after noon today, and as always it is bittersweet.  So thankful for what has been accomplished, so sad that we could not have done more.  The morning started out right with a quiet presentation of a new mower for Bernard.  Yesterday while mowing the yard his old mower required a couple of “adjustments” in order to complete the task, and we were a little afraid parts might start flying off.  During Wednesday night’s discussion it was suggested that maybe some of our free time funds might be applied to improving Bernard’s situation.  Some searching of Craig’s list by our resident expert and within hours a deal had been done.  The mower started on Bernard’s first pull and I do believe there was a tear in that Marine’s eye.

Zack (the Team Effort leader) lead the charge after learning through these weeks that Myra could not read.  At the end of the day she was presented with an audio bible so she and her family can sit together and experience God’s good word.

A lot did get done on the house this week. Landscaping came together outside, the back bedroom received the primer paint, the living room is rocked and mudded on three sides, the front window area is framed out, and the new front window is officially on order.

Front Window Wall

FPC's Version of "American Gothic"


Bernard's New(er) Mower

On Site Group Photo

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some of our group got an early start to their day with a run to the beach this morning to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.  Sand between the toes is indeed a great way to start your day!

Meanwhile at the worksite there were two trips to the landfill today.  The crushed concrete from an old poured patio in the back yard, and the sheetrock and wall debris from the living room were both carted off.  Inside two more walls of the living room are now rocked out with one of them getting mudded and the back bedroom is now sanded and ready for painting to begin.  The only remaining wall on our schedule is the now infamous front window. After several phone calls, that lead to additional phone calls, which lead to a local window company, we have now agreed to have the front window replaced completely. We came to this agreement with our entire group as funding was going to come through our FPC group, even if it meant sacrificing activities on our free day.  So our work here will continue even after we have returned to Kernersville.

As you can see from the photo of the home we are working on, this 100+ year old home has now been surrounded by newer, larger and more expensive houses.  Of course now the newcomers to the neighborhood are raising their voices to get this corner lot cleaned up.  Which lead to Team Effort stepping in for summer help.  Great strides have been made, but the work will have to be maintained through local organizations.  I think the home owners have been able to see enough progress that they can now envision what can be, and hopefully continue their enthusiasm to continue the restoration process.  You can all be proud that you have contributed to this blessing that God has bestowed through Christian love.

Peace be with you.


Sunrise Beach Crew

Unloading the Former Patio

New Use for Leftover Drywall

Living Room this Morning

Living Room Late Afternoon

Our Work Site for 2015


Yes, We Do Everything!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First, let me apologize for the length of yesterday’s blog.  I was tired yet excited about the message and that leads to long windedness.  That’s my story and I am sticking with it!  Tonight’s will be shorter…

As with most hands on trips there are some surprises. We are still dealing with the front window.  We are running out of week, funding may be an issue, and timing could get complicated.  Rich started tracing some wiring back from the sheet rocking job in the back bedroom and found….surprises!  He and Megan T. ended up in the hot attic removing unused wires, tracing circuits and cleaning up decades of various wiring from untold electricians or DIYers.

The FPC crew rocked out the first wall and turned the corner in the living room, and the enlarged pass through window from the kitchen to the living room is all framed out and ready for closing.  I think we can get three of those walls covered in sheet rock and first layer mudded.

We continue to have some great discussion and open conversations during our devotional times.  Thank you Amy for leading us through some great faith sharing!  Good night for now…(a little bit shorter)!


God’s Peace be with you!


Pancakes, Hashbrowns, Bacon, Sausage and Eggs for Breakfast

Look What Rich Found With the Wiring!!

Rich & Wesley syncronized shoveling

Deep Conversations over a popscicle

Myra & Bernard, our hard working friends!

Lunch Time.  Ham and Turkey or PB&J.  Every day...

Monday, July 27, 2015

First day on the job and today brought a variety of activities for our group.  We are paired up with one other church working on the same house.  Activities included, installing sheetrock and starting to mud in the back bedroom, removal of old sheetrock in living room, breaking out an old concrete deck in the yard, and increasing an opening between the living room and kitchen.  Worked move along quickly I believe everyone was pleased with the accomplishments of the day on the work site.

We even got done early enough to have a few minutes play time on the beach.  It is about a 20 minute drive from our residence apartments on the campus of Regents University, but it felt really good to have a little down time and a chance to walk the beach or ride a wave or two before heading back for dinner, devotion and worship service.

Our leader “Zack” delivered the message tonight at service and he referenced one of my favorite thoughts and one that drives some to action. “Faith without works is Dead.”  I have used a similar idea of “Faith not shared is Dead” when working with various groups.  Our devotion tonight challenged us to answer the question of “What is a Missionary?” This made me think of why we send our group out year after year to participate in one of these journeys outside the four walls of First Presbyterian.  One thought that popped into my head tonight was that it saves lives.  Sounds dramatic, right?  To our Brothers and Sisters to whom we offer our service, hope is given.  If Christians we do not even know, love us enough to show up in our home to support and lend a hand, then surely all hope is not lost.  Surely there is a reason to keep striving to move forward even if it is just one day at a time.

How about those that serve, does it not also give them hope and a reason to keep pushing forward?  To ask ourselves; If I can do something as simple as giving a hug, sharing a prayer, delivering a kind word with a sandwich, or drive a nail or two, and touch somebodies life in a positive and spiritual manner. Can that also encourage a struggling Christian to not give up the fight, and make it worth giving our life a chance to continue to grow for another day? 

Take the opportunity to share your faith in simple and complex ways and deliver the courage to keep moving one more day along our journey.

Demolition Time!

Does This Look Dangerous?


Our Friends the Termites Are Here Again

Walls Stripped, Ready for Next Step

Virginia Beach!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

What a great start!  Now 14 Missionaries strong our group arrived at Regents University after a wonderful send off by the First Presbyterian congregation this morning.  We have been to our first Worship Service and are now preparing ourselves for a good solid rest before starting our work days tomorrow.

Our Team Effort leader “Zack” seems like he is going to be fun as well as enthusiastic about our work and our faith journey.  It sounds like we may be doing a number of different jobs on our work site to report on tomorrow.

Thanks again to all our family and friends for allowing us to represent you, our church, and our Lord here in Virginia Beach, VA.  Keep checking in, we will have more for you as we travel this journey.  Enjoy a few pictures from today…


Rev. Dr. Thom with Newbies

Team Effort Staff

Friday, July 24, 2015

On July 26th our Intergenerational Mission Team will leave on our 7th trip for Virginia Beach, VA.  During this week long trip we will be putting our hands and hearts out to work in God's mission field.  15 people will share this experience and grow their relationship with each other and our Father.  We are excited about this opportunity to be His messengers.  We thank First Presbyterian Church for supporting us through prayer, work opportunities and contributions so we can afford to take this journey. We look forward to sharing our experiences during the week in our daily blog.  Please continue to pray for us and keep up with us on the webpage.