Skip to main content

mission trip to the jersey shore, day 1

greetings from the jersey shore!  our group of 14 from catawissa avenue umc in sunbury drove out here to toms river, nj yesterday, and were warmly welcomed by a wonderful group of methodists here.  it is a particularly poignant pleasure for me and shannon, since this is a church where we served for 8 years, and the very first church i served out of college.  i was the youth pastor and director of christian ed here, and then an assistant pastor, and then an associate pastor!  it's been 8 years since i've been here (other than a 30 minute stop last year), and it is a real blessing to catch up with some dear friends and see how God has been at work in this place.  i know our whole group surely appreciates all the hospitality they have afforded us.  we are blessed!

today we began work, after a bit of a frustrating delay, on a man's home in little egg harbor township.  we are working in a downstairs room where he had about 5 feet of water come into his home during superstorm sandy, 20 months ago.  the damage in this part of new jersey is still quite evident, and there is much work to do!  we are trying to do our part by helping out with this man's home.  we are doing some drywall work, some floor tile, and other jobs as necessary.  we had a productive afternoon of work, as you can tell by a few pictures below.

after work we got some quick showers, and headed out to seaside heights for a walk on the boardwalk, and our contribution to the local economy in the form of a good dinner and dessert!

it's a been a full first day, and many of us are pretty tired as we prepare for another productive day tomorrow.  thanks for checking in, and check back in tomorrow for more pictures and news from our trip, and please remember to continue to pray for us.


Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …