The Youth Group of St. Peter’s is participating in a mission trip to southeast Texas, June 24-30, to provide hurricane relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The youth will be staying at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Beaumont, Texas, while in the southeast Texas area. Each day during the mission trip, one of the youth participants will provide reflections on the day’s service. Check in here each day for more information, and please keep the St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley youth mission group and their chaperones in your prayers.

Day 1, June 24: Arrival in Beaumont

Today was our first day on our mission trip, and we had an interesting introduction to Texas. For example my luggage went missing (but has been found!), and our rental van was not available. However, despite these challenges our group was determined to maintain a positive attitude, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.

—Asa Nestlehutt


Day 2, June 25: Project 1 Begun

Being this was our first full day in Texas, it was one of ironing out the details of our schedule. The morning began with showers and a small portion of people preparing breakfast. After the eating was finished, at 8:15 a.m. we had morning prayer. The interesting part of the morning and evening prayer, that has now become a fixture of our day, is that the youth lead the prayer. There is an officiant and a reader, who in the morning were Kyle (so we could see what we were doing) and Cathryn. Once our prayer was paused, we shipped off to Nehemiah’s Vision (a local hurricane relief agency) to get our marching orders. Due to the snafu at the Avis yesterday, we were left with vehicles without a hitch and as a result were moved from what was to be debris clean up, to painting. Our first (hopefully not only) project was to paint Mrs. Thelma George’s home. Mrs. George has lived in her house for forty-one years and a year of that time in the aftermath of a flood. I can’t begin to describe to you the warm welcome we received into her house and the shock on her face when she found out we were from Philadelphia. After making our introduction, we got down to it. Our task was to prime and paint the entire house. We worked from about 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., with about a half hour to 45 minutes for lunch. Some highlights of the work period were Asa’s impressive ceiling painting ability, Mr. Stoltz’s steady hands that put the Waco kid to shame, and Kyle’s lack of exposure to the Beatles. By the end, we had primed the entire house and painted half of it. When we returned to St. Stephen’s the most important activity was taking a shower, which oddly enough took more time than we expected. Followed by evening prayer and dinner. Dinner was Ramen noodles paired with a stir fry. At the conclusion of our nourishment, we decided to go to see The Incredibles 2, a rather enjoyable experience, particularly because the chairs in the theatre were luxurious recliners. The movie let out at about 10:00 and sleep came over the lot of us around 10:02.

—J.P. Infortuna

Day 3, June 26: Project 1 Completed

Today was our last day at Mrs. Thelma George’s house! As a group we successfully completed painting all of the walls that made up the home. After a few coats of primer, lots of cleaning, and a cool two coats of light gray paint, we transformed her lovely home and made it more welcoming for her and her guests. Seeing the bright smile on her face once she had noticed all of the beautifully painted walls, made everyone feel so proud of themselves and as if all of the long hours of painting and getting covered in it was completely worth it! The many thanks that we received from her made me personally feel like I was  capable of changing peoples lives for the better and a positively impacting  those in need. As a group we helped Mrs. Thelma George get her life back on track, even if it was only with a small gesture of painting all of the bare walls in her home. I am very proud of myself and all of the others that helped take part in this amazing experience of painting for a great cause. To make this day even better, once we finished painting, Kyle showed his gratitude towards us by taking us out to a local Dairy Queen Ice Cream store! What a treat! This day was very memorable and we as a youth group will always be reminded of how our good deeds greatly impact the lives of  people around us, no matter what state or country we may be in!

—Callie Stoltz

Day 4, June 27: Project 2 Begun

The St. Peter’s Youth Group got a later start on their third day of volunteer work due to a fun but exhausting game of manhunt the night before. Despite the extra sleep required due to the running from the hide-and-seek/tag mashup, all the children enjoyed pancakes and bacon Wednesday morning. Since we had finished our project painting Mrs. Thelma George’s house yesterday, we reported to Nehemiah’s Vision first thing in the morning to get our marching orders. A volunteer organizer, Taylor, told us we would be working on wall trim today in the house of Ms. Caroline Bair. When we arrived at Ms. Bair’s homely residence, we got right to work painting her trim and door frames a refreshing shade of white. Rotating music choices helped us to get into a hardworking mood, and we churned out dozens of freshly painted wooden boards that were eventually ready to be sanded.

—Aleta Ross

Day 5, June 28: Project 2 Completed

Today, we finished helping Ms. Bair with the sixteen-foot trim board and the door trim itself. Since we had done most of it yesterday, we didn’t have much to do today. We all expected to be done early in the day. Once we finished with all of that, we got to take a group picture with her three dogs and one cat, Blue. We were able to go to Dairy Queen, courtesy of Kate. When we got home early, people were tired, and it was nap time. Then we had Evening Prayer. I was personally officiating. Then we had Taco Thursday. After our tacos, we went bowling, and I got the first strike of the day.

Colin Shannon