We're a few days away from lift-off. Sunday morning, the Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) Team of 16 heads to NYC to spend the week working Upward Basketball camps in the morning time, painting in Morris High School in the afternoons (more on that later) and doing some prayerwalking there, Manhattan and in Stamford, CT, right across the NYC border.
The plane leaves at 825a Sunday, and we are scheduled to arrive at La Guardia around 1130a, we eat lunch, catch a train, drop our stuff off at the hostile/hotel, then head to Stamford, CT. Landon Reesor is up there, planting a church called Encounter Church. Just know that Stamford is a very affluent community with lots of people who have lots of money and live in lots of houses and drive lots of big cars. Several of the worlds wealthy companies are based there, and can be a major place of influence when its won over for the Kingdom of God.
There will be lots to tell you over the next several days, so lets keep it brief as we can right now (riiiiight...)
First, let me introduce you to the cast of characters for this trip:
New Hope New York - An organization set in NY that sees NYC as a focal point of ministry, as in "you win NY, you have a launching pad for the world"
Paint-the-Town - An organization that works in schools to help paint and repaint them, especially in tough areas of town (The Bronx for us)
Upward Basketball - A program that the fundamentals of basketball to youth that might not otherwise be able to recieve such training, but more importantly, it stresses the virtue of teamwork, built in a foundation of Christ
Landon Reesor - He got the call to take his family to Stamford, which is what he's doing now. He's planting Encounter Church. Very likeable guy, obviously strong faith.
Philip Waters - Team leader of the trip. Tall, lanky guy. Strikes me as the kind of no-nonsense guy with a very dry sense of humor. He'll need to be with some of us.
Mark Warner - Deacon at church, 9 year old Star Wars fan trapped in a 36 (will be 37 on trip) year old body. Plays Gordo at KidStuff, a children's ministry at church. Married to Cindy... knowing Cindy, I tend to think that Mark got the good end of that deal =)
Paula Mackey - I consider her my team mom. Yes, Philip's the leader, but leader or not, if I come down with spinalmeningitis or something, I'm not hollerin' for Philip, I'm calling Paula to mother me. She's the same "I'll get it" lady from WalkAbout dinner theater (previous post).
Josh Blackburn - Son of Paula. Good kid. Acted in our dinner theater this past weekend, seems full of energy, should bring alot to the trip. Wears AC/DC flip flops.
Brandon Blackburn - Younger Son o'Paula. Seems like another good kid, though in my opinion, he seems to have a young Fred Weasley aura about him. Could be wrong.
Colby Barnett - I have no clue who this guy is, met him for the first time a few weeks ago, have only seen him like, twice. Seems nice enough.
Josh Caldwell - Recreation pastor at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship). Leader of Upward Basketball, and co-leader of the trip with Philip. Very likeable easy going guy... big dude, gruff voice, hubby to Staci.
Staci Caldwell - Very small wife to Josh. She's the co-host of KidStuff, and a ball of weird energy. Likes slicky pants. And puppies.
Natalie Valentine - Single mom to Ariana. She probably thinks its weird, but I'm excited about Natalie coming on the trip, really because I look forward to getting to hang out with her. I like cool people, and Nat's just a cool chick.
Chuck McCammon - Childrens pastor at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship). Married to Tamara, the KidStuf leader. Chuck's a real likeable guy, laid back and seemingly fun to be around.
Daniel McCammon - Young son to the aforementioned Chuck. At 4 (?) I'm guessing this might be his first mission trip, unless they have a newborns journeyman program I dont know about.
Larry Long - Pops to Megan & Anna Long, twins who were on WalkAbout last year (Theta class, I think). Good guy.
Tim, Geryl & AnnaLynn Harrington - Coming on the trip as a family, which I think is just great. I hope that Stephanie and I can take the twins, Lorelei and Daisy, on a family mission trip together one day. I dont know the Harringtons, but they seem like good folk, so I'll go with that.
The Lovely Steph Leann- My lovely wife who isnt coming on the trip... but I don't want to pass up a chance to tell her how much I love her, how much I'll miss here while I'm gone, and to say thanks for supporting me on this venture.
There you have it... those are the involved folk. Now you know the names... check back soon for the adventures.
Here's some stuff about Morris High School
Grade levels 9 - 12
Enrollment around 250
Ethnicity is 60% Hispanic, 39% black, 1% white and 1% Asian
They offer free lunch to 81.2% of their students
Overcrowding stands at 115.9%
Only 8.9% of 9th graders read at grade level
Their graduation rate is 3.09%
Apparently from what I'm reading, this school is being phased out, but a number of smaller schools are being set up in the building.
I'm pretty excited about getting into this school... you can click here to see what it looks like...