Delayed Post #3-- Other Happenings

One of my (Jacki) favorite times since coming on staff: the May post-field!

As an extrovert, I was super excited to have a house full of people again. As a staff member, I felt so privileged to be able to see what God had been doing in people's lives over the last 6ish months.

One night, we all went to a Senator's game. The mascot sure did fall in love with Gina...


In other random news, Audrey and I put henna in our hair. It continues to fade, and I'm not sure cameras can really capture the difference any more.

A while back, we finished our garden box!

Here we are, in the basement, wearing our gardening hats and finishing up the staking system for the tomatoes.

Putting it all together on the roof.

I was going to take a picture this afternoon of the plants (the lettuce and spinach just really sprouted up in the last few days, and all of the tomato plants have flowers), but a hailstorm discouraged that. Maybe another time...

Delayed Post #2-- Staff Retreat

After Easter break, there was corporate ACTION week at EMM headquarters.
After ACTION week, there was staff retreat.
We traveled to Virginia, to a campground where my (Jacki) Grandma and Great-Aunt own a few lots. We were really busy...



...catching turtles...
We also went swimming, read books, had fun on golf carts, played "Rate Your Mate," and ate lots of food. I think it's safe to say that fun was had by all. Or, at least, I sure did enjoy myself!

LtoR, Front: Jacki, Gabe, Katie, Abby, Cheryl, Jan, Erica, Audrey

LtoR, Back: Ben, Chris, Andy, Lydia

Delayed Post #1-- Contest Answers and Other Things

And now, for all 5 of you who read this blog, it's time for the correct answers to the "contest" on our last blog post :)

1) Why were we out on the street from midnight- 1AM in our pjs?

So, there we were. All in our beds. Audrey and I (Jacki) were talking about how we really should stop talking and go to bed. And then.... SCREECH... CRASH BANG BOOM! We both jumped out of our beds, and looked out the window and saw... nothing. So, we got back in bed, trying to guess what had just happened. A little while later, we heard a big truck outside the house-- yup, a firetruck. So, like good residents of Allison Hill, Erica, Audrey, and I went outside to investigate and to talk to all of our neighbors.

From what we could gather, either a car swerved to miss a pedestrian or hit a pedestrian. The car then proceeded to barrel into a car innocently parked on the curb. Not only did it hit the car, it pushed the car up onto the sidewalk, and almost into a house. Then, the driver thought it would be a good idea to run away, leaving 2 injured persons (either 2 passengers, or 1 passenger and the pedestrian).

So, we stood outside on the street with Becky, Cheryl, Danny, Becca, Derek, the Probsts, and the rest of the residents of South 13th St; gossiped about what was happening; got too close to where the paramedics were putting the people on stretchers; watched as a car decided to pull up behind one of the fire trucks and HONK for a few minutes (what part of that seems like a good plan? Do you really think a firetruck is going to get out of the way for you, mister?); and then went back to bed :)

2) How many matching articles of clothing to Jacki and Audrey now possess?

I think the latest total put us at 10. (But, that will be going up to 11 next week! Thanks Erica's mom!)

Below is proof of our matching abilities. We made quite a splash at the team presentations in this outfit, and inspired others to look alike :)

CONGRATULATIONS to the Honduras team for their answers. They were treated to Angel's pizza during their post-field.

And now, some random pictures of things we've been up to since our last blog post.
The three of us girls, along with Jan, Katie, and Sandy completed an amazing Beth Moore Bible study about the tabernacle. Beth was the speaker at the National Day of Prayer in Lancaster, so Sandy, Audrey, Erica, and I took a field trip to hear Beth speak in person.

Sandy, Audrey, and Jacki waiting for Beth to come out. (If you want to see pictures of Beth that day, feel free to ask Erica. She was acting a bit like a lovestruck teenager at a boy band concert and taking lots of pics. Love you, Erica :))
We actually made a decision one night, and went and played mini-golf. During our game, we each won a token for the arcade, so for the price of 21 holes of mini-golf we got:
21 holes of mini-golf
1 game of skee-ball
1 lolly-pop

Ben winning mini-golf.

We also did some travelling. We are really good road-trippers now (and if anyone would like to donate some money to Audrey and Jacki for a road trip, we would accept it...) We went to Ohio and Indiana during one trip, and stopped at Lehman's Hardware for a little break before hitting the road. Quite the eventful store, lemme tell ya. No pictures of Ben setting off the Emergency Exit alarms exist, and Blogspot can't capture the sound of the lady in the bathroom who thought the fire alarm was going off and was stuck in her stall, so, this will have to do:

I'm sure you're all disappointed: we got out.

More pictures to come in the very near future....


Who Wants FREE Pizza?!?

So, there we were. All alone at HDC. Only Jacki and Audrey. (We think. The timing's a little fuzzy, so Ben might have been around, too. But, we know that Erica wasn't here because she was in the air.) And so, we had a photo shoot. Kinda. We tried. Jacki's not good at jumping, and not so good at the whole lighting thing. Audrey sometimes makes funny faces. But, the trees-- gorgeous, regardless of the people with them.

Jacki's "jumping"

Audrey's "acrobatizing" (Ben helped us with that alliterative word)

Friday evening we all returned to the Mansion, just in time for.... Dun dun da!! Community clean-up day, in 72 degree weather :) We gathered 98 bags of trash on 14th street alone. While working, we were visited by the Patriot's "finest" photographer. And when we say finest, we mean least social. But, he had a really sweet camera, with amazing lenses (according to Audrey, since as mentioned above, Jacki doesn't really know anything about cameras).

After a long morning of sweating to make Allison Hill beautiful for spring, we were treated to free Angels pizza :) We thought of all of the fall participants as we were enjoying that cheesy goodness. And even though we won't have the money to treat all of you to pizza when you return... keep reading to find out how there could be free pizza in store for you, too.

So, then there was today. We were a little sleepy but wanted fresh air, so we took our Sunday afternoon nap in the park. Now, this park also features nude statues of people playing with children. Being good Christians, we decided to take Jesus literally and clothe the naked.

Jacki helping the poor man
The perfect "mother-to-be" photo announcement*

Trying out the self-timer on a not very wide wall

Now, here's what you've been waiting for. The way to free pizza. The first participant/team leader from fall training '08 to answer the following questions correctly** wins... Angel's pizza.
1. Why were we out on the street from midnight-1AM in our pajamas?
2. How many matching articles of clothing do Audrey and Jacki now possess?

*NOTE: Jacki is NOT in the way of Jenny Kipe (We love you Jenny!)
**In case of no correct answers, the most creative answer wins


Building A Garden Box

Yesterday evening Andy, Jacki and Audrey worked together to build an awesome garden box, which we will use to plant some veggies to suppliment our food budget here. They did an awesome job, different stages of which were captured on camera. There's a couple of videos too, which might be added at another time. :)
So here are the pictures showing what all transpired last night.

Andy measuring the boards. The boards came from Audrey's parents, which was a huge blessing.

Jacki got to use the nail gun, which she was proud of. :) Here she is nailing the ends of the box together.

Now it's Audrey's turn to use the nail gun. They shared the responsibilities of putting together the pieces.

And here is the end put together.

After cutting all the pieces and putting the ends together, they lifted them up onto the roof, where the plants will be growing.

Ben helped them put the pieces together on the roof. Here one side is done and the other is getting put on. After they were done the flipped it and nailed down the bottom of the box.

After it was put together Audrey, Ben and Jacki pretended to sail it away. :)
Now all we need is to put the rubber lining in, and fill it with top soil. Then we'll be able to plant the tomatoes, spinach and lettuce we got the other night. I think the plan is also to plant some green peppers.


The Wolf Who Cried Fox

So, one day in Kansas, we were going about our daily lives, and Audrey decided to say, "What, like the boy who cried wolf?" Unfortunely, she couldn't quite remember how the story went, so what actually came out of her mouth was, "What, like the wolf who cried fox?" Now I just couln't let a title like that go uncapitalized upon, so a day or two later, I sat down and coined tale (boy is that a weird expression. Coined the tale? So you mint coins and coin stories. We who were blessed never to have to learn English should be on our hands and knees thanking God every day) of the wolf who cried fox:

The Wolf Who Cried Fox

Now gather around and you’ll hear talk
Of the young gray wolf who went for a walk.
He saw something move in a field of straw
and turned and ran back, to tell what he saw.

“Fox! Fox! I saw a fox!
heading through the field and into the rocks.
it’ll raid our dens and burn our crops!”

“A fox around here? Not on my hide!”
said a wise old wolf standing off to the side.
We drove them all off, and not since that day
have we seen even one in the straw or the hay.
Now run on off, don’t tell any lies,
it was your imagination, a trick of the eyes.”

The young wolf ran off, they were probably right,
the sun was going down, and with it the light.
in just a few minutes, it would be night.
it was hard to see, even with his sharp sight.

But just as he thought that, he saw it once more.
A sleek orange body. Then another! Three! Four!
The young wolf turned and ran back to the rest
This time he knew for sure, it was no jest.
Huffing and puffing, he was soon back
to report what he saw to the rest of the pack.

“Foxes! Foxes! I saw some foxes!
Coming with mouths full of teeth sharp as axes!”

“So maybe you’re right, for all we know.”
said an old scraggly wolf with a voice rough and low,
“but why should we worry, and make such a fuss,
because a couple lost travelers came too close to us?
This wolf lacks experience, and surely do they,
they should have known better than to come by this way,
but a simple mistake by some pups on the run
gives us no reason to take action, none!”

The young wolf walked off, his head to the ground.
He was almost to his den, when he heard a faint sound.
He crouched and listened and looked into the dark,
then heard the unmistakable sound of a bark.
A fox sprang towards him with more coming behind,
but the wolf got away, with one thing on his mind.
“I must warn the others, before it’s too late.
The speed of my message will determine our fate!”

He crashed through the woods, all the while yelping,
“Foxes! Foxes! The foxes are coming!”
He burst through some bushes and into a clearing,
but all of the wolves just kept on their jeering,
“When will you learn?” said one, looking stern.
“It’s true!” said the wolf, “They really are coming.
Now get ready to fight, before they return!”

No sooner had he finished when the foxes burst in,
attacking with swiftness while baring a grin.
In no time at all, the skirmish was done.
The wolves were all scattered, the foxes had won.

So what is the moral? What can be learned
from this short little story of the wolf who was spurned?
No matter the status, or influence possessed,
anyone might know something crucial for the rest.
Taking someone’s advice, even if you’re their master,
might help you avoid a great disaster.

-Ben Herr


Unexpected Evening Plans

Once upon a time there was a freezer that was full of 100 pounds of donated hamburger. And then, it came to supper time one night, when Audrey was going to make a delicious meal, featuring the aforementioned hamburger.

As she opened the freezer, she noticed it... Blood. An odor. Then, Audrey turned dramatic. No, it was not a murder. It was something worse....

The freezer had shut off. So, she called 911 (aka her mom). "Is it possible to rescue hamburger, Mommy?!"* Mommy replied: "I don't know." 911 failed.

Audrey turned to the second best 911-- Google. Google told her that if hamburger is brought to 160 degrees (Fahrenheit) it is perfectly safe. 911 #1 then called back and said that hamburger can be browned in the oven, as well as on the stove.

So, on with the apron, and off with Audrey's fear of raw, red, bloody meat.

With Erica as back-up, the next two hours were spent browning around 60 pounds of hamburger, and re-bagging around 30 pounds.

Now, we have browned meat for at least 1 re-entry. Sorry July- you get sausage!!!**

*Audrey never calls her mom "Mommy." That was for dramatic effect.

**Stefan will also be eating sausage all throughout May.


GO! Training

Last week we had five amazing participants here for a short training before they started their GO! assignments in Peru and East Africa. They were such a blessing to have around.

Peter and Christy Sensenig are just married and have been working with Oxford Circle church in Philadelphia, which is the church that some of our K-teams connected with this past summer. They will be working in East Africa until July.

Rick Tilton is from Gap, and just graduated last spring from Calvary College in Michigan. He attended the church that Rob Bell pastors at and so he had stories to tell from that. :) Rick is joining the team in Cusco, Peru for the next four months.

Tyler and Jessica Yantzi are from Kitchener Ontario, and have been married for awhile. They both are finishing up education degrees and are so they will have valuable contributions to make at the Pro Mesa school in Cusco.
Here is a picture of the group.

From L to R: Christy and Peter, Rick, and Tyler and Jessica.

We are continuing to work on all that needs to be done for both the Young Adult Celebration and our recruiting trip to Kansas and Iowa. I think our big prayer request in all of that is that the details would be taken care of, but not stressed over.

Writing on behalf of the rest of the staff,



Floods, Fires, and the Farm Show

The four of us got back from break on Jan 4, and boy howdy, we've had some adventures since then!

First, there was the farm show. Oh boy, can I just say I (Jacki) was pretty darn excited about my first PA Farm Show?! (For those of you non-Pennsylvanians- the Farm Show is kinda like a big county/state fair shoved indoors. Delicious deep-fried things, tractor pulls, square dancing, chickens that look like Tina Turner, rodeos, free samples, and loads and loads of people.)

We went on the opening day for the High School rodeo. YEEHAW! I sure did wear my cowboy boots and stellar hat.

Ben and Audrey riding the shuttle bus. Don't they look excited?

Erica and Jacki, just across the aisle.

It's rodeo time! I think right about when we were taking this picture, this girl was playing her guitar and singing something to the effect of "Agriculture is a big word. Agriculture is hard to say. Agriculture is a big word." Now that's what I call a song.

Umm... I think they were just about to open the chute for bull riding. From our vantage point, we not only could see all the action in the arena, but we could also see the people doing their warm-ups for bull riding and bronc busting. That was... shall we say, a cultural experience. :)
Ben, Audrey, and I also took Abby to the Farm Show one evening for her birthday present from the staff. She (and I) rode the carousel, stuffed a large amount of blue cotton candy in her mouth in a very short time frame, and got a milkshake before we handed her off to her family. Her mouth, hands, and Audrey were very blue by the time all was said and done.
Farm Show completed, we thought we were settling in for a slightly less exciting week. Come to find out....
Thursday evening, there was an explosion in a house across the street, between Chris and Katie and Becky and Cheryl. (Erica's blog has a picture). The house burnt, and Chris and Katie's house and Cheryl and Becky's house suffered smoke and water damage. So, from Thursday evening until Sunday afternoon, the Epps stayed with us. They are now staying with a family a few blocks away, and aren't quite sure when they will be moving back into their own house (which still is "the stinky house" to quote Abby).
Cheryl and Becky were going to be moving into the Carriage House for the next 1-2 months (while their house is being re-carpeted and re-painted), but decided on Saturday to move in across the street with the Bishops. Good thing they did, because...
...Sunday evening around 6:30, Audrey and I went over to the Carriage House to make sure everything was ready for the GO! training participants to move in (at 8:00). Instead, we found a flood. Room 20 (Menya/China), Room 16 (Kipes), the New Hope office, and the basement all had water flowing through them (well, more like sopping into the carpet, and dripping from the ceiling, except in the basement). Andy sacrificially left his Steelers to come help us for a bit. It's looking like a pipe burst. There's some major damage and the Carriage House could look quite a bit different in the months to come.
Now, to end with an Audrey moment. I'm in the process of making really big maps. Audrey was telling me that I'm talented, to which I responded, "Yeah... He's sure given me a lot of talents... including the talent to tape two large pink pieces of paper together. Everyone can do that." Audrey says, "Not... a quadriplegic."


Chuck E. Cheese

I know it's a little late...as in about 3 weeks late...but we wanted to post some pictures from our last week before Christmas break, what with all the exciting things that happened that week. :)
Here are some pictures of our time at Chuck E. Cheese. We went there for Ryan's going away party, and it was alot of fun! We played all of the games, sometimes winning lots of tickets, sometimes not winning any. I think the top amount of tickets won was 80 at one time. :)


Watching Lydia play Deal or No Deal

Now it's Audrey's turn for Deal or No Deal

Lydia, Gabe and Audrey with Chuck E. Cheese. Gabe was more excited about Chuck E. Cheese when he was at a distance. :)

The total number of tickets won: 1,745

While Ryan was picking out his prizes, the rest of us decided to climb in the kiddy play place. :)