No work today – everyone was thankful as it was more humid today than previous days. We spent the morning and early afternoon at Ft. Myers beach (see pictures below.) Some were lucky enough to see a stingray, and porpoises.
Lunch was served from the back of the van. Almost 40 veggie hotdogs gone in a matter of minutes, not to mention baked beans, other types of sandwiches, various types of chips, and Little Debbie Nutty Bars!
DQ ice cream came just as we left and headed to an outdoor mall at Coconut Point. We enjoyed dinner and worship together tonight, singing songs about Grace, followed by a short worship thought on the same topic.
Here are a few pictures from the beach.
We should see Shawn McGuire tomorrow, as the band from the school he attends now, is playing at the Ft. Myers church.
Here’s a weekend update for you all. We enjoyed Sabbath with the Ft. Myers church congregation. The service consisted of a sacred concert by the Forest Lake Academy band, with Shawn McGuire. It was great to see Shawn again after they departed Maine not too long ago.
The band was great and everyone enjoyed the music and renewed friendships!
After FLA finished their meal, the team of cooks proceeded to supplement the food we had already made with delightful salads, entrees, and desserts they had left over. No one went away hungry.
We then spent the afternoon at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve (http://www.sloughpreserve.org/) where we saw many snakes, turtles, cranes, white ibis, snowy egrets, and everyone’s favorite, the American Alligator.
We heard him bellow back among the Cypress, and waited 15 minutes before he swam out for us to see. If you have wondered what sound an alligator makes, especially during mating season right now, play the attached .mp3. The .mp3 does not do justice to the loud level that we heard. It was like a motorcycle trying to start about 10 feet from you. Very loud, and the first time you hear it, a bit unsettling!
Here’s a Cottonmouth, or water moccasin slipping through the slough (pronounced slew.)
And one of the female alligators that came right up to the viewing dock for us. She was there over an hour, just watching us. We were about eight feet away. She was not aggressive, but very alert while we photographed her. She was about 6 feet long.
We finished the day at the home of our new friend, Monica, who has made authentic Mexican dishes for use all week long. She is quite the cook, writer, and poet. She shared poems, stories of her Mexican heritage, and the difficulties she encountered growing up in America, giving glory to God for her family and success as an independent businesswomen here in Florida.
Tomorrow, we are working at a home for teenage, unwed mothers.
Mr. Pierce and Mrs. Gold
Another day has passed, and everyone is still working hard, with a positive attitude. Here is one of the houses we worked on today.
There are four of them together that are being finished in Bonita Springs. This was taken as we finished up work today. It was a bit contentious this morning, as there were several contractors, and multiple Habitat groups there working. The site manager gave the other groups the day off, so we could get into the houses and get our work done.
Our group has been praised by Pat, the construction manager we worked with yesterday. I spoke with the Habitat site coordinator today and was told that Pat asked if we could spend the rest of our time here in FL working with him! He said that the PTA group was one of the easiest, and best group of students he had worked with in a long time. In fact, he thought we were from Andrews University, where Vern is based. He was surprised that the students are high school seniors!
Again, another testament to the Christian influence from PTA and parents in these young lives!
Another of the four houses we worked on today. These are the same houses we worked on Tuesday. Learning how to hang mini-blinds.
Painting the garage floors, but not after creating a large “Class of 2016” in the middle of each!
Add some trim, and the garage is done!!!
Dinner this evening was at Two Meatballs In The Kitchen restaurant in Ft Myers. A local Italian restaurant frequented by the over 70 crowd. Our host and hostess for the evening are relatives of Vern, and they picked up the tab for everyone. We thanked them profusely. They are regulars in the restaurant, even though they are not in the over 70 crowd, so our service far exceeded our expectations.
Tomorrow is a day off so we will go to Ft Myers beach. Sabbath afternoon we will visit the Wildlife Sanctuary, and on Sunday, off to Sanibel Island. Apparently, it is a good place to look for shark’s teeth (on the beach, of course!)
Greetings from Florida!
The first picture in the slide show is of the church where the group is staying. The facility is great. The entrance we use is pictured above. There is a gym, with rec room, eating area, and classrooms where we ‘live’ in the evenings.
The church is taking good care of us – homemade Mexican food last night and tonight, as well as some treats this morning. Tomorrow, a friend of Vern is taking us all out to dinner at a nice Italian place, his treat! Guess they are taking pity on us in the meals department. So far, I’ve heard no complaints about this from anyone.
It was difficult getting up the first morning. After flying to Tampa, and being met with by Mrs. Gold and a Welcome sign, we finally arrived at the church about 1:30am on Tuesday. By the time everyone got settled, it was around 2am and we all anticipated that 6am wakeup call that first morning.
We have worked at two different Habitat locations, on 5 houses. Everyone is finding their niche tasks and today they worked as a well-oiled machine. You parents should be proud of the work ethic you have instilled in all these great students! The Habitat coordinator today told me he loved working with our group today. He mentioned, “There was no complaining, and I quickly realized I could give someone a task, or show them how to do it once, and I didn’t have to worry about it being done right, the first time!” Another example of the wonderful influence from God and parents.
We will work again tomorrow, then on Monday and Tuesday next week. Friday and Sunday will be beach days (unless they get tired of the beach) and on Sabbath afternoon, we will visit a local wildlife preserve so we can all experience the indigenous species in their natural habitat.
The church has a small pond in front, which is known to have a visiting gator from time to time, but we have yet to see him (or her) hanging out.
I’m sure you have seen pictures from the kids on Facebook, in email, or shared by someone else online somewhere. But here is a description of the rest of the photos.
The man sitting just to Gracie’s right is Paul, our construction supervisor for Wednesday’s work, whom I quoted above.
Some chose to spend a couple hours at Bonita Beach, about 30 min from the church, before dinner. The water was “cold” but I though it more like bath water, than what we would experience at the beaches of Maine.
This is the second house (next door to the house in the group shot above) that we worked on today. We were eagerly awaiting instructions from the construction super at 8:05 this morning...
The kids here are leading worship each morning and evening, and are rotating on breakfast and dinner duties.
We are praying for the safe and quick return of friends and loved-ones who are stranded in Ecuador on their mission trips, as many of you already know.
The fun is never-ending. Please keep us in your prayers for a safe and enjoyable mission experience!
Regards, Mr. Pierce
In World Literature the Sophomores are studying poems and short stories. The Freeport Library held an edible book contest and Mrs. Krzywon took it as a great opportunity to get involved. Each student picked a poem and made a design of something edible based off of the poem. The 4 best ideas were chosen and then students worked in groups to create a representation of their poem. Although none of the entries from PTA won, it was a fun experience!
-Simone Edmond, Sophomore
The first grade class of the Bronx-Manhattan SDA School spearheaded a school wide drive to collect clean water for the people of Flint, Michigan during the month of March. The students, along with their teacher, went from class to class throughout the school to invite them to participate in this Christian service activity. As a result, by the close of the drive, over forty-five cases of water were brought in. Over $200 in cash donations were also raised for this effort. $117 out of the sum were contributed through the efforts of the Vice Principal Janel Tyson of the Pine Tree Academy Elementary School in Maine (NNEC), who got wind of this project through the sharing of an email to Mrs. Astrid Thomassian, Director of Education for the Atlantic Union Conference, at the request of the first grade teacher of the Bronx-Manhattan SDA School.
Special thanks are also extended to Pastor Luis Biazotto, ACS Director, GNYC for directing us to Bro. Walter Harris, a GNYC representative who has been liaising with NEC ACS in their efforts on behalf of the people of Flint. Harris informed us of the procurement of a truck which would transport water to Flint. All of these persons came together, along with parents, teachers, auxiliary staff, students, and friends of the school, to make the “Clean Water for Flint Drive” a success. We thank God for each one who participated, whether directly or indirectly, in our quest to fulfill this mission.
--Bevan C. Mc Kenna,
First Grade Teacher,
Bronx-Manhattan SDA School
Those of you who have navigated the Northern New England Conference’s website know that there is a movement afoot called “Restore the Roar.” Well, I heard the roar today in my French I class loud and clear. One of my students, Stephie Kayumba, made a passionate appeal to dedicate time and effort to what’s really important - making a difference in God’s kingdom. This was not preplanned or part of an assignment - but it obviously was something to which she had been giving a lot of thought.
This appeal grew out of a regularly scheduled part of French class - opening prayer. Usually I release one student to go to the prayer wall in the hall of the school and bring back a few requests to be remembered in our daily prayer. One of those items, the passion play, solicited a number of comments from my students, including Stephie. Stephie thought the play could go on, if only more had volunteered for it.
“But Stephie,” I gently countered, “Aren’t you judging others when you say they should be willing to get on board with this project? We have a very busy calendar from “The Greatest Gift” practices in November through April’s music clinic. There’s only so much one can do.”
“Well, from what I see, if my classmates and I can spend time creating less important videos or endless hours on Facebook, why can’t we dedicate that same amount of time to something that’s going to count for God?” Stephie responded. And she had more to say. Lots more!
I had to admit she was right. And I have to admit, I am more than pleased that such fervor would come from the mouth of someone a third of my age. I wish many more of you could discern the spiritual susceptibilities of our teens by spending time on our campus. Time and time again I perceive it. These young people will be the ones to “restore the roar.”