Phoenix

This is the End, Shut Down the Highways - Briana's Team

I will not be mentioning the company responsible for this as to not use this platform to slander their name and also because I forgot. Early on in the week, we received news from our wonderful neighbors, the Frankes, that a bomb was found near a major highway and they have that highway – and two other major highways – shut down to investigate and defuse it. Of course, bomb defusal is a surgical procedure and takes many hours, so it wasn’t until the end of the day that we got word that it was not, in fact, a bomb, but a traffic counter. The irony of it is that the company that found it, reported it, and shut down all the highways was the same company that put it there and forgot about it. The double irony was that the counter was put there to collect data. That data probably wasn’t very helpful after they shut down all the highways. Something tells me that, over the course of several hours early on in the week, there’s going to be an outlier in their graph. Way to go Anonymous Company. Data collection successful.

In other news: life is good, Phoenix is hot. I don’t mean to fill you all with envy, but the weather here has seriously been awesome. We just got back from vacation (which I think you can read about in the last blog?) and now we’re jumping back into things. We had our last Unite Phoenix on Saturday (For those of you who don’t know or can’t remember what Unite Phoenix is, it’s an event that takes place on one Saturday every month in which churches, college students, and other individuals come together to serve. Many ministries, including Aim Right, are represented). It’s sad to think that this is it for us, but I’m also encouraged seeing the growth in numbers each month and knowing that God has big plans for that event. I want to take that idea home with me and chew on it. Maybe God can use someone like me to unite the church where I live, bringing together people of different denominations, backgrounds, age groups, races, etc. and spend one Saturday a month serving with one another. The passage in scripture where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet always baffles me. John explains that Jesus has this realization that He’s going to die soon. In that moment, knowing his time with his disciples was coming to a close, he got up from dinner and washed their feet. Amazing. If I had that same realization, I would be booking trips and spending money on myself, trying to enjoy my final moments. Not Jesus. Jesus humbly served those around Him. Incredible. I want to take that home with me. At any moment, I could die. This is true for all of us. Why don’t we take advantage of our remaining days on earth and humbly serve those around us? I think that’d make God smile.

I hope everyone reading is ready with their stat books, because next you’ll be reading about sports updates from Phoenix. I have two games to cover, first of which will be Kelly’s volleyball game. Tragically, Kelly’s team has fallen short of victory, and Kelly even showed up at the right park this time. I suppose it’s too much to ask that she single-handedly carries her team to victory every week, but I think that’s where we’re at. Secondly, my soccer team had it’s division final on Sunday night. We lost. We went to double overtime, losing in penalties, but it was still a lot of fun. It’s been a pleasure playing with those guys. This has been sports updates in Phoenix.

And now for movie reviews: Shazam was pretty funny.

I want to conclude this blog by thanking everyone who reads them. It’s truly humbling hearing from all the people who read these and are interested in the work that God is doing here in Phoenix. It means the world to us that you care enough to keep up with what we’re doing and keep us in your prayers. That being said, it is from the bottom of my heart that I say, thank you. If you want to keep us in your prayers, we do still have a month of service here left. Please pray that we remain present where our feet are. It’s easy to autopilot near the end like this and focus on what’s coming next, but we pray that God continues to energize us for the work that’s left to do here.

Also, coming up soon is our Grand Canyon hike. Pray for our physical strength as we prepare for that. And Easter is going to be an exciting time here in Phoenix. We’ve bought and – with the help of Unite Phoenix volunteers – filled 10,000 plastic Easter eggs for a giant Easter egg hunt for the children in the community. We’ll also be taking the opportunity to tell people about the Easter service that a local church is hosting at Aim Right. We’re trying to pack out our sanctuary with families from the community who ordinarily wouldn’t attend church on Sunday. Pray that God shows up big for these events and reveals Himself to people who don’t know Him.

Thank you all again for reading and praying. Since our time here is running out, this is the last blog post that will be written by me, personally. There will still be weekly blogs until we leave, but this is the last one I’ll be writing. It’s been a pleasure writing for you all, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

Blessings,

Connor

Birthdays and Vacation - Briana's Team

The beginning of the week we celebrated Connor and Katie's birthdays. We were in Mexico for Connor's, and Katie's was April 1st. Obviously we had to give Katie a hard time since her birthday lands on April Fool's day. Stephanie made two pies, one raisin and one peanut butter. We gave Katie the raisin pie having her think it's yummy peanut butter pie. We were hoping to get a reaction out of her and only got "my mom's peanut butter pie is better." She was a good sport about it even a good sport after she got cake smashed into her face.

Thursday began our team vacation. Briana and I chose Tucson for our destination. We wanted to make sure we still had nice warm weather and have access to a pool. Our vacation consists of movies, the show Parks and Rec, the pool, reading, puzzles, and lots of yummy food! Our first full day of vacation was by far the laziest for me. I regret not wearing my watch to see how little of steps I took that day.

Since I'm on vacation it has given me a lot of time to think. I think about how we only have almost a month left and how bittersweet it is. I have been really missing family, friends, and of course my cats. But, I have also been thinking about how I felt the first time I finished the program 2 years ago. I had a lot of thoughts about how I wish I would have worked harder in Montana (my outreach location). How I wished I would have spent more time with this person during training or this person during outreach. Or how I could have inserted myself more with others who don't know my Father. I'm sure I'll have these thoughts and more when I'm done this time around. We as humans are hard to please. Those sad wishful thoughts of me doing more my first time through the program helps me to live in the moment because some day I will look back and cry about how much I miss my time here serving with Aim Right. Missing all these wonderful people I have grown to love even through short conversations.

Prayer requests for team:

- we have always been more of a kidding around group. So, more realness and respect for one another.

- having almost one month left causes so many emotions. It leads to thinking about how sad saying goodbye to everyone will be, emotions about seeing the other teams, family, and other friends, and also leads to thinking about plans for the future.

- continually showing the Father's Love to everyone around us

-Kelly

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Mexico! (Part 2) - Briana's Team

Hello everybody, its Rey Rey!

So what did we do for spring break?? Well, what every teen loves to do – go to Mexico. But it wasn’t all beaches and vacation. We were able to help an organization build houses and were able to be a part of changing lives.

We left Thursday afternoon around lunch and picked up a girl who had wanted to come since her brother was already down there building houses. It was about a 4 hour trip down to Mexico and the time passed by fairly quickly, despite the fact that most everyone was quiet. We arrived there around 5 that night and got there just in time to see the group that had been at the center leave. Let me tell you, that group really scared me. The one kid I talked to the most of the night talked about how he’d only had maybe three showers the whole three days he had been there and how the tents they slept in had not been great. However our group got lucky and were named interns for ten days, so the guys and I got to sleep in the guys’ intern house and the girls got to sleep in the girls’ intern house.

On Friday we started our first house. The group that was supposed to help us had said they didn’t want to dig the hole for the septic or lay the concrete for the floor, so we got to do that ourselves. We spent that first day until around 2pm working on those tasks. The next day the group was supposed to be there around 1pm, so we just leveled the ground around the house and did some work on a bakery. Well, 1pm rolled around and the group didn’t show up, so we started cutting the boards for the frames; however, the place we were at didn’t have any power tools so we did everything by hand. After about two hours we had everything cut and ready to go, and right when we were about to leave, the other group showed up. The director let us go, though, and had the other group start putting the frames together. After we left the construction site, we went to the beach and chilled there for a while.

The next day was a big day; the other group was there and it was time to raise the walls. We got the walls raised, wood put on, and a bit of tar paper put up (if I remember right). The next day we put up the rest of the tar paper, then the chicken wire, and then started doing the stucco.

That night we had the fiesta night. Let me explain what fiesta night is. It’s the night that we get together with the family we’re building the house for and have a small party with a piñata, music, and dancing. All in all, it’s a blast.

The next morning was the dedication for the house. We sang songs and had communion in the house as its first meal – it was a great experience. After that we finished the house, then went back to base and slept. The next day was Wednesday, which is their Sabbath, so we went to church. After church we visited a dirt mall, which is a street lined with souvenir shops, and then we went to the beach and relaxed all day. On Thursday the next group arrived, which was actually a group from here in the valley. They didn’t do any work that day as it was just our group getting the site of the house prepped. We laid the floor and built the frames the first day, then the second day we put the walls up (for the most part the septic was in the back of the house and was too close so we had to wait for that task).

That night was the fiesta, which was again great. I love fiesta night.

Sunday was our last day there, so we helped out with the house once more. Then we packed up and went to the dedication of the house before saying our goodbyes to the interns that we had met down there. That was really hard because we had all became really good friends.

Getting back over the border went really well and we got back to Phoenix around 5:30pm. At 5:45, we had to say to good-bye to the girl we had picked up. She was a blast to get to know and we were all really happy she got to come with us. She should be reading this, so shout out to her! Also to the interns that we met down there, you’re awesome and we love you!

-Reylyn