A Note from Mikella!

Here’s a word from our very own Kayla!

My work project was painting different parts of the house and solidifying a railing outside.

I enjoyed getting to meet a bunch of people from all types of different backgrounds and getting to work with the residence and meet them. I saw God on the mission trip through my reestablishment in faith and growing closer to God throughout the mission trip.

Since being back I’ve felt more confident in my faith and leaving my problems at God’s feet and asking Him for help.

Kayla’s going into her junior year of high school and it was such a joy to have her on this trip!


Klara’s Experience in Pocahontas

Though the trip is complete, our high school kids are still thinking about the trip–and I’m still thinking about the poor internet reception and bad updating skills.

So, here are a few words from our sweet Klara:

My work project was to fix the house’s gutters, paint the exterior, tear down the roof over a porch, and repair an underside part of the house. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment after a long day and looking back on the work I did and seeing how it all came together in the end.

I saw God on the “cry night” when you (Karissa) talked to me in the hallway while I was crying and when two other random people hugged me because I looked like I needed it.

I guess the trip has impacted me because now I know I have more capability of doing things than I think, like tearing off shingles or priming and painting a house and climbing up super high ladders.

We thank Klara for her honesty and I hope those of you at First Presbyterian Joliet keep loving on this young lady as she continues to grow in strength and confidence.


My crew and I are working on our resident’s deck and weathering his house. We had to take apart the whole deck and start from scratch luckily the boys knew what they were doing. One of my favorite parts of today was getting to hammer posts straight to the ground because I got to use a sledgehammer. Everyday we are told to look for God sightings, ways we see God while working, and today I saw one while working on the house. While we were working crew members came over to take pictures and we wanted to take a picture on the resident’s tampoline, since they gave the okay, and when we were about to take a picture one of the girls got stuck in the middle because the part where you bounce on was not tight. God helped by showing us that not just our crew would help but also the resident helped too he made sure she got off as safe as possible. I’m so glad I went on this mission trip.


What I did today was fix up an old barn. We had to sand it lightly and prime and paint it. We are on the painting part right now. We also encountered a nest of yellow jackets which was terrifying. But my favorite part was meeting the resident Pat because she is a really nice person and the stories we heard were very interesting. Where I saw God was in Pat and her husband because they showed endless hospitality.


We Arrived!

After driving through the night we have not only arrived at our place of residence, but had one large session, an informational meeting, and dinner! We’re heading off to another large gathering before our youth group devotional time.

This year we went with Group Mission Trips and so far I am in love. The structure of the mission trip is solid and makes room for teens to grow in their faith and step out of their comfort zones by working with teens they don’t know. Not one of us will be spending  time together this week during the work time!

How will we get pictures, you may wonder (as did I). Group has a photography who will upload images of our students to our Group page so that I may share them with all of you! Until then, enjoy some post work grimy pictures when I can get them and fun day group photos.

Tomorrow you’ll hear from Blake about his first day!

Blessings, Karissa

Jr. High Mission Trip Day 3

Hi, I’m Lorelai.

Today was one of the best, we had SO MUCH fun with the adorable puppies. we had a very easy service project for church (cleaning windows)that we zoomed through in less than 30 minutes. (we had 2 hours set aside for the project) after every window of the church was clean we had NO idea what to do so we sat in the cafe talking about who knows what and just having a good time with.


Hi, Im Giselle.

Today we went to hopeful tails.  We got to walk the dogs. The names of the dogs we walked are named Trinity, Yukon, rosey and wrigley. After that we got to play with the dogs. My favorite dog was Nola.


Hi, Im Sophia.

Today we were at Hopeful Tails and we helped out with the dogs. My first job was to walk a dog named Trinity. After we did that we pulled weeds outside. Finally we played with dog they were cute and fun. It was fun.



Jr. High Mission Trip Day 2

Today our group went to Hands of Hope. Hands of Hope is a friendly organization who gives half their products to the unfortunate. Then the other half is sold in their store for up to 50% less than Walmart and other more popular stores. Also, over 90% of their products are donated from other stores like Walmart and Jewel Osco. We worked a lot there and my feet STILL hurt from doing the work. But its ok because we got to go swimming and have a cook out.


Hi I’m box boy I got the name from Hands of Hope I made it so all the boxes fit. It was so fun and I got free food! (PS. best part of trip) Then we weeded the garden it was fun Karissa ate a bug!


Today  the Wildfire group went to Hands of Hope. Hands of Hope was awesome because there is nothing like free food and boxes. the  other kids  went swimming and I  sat with the grownups and told funny stories . I  am having lots of fun!








Jr. High Mission Trip Day 1

Hey I’m Camryn I’ve been going to First Presbyterian for 4 years. On the first day of The Youth Mission trip we went to Big Brothers Big Sisters, while we were there we packed over 70 backpacks. Sara, the community coordinator gave us a tour and and helped us stock up the food pantry. Before bed we did devotions, we talked about what God meant by be the light  in the community by sharing love and hope with others.


Hi my name is Mallory it is my first time being here. Today we were cleaning the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. We took pictures and listened to music, it was fun. then everyone had sweaty hands after wearing the gloves. We filled up the gloves with water and tied them. Then after that we played sardines and hide and seek. Then we took showers and played in the gym. In the gym we played with the scooters and we played gaga ball. It was really fun.


Hello my name is Jadyn and I am new to this church, but it is awesome. There was something a little spicy that happened today.  Karissa and Matt had too much fun with the dares, so Karissa dared Matt to eat a raw egg with two different hot sauces (mixed). Then, Matt dared Karissa to eat a spoon full of hot sauce. We also started some prank wars with the boys. The prank that we did so far is put popcorn cups (not fulled w/ popcorn) by the door so when they open it the cups will fall and make a big noise. Every day you always need some music so we had a private concert, by the band named enlivened. My favorite part was when the singers interacted with us, and we toke AWESOME pics. ( I had some help with Sophia) The singers names where Jenny, Danny, Riley, and Emilio. (sorry if i spelled names wrong) It was so good and we a blast! Today was good but I cant want for another fantastic day.

❤ Jadyn<3

Day 4 Mission Trip

Today was our last day on our mission trip, and it turned out to be a hot yet productive day. Our group was given the task of weeding outside and putting mulch down… A LOT of mulch. Out of the 10 of us we were able to complete everything in about 3 hours.  After the completion of these tasks we showered and then worked again to the point where we needed another shower. We helped setup for a community picnic  bringing tents, tables and chairs.  we also set up craft stations and made food for the neighborhood. There was a great turnout giving us all an opportunity to serve and interact with the community.  Overall it was a long day and i’m falling asleep writing this.

I had an opportunity to join this Youth Mission trip to Cincinnati as an Advisor.  I was in a group that worked with children at the Boys and Girls club in an underprivileged neighborhood.  This community is in transition, we were told that 5 years before it was not somewhere to step foot in.  Hearing this, I was unsure what to expect, however, I absolutely loved working with these children and this facility.  The staff couldn’t have been more amazing at cultivating a family environment and the children,  4-12 years old, were so energetic and willing to interact with us. We literally had playtime every day.  That being said, the job that the staff are doing daily for these children is so important, as they are constantly reminding these youth that they are the future leaders and they are capable to become whatever they want with hard work and self control.  For many the daily struggles and temptations are in their homes and neighborhoods, yet they have this one positive place where they receive nourishment for their bodies and minds.  Watching the synergy between our youth and these children, the smiles and screams of delight on the playground, the fun banter that was had in a simple card game or the amazement at the origami butterflies and paper airplanes our youth made from them was so inspiring to me.  Yes, mission work can be fun!  This  also leads me to reflect on how much we impact and are impacted by daily interactions with those around us and at the blessings in our lives that go unnoticed.  I pray that we may leave with a deeper understanding of what it is we are called to do, and those we had the opportunity to interact with continue on this path of becoming strong leaders for their communities, and that we all continue to love one another as we are so loved.

Dear First Pres

Today has been a surprisingly stormy day, not referring to the plentiful rain in Cincinnati. But rain, personally, isn’t a bad thing. The clouds open up and cry for us. We can learn a lot from that. And it’s such a simple thing, even though it can be really hard for us. Sometimes the rain is heavy and thunderstorms with angry cracks of lightning tumble to the ground. Yet, it’s not always like that. Sometimes the rain falls so lightly against our windowsills and we still appreciate it. No matter what shade of grey the clouds are, they can let out everything at any time.

So even if your problem is a tiny cupful or an overflowing pitcher, pour out your heart to someone because the longer you hold it in, the worse the thunderstorm will be. And maybe your thunderstorm will turn into a hurricane, but do you know what always happens after rainfall? We all do, and we all forget, and we are all so easily amazed by the known. Rainbows. And I believe the clouds love rainbows just as much as everyone who views them.


PS: A major highlight of today.