Friday, July 20, 2018

Thursday (and Pictures)

Here's the picture link right at the top.... :)


Now that I've lost half of you (or more) I'll share a little bit about their day.  Weather wise today was another perfect Vermont day.  A crisp cool morning (50 degrees) turned into a gorgeously clear sunny day with a high of about 80.  

We're getting really good at our morning routine now - breakfast and making lunch for over 45 people this morning only took about 35 minutes and then groups were off and running.  

Kids Club Team cranked out Day 4 with a ton of energy.  They've learned the kids names, are memorizing their skits, and doing an incredible job helping the people at First Baptist South Londonderry pull off an amazing event.

The Middle School Adventures Leaders worked with the local 4th-6th graders on a day of service of their own.  They stacked wood in two locations, weeded some flower boxes in town, and delivered Ziti meals that they had made on Tuesday to people in need.  They have one more morning of adventure tomorrow.

The Wood/Farm Team was in Cavendish today doing a bunch of odd jobs including painting in the elementary school and weeding at the baseball field.  They even got to play a little baseball after finishing up their jobs.

The Colaborative Team continued to work hard in the community garden and has done a great job with odd jobs there this week including painting and priming walls inside.

The Parks Team continued their picnic table mastery and have just a couple tables left in order to finish all the tables in the park.

In the one morning we have left we'll wrap up all of these projects before high school shows up next week.  

This afternoon we all went to Taylor Farm (a working dairy farm) and split up on mini projects all over the farm.  It was awesome to see what a difference we made in just a couple hours.  I'm thankful for our partnership with Taylor Farm and I'm excited that a high school team will be able to love on them even more next week.  

We took a short swim in the pond at Weston Recreation Center and then headed back to Chester for Shepherd's Pie and Ice Cream Sundaes.  

I won't share a ton about worship and our evening program tonight because I know high schoolers are anxiously awaiting any details they can get their hands on but know that our covenant night was incredible and very moving for all of our students.  I can't wait until they can share the details and more with you at home!

Thursday, July 19, 2018


One of the things I love most about Serve is that it gives a chance for friendships to form.  I was hiking up the rocks today and I had a chance to overhear a couple of our guys talking to one another.  They were on two different work crews and were saying how they had missed each other because they hadn't seen each other all day.  Here's the picture I took:

The thing I love most about this picture is it's four guys from four different schools and one of them is a Vermonter.  In the other three we've got one who almost didn't come but decided at the last minute, one whose family changed a family vacation so he could come, and another one that wasn't feeling all that excited about coming either.  Yet today on the side of a mountain none of them wanted to be anywhere else and with anyone else.  

There's so many layers to Serve and so many important pieces in every students faith journey as they learn how much God loves them and how much he desires to be in relationship with them.  Friendships among students are a huge key and part of that whole puzzle though and finding a group of guys to do life with even if you're states apart and in many different schools is a puzzle piece that's integral to a sturdy foundation of knowing and loving Jesus.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday (Pictures)

It was a gorgeous Vermont summer day.  Here's what we did today!

7:30-8:30 - Breakfast and Lunch Making
8:30-12:00 - Work Projects 
12:00-2:15 - Lunch, Quiet Time, and Showers
3:00-5:00 - Hike at White Rocks Recreation Area
6:00 - Dinner
6:45 - 7:45 - Free Time
8:00 - 9:00 - Evening Program
9:00 - 9:30 - Small Groups

There are so many great stories and random things to share that I don't know where to start and it's late enough that it's probably not worth trying in this blog.  I do have a story to share that I've been working on this afternoon in my head but I'll drop that in a second blog tonight.  

One important note is that today was the last day of Serve Preview.  On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we allow 5th and 6th grade completed Vermont students to spend the day with us for service projects and our evening program.  It's a great chance for them to get a taste of something that they'll be invited to spend a whole week with in the future.  We had seven serve preview students with us and we're looking forward to interacting with them again in the future.

Lastly - because this is why you're all still reading (or skimming :)) Here's today's pictures!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tuesday Pictures

Here they are! A huge thanks to Alexis for getting these done every day and published so you can all see them at home!

Tuesday Night Worship

Worshiping God through music is a very important part of Serve.  We believe that middle school students even those that have grown up in the church are at a critical place in their lives and learning to express emotions, thoughts and feelings toward God in worship can be very special.  The hard part is that as we all know middle school students are filled with insecurities and are always concerned with who is watching and how others might judge them. So when those walls come tumbling down because of trust in one another, a common goal of service, and a desire to express the words that they are singing then something special happens.  Tonight I watched as a group of middle school students bonded in worship and shared some unforgettable moments with one other and with Jesus. It's only Tuesday night.... we're in for quite a ride!


Just a quick post for the parents out there craving information and logistics.  As a parent I'm the same way and when my kids are away I want to know everything about what they did, what they ate, and anything else I can find out. 

Our day started with our regular routine - breakfast and making lunch at 7:30 and then out the door by 8:30.  All of our teams went to the same projects today except the Farm team who went to stack some wood for a family in Weston. 

We met back up at 12:30 for lunch at the town hall in Londonderry and then had thirty minutes of solo quiet time where the students are given a chance to journal, read, pray and just process everything they learned the night before.  After solo time we split into church groups with the local Vermonters joining the Hope crew for a game and then a trip to the Vermont Country Store.  The Storehouse group headed back to the Chester church for a bit then also went to the Vermont Country Store. 

Our afternoon evening project took us to Cavendish.  We've been partnering with Cavendish Baptist Church for several years and tonight we helped them with a one night community VBS program along with a BBQ and projects for several of our teams.  While a few groups helped setup for the VBS others went to a local baseball field and weeded, helped a family move furniture out of a house, unloaded lumber, and so much more.  After projects our work crews joined the rest of the group back at the BBQ and had a great night interacting with families in Cavendish. 

We made it back to Chester just in time for our 8:00 program to start and it's just finishing now with George Searfoss sharing a message about using our hands to serve others.  In a few minutes these students will find their small groups and end their nights with those groups. 

It's been an incredible week so far - these students are so special and are thriving in community with one another.  We've got morning projects tomorrow then a fun activity tomorrow afternoon.  Pictures will be updated soon and maybe another blog from one of our other leaders this week.

Monday, July 16, 2018


Today was a great day! We're now on our regular schedule for the next five days and we're ready to go. The Storehouse guys had breakfast prep this morning at 7 and everyone else was in the kitchen ready to go at 7:30.  The Storehouse girls had breakfast cleanup after we made lunch and ate breakfast and we were all ready to go by 8:30.  We had five teams headed in five directions this morning and they all worked incredibly well together.  Let me introduce you to our teams:

Kids Club Team
The kids club team works at First Baptist Church of South Londonderry and is responsible for bringing the energy.  They work in teams of two to be counselors for the kids and some of them sing, dance, and lead skits as well. 

Middle School Adventures Team
Unfortunately we didn't get a group picture today.  Andrew Vallete is working with Mackenzie, Hannah, Jonathan, Evan and a Vermonter named Henry as counselors for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders this week called Middle School Adventures.  They got the tough job today of going with the 17 younger students to a place called Pike's Falls to swim and jump off rocks.  They lead so well though - getting to know all the names of the kids they worked with and challenging the younger ones to get in the water and swim around. 

Farm / Wood Team
This crew headed over to Abundance Acres CSA today to help on the farm.  From what I heard, manure was shoveled, bugs were evicted from plants, and some other fun  The boys had an incredible attitude and are ready to go to another spot to stack some wood tomorrow.

Collaborative Team
Our longest and most constant relationship outside of our church partnerships is with The Collaborative.  We've done many things with them over the years and this year is no different.  The girls who were there today weeded in the community garden and flicked a lot of bugs off plants.  They are excited to do some painting and other projects as the week goes on. 

We spent our afternoon at Hapgood Pond getting showers, having quite time, playing some team building games and enjoying the water.  We took back roads home enjoying the scenery and had Baked Ziti for dinner.  After dinner brought a couple options with some of the students heading out on a walk to the bridge over the creek, others playing soccer and frisbee in the yard and the rest playing some card games at the church.  Daniel Vallette lead us in worship and Chris Blackey gave the message. 

We're so psyched that this is the last "hot" night of the week.  Temperatures are supposed to drop and be cooler from here on out and we're all ready for that!

Check out the pictures from today - it sure was a good one!

Sunday, July 15, 2018


We're settling in and hitting our stride here in Chester, VT.  We started our day in South Londonderry after sleeping overnight at the Town Hall.  After breakfast and kids club orientation we walked down to the town hall and went to church at First Baptist Church of South Londonderry.  It's so great to be able to worship in the new First Baptist building and it's good for our students to experience a church service a little different then there's back home. 

After service we spent the next couple of hours relocating from South Londonderry to our home for the week in Chester.  We moved all of our food and home base supplies as well as the mattresses and our luggage this afternoon before sneaking away to a beautiful place called Stoughton Pond for a late afternoon swim!  

 Just to give you an idea of the size of our group this week:
19 students from Hope and 9 adults
9 students from Storehouse and 3 adults
5 local Vermont students and 1 adult
7 Admin / Director / Kitchen adults from Hope

On top of that we're joined by the Desilets Family and the Blackey family for dinner every night and tomorrow starts SERVE Preview for 5 fifth and sixth grade students from Vermont.  

Our evening programs have started incredibly.  Daniel Vallette is leading us in worship this week and different speakers are sharing each night.  Tim Desilets (me) kicked us off last night with a message about the heart of service and the importance of understanding that people are more important than projects and understand God's love for us helps us fill our love tanks in order to love the people around us.  Mandy Desilets shared tonight about our heads and she used the story of Gideon to talk about God's not looking for heroes and not looking for people that want to do something specific or serve a specific way but just want to be used by Him in whatever way He sees fit. 

The end of our nights are always capped off by small groups as students process the message they just heard with our amazing leaders and each other.  I love walking around as groups meet listening to excited conversation and comments about the things they just heard.  

The buildings are now quiet with the guys sleeping here at the Baptist Church and the girls just up the street at the Congregational Church.  It was a hot day and a hotter one tomorrow but the night air is cool and should make for a great night of sleep.  We start at 7:30 with breakfast and take a running leap into the morning with service project vans leaving at 8:30.  We'll have groups at VBS, The Collaborative, Londonderry Parks, and Abundance Acres Farm tomorrow.  I'll make sure to update where each of the students is working tomorrow.  Hopefully with some incredible pictures.  

In the meantime enjoy the pictures from today - I'm sure there will be even more tomorrow!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Headed to VT!

They are on the road! 19 Middle School Students from Hope are headed to Vermont to join students from Storehouse Church and First Baptist Church of South Londonderry for an incredible week of service projects, fun, laughter, and adventure!  Take a minute to write one of them (or their incredible leaders a note) to encourage them this week.  We'll post pictures and updates all week long - thanks for joining us on this journey!