2018 Fall Calendar

Image  —  Posted: August 23, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Uncategorized

Memphis Day 5

Posted: July 20, 2018 by keystoneyouth in SOS Trip


Friday was a unique day. One of the things we always preach going into a trip like this is, “Be Flexible” because something is always bound to change during the week. Today that was the case. We went into this morning expecting to be on the job sites all day and then finish the day with a picnic at a local park. However, soon after we arrived to our job sites our team leaders informed us that there was a change in plans. The heat index was projected to rise to 115 degrees this afternoon. So to keep people safe and avoid injuries from the heat, the SOS staff decided that we would only work a half day and that the picnic would be cancelled. It was a little disappointing at first, but when we went out this afternoon for sno cones I was very happy that they made that decision. As soon as you stepped in the sun the heat hit you like a ton of bricks. None of us could have imagined being on the roof in the type of heat there was this afternoon.

This evening was bittersweet. It’s always exciting to head home after an exhausting week, but it’s also disappointing to leave a place and a group where you’ve experienced such a good time and made a lot of memories. I always love these trips because of seeing how the group comes together and works toward a common goal. This group demonstrated an incredible amount of joy and excitement even as they worked in very very hot conditions this week. They also displayed the type of togetherness that I pray for in a team. Nobody was left out and students who tend to be more reserved showed a side of their personality that I don’t get to see on Sundays.

I love seeing the group come together and getting to watch as friendships are developed in a week like this. I love to see students feel like they are a part of the group. I love to see students step up as leaders with both their words and actions. I love the side conversations that pop up with students about what they’re passionate about or what they’re facing that’s really difficult. These trips continue to be an incredible gift and I cherish the opportunities, memories, and ways that students grow as a result of these trips. I think we can walk into these trips expecting God to work in some big flashy way (i.e. a homeowner getting saved or everyone breaking down in tears during one of the lessons, or something like that…) But I think more often God is at work in a thousand small ways. Ways that we may or may not see on the trip. And the ways that he does work on these trips often ripples into the future: the relationships that are built, the challenges that are given, the ways students serve and care for one another, the passion to live for God and not just for self, and the willingness to take the next step into a life of missions and service when God calls them to. I’m beyond proud of this group and thankful that God has given me the privilege to lead another trip!

Questions to Ask Students When We Return:

My encouragement and challenge to you is to ask the students questions about their time here in Memphis. I think they will want to talk to you about it and share with you what happened through their eyes. This blog only gives you the week through my eyes. I would love for you to hear from the students on what it was like for them. But in the process, ask more than just, “How was your week?” It’s too easy for students (and for me) to respond to that question with a simple “Good.” Dig deeper to hear some of the stories and details from the week by asking good questions. Here are a few sample questions to ask the team as we return:

  • What was a highlight from your week?
  • What was difficult or frustrating during the week?
  • Who was the homeowner you worked with? What were they like?
  • What was something that stuck out to you from the chapel lessons? What did you think of the chapel speaker?
  • What stuck out to you from the visit to the Civil Rights Museum?
  • Would you ever go back to SOS again? Why or why not?
  • What was one way you saw God at work (in your own life, in someone else’s life, as a group, at SOS)?
  • What will you remember about this trip five years from now?


Memphis Day 4

Posted: July 20, 2018 by keystoneyouth in SOS Trip


Thursday was a full day again. We spend all day on the job sites. There was a huge difference between morning and afternoon. The morning was shaded and a nice breeze kept us cool on the roofs, but as soon as the sun came out we immediately started sweating. Our three groups were able to accomplish quite a bit while also enjoying a long lunch. Meal times are one of my favorite things about these trips. I love the time of just sitting around and talking because there is nowhere else to go. The closeness that develops in our groups in large part happens while we sit around talking and laughing. We returned to the SOS base for showers, dinner, and chapel. And then we finished the day off as usual with another debriefing at Chick-Fil-A:)


  • Group debrief time in the evening. This was probably the best debrief time we had during the whole trip. People shared their highlights and frustrations from the trip along with things they felt like they learned this time around. It was also encouraging because we were processing through what has been taught this week. The students shared some things they didn’t really agree with that the speaker said while also highlighting some of the things that were said that were true and connected with them. It was a proud moment for me to see them exercising discernment by weighing what was being taught from up front with what they know of the Bible. (P.S. A great question to ask them when we return would be, “What did you think of the chapel speaker?”)
  • God protecting us on the job sites. We had a couple minor injuries today that could have been worse (don’t worry, no one fell of the roof!). We saw God protecting us even as things didn’t go how we thought they would.

Memphis Day 2

Posted: July 18, 2018 by keystoneyouth in SOS Trip


Today was a hot one again. Around 2:00 the temperature was at 92 but felt like 105 because of the humidity. Add to that being on a roof with shingles and it made for instant sweat anytime you set foot on the roof. Our groups did a great job working through the heat either putting shingles on or prepping another part of the roof for shingles. Every evening is made up of some free time before dinner and then dinner is followed by chapel. Each week they bring in a different local pastor to speak each evening in chapel. This week are speaker has been a local pastor by the name of Robin. He’s been walking through the first couple chapters of Genesis so far showing us how it answers some of the big questions we have – like who we are, what our purpose is in life, and how we can know God personally. After chapel, we finished off the evening by driving to Chick-Fil-A and debriefing our day as a group over some milkshakes:)


  • Getting ice pops from a local church! There really is nothing better than an ice pop at 2:00 in the afternoon. It’s also really neat to see the partnerships that SOS has built with the local churches and the ways the churches support the ministry of SOS.
  • Sharing testimonies at lunch today. We spent our normal devotion time over lunch sharing our testimonies over lunch. Everyone opened up and shared the story of how they’ve became a Christian along with how they’ve grown and see God be faithful through some very difficult struggles in their lives.
  • Getting barbecueJA group of us went out for a pre-dinner trip to Central Barbecue. Memphis is famous for great Barbecue and the Nachos and Pulled Pork sandwiches did not disappoint!


Memphis Day 1

Posted: July 16, 2018 by keystoneyouth in SOS Trip


We arrived in Memphis at 3:00 yesterday afternoon. After getting settled in and eating dinner, we had an eventful evening. Right in the middle of our evening program a powerful thunderstorm came through and knocked out the electric. We split up into work teams with minimal lights and then took a team run to Sonic. Just as we were getting into bed the electric came back on. The dorms both exploded with shouting because it meant we got to sleep with A/C instead of 80 degree temperatures:)

This morning after breakfast we headed for our worksites. Our team is split up into three different work teams each about a quarter mile apart. We spent the day painting, tearing shingles off the roof, and putting new shingles on. We are the 6th of 7 weeks of summer camp here at SOS so most of the houses are getting pretty close to being done. The morning always tends to go a little better because the heat isn’t so bad, but by 2:00 in the afternoon everyone is feeling the combination of lunch, hot weather (90s and HUMID), and exhaustion from being on the roof all day. We packed up about 3:00 came back to SOS base for showers and a quick nap before dinner. After dinner and the evening program we drove to a local Chick-Fil-A to get some milkshakes and debrief as a team before coming back to head to bed and then do it all over again tomorrow:)



  • Meeting the homeowners we are working with: Ms. Morgan, Robert and Eugena, and Mr. John. My group is working at Ms. Morgan’s house. She is an extremely friendly 65-year old lady who started the day by taking a picture of everyone so that she could get our names memorized. She also made sure that we were well stocked with ice pops throughout the day!
  • Seeing people on our team try new things by getting up on the roof and working. You could tell that most people were pretty nervous in the morning as they stepped up onto the roof, but by the end of the day they were all looking like naturals up there and doing a great job!
  • Getting to worship together as a large group in the evening. We are one of eight groups here this week with probably a total of about 150 people. Each evening we come together to worship as a large group. There’s something special about a large group of students who have just spent all day in the heat and sun praising God at the end of the day by singing together.


Fold Day 2 and 3

Posted: June 13, 2018 by keystoneyouth in The Fold

We spent the past two days doing two main jobs: staining and wood chipping. Half of our group spent time staining decks, stairs, and the front of the school building while the other half spent time chopping up tree branches and sending them through a shedder in an effort to clear out an area for a parking lot. The team has worked extremely well together and incredibly hard over the past couple days! Wednesday is often one of the hardest days because everyone starts to hit a breaking point where they feel tired and worn down. It’s great to have a day off tomorrow to look forward to and rest a little more before finishing up on Friday.

We also got to spend more time with the students and staff here at the Fold over the past couple days. This evening we had a cookout and bonfire with all the students and staff and got to hear some of them share their testimonies. It was good to hear the ways that God is working in the lives of teens who come here, but it was also neat to hear how God has worked in the lives of the staff during their time at the Fold. We’ve been able to spend more time with staff and students then other years which has helped us to get a better picture of what actually happens at the Fold on a regular basis.

I’ve been really impressed with this team. They love to serve and they work hard. But they also love God and have been quick to talk about the ways they are seeing Him at work this week. One of my highlights has been the nightly prayer times after our daily debrief. This group is quick to praise God and pray to Him with almost everybody jumping in. I’ve walked away each night encouraged by what God is doing and excited for the rest of the week.

The Fold Day 1

Posted: June 11, 2018 by keystoneyouth in The Fold

We arrived at the Fold after a long day of travel last night at 8:00pm. We got situated in the house we are staying at (which is on the same property as the offices and school), and most of us went to bed pretty quickly. Although several decided it would be a good night to stay up until 2:00:) After breakfast and devotions this morning, we headed out for the day’s work. Part of the group spent the morning scraping and re-staining the deck at the house we are staying in, while the other part worked on replacing a window and clearing out some brush and weeds around the school.

It seems much busier around here then the other years that we have been here. The students are still in school (they have 7 currently). Several students graduated last weekend and several more graduate this coming weekend, so parents have been in and out over the past couple weekends as well.

After lunch, half of the group packed up and drove the boys home to mow the lawn. It was a group project since we only had push mowers and the property includes about two acres of area that needs to be mowed (this usually ends up being a weekly chore for the two boys who currently live in the boys home). The rest of the group continued to stain decks around the main property and work on the widow.  We finished off our day with pizza (made by Nicki, Caroline, and Mariah!), and lots of games throughout the evening.