The team consisting of Pastor Phil McKeown, Dorothy Combs, Kathy Hill, Chris Hill, Mike Unger, Debbie Mellberg and Eren Garcia left for Llanfairfechan, Wales on Thursday, July 18th via British Airways. Barb Hannah was supposed to be part of the team, but her father had a massive stroke, so she was unable to join them.
They have gone to the Libanus Baptist Church in Llanfairfechan to help start an Awana Children's program.
Here are some pictures of everyone saying goodbye at the airport in Phoenix AZ:
Here are some emails from the team:
Email from Wales Team on Saturday, July 19:
The trip for the Wales Team was uneventful. We didn't have to evacuate the plane, although we had to hold a tube closing door open to get everyone on. The train was great and Kevin was here to meet us when we arrived on time.
It is Sunday a.m. and church starts at 11 a.m. The accommodations are great . . . seventh floor again. People are starting to stir and get ready. Everyone is in great spirits, but you are greatly missed. We will send some pics later today . . .maybe in time for church. I showed Eren the small house boats where people like Steve Evers live! Please tell all of our people thank you for praying.
Email on Monday, July 21:
Last night (Sunday) we put down the Awana court on the auditorium floor. We will send pics later today. The team is preparing for devotions this morning led by Chris. Mike did his first devotions ever for the group yesterday and did a great job. Everyone is ready for the first day of club. Dorothy is doing great and we found out she isn't as quiet as we thought. Debbie has whipped the team into shape in Barb's absence. Eren is ready to go with the games and has forced me to take her to Carlos O'Brian's after their Sunday presentation. Kathy is having a great time and has reconnected with everyone. Chris is doing great. He and Elizabeth talk on FaceTime often. Mike is starving! He is always hungry but he is also a tremendous helper. I am, as always, in the seventh floor penthouse and making sure everyone is good.
We will give you an update after today's first session. Everyone has missed Barbie - both from our team and from the church. Everyone is praying for Barb's dad George. The team would like to thank everyone for making this trip possible.
Thank you, Pastor Phil
Email on Wednesday, July 23:
It is Wed. morn at 5:50 a.m. We are preparing for day 3 of the AWANA Club. On day one we had eight children and on day two there were fourteen. One little boy brought four visitors. Let me tell you about two special blessings. First, on Sunday evening a new girl came to the youth meeting for the first time. Sorry I don't have the names, but I will send them later today. This girl is new to the village and she is Jewish. On Monday she brought her three young siblings- two boys and a girl. They all participated in the club and played games, listened to the story and did their sections which included Romans 3:23.
They were back on Tuesday and the oldest girl worked as a helper teaching the younger children the verses and the wordless book story. Kathy Hill had the story and did a great job. The second blessing was a young mother who knows of the church, but does not attend. She is not a Christian, but she brought her Cubbie age daughter and stayed the entire two hours. She later asked Kevin if they were going to have this AWANA Club at the church on an ongoing basis, because if they were, she wanted her daughter to come and she wanted to help.
I really believe that Kevin and Kim are amazed by what they are seeing. The young people (youth) are jumping in as leaders and will be a great source of help. They will need a commander that is committed to loving and serving the children like our commander at North Village. Kev is going to leave the game court down for this Sunday so the people can see what it would look like if they left it in the floor. Yesterday afternoon we went to Swallow Falls and had lunch and visited the falls Dorothy got down all the steps and really didn't know if she could get back up until I told her I would buy her an ice cream cone at the village. She can really move!
Chris had Eren laughing hysterically as he did his Salsa dancing for us last night at about mid-night. I have a whole new appreciation for all the team members. He claimed that Salsa dancing is his "spiritual gift." Mike, Kathy, and Debbie are all doing a great job with the team and the kids. I told Kim that She needed to find a Welsh Virginia to fix the snacks. Kathy gave the Wordless Book bookmarks yesterday and told the kids about Dorothy Laws.
Tonight we are hosting the church to a spaghetti dinner here at Rhwilas House. She said that we had set it up, to which I claimed no knowledge. Then she said Barb had set it up. Barb and spaghetti then - I saw what was going on. I will try to send some corresponding pics later . . . except for Chris Salsa dancing. Please notify his prayer partners to pray extra hard. Pastor Phil
Email late on Wednesday, July 23:
We had a number of children, due to school break, who told us they wouldn't be able to attend on Wednesday. We had 14 on Tuesday so we thought we might be down on Wednesday. We had 18 on Wednesday! Eren did the story of Zacchaeaus and made it come alive. Eren has been well received by the Welsh people. Not only are the kids enjoying AWANA, the adults are playing some of the games...especially the tub of war. Our own Chris Hill managed to "hold his ground" in the leader's tug of war. Dorothy almost had him, but couldn't quite hold on. Just kidding.
Last night we hosted the Wednesday night service at the house where we stay. The ladies whipped up some great spaghetti and all enjoyed. People of the church, as well as our team, shared testimonies and praises. Our team members are doing a great job with their commitment and enthusiasm. Pray that the church will catch and take ownership of the vision.
Today we are going to Jim and Sylvia Porter's for lunch in Bangor. We all look forward to this time of fellowship. Debbie has kept everyone on task and Kevin shared his appreciation for the team's preparation. Eren is turning very stoic Welsh people in people not unlike their Mexican leaders. Dorothy shares the story today. She is so steady and is such a blessing to the team and children. Kathy is laughter and the next minute tears as she loves and interacts with kids and families Chris and Mike have done nothing but bless all who come in contact with them. They challenge one another and dare each other into many activities and competitions. I am simply made aware of how blessed I am to pastor such people. We could not do what we do without all of those who make this possible. Whether you gave, prayed or both, that you so much for being a part of this outreach. We are mindful of how much of our success has been because of Barb's planning and preparation for this trip. May God richly bless your faithfulness, The Wales Team
Email early Friday, July 25:
Thursday was another great day doing AWANA in Wales. We had a few less kids, but a total of about 23 children so far this week. Today, Eren is going to use the scooters for the first time. The bigger kids will push the littler ones. Chris Hill is doing the story today. We visited with the Porters in Bangor yesterday for lunch. Sylvia and Pam went all out for the meal. Jim, Sylvia and Pam then treated us to singing after lunch. The team had a great time, Dorothy did the story yesterday and did a great job. She was concerned, but the kids hung on every word as she shared about the Backward King. The crafts have been well received and both the older youth, whom seem to be a good choice as leaders, and the younger children seem to really be enjoying all aspects of the club. I couldn't be prouder of our team. They have all done a great job and have never hesitated do do what has been asked of them. They truly enjoy one another. Please pray for Dorothy as her ankles are a little swollen. Once again, thanks to all who have made this trip possible. The Wales Team
Email on Saturday, July 26:
The last day of AWANA saw sixteen kids involved. The total number of kids involved during the week was twenty three. Chris Hill did the story and Mike was his "nurse.". They both did a great job. The ladies attended a Ladies' Tea on Saturday evening. Eren spoke and all said they enjoyed the evening. We had our second roast beast dinner today. I meant to say beast. The church also served the Lord's Table today. There was a nice crowd today. Tomorrow we will do some sightseeing and Tuesday we take the train to London. Wednesday we will see London, and Thursday we fly home. We are scheduled to arrive in Phoenix at 5:20 p.m. at the international arrivals. Thank you for your prayers. We look forward to being home soon. The Wales Team
Day 1 of Awana:
Day 2 of Awana and Sightseeing:
Day 3 of Awana:
Day 4 of Awana, Dinner at Porters and Sightseeing:
Here's what the men did on Thursday:
Day 5 of Awana and Sightseeing: