Day 6

Today we wrapped up our time working on John and Janet’s home in the Binghamton neighborhood of Memphis, TN. These past five days have flown by and have left a lasting impact on our team.

This morning began with an extra hour of sleep (#blessed)!!! After a little extra rest we arrived at our worksite ready to finish the week off strong. Some team members were on the roof shingling the last plane while others were tidying up the backyard foliage and picking up trash along the streets. After our final lunch break we said our goodbyes to Janet and her home. We were so grateful for the opportunity to build a relationship with Janet and John. Their hospitality towards our group was incredible. Through meals and conversations we enjoyed getting to build community with them.

After packing up at their home we headed back to the SOS center for some deep cleaning of the building before dinner. We enjoyed some delicious grub at Swanky’s Taco Shop followed by a highly demanded trip to Jerry’s Sno Cones – which did not disappoint.


As our time in Memphis is coming to an end we took some time tonight as a team to reflect on our journey thus far. Here is a bit of what our team reflected on tonight:

  • This week allowed for a refreshing break from the exhausting routine of school/life.
  • It was a time to see God’s beauty in even the smallest of things.
  • Created an opportunity to explore, try new things, meet new friends, and get out of a comfort zone.
  • Becoming more knowledgeable about why SOS has set up their ministry the way it is and the impact it has on the community and volunteers.
  • Learning from each other’s heart for the service and different perspectives.

These are just a few of the insights into how this week of serving with the Memphis community has impacted each and every individual on this team. It will be hard to leave in a couple of days, but we have been so refreshed and rejuvenated from this experience and are encouraged to continue to learn and reflect from this opportunity.

We are excited to head back into the city tomorrow to visit the Civil Rights Museum and maybe even take a quick trip to Arkansas and Mississippi (stay tuned)!

Writer: Maddie Eiler

Block Parties and Bad Puns

And with some delicious, authentic tacos from a grocery store on the East side of Indy and Italian Ice on the canal (10/10), our Fri(y)ay and the week at Shepherd is quickly approaching an end. We apologIMG_6670ize for the lack of updates on our work here at Shepherd’s Community, but hopefully, I can relay four days’ worth of activities in a relatively short blog post. Here are some highlights:

            During the mornings, we continued to work with Horizon Christian Academy in the classroom and in the kitchen preparing meals for the students. We were usually placed with 3 & 4 year-olds (a personal favorite) and 2nd graders, helping them with classwork and running around with them during recess. Tuesday we had a special assembly where Glen Robinson III from the Pacers came and spoke to the kids and donated sports equipment to the Academy. For those of you who are as clueless as I am about NBA basketball, he won a slam dunk contest which, apparently, is a pretty big deal. Needless to say, the kids were very excited. Today was their last day before their Spring Break, so we helped hand out food packages to the kids for the week. Energy levels were at an all-time high, even our team with the help of a couple cups (gallons) of Folgers coffee.IMG_6142

            Afternoons were dedicated to work-projects, whether it was clean up around Shepherd or working at a house of a family in the community. Tuesday, we made encouragement goodies for a local public school for kids taking the ISTEP, complete with Rolo chocolates and really bad puns. Wednesday was a little different since Shepherd hosted a giant Spring Break Block Party for the neighborhood. We began with canvassing the neighborhood, inviting people to the party, with different staff members and the IMPD. Admittedly, many of our team members were uncomfortable and nervous about walking around the neighborhood with the police officers, but the experience was a very rewarding and eye-opening experience, and one of our most memorable moments of the trip. At the black party, we partnered with Gleaner’s Food Bank to hand out groceries to the families who attended. On Thursday, we helped clean and replace gutters at a local man’s house, and today, Friday, we cleaned trash from around the church and helped close the school for Spring Break.

Some things you can be praying for us on our last days here would be:

  1. Time to process all we’ve been learning and experiencing here at Shepherd
  2. Energy, sleep and no more sickness!

Thank you for all your prayers, and sorry once again for the late update!

Writer: JoHannah Lindsay


Last Day

Quickly the week is coming to a close.

Yesterday we were greeted by wind and rain and ended up not spending any time on the actual beach. Instead, we split up and went out to three locations:

  1. Sun Splash/Ocean View – 6 or 7 team members spent the morning on the boardwalk at Sun Splash or visiting with the residents at Ocean View. Drew and Kat took Jon Jon, Nicki, James and Josh to Pizza Hut for lunch while others spent time talking with the brave few who were willing to deal with the wind.
  2. Outdoor Mall – another 6 or 7 went to the outdoor mall to talk with those visitors who chose to do a little shopping with the weather keeping them off the beach. Had some conversations with individuals working in the various stores.
  3. Library – 4 team members went over to the library to talk with some homeless friends – particularly hung with George – as they tried to get out of the weather under the various shelters available.

After mentioning yesterday about improving health – the numbers above should show you that much of the sickness was back and a number of team members spent the morning resting in the room trying to get over this bug.

On the last day, we would ask you to pray for health, for strength and for opportunities. The last day always feels really important as we wrap up conversations and get ready to say goodbye to friends – new and old. Pray that we have the opportunities to say all that God has laid on our heart and that we will be able to express the love of God to the individuals we encounter.

Thanks for your prayers!


First day of workshops

The meetings with the different businessmen and women went very well, and we were glad to know some of them would be at our first workshop that afternoon.  We waited in the conference room the afternoon and watched them trickle in; some of them brought their young kids along, and quite a few seemed to know each other well.  Our fearless translators joined up with each one of our three groups, accounting, marketing, and management.  The tables had about 10 entrepreneurs around them at a time, and our translators, Jose, Libni, and Isaac helped us introduce ourselves to the group and have them do the same.

Jumping right into the workshops was somewhat of a struggle for some of the groups. This was expected, but, thanks to God, practice makes perfect.  The entrepreneurs were at various levels with their specific businesses, some already standing for decades with an established name, while others might have only been around a year.  This definitely made it difficult to encompass all of their businesses with what we had prepared. Trying to meet them where they stood individually proved frustrating with the language barrier present.

After going through our lesson models twice more, we began to realize areas that we could improve on and how we could smooth out all the rough pieces.  The business men and women were very interactive the entire time, sharing ideas and asking questions across the table through the duration of our time together.  It was especially encouraging to see the owners of the businesses we were able to visit earlier at the workshop, and some of us got the chance to talk to them in between sessions.  One carpenter talked about past Taylor student workshops he had attended, and how he has been able to implement what he has learned to his workspace.  Over the past two years he has been able to apply these lessons and see his company grow. He came back today because he knew that he always could learn something new.

The workshops here at Catacamas were beneficial to our team in more ways than we expected.  We learned priceless information about local business of Honduras, what was most helpful for them during our time together, and what aspects of business they simply were not ready to dive into.  All that we learned will definitely help us fine-tune our presentations when we head back to Tegucigalpa later this week.  We were all incredibly grateful for this opportunity to share some of the knowledge we have gained through Taylor University, and be able to reflect Christ through the principles we emphasized.

What God is Doing in Indy — in the Heart of a Team Member

Unfortunately, I can’t quite update you on what the team has been doing the past couple of days and how it’s impacted us. You see, I’ve been sick since Tuesday night (today is Thursday) with something that resembles the flu: fever/feverish, achiness, headache, don’t wanna eat, sinus things, ear ache, sore throat, no energy, the whole shebang.

Reasonably so, I slept for almost all of yesterday, and, even when I wanted to socialize with the team, I could only be up for about an hour before I could barely keep my eyes open.

As you can imagine, I felt pretty powerless and helpless. And I don’t like that. And God knows that very, very well.

Since the first team meeting, I have felt the need to prove myself, specifically my worth. Even when everyone else started to let their guard down and be themselves, I still felt like the black sheep and that I needed to earn my place. Who would want to deal with a crazy, impulsive, hyperactive person for more than a week? (Well, now that I think about it, that describes at least a quarter of our team…)

On Monday night, three of us (including me) was cooking dinner for the team. I ended up burning myself pretty bad by picking up a super hot, melting plastic spoon. (I wish I was kidding.) Instead of camping out by the sink to take care of it, I would keep cooking until I could no longer bare the pain, and would run to the sink to relieve it, but only be there for a minute or two.  I wouldn’t allow myself the luxury of relaxing and letting go because I needed to impress everybody on my cooking skills and show them that I could, at least, contribute in this particular way.

As you can imagine, I got this HUGE blister on my pointer finger, right where I’d hold a pencil. Even when it was tender, I didn’t let it stop me and I made sure not to make a big deal about it. I’d still help load/unload suitcases and such because, well, I couldn’t let something as small as a blister stop me from my mission of showing the team how valuable I was.

So, if God wanted to get to me this week, He knew He had to do something BIG to force me to slow down and come back to Him. So when I have to stay back on the first day we don’t have to move our mattresses into a storage room, and when the building isn’t going to be used on the day I feel like walking around, it became obvious that God was being purposeful in His timing and knew exactly what He was doing. It sometimes requires us to be brought into the most helpless and miserable state to remember how much we need Him and how little we actually can accomplish on our own strength.

All my life, I’ve had a tendency to revert back to feeling like I need to prove myself: to my peers, my co-workers (in spirit, in a job, in school, etc) and to God. It’s easy to believe that I was thrown into the reject pile during the quality control check, or that I have a few missing parts or loose screws. However, God’s been reminding me that He not only made me — and you, too! — and invited me personally into His family and adopted me as His own daughter. I’m not an illegitimate child in the Kingdom, but a full-blood member, having the same access to Him as the spiritual giants in my life. Not only that, but He loves me just as much as the “put-together” people too! He doesn’t have this sort of pity-love, but real, true, full-hearted love and passion for me. I truly belong here, not because I earned it or deserve it, but because He saw me and loves me and sees who He made me to be instead of my shortcomings and failures.

Friends, God is so full of love and compassion. I could go on and on about His goodness and love and grace. Regardless of how weary we are or how much work we have to do, we can find the rest we need in Him.

And speaking of rest, it’s about time I grab some myself…

I’ll see you on the other side!

Remember, you are beautiful and loved and cherished by the one who made you and knows everything about you, and don’t ever believe the lie that you have to prove anything to anyone, because a lie is all that is.

In Christ,
Your Sister,
Mary/Mirabelle Cyr

PS: For your enjoyment, here are some pictures of us being our spontaneous, beautiful, quirky, wonderful selves. Despite the eclectic collection of personalities and assets, we’ve all come to accept each other for who we are, and it’s been a blessing to be a part of. I hope you get to hear from all of them as we continue to write to you throughout the rest of the week!