The name of our BBQ joint is a tribute to the late Jim “Pappy” Emerson. He was our brother, uncle, friend and mentor.

Pappy kept things simple. He loved the outdoors and he worked hard. When people came to visit, he tried always to provide an atmosphere for great food and good times. A perfect description of Pappy’s Smokehouse today.

Tuesday’s Reflection

We learned. We served. We saw God.

And we won a fooseball tourney!

Fortunately, my plan, Kyle’s plan, and God’s plan synched fairly well today. Yet, at the end, I’m still completely exhausted! This time it’s because I was England’s Team Captain and we WON the Human Fooseball World Cup! While I had solid midfield skills, with Matthew, it was truly our goalie and our strikers, including GCC’s very own Sidney, that rocketed us through to the finals and onto victory!


Anyone who has ever volunteered in any capacity will probably tell you that they are blessed beyond measure when they give of themselves. This mission trip is no different. Even though you’d think I’d expect it from experience, I continue to be amazed that they people we are here to help, help us. The people we are here to serve, serve us. The people we are hear to teach, teach us. And no doubt, God is in the midst of it all.

God was in Peggy, the wonderful 77 year old that wrote a grant 12 years ago to fund flower gardens at St. Agnes Senior Apartments. She maintains the vast flower beds and landscape around the property but needed some help due to a recent concussion. She spent time walking the entire yard with us, teaching us about various flowers and weeds, sharing stories, and giving instructions. Then, she worked along side us weeding and pruning. And, her sidekick was a little dog Joey – the most precious white fluff!

We learned. We served. We saw God.

God was in John, a resident at St. Agnes, that was happy to meet some Hoosiers, and knew more than a thing or two about Indiana geography. He shared stories and encouragement, particularly with our own Conner.

We learned. We served. We saw God.

God was in Annie, the pastor and Director of Amen that graciously led us through a discussion on poverty, and walked us through a simple illustration of how a minimum wage job page may not cover basic necessities. We read from the Bible how God teaches us to share with those in need.

We learned. We served. We saw God.

God was in the super strong neighborhood guy that walked over to help Kyle cut down a large tree branch in the church parking lot. He was a man of few words. He was not asked or expected to help. But, he did.

We learned. We served. We saw God.

God was in the Reverend that thanked the man for helping with a cool bottle of water on this scorching afternoon.

We learned. We served. We saw God.

God was in Kyle and Jeff as they took patience and time and offered extra care to our youth that weren’t feeling 100% and were beaten down by heat.

We learned. We served. We saw God

God was in Clayton, the business owner of Human Fooseball, who jointly hosts a weekly community evening with Oak Hill Church for the neighborhood. He and his wife designed and built the coolest rec center with extra large everything – UNO, Yahtzee, Soccer Pool, Checkers, Connect Four, Chess, Peg Board Game, and Fooseball. It was an intensely competitive Fooseball tournament that was 100% positive, encouraging, and respectful. He commanded respect from all the neighborhood kids (and ours) by listening to them, seeing them, calling EVERYONE by name, and providing a safe, fun, collaborative environment.

We learned. We served. We saw God.

God was in each of our youth as they played with kids, fed babies, played games with seniors, pulled weeds, watered flowers, picked up trash in the alley, went beyond their comfort zones, supported each other, stuck together, played games with their entire group, shared their joys and how they saw God moving in STL.

We learned. We served. We saw God.

GCC would be proud – not only of the service work our youth are doing, but also in their growth and what they are learning and gaining as

we learn, we serve, and we see God.

Peggy told me about a Ziggy cartoon that inspired her to plant the garden at St. Agnes. It was about flowers making up for all the ugly in the world. I don’t need to tell anyone how much ugly is in the world, just pull up your newsfeed, read the paper, turn in your radio, or watch the TV. But, I do want to tell you – our youth are the flowers, adding beauty to the world, sharing God’s love in the midst of all the ugly.


This afternoon we went to a human foosball building. We walked into this room with a bunch of games that were life sized like foosball and chess. There were a lot of people we didn’t know but ended up talking with them and making new friends. We played a tournament of human foosball and my team didn’t get very far, but it was fun and the team that won was England. It was a really fun night, and we met really nice people.

-Lauren Goodyear

Morning Work

This morning we went to Head Start. Ashlyn, Kyle, Jeff, and I cleaned out a classroom for the teachers. We cleaned tables, chairs, and cabinets. We even went to Patch senior center to have some snacks.


This morning I went to St. Agnes apartment building to do some gardening for the lady who runs the garden. She had a concussion so she couldn’t do it. We weeded and watered the beds of flowers for her. She was so happy when we had finished with the weeding. She was a super nice lady. We even got to pet her dog Joey. Today was really fun.


A Review of Monday

This morning we went to a garden! It was a fun experience and much better than I expected! Later, we served the homeless. This was such a humbling experience and was very fulfilling to see the faces light up when I gave homeless their baby clothes and shoes! – Harmony

In the evening we got the opportunity to help an organization that feeds and helps the homeless or people who can’t afford the things we take for granted. We interacted and talked to the people there and saw how their lives may be that day. It gave me a great understanding of how lucky I really am. You got to see the happiness on their faces when they got new shoes or a meal for that day. It was truly an amazing experience. -Sidney

This morning we got to go to a food pantry! It was fresh food day, so the trucks were delivering food to the pantry. One of the things that stood out to me was that the people who were there to get food for themselves and their families also helped bring in all the food and help sort it on the tables. I helped bring in the food from the trucks, and we made an assembly line to pass the food down. It was a fun experience because we got to work with the people we were going to give food to later. Everyone one was so kind, and they all had smiles on their faces as we passed the food down, even when I would make a mistake. It was especially humbling to see their faces when I helped them pick out small bakery items because they were so happy and excited to choose their own baked good when we take that for granted all the time. This experience was truly eye opening. – Corinne