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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Look for Our Blog!

Check out the new sleeker, cleaner look for our blog! Complete with the current youth group calendar, photos, videos, and the most recent updates about our group!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Update 7/26/10

This Week:

         All students are invited to come help with Vacation Bible School this week from 9-12! Come be with kids and have fun! If you have questions of how you can help, contact Heather or Mike!

Oasis Summer Camp
      If you are coming to Oasis, YOU NEED to turn in your registration forms ASAP. We are meeting at Harbor Covenant at 6:00am next Monday the 2nd and returning to Harbor Covenant by 6:00pm on Friday the 6th.

*Keep checking this website and our Youth Group Calendar for info on our next hang out!

FORGETTABLE FACT: Leonardo da Vinci was dyslexic, and he often wrote backwards.
PARTING SHOT: If a long dress is evening wear, what is a suit of armor? Silverware.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Update 7/19/10



WEDNESDAY - Guys/ Girls Breakfast! - Come in your pj's for some delicious time together! Girls meet 10:30 am at the Rurik's, guys meet 9:30 am at the Stelle's.

SUNDAY - Movie night at the Rurik's! Come at 7:00pm (after the 5:00 service) for a giant movie night!

Summer Calendar
             If you did not receive a summer calendar in the mail and would like to see our upcoming events, please click on the link below:
                   Summer Youth Group Calendar

Forgettable Fact: When you walk down a steep hill, the pressure on your knees is equal to three     times your body weight.
Parting Shot: The first rule of holes: If you are in one, stop digging.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Panama Pictures

Hello everyone!

         If you would like pictures from the trip, they are now posted on our youth group SmugMug site, click here:   HCC Panama SmugMug Pictures

At that site you can download or order prints of the pictures that you like!

If YOU have pictures from the trip, please give me your TOP 20 pictures so I can put on the SmugMug site. TOP 20 ONLY. No pictures of Susie Q's shoe lace or the pictures of the inside of your pocket that you didn't realize you were taking.

Email them to me at or put them a cd and drop them by church.

Thanks all!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Travel Plans

Ladies and Gentlemen! Leeeeeet's get ready to rummmmmmmmmmbleeeeeeeeee!

Here we go!

Flight #873 to Houston Arriving 2:10pm
Flight # 667y leaves Houston 5:30pm arrives Seattle 7:58 pm
    ON that flight is: 7 people:

          - Heather M
          - Bogie
          - Julie
          - Chandler M
          - Adam C
          - Fran B
          - Sarah B

Flight # 806 to Newark Arriving 4:15
Flight # 1834 leaves 8:15 arrives in Seattle at 11:33pm

   ON that flight is 11 people:

          - Mike Stelle
          - Kayla Stelle
          - Jim Graffe
         - Patti Graffe
         - Erik L
         - Katlyn L
        - Joel
        - Greg
        - Trevor W
       - Raliegh W
       - Bill W

Flight # 876 to Houston arrives 6:04 pm
Flight # 1888 leaves 7:00 pm arrives in Seattle at 9:41 pm

    ON that flight in 16 people:

              - Bryan
              - Lillian
              - Chris Herron
              - Marisa M
             - Ashley Smith
             - Anna C
             - Katie W
              - Janna
              - Casie L
              - Carin
              - Jordan
              - Keegan
              - Hunter
              - John B
              - Ally
              - Ashley Stakset

We will be on touch with you all throughout the day. Once we land in the State we will call home. See you in Seattle!



Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Travel Updates

Hey Everyone,

        I know you all are confused and worried about the change of plans today, but rest assured, we are all ok. We are staying the night in the Veneto Hotel again tonight, we ate dinner, and are all together.

        What happened today is that we all got through security at the Panama airport, found out our flight was delayed, and then continued to find out that our flight was cancelled due to the plane still not being fixed since yesterday.

       Here is the new plan: After speaking with Continental, our group is now flying home in 3 groups tomorrow. Two flights go through Houston and one flight goes through Newark. All flights will be home in Seattle by Monday night.

      It's late here, and we are all in need of some sleep. I know you all would like specific flight information, but we want to double check in the morning to make sure our flights are secure before we post any info up here.

     But really, we are all doing very well, despite the confusion and change of plans. The group was in good spirits today, playing games while waiting, some of which were HILARIOUS to watch (silent football, coom cha, etc...),  encouraging each other, and even praying together as a group in the airport. As Ally Brome continues to remind us, "Write your plans in pencil, and give God the eraser!"

    Know that we are all ok, and that we will be updating you with information as soon as possible!

             Goodnight from Veneto,

                   - Heather


Travel Updates!


   We are at the Panama Airport, and through security about to hop onto our Houston flight. But we have new plans as of now:

   We are now on 3 flights in order to get a group of us home sooner. The 1st flight is TONIGHT and leaves Houston at 9:30pm. It will arrive n Seattle at Midnight.

    The 2nd flight and 3rd flights on Monday are still the same as posted before. The only thing that has changed is the people who are on each flight.

   On the flight TONIGHT is: Flight # 467 Continental:

       - Casie
       - Fran
       - Lillian
       - Eric L.
       - Greg Rurik
      - Bill W.
      - Katlyn L.
      - Raleigh
      - Keegan
      - Adam
     - Sarah Brooks
     - Bogie
     - Julie
     - Heather M.
     - Katie Wolff
     - Joel

  The rest of the people on our team are coming home on Monday. Specially who is on the morning flight and the evening flight is still subject to change and we will let you know once we land in Houston tonight exactly who is on the Monday flights.

   Thank you all for your prayers, patience, and love from home. We are all still well, and our spirits are still high.

   We will continue to be in touch!



Panama 2010 - Day... 13???

Hey Everyone!

       Well, as you all know by now, we are not home in Gig Harbor. For some reason, God wanted us to stay in a 5-Star Hotel last night!

        We are still together, still safe, and still well. The story is that yesterday we made it onto our flight, but something with the gas pump was broken, so we had to exit the plane. It was actually quite funny! We were sitting in our seats, and the flight attendant came on the speaker in Spanish announcing something that most of us didn't understand. But then all of a sudden people stood up and grabbed their bags and we just thought... "uh oh...that's not good!"

      After 4 hours of relaxing in the luxurious Panama City airport, playing cards and napping on the chairs, Continental arranged us to stay in the Veneto Wyndham Grand Hotel, complete with food vouchers for our meals. And this hotel is BEAUTIFUL! I opened the door to my bathroom and angels started singing. Bathroom. From. Heaven.
      So we are safe and well and being very well taken care of. But here is our plan for getting home:

      This afternoon, Sunday, we are taking the 4:30pm flight to Houston. Flight # 1950. We will arrive in Houston at 8:10pm and spend the night in another hotel provided by Continental.

      Monday: We are split into two groups to get home to Seattle. There is a 7:55 am flight and a 5:30pm flight.

      The 7:55 am flight is flight # 167 and will arrive at 10:31 am in Seattle. Here are the people on that flight. The assignments were according to Continental, and we did the best we could to make sure that families were together and that there were adults with the students in each group.

     - Marisa Mason
    - Chris Herron
    - Fran B.
    - Trevor
    - Raleigh
    - Bill
    - Ashley Stakset
    - Ashley Smith
    - Ally B.
    - Joel
    - Jordan
    - Hunter
    - Janna
    - John B.
    - Chandler Mason
    - Kayla Stelle
    - Greg Rurik

The afternoon flight is flight # 667 leaves 5:30 pm and arrives in Seattle at 7:58 pm. Here are the people on that flight:

    - Keegan Amrine
    - Adam Caswell
    - Casie Lively
    - Sarah Brooks
    - Eric B.
    - Julie Elliott
    - Mike Stelle
    - Heather M.
    - Jim Graffe
    - Patti Graffe
    - Bryan Amrine
    - Lillina Amrine
    - Katie Wolff
    - Katlyn L.
    - Eric L.
    - Anna C.
   -  Carin C.

Again, we have been doing our best to stick together and make sure that everyone will get safely home as soon as possible. Continental is being VERY helpful, so rest assured, we are in safe hands.

We will be in touch with you all. If you have any questions, please contact Jill Branham (253) - 377 - 4489. She is our contact person at home, relaying information to you all.

Once we get in the States it will be a lot easier for each person to call home. Until then, keep checking this blog for more information.

Again, we are all safe, and livin' the hi-life here in the hotel! :o)

     Love to you all,

  Heather and the Joel Rurik


Friday, July 9, 2010

Panama 2010 - Day 11

Well, this is it! Our last night in Panama. It's hard to believe we are actually coming home tomorrow. So much has happened in the past two weeks... so much, that I know, I will never forget.

We all have stories about our trip. About the things we did and the people we met, and how we have seen God in everything that we have experienced. And so much of that is hard to put on a blog.... because whatever is written here will never capture what we have actually lived through and have seen.

I will never forget the little girl from Corundu on our second day here, who took MY hand and wanted to play with ME. I will never forget watching Joelene share her story with the teenage girls at the Orphanage. I will never forget the pounding rainstorms at Santa Catalina. I'll never forget the 9-year old girl who I sat next to in church, who shared her pinata candy with me. And I'll never forget Alejandro, the pastor of a small, brand new church, and the ways that God moved in my life there.

We all have stories. And we all are very anxious to share them with you. When we get home, ask us, "Tell us a story from Panama." And give us the space to be listened to. We want to share with you the amazing adventures that have happened down here in Panama!

But until we get home, pray for our safe travels tomorrow. Here are some pictures from today!

     Much love,


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Panama 2010 - Day 10

Hello everyone!

         Tonight we are a very tired group. Last night we were up late encouraging each other,which was SO cool, but we all just didn't get a lot of sleep.

          Today we had a WONDERFUL day, cruising around Panama City relaxing and being tourists. After being in the jungle for 6 days, being back in the city is a little weird. We all are experiencing some culture shock already. We spent our morning walking through the rainforest by the Panama Canal. It was GORGEOUS. We saw lots of exotic insects and birds, and saw a tree FULL of howling monkeys.

       After the rainforest walk, we went to a local shopping mall and had lunch. The shops were SO weird to be around again. Mcdonald's, Subway, Cinnabon,... the local mall here is just like any mall back home. It was almost surreal walking around the clean shops after being surrounded by poverty for a week.

     After our visit at the mall, we stopped by a local shop to buy some sweet Panama souveniers, and then had dinner out on the causeway by the Panama Canal.

    Tomorrow we are off to the Carribbean to swim and catch a tan; a relaxing break after working for the past two weeks.

     Here are some pictures from our day today. Love to you all.

             Good night!

             - Heather



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Panama 2010 - Day 9 Continued

This has been an interesting final high school mission trip for me. I have learned about the power of prayer like I never have before. Friday night I got a headache that lasted through Saturday, and on Sunday I developed a fever. So those three days I did not leave the base to go serve the town.

But I was still useful. I prayed so so much. I had realized how God really does answer prayers in amazing ways, so I decided to take the time to pray for the people out in the town, the town itself, the church, and Julie who was sick a few days as well. After a few days of hard praying, I had got rid of my fever and Julie did not need surgery like we were worried about.

Though I was not able to serve much, I helped our team serve by praying for them—all the stories are amazing.
I love you Mom, Dad, and Erik. See you ASAP!!

-John Branham

Hey Mom, Dad, Ken, and Ray, I saw your post on the blog and I miss you too, but I hope you don’t miss me too much because I absolutely love it here, and I am moving here now  LOVE YOU!!! And I’ll see you Saturday night! Love, Ally

Hola Mom, Dad, Tim, John, Dave, and Riley!

Part of me really doesn’t want to leave Panama – there’s still so many things I want to do! – but I’m really looking forward to seeing ALL the family next week. I love you guys so much. See you later! Love, Sarah. :D

Hello family and friends. I am thankful for all of you who prayed for me when we found out I had to go to the hospital. I can’t wait to see you and I am so thankful for such an amazing group of friends and leaders that care so much! See all of you Saturday night and continue to pray for the group!

Love Julie! (:

Hey Mom, Dad, Lindsey and Andrew, I miss you all and love you! Can’t wait to be back home. Oh and Lindsey Happy Birthday in 2 days! (Jules says happy birthday too) See you Saturday Night.

Love Ashley Stakset<3

Hola Dad, Mom, and Casey! I hope all is going well and you’re having fun without me! Haha just kidding..I’ll see you all in a couple days!!! LOVE YOU!!!

Love Ashley Smith

Hey mom dad ben and dan! I miss you! Were in panama city tonight and were going on our debrief tomorrow. Im having a great time! I LOVE YOU!

Loves! Casie

Panama 2010 - Day 9

Remember: You can click on the pictures to enlarge them!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Panama 2010 - Day 8 Conintued

Hello again!

      Well, I've been trying to upload pictures for you all to see for the past half an hour. But it looks like the internet here doesn't like uploading pics :(.

     I'll keep trying, but we will DEFINITELY be able to have pictures up tomorrow night, at Casa Paraiso.

      Again, love to you all back home!

            - Heather


Panama Day 8

Hello everyone!

        Sorry we haven't been able to update in a couple days. We have all been busy serving growing, being challenged, and having some of the best times of our lives! (Seriously, no exaggeration)

        As you all have probably heard, Julie Elliott is ok. She is out of the hospital and staying back at Casa Paraiso with Patti Graffe and Greg Rurik. She is in good hands, and we're all very excited to see her again tomorrow.

       I know you all are eager to read some stories and see some pictures, so here is Adam's update from yesterday (we weren't able to get online yesterday).

      In God's grace, peace and love,


Since we last updated, much has happened!

Yesterday, July Fourth (yes we did hear a few fireworks), was a long twenty four hours. We awoke to a constant rain. However, it soon cleared and we walked to La Playa (The Beach) to catch our boat rides to a remote island 30min away where we would attend a church service and play with the children. The trip there was simply beautiful, and fun too. The ocean swells were huge and the boats were only large enough to fit a dozen of us!

Once on the island, we sang songs with the kids at church, played soccer (Raleigh took down their best player!), made bracelets and balloon animals too. The testimonies of Hunter and Ally were a real treat to hear. I had not previously known their stories and the kids really enjoyed them as well. I cannot even begin to describe how impoverished the village was. The paths were red mud, the huts were smaller than my bedroom at home, and their community bathroom…. well that was an experience of its own.

Led by Sarah Brooks, many of us prayed for a girl our age with a birth defect that made it so her feet were backwards and an elder lady who was having financial troubles. Both were extremely accepting of our prayers. Unseen by the woman, Jim slipped a $20 bill to Trevor to give to the woman saying it was ‘from a friend’. I can’t imagine that she has ever held that much money in her hand at once, ever. They both said (through our translators Danny and Carmen) that they felt real blessed.

It had began raining while we were on the island and we feared we’d have to stay the night if we waited any longer to leave. So we departed. The boat ride returning to Santa Catalina was utter chaos, but so much fun! The rain pelted on our faces, and the swells got larger and larger. We could hardly see where we were heading half the time. We sang children songs and danced (secretly we were all praying for God to get us to the other side alive). :D

As you’ll hear, we sent Julie to the hospital today fearing that her appendix may burst. When we heard this, we broke into constant prayer. It was great to see a group of teenagers praying to God for a girl they love so much. She was in God’s hands.

Last night we had pizza for dinner! We were driven there in a real cattle car! Boy that was a blast. They have potholes here the size of the Grand Canyon!

We ended the day with worship that really got me to connect with God. We praised God for a good two hours and even then I wanted to continue!

God is great, I am confident that he will care for Julie Elliot.

- Adam Caswell