Lasallian Volunteers 2005-2006

Lord, The Work is Yours...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving guys!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I celebrated my first thanksgiving home in 6 years. Strange and nice to be home with family. it included waking up to the stupid roosters crowing outside at 5 am, playing at the park with my baby cousin, (only to have her call me a monster), throwing a football in the face of my other baby cousin by accident (he survived), making gravy, and eating pumpkin cheesecake! But I can't help but think of you all on this day because I am grateful for your presence in my life. Mo and I were talking about reflection and how important that is in our lives. And here I am, reflecting on the fact that without you all, I would not have grown so much spiritually. And that is what I am grateful for. I miss our get-togethers. I may be far away from you all, but as I recall, our old buddy Jack said something about Jesus living in his heart forever, and that, my friends, is where you all are: in my heart. forever. whether you like it or not.

Monday, November 13, 2006

International Study

I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you all know what Andrew Blake and I have been up to these past weeks. In the picture (left) you will find us on an international study experience in the friendly country of Canada. Really, we were in Browning with the lovely group at De La Salle Blackfeet on an immersion trip. The kids we bring with us are students at Totino-Grace, a Lasallian high school in Minneapolis.

We happened to be approaching the Canadian border on our trip to Glacier National Park and our students, the wonderfully adventurous group that they were, convinced us we needed to go to Canada. Turns out, Andrew and I should have probably used more thoughtful judgment in this matter as the US border officials would have liked to see our ID's upon returning to our homeland. However, being the innocent looking, non perishable item smuggling group that we were, the official let us back in thus securing Andrew Blake's permanent campus ministry job until the next event when traveling with high school students occurs.

Our kids thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in Browning. Their thoughts and comments indicate they were inspired; Actually, they sounded eerily similar to an LV at first year orientation, meaning they draw thoughts and speak from an endless reservoir of hope and optimism. It's quite renewing actually.

Below, you will find another group we took to KC. One of the best parts of this trip, aside from returning back "home" to KC, was the time our kids got to spend with current LV's. I can say with certainty that seeds were planted in the minds of many of our students about one day volunteering.

We spent the week helping out at the Catholic Worker house while also visiting many other agencies around the city. As with the Browning trip, our students started to get an idea of the larger Lasallian picture. They especially enjoyed our sing along with Brother Jim and listening to Brother Louis telling his stories of the many interesting people he's helped over the years.

Of course in addition to becoming immersed in impoverished communities, in true Lasallian spirit of zeal, we handed down more social Lasallian traditions such as the ever controversial game of "Mafia". On this particular night, we enlisted the help of former LV Geoff Henggler (wrong spelling) to teach this game to our kids. Unfortunately, Geoff spent most of the night defending himself against the adamant accusations as to his status as a mafia member resulting many early deaths (see finger pointing in picture at right). As for me, it's unbelievable how easy it is to mislead a group of high schoolers into believing that not only is Mr. Brandt a townsperson, but that I should basically be the unofficial mayor of the innocents.

It's been an amazing last few weeks of preparing, traveling, visiting, re-visiting, learning, sharing, reflecting, and teaching! Unfortunately, Chicago, neither Andrew or I will be with our group that will be there later this week. Be sure they get to meet the LV's!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Last night: Ross (LV 04-06 Alum), Ernest (LV 04-06 Alum), Joel (LV 06-07), and I were sitting mellowly watching the documentary "Invisible Children" about the children of Sudan when we got a phone call from our community director.

As it would turn out, Kathy had gone from Chicago to what Joel refers to as the "coast" in Indiana (Michigan City) to find out that she had forgotten the keys to her parents cabin.


So we pile in and head out to meet her round about Gary, Indiana. This leads to the four of us standing in the Gary, Indiana White Castle at 11p.m. waiting for our community director. At this point, Ross has stated numerous times that he is hungry. Ernest then says, "Hey, let's get a crave case." Ross finds this amusing and starts laughing. I see an opportunity and take it, "Seriously, I dare you two to eat 30 burgers between now and when we get to Chicago."Ross crumples to the floor of the White Castle.

25 minutes later, the car smells revoltingly of greasy sliders covered in cheese and onion and Ross and Ernest are slowing down and looking green.

Ernest: "I think we should slow down..."
Ross: "It's break time..."

They're eyes appear to roll to the backs of their heads as they tell me the count is Ross 10, Ernest 9.In the end, they both ate 10 each.

This morning, I woke up to find them standing in the kitchen over the top of the opened crave case with 10 more burgers staring up at them. Ernest ate two more, then they left to go running.