The GoTeam Blog

Posted: June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


And They’re Home!

Posted: October 14, 2018 in Brooklyn2018

… mostly.

Coming Home

Posted: October 14, 2018 in Brooklyn2018
Today we said goodbye to Padro.  The guys loved working with him, he has a great personality and is hillarious.
Last night the front of Metro and a van got tagged, so Padro and Keith were busy cleaning that off.  We would have loved to help them but we were getting ready to leave on the buses to pick up the kids for indoor sidewalk.
A picture of their trucks that go out and do sidewalk in all the different neighbourhoods.
Today 24 buses went out to pick up over 1000 kids for indoor sidewalk.  We were split into 3 different groups and assigned to buses.  We were on our bus route anywhere from 60-90 minutes.  So not only are you picking up tons of excited kids you have to entertain them while you pick up more excited kids.  We talk to them, do colouring sheets, throw a ball around and play games.   We all had great moments on the bus with the kids.  Lincoln met his match with a boy who crawled all over him, punched him (trying to escape) and may have bit him, all in a days work!
This shot of the buses doesn’t do justice to how many there were.  They are excellent at directing all 24 buses in, and unloading all the kids with precision.  Imagine the weight of moving 1000 kids and not losing one!
They have sold the other location where indoor and church use to be.  They have now partnered with a local church and use their building on Saturday’s for the program.  Now they are able to do one big session on Saturday, instead of two, because they have the space to accommodate a huge group.
The famous Leanna and our final goodbyes!  She serves this ministry well with a good heart!
Thank you to the church for supporting our team, Missions and those who prayed for us!  The team made an impact and represented all of you well!  I am very proud of all of them, some are even planning their return next year!  But for now we are coming home!
Marni and GoTeam Brooklyn 2018!!

The Yellow Trucks

Posted: October 13, 2018 in Brooklyn2018
Where to start, where to start.  Well I guess we’ll start at breakfast.  Gary showed up with donuts for us again, one last time before we leave and he surprised Lincoln and gave him a Yankees ball cap. Gary is so kind, I can’t even put into words the relationship we have with him.  Because we were leaving for sidewalk for the whole day so we had to say goodbye to him this morning, hugs all around and final farewells.
We then attended Metro’s staff meeting/service.  It was great to see how all the different departments fit together.  I greeted Metro on behalf of our church, gave them a word of encouragement and then of course had to make fun of all the American’s who can’t read “wet paint” paint signs and got it on them several times.  Ask anyone of us who painted the doors….or was a scene that kept happening over and over again.  Cheryl has a way of connecting very quickly to some of the staff/interns at Metro.  She has a great story about Shaun in the picture if you get a chance to ask her.
After staff meeting we had an early lunch and then met for 12:15 to head out with our trucks.  The staff/interns here put in a lot of hours, and today we got to experience it along with them.  We started at 12:30 and didn’t return until between til 8-9pm.  So yes, that’s not eating supper until well after we returned from doing 3-4 sidewalk sites.
Lincoln and I went to 4 sites.  The first stop was at a daycare with 42 children.  They are reaching these kids before they even get to the streets, so aweesome!  Little Zahir was crying so Lincoln took him and then he was glued to him for the rest of the program.  These kids are getting the gospel poured into them every week with scripture, bible stories and prayer.  At the end all these little kids 3-4 years old cane up to us just to be hugged!
Some of the teams got to do visitation before their sidewalk sites.  Visitation is going into the buildings where the kids live and inviting them to Sunday school.  It was definitely an eye opener for Lincoln to see some of the living/building  conditions.  Having to step over pee in the stairwells so we didn’t slip and smelling smells he’s never encountered before brings a whole new interpretation of where people come from compared to what he’s use to.
The picture of the yellow trucks is what our team did all over Brooklyn all day long.   Half of the team would wait outside the nearby school for dismissal while the other half was setting up the truck.   We would talk to the kids/parents and invite them out to “yogi” which is sidewalk Sunday school. Then the program would begin after the kids arrived.
This was the team Nick and Kayla went out with!  They hit up the Coney Island area!
Our last site was special.  This sweet little girl is Winter!  She kept grabbing my hands to wrap them around her and sat on my lap for the whole program.  At the end she kept hugging me and wanted to kiss me goodbye.  They said she is usually a handful on the mat but she was an angel tonight just getting held and loved on.  Her older brother Ika brings her and helped hold signs up tonight.
Lincoln is a dancing machine and was a hit with the boys instantly.  It was one of two things, they loved his very American sounding name or his knowledge of all the Fortnight dances.
At the end of our 4th site they had a youth connection for the older kids, there were 13 of them.   They talk about their week and then did a lesson.  Then they ask if anyone has any questions or wants prayer for anything.  It was so real and just easy talking with the youth about their everyday life that week.  These kids don’t go to church, their only church is the “yogi” they’ve had growing up in their neighborhood.  When Bruno (the leader of this site) asked who wanted to pray, one of the boys volunteered to.  His prayer was so simple yet so real.  He prayed “Lord sometimes when we are having a hard time or going through something rough, it is better not to focus on ourselves but pray for someone elses’ needs, so I pray for those in the hospital that are sick and need you to help them, Amen!  I mean I could have burst into tears right there, yet at the same time I was so proud of the work metro has done for the past 20+ years in this neighbourhood.  I talked to the boy after and encouraged him that he was special and his prayer was so true and to keep praying!  It just made me think of how so many youth who are christians struggle sometimes to pray out loud and then you have youth that maybe haven’t made a decision yet, but are eager to pray. I asked for a picture so I could remember them, and said they need to stick together, help each other and keep coming to yogi!  One girl said that’s right we are a community and we help each other!  Whether it is in Brooklyn or Nova Scotia, our church is our community and we are stronger together and are there to help each other.
Tomorrow we have another long day riding the buses and doing indoor Sunday school. We look forward to coming home but are soaking up our last days, moments here with the kids and Metro!
Marni and GoTeam Brooklyn 2018

Paint ‘n Chips

Posted: October 12, 2018 in Brooklyn2018
Thursday started off with our usual breakfast and devotions.  We began our final push for getting our list completed. Cheryl and Andrea started the new project in the cafeteria where we sanded and painted the pillars.  They painted detailed artwork onto the sides of the pillars.  Lots of concentration and a steady hand went into this project and they did an amazing job!
The rest of us painted more doors and rails all over the building from the basement to the 4th floor.  Sorry no pics, you can only take so many pics of grey doors.
We then headed to the warehouse to help count chips for this weeks sidewalk treat.  First meet Gary and Steven.  They work in the warehouse receiving, sorting and distributing all things needed for Metro.  They were both born and raised in Brooklyn and grew up through the Metro sidewalk program.  Gary since he was 5 years old and Steven since he was 8 years old. It made an impact and has changed their lives that they now both work for Metro in the warehouse.   They are prepping the warehouse now to start receiving all the Christmas presents for 20,000 kids!  Some days they work from 6am to 10pm at night, because the work has to get done.  Metro has a deal with Frito-Lay right now that they are given all chips Frito-Lay is getting rid of (not expired).  Gary and Steven drive to Boston once a week to pick up the chips and bring them back to Metro’s warehouse.   These guys are walking testimonies of Metros program making a difference.
So what did we do at the warehouse…a bit of FIFO (first in first out).  Gary and Steven threw the boxes down to us and we counted and labeled the boxes with how many, size – small or medium bags and then sorted the boxes by flavour.  We counted just over 12,000 bags of chips in 2 hours.  It was hot, in the 30’s again, but we had fun and had to recount a couple boxes, because counting that many chips hurts your brain.
What happens after you count that many bags of chips…..sometimes a robot appears.  And for those who may be wondering, we didn’t eat one chip or take one bag.
They send out about 18,100 bags of chips to sidewalk sites during the week and 1,300 bags for Saturday’s site.  So just under 20,000 kids are being reached on a weekly basis.
We also met a man named Dale who came in on Wednesday.  He is from California, a retired gentlemen who currently sponsors 20 kids every month.  He comes faithfully every year to visit each one of his kids in person.  He told me he came in December last year but it gets dark so early he couldn’t get good pictures of his kids at each site.  He is a sweet man with a heart for Metro and the kids!
We stayed in tonight as hurricane Michael has it quite rainy and humid here.  We went to bed early as tomorrow is going to be a long day.  Our team is actually being sent out with the trucks to experience and help with the Sidewalk Sunday school sites. We will be in 3 different groups spread out all over Brooklyn.  We are walking into the unknown but excited to see what God has in store for us and ready to serve!  Keep us in your prayers!

Boxing Day

Posted: October 11, 2018 in Uncategorized
Well it’s Wednesday and we were all moving a bit slower starting out today.  It didn’t take long to get into our groove once we began to work with the people here.
Our tasks today were: finish the kitchen mural, clean cement splatters off main doors and windows, move a desk to the 4th floor and assemble it, sand 2 pillars and repaint them, clean all vents on 3rd floor (50 filters), finish cleaning 1st/2nd floor windows on the other side of the building, assemble 800 boxes, put mural on wall of a classroom. We didn’t take a lot of pics today as we were quite busy.
Mural complete ✅
Desk assembling ✅
Filter cleaning ✅
Window washing ✅
Sign application ✅
This is Mandy and Leanna, they are a dynamic team here at Metro, and are fellow Canadians 🇨🇦
Highlight – Padro had lunch with us today!  Not just lunch, he insisted on buying pizza to treat the boys.  I tried to give him money but he refused!  Padro is another employee with Metro in building maintenance.  He started just before we came last year and we have created a special relationship with him since our last visit.
One of the 2 tables of boxes to be assembled
Assembly line
800 boxes later.  So now I know you are wondering why we assembled 800 boxes.  They are getting ready to fill them with a turkey and all the fixings for 800 families for American Thanksgiving.  They will give these families a thanksgiving dinner that they can not afford.  It makes you think how we sometimes take for granted just running to the grocery store and pick up things on a daily/weekly basis without a second thought.
While we were on the subway later today, a lady got on a gave her speech about not being homeless but hungry….if we could give her some money to buy some food.  I had a granola bar in my bag we gave her, then the man beside us took a cookie from his daughters lunch bag and gave it to us to give to her.  She thanked us and said God Bless you.  Again, none of us are in the situation to need to beg for food, we have so much, but often times give so little.    But when we stepped out and gave something it inspired the man to do the same.  It was like a chain reaction, it just made me think how easy it was yet we tend to sometimes give the bare minimum or just what is required in all different aspects of our lives.
Which leads me to the lady a few of us met today, Joanne.  She is from Ohio, and volunteers at metro every week.  For a year she has been commuting from OHIO!!!  Now I know you won’t complain about your commute after you hear about Joanne’s commute.  She drives in early Tuesday morning from Ohio to Brooklyn, a 12 hour drive.  She helps Wednesday – Saturday and then leaves after the Saturday sidewalk program and drives home….12 hours.  She’s home Sunday/Monday and does it all again Tuesday!  Now that is another level, but she feels so strongly about helping, this is what she does.  She is looking to move to Brooklyn, but everything hasn’t lined up yet.  She has some older children (which she adopted) with disabilities.  So moving from state to state is a bit complicated to have everything in place for them.
The team had a great night together unwinding and having fun!  Someone may have been crowned king or queen of chugging 3 bottles of water back to back.  We are looking forward to seeing what Thursday brings!
Well our breakfast this morning with Gary did not disappoint.  He surprised us and brought speciality donuts. He loves when a team from our church visits – he’s so kind.  They were melt in your mouth delicious.
We then were tasked for our jobs for the day.  Kayla and Andrea washed all the windows outside the building on the first and second floor.  Let’s just say they may not be able to lift their hands above the heads tomorrow when they wake up.
Christopher and Lincoln went with Padro and cleaned all the heat pump vents on the 5th floor of the building. May not seem like a big deal but 50 filters later is a lot of filters.
Nick and Marni painted 8 of the main doors and some rails in the building.  There is constant traffic through this area, and some interns may not have noticed ALL our wet paint signs and ended up a little grey….lol.
Cheryl began the mural in the visitors kitchen.  As we finished our jobs for the day we all worked on it at some point.
Then coming home from another grocery run, we heard a delightful sound echoing in the streets….again it’s been about 30-35 degrees here all day while we have been working.  The picture tells it all, an ice cream truck.  We were so excited we practically chased it til it came down our street.
We went in after our pre-supper dessert and had “Taco Tuesday” with the interns in their cafeteria.  Bruce invited us earlier in the day, as it was his specialty.  Christopher made the team homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookies as a bedtime snack while we closed they day off with devotions.
It was a great day!  Lots of work, yet very satisfying and fulfilling.  We all look forward to our tasks tomorrow!

Will You Listen?

Posted: October 8, 2018 in Brooklyn2018

Today we started with devotions.  We have determined that we will take every opportunity to impact those around us while we are here.  You can imagine the distractions around us, being in the big city, but we are anxiously awaiting starting our work here. 

Today is Metro’s day off, but Gary, the maintenance/building manager was working.  He came into the kitchen and we said hello, but he was quiet and left quickly.  We’ve worked with Gary on all our projects here for years.  Not everyone that works for Metro is a believer, but we love them and have built relationships with them from years of serving here.  To our surprise Gary came back about 20 mins later and sat down with us.  We talked about what he’s been up to over the last year and the work we will be starting on Tuesday, he is happy we are here because we lighten his load. Andrea invited him to have breakfast with us tomorrow morning which he gladly accepted. 

The team is a bit tired from our long day yesterday and being up early.  We poked around lower Manhattan and the 9/11 memorial. We had the chance to talk to the security guard, Tony, at the memorial.  He had quite a stressful morning and just talked and talked and told us about his life.  So many people have a story and just want someone to talk to/listen, I encourage you to be that someone for a person today!

The team is doing well and is in bed early to get a good rest for tomorrow.