Monthly Archives: March 2016

My daughter’s letter

My daughter wants to move home to Kansas. I would LOVE that. Having her and her husband and my grand boys closer would make me very happy indeed. They have talked about it on occasion. She recently even looked into a business opportunity. In the end, she has decided she can’t move back, at least not yet. The policies gutting public education and watching as town after town and city after city are struggling with how to cut more from education has convinced her that Kansas doesn’t care about children or about their education. The link to her blog is here:

I am also reprinting it in this space with her permission. I would LOVE to have her closer to home, but I respect her decision to do what is best for her children by staying away. How many more are leaving and/or not coming back because of misguided policies. I love Kansas, but this makes me very sad indeed. Here are her words:

A Letter to Governor Brownback- please stop the insanity

I sent this via email and snail mail to the Kansas Governor office. My pessimism says no one will read it. So I’m sharing it with you. I want someone other than my husband to hear my frustrations and sadness. So here is my letter to Governor Brownback expressing my deep sorrow over the state of education and funding in Kansas

Governor Brownback,

I’m writing you about my deep concern surrounding education and educational funding in your state. Let me introduce myself, my name is Kristin Saner and I am a native Kansasan.  I was born in Kansas, raised in Kansas, went to college in Kansas, got married and gave birth to my three boys in Kansas. Five years ago I moved away to pursue graduate education. Now I long to move home. In fact I was exploring buying a business in Hesston, which is near my family and friends. Sadly your policies and new laws, which continue to cut funding to education, terrify me so badly that I decided that I cannot  move home at this time.

With 3 boys in elementary school, I am looking at what public schools offer for kids. I’m a huge advocate for public school, which provide education and opportunities to not only my kids but all our kids. These kids are our future. I know Kansas teachers are working hard day and night to make the education system the best it can be for the kids they teach. I hear about the daily struggles from friends, about how they are attempting to persevere. The reality is limited funding and resources continue to be huge barriers for both teachers and students.  My heart breaks knowing that friends, who have dedicated their lives to teaching, must face these barriers on a daily basis. But, at the end of the day, I have to look at what’s best for me and my family. While all the teachers and administration staff where I currently live have their own barriers and hurdles to cross, I feel we are making positive strides for the education my kids are getting. I cannot say the same for the schools in Kansas.

Governor Brownback, your policies have made it so that I feel I cannot move home. And I wonder, if I feel this way how many other thirty something adults dismiss our state as a place to makes roots?  How many other born and raised Kansasans  went somewhere else to pursue an education but don’t move back due to your policies? How many people look for a place to raise their own families but dismiss Kansas due to the current state of the education system? How many young families currently living in Kansas are fleeing because they feel their kids would be better off elsewhere? Listen to your people, Governor, for I know that they are working to fix your mistakes. They are trying to provide the best for our kids with what limited resources you have left them. I can only hope and pray that in the coming years things will get better. I pray this for my friend’s sake, for my friends kids, for the families I don’t even know.  Selfishly I pray for my own sake. While I can’t in good conscience move home now, I still long to do so. And I desperately hope, in a few years time, I can feel that it is safe for me to do so.


A Homesick Kansas girl



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Final Mission Team Update

This post should have been written two days ago. We drove home Wednesday evening and I was tired. A good tired, bones and body ached, feet ached, but the memory of what we accomplished made the aches a blessing.

Our third project was to assist a group of students from Iowa State. They were part of the SAGC (student association of General Contractors) construction majors who were spending spring break helping others. They were siding this house and our job was to caulk, add fascia, window trim and then paint. We began this third project after lunch on Tuesday and then finished Wednesday. Tuesday had a blustery north wind and we helped with putting up the plastic barrier that the siding would go over.

It was a little scary, you can see that we were holding up the plastic with long sticks to keep it from blowing away. We were all tired but we had to stay up to watch the Shockers win!!

Wednesday morning we were up, had breakfast, devotions and then loaded up for we knew we would head home that evening. At the job site, we got ready to caulk and to paint.


Have caulking guns….ready to rock and roll! In this next picture you can see both the siding and the back of the house ready to side.


We got all the windows and trim and siding caulked, windows trimmed out, the whole house painted once and in places twice before we had to leave.

There was work for all of us!

At one point, we were joined by two Americorp volunteers. This group that had been there for ten weeks and had two more weeks to go. According to Hal, our project manager, there help had been invaluable. Tess and Grace were great fun and fell in love with some baby squirrels that Hal had rescued from an attic that was being re-roofed.


We were able to do all the work we did because of the generosity of donors. The Tool Trailer from the Oklahoma Conference was filled with everything we needed. Donations provided for materials like wood, shingles, nails, paint, caulk, and every possible power tool.

Finally, it was time to clean up and head back to Wichita. I am grateful for all the prayers and support that went with the West Heights team and the donations that made it possible for us to help three families. One last picture, and a big thanks to Dave Glover, who headed up our team, Brian Johnson, Andrew Stover and Rusty and Pat Allensworth! What a blessing they have been to me and to those we served.


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Saint Patrick’s Day

I posted this last year and report today. St. Patrick’s Day is one to focus on learning to love the unlovable, those whom I might disagree or dislike and be transformed by faith. A blessed St. Patrick’s Day to you!


I love this day, but not for the reasons most people do. Corned beef and cabbage are okay, beer and most certainly green beer is not on my menu. I like the story of Saint Patrick AND it means the beginning of garden season.

There is not much known definitively about Saint Patrick. He was active in Ireland in the fifth century. What I appreciate most about the story that is known, is that Patrick having been kidnapped from home as a teenager, forced into slavery, embraced faith. Went home, offered himself to God and ended up back among those who had abused him. There is some evidence that he disliked the Irish (and why wouldn’t he since they had kidnapped and enslaved him) and then his heart was changed and he grew to love the people he served in Ireland.

For the non-Irish, or the non-partiers, this is the…

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Tuesday, Oklahoma City Mission Trip

I was awake early this morning, ready for the day to begin. Fixing breakfast, the coffee sure tasted good!


This morning we went back to the house that Hal had taken Andrew and I yesterday. It was a mobile home that needed to have its front porch repaired. 20160314_143226

The first thing was to remove this porch. The materials were there waiting and then Hal and Andrew conferred to decide how to best tackle building the front porch.

Then the frame for the porch begins to go up.

The last thing to do before we were done for the day was to put down  the floor board and put in temporary steps.


And with that we were done for the day. This morning all of us headed over to finish the job. First a little conferring and then the work begins.

Once the hand rails were up, the balusters needed to be cut and installed. Pat learned a new skill, how to use an air nailer.

The stairs needed to be built as well. Brian, Rusty, Dave and Andrew worked on that end of the porch.

The final balusters are placed and the old front porch is moved to the back of the house.

And we are done with this project.


We began another project in the afternoon which we will return to tomorrow. I will share pictures from that project tomorrow evening. What a great day this has been.

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Monday, Oklahoma City Mission Trip

The day began early. I was up because I wanted to make sure breakfast was ready and we were not rushed before we needed to head out to the mission site. My roommate Pat was up early as well and without meaning too, locked us out of our room! Which meant the guys had to get up so we could move the wall that separated the rooms and unlock the door. Certainly that gets the blood moving!

A big hearty breakfast was cooked.


And enjoyed.


And we prepared for our day. We drove south to meet our project manager Hal Wright. We followed him to the work site. So many twist and turns and curvy county roads led us to the home.

We conferred with Hal as to who would do what:



Picture taken and work began. Two projects: replacing four windows and to replace the skirting around the mobile home. This family has lived in half of the mobile since May, 2015. The four windows had plywood over them and so it was very cold this winter as they waited for the windows to be replaced.


Brian Johnson, Rusty Allensworth, Pat Allensworth  began working on the skirting. Andrew Stover, Dave Glover, Hal and I began on the windows. Figuring out how to get the windows out without damaging the siding was the first priority.


20160314_110754Dave moved over to help with the skirting. Pieces had to be measured and the attached.




And they even let me use power tools!

IMG_7678Once the front window was replaced, three windows were replaced on the back of the house. This pictures shows two of them.


It also shows the skirting all finished.  Here is Rusty putting in the final piece.


At one point, Hal, took Andrew and I to another work site to build a new front porch. I will share those pictures tomorrow. Hal had thought it would take us two days to finish the windows and skirting on this home and it was done in one, plus most of the front porch on the other house. They will be looking for more work for us to do, not that it should be difficult.

Hal shared that they were just wrapping up all the projects from the 2013 tornadoes when these tornados came through in May of 2015. So many homes damaged and families in need. It has been a blessing today to be able to help replace windows and make this home more livable.

We have worked well as team, laughed alot and certainly we all ache!!! Tomorrow, we will start all over again. I will share some pictures taken today on the porch we began. It is a blessing to be able to share love and grace and compassion and to be the hands and feet of Jesus.


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No Excuse Spring Break Missions

The church I serve has become more focused on mission recently. Beginning in August, a small group of passionate people began to meet to figure out how to get outside of the walls and make a difference in the world. “To be the hands and feet of Jesus” has become the vision statement for the mission team.

A dream was born last fall to have a “no excuse spring break mission week.” The hope was to have an international trip, a regional trip and then one or two projects to participate in the Wichita area. The international trip had to be postponed but the rest of the week has unfolded in marvelous ways.

Beginning tomorrow, West Heights will be the west Wichita site for children to come and receive sack lunches. This way, even though school is not in session, they will not miss out on a meal. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, our children’s ministry area is hosting  a “spring break camp” with games, crafts, science and stories about God. Included of course, is the lunch provided by the Kansas Food Bank.

The regional mission trip left Wichita late this afternoon and headed to Oklahoma City. Working with the Oklahoma United Methodist Conferences Disaster Recovery team, the group will be helping some homeowners with repairs to their homes. The group is six strong.


They are staying at Grace United Methodist Church, which often hosts mission teams who come to help. They provide mattresses, a refrigerator dedicated for mission teams to us, shower facilities and a large kitchen to cook and prepare meals.

New churches provide challenges. Here is a picture of our “men” folk trying to figure out how to use the “light” keys….



FINALLY, with the lights on, we met to go over our agenda for tomorrow…what time we need to be up, when we will eat breakfast, make our lunches and head out to meet our project manager to prepare for our work.


Please keep us in your prayers as we live out our calling to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.”

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