We spent the whole day at the warehouse and most of it in clothing. We had to take off plastic, remove hanger, fold and box. We went through boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes. We had a great time talking with the people and learning more about the ministry of GAIN.  The kids loved the job of getting into the huge boxes and packing down the plastic and hangers. The final step (pictured above) is praying over the boxes.

Mission teams take the supplies that are packed this week and distribute them all over the world. This week they were packing clothes, school supplies, food, blankets and more.

One of the best things about this ministry is that EVERYONE can help. There were infants to the elderly at the warehouse that day.  A very small child can make a difference. I think it is important to start early teaching your children about helping others and pray GAIN will continue to allow children to participate even though they are small.


Jan, the innkeeper at The Artist Inn, recommended we try out the Turkey Hill Experience. After our day at the warehouse we headed to Columbia.  We had a great time. They have cow’s you can milk, a milk truck to drive and bad bacteria to zap.  It has a ball pit, a slide and lot of interactive exhibits.

You get to create your own ice cream flavor, make your own package and then film the commercial for it. I was worried the kids would be disappointed because they don’t actually make the ice cream like you make your chocolate bar but they LOVED it! Cobey loved making the commercial and made my commercial also!  (pictured below) At the end you get to taste ice cream and beverages made by Turkey Hill. The kids agreed it was much better than Ben and Jerry’s tour and just as good as Chocolate World.  I only wish they would  have a booklet like The Hershey Story. They rushed thru the museum and I think missed some of the educational pieces. I would also have liked to heard more about the story of the Turkey Hill family. I hear it is a good one! We would go back for sure it was a fun evening!

We ended the evening with dinner at Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen. We loved the atmosphere and the food was excellent. The bill was cheaper than Shady Maples and I did not even have to wait it line once.  Two great recommendations by Jan – another reason we love staying there.

Tags : , , , , | add comments

You would think after the Chocolate World ride, Create Your Own Chocolate Bar and the trolley ride, we would have heard enough about Mr. Hershey and had enough sweet, but we decided to head for The Hershey Story museum. It had been a long time since I had been and it had mixed reviews so I was a little unsure.  I decided I love the story of Mr. Hershey and reinforcement of the story would not be so bad.

If you have kids, spend the extra three dollars per kid and do the Apprentice Program. They have to find things and answer questions and they get stamps and punches along the way. The staff was AWESOME and helpful. The kids got way more out of the museum then they would have otherwise. At the end they get their photo and name put into a newspaper article and printed. They loved it! Also while we were there we also did the Chocolate Lab, where we made chocolate cobwebs and learned about how chocolate was made. The class was interesting and kept the kids attention.

If I had to choose between Chocolate World and The Hershey Story it would be a hard choice. People who say it is the same thing are wrong. Chocolate World is more entertaining while The Hershey Story is more educational.  There is some overlapping but hearing something twice is not a bad thing. However, I would do the Create Your Own Chocolate Bar at Chocolate World not The Hershey Story. It is more expensive but totally different experience. Chocolate Lab was the best for teaching them about how chocolate is made though. Cobey’s favorite thing was Create Your Own Chocolate Bar and Claire could not pick because she loved it all.  And for once I agree with Claire- I can’t choose.



We spent the rest of the afternoon at GAIN Warehouse in Mt Joy.  Claire was VERY disappointed to find out that Richard (the friend she made last time) was not their this time. We brought in four boxes of clothes we had collected from our COOP and hundreds of bracelets that the AHG girls made. It took Claire a long time to put in all the quarters and coins she had collected. I was proud of her!  We spent the rest of the time packing care packages and boxing up new clothes. It was my favorite part of the day.

On the way home, The Artist Inn is like our second home, we had dinner at Shady Maple. When we drove into the parking lot it was like driving up to an amusement park. I have never seen so many cars at a restaurant. I am not sure why I thought this was a good idea since I have never liked buffets. This is a buffet on steroids. You stand in line to pay first. It was $35 for the three of us no bad but not great. You then stand in line to be seated. After you are seated, you have to navigate through lots of people to several different lines. This is not easy when you have to do it times three. People where eating in the lines, there was spilled food everywhere and did I mention people everywhere. It was not relaxing at all. The kids liked the huge variety of food but it was not for me and I will not be back.

We finally made it to The Artist Inn where Jan had decorated the house with lots of pumpkins just for us!! 🙂  It was nice to be able to clean out the car, have plenty of room to spread out and relax. I love that place!



Tags : , , , , , | add comments

UnBELIZEable Mission Trip

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Tuesday Aug 16, 2011 Under Mission Trip, Travel

Late Saturday, I arrived back from Belize. I slept most of Sunday except for enjoying a good meal at Outback. We started back to school Monday and had an all day AHG camp today so my crazy life has returned. I have not had time to process it all and my head is still swimming but I wanted to share some highlights with you.

This team was nothing less than amazing. Everyone seemed to get along great and was willing to serve wherever needed. I saw fellow team members do things way out of their comfort zones to make an impact on God’s Kingdom. The trip was SO well organized by the team leads that every minute of the day was maximized for service. It was so cool to watch people using their gifts during the trip. And I had the three best roommates in the world.

When we arrived on Saturday, we had lunch on the bus on the way to the orphanage. We spent a few hours playing with the kids. We had a nice dinner out out. For most of the week, I was glad I brought tuna because that is what I lived on. Gluten-free has not reached Belize yet. They did have lots of great fruit so I was glad to have that. I was also VERY thankful for the bag of snacks Mary Osborne gave me before I left. I would have been very unhappy without those.

Sunday, the team was in charge of  Sunday School and two church services. It was really neat when the church members greeted returning team members. You could feel the love for one another in that place.

One of my favorite parts of the service was the cardboard testimonies. I love when people are real and take off their mask.  People who are willing to share their weaknesses have such a great opportunity to serve.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2Cor 12:9.

Monday thru Thursday mornings, we ran a VBS – like no other VBS. There was an opening and closing ceremony that had more energy and craziness than I had ever seen. There were five stations- games, crafts, story, review and singing and snack. I have never witnessed a group of people go so ALL OUT for VBS. You could tell everyone wanted to make it special for those kids.

After lunch, the fun did not end. There was bunk bed ministry where eight bunk beds where built for families in the community. I had the privilege of delivering one of these beds and that was one of  the highlights of the week for me. There was sports ministry which I was not involved in but my hat goes off to the team members who were playing sports and games with the kids in the fields in the heat of the day. I helped one day with woman’s ministry. Each day they had a devotion or lesson and then they had a craft. I was honored to wash the feet of the woman before they got pedicures and made flip flops. It was a very special moment.

Lastly, there was a ministry where we went to Rootsville- part of this community is literally in a swamp. It is so sad to see people live in such condition as these. The people were very open and kind here. I meet a woman who talked to me about how good it felt to serve and help others. I pray that I somehow was an encouragement to them because some of them were such encouragement to me.

Every night was a different event. Monday was breaking bread and my favorite. The team split up between six houses and a group had prepared dinner for each home. I had so much fun getting to know our family- Mr. Logan and his two daughters in their own home.  There was so much to learn from Mr. Logan and we were blessed to be in his home. I saved two lives that night also- so that was cool too. Tuesday night we had another church service that had amazing sharing. Wednesday night was Family Fun Night for the community where we served over 400 hotdogs, had face-painting, games, s’mores and more. Thursday night was Celebration Night with music, prayer and baptisms. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful week.

We spent Friday on one of the islands off Belize.  Part of the team went snorkeling. I went swimming, shopping and had a great meal. It was a good day to wind down after a crazy busy week and get ready to come back to the states. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people make this unBELIZEable week possible. Mary Osborne gave me food. Anna White made my T-shirts. Greg Manning donated the dental supplies we gave out. Alicia Hamilton got together the sheets for the bunk beds and made bookmarks that we gave out in Rootsville. My parents, the Carrolls, the Pruettes, and the McEvoys watched Cobey. My very supportive husband juggled Claire. Jennifer Stone picked me up at the airport.  There were MANY friends and family who bought raffle tickets, contributed money, and prayed for me. I love you all  and you were all part of the team.

Tags : , , | add comments

I have had a few busy weeks. We spent a few days at the beach where we celebrated my brothers birthday. We had a lot of fun with a Casino theme. We also

While we were there, the Senate voted to override the governor’s veto on HB  854- Woman’s Right to Know. This was the last step and  I was so excited because I worked on getting this bill passed. They have been trying to pass this bill for over thirty years. It will save between 3,000 to 6,000 babies a year. Praise the Lord!!

Also while I was there, I finished two storybooks, planned for next homeschool term and started on my NC History Curriculum.

When we returned home, we went to Sword of Peace at Snow Camp. The play is about the Quaker’s internal struggle with rather to fight in Revolutionary War or stick with religious beliefs. I don’t believe it is quite as good as Horn in the West and The Lost Colony but a decent show. I recommend you read about Nathaniel Greene and the Revolutionary War in NC before you go to make it even more meaningful and easier to follow along. Claire was disappointed that she could not go on stage afterward to take photos with the actors. They did greet us as we were leaving.

On Saturday, I will be leaving for a trip to Belize. Please follow our team here: http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/journals.cfm


Tags : , , , , , , | add comments

After a great experience yesterday, we decided to forgo any tourist attractions today and spend the entire day serving at GAIN warehouse. I will be honest before this week I was worried about Claire actually working at all let alone an entire day without whining and driving me crazy. I am proud to say she did great both days. I expected Cobey would do great and he did not disappointment me. They were eager to serve. Claire even told another girl that she should be working even if she was tired. Claire did say she understood her not working because she was little.

We spent the morning packing seeds again and then after lunch we made Gospel bracelets. The bracelets were fun to make but lots of knots for me. After the afternoon break we helped for a little while with clothes which the kids said was their least favorite thing to do. I think they were getting tired.  They also have a meal packing station, sewing gospel aprons, making blankets and more. There is something for everyone no matter the age. This is a great way to introduce your family to missions and I encourage everyone to give it a try.

We took with us a kit to make 1000 bracelets so I hope some American Heritage Girls are ready to get to work. Cobey pointed out that we would be tying 4000 knots.

After we left, we ate at Bube’s Brewery in Mt Joy. I had the special which was beef kabobs and grilled veggies and the kids had chicken fingers. The service was great and food was delicious. The kids loved the atmosphere because it is a very historical building with lots of  interesting displays. We had a great time and would return.

The restaurant was recommended by the Innkeeper’s of where we stayed. Bruce and Jan Garrabrandt know where to eat in Lancaster County and make the best recommendations. They also have the best place to stay in the county.  Bruce (my Bruce) and I have stayed in the house several times over the years. Sometimes we make up reasons to go. The breakfast Jan serves is reason enough to make the long drive from NC. The house is nicely decorated and has great charm. Kids can not stay in the house which by the way I LOVE  so this time we stayed at the Carriage House next door. Cobey said it was much better than a hotel. It was nice to have a full kitchen and lots of room. It has three bedrooms and two baths. I even made Cobey eggs for breakfast. He said it was the first time I had cooked him breakfast. The sad thing is, he is probably right. The only drawback of the Carriage House is not getting Jan’s breakfast. I guess that means I need to go back soon. You should make plans to visit also. You can check out more about them at www.artistinn.com.

I almost forgot, Bruce (Jan’s Bruce not mine) is a wonderful artist. I have several of his pieces at my house, the lake and my brother’s house. If you love art and have a sense of humor then check out his art while you are at it.



Tags : , , , , , , , , , | add comments

The kids and I started our day at GAIN Network in Mt Joy, PA. You can learn more about GAIN here:  http://gainusa.org/about/. It is one of their special weeks they have two times a year for groups and individuals to come in and help. They have one in June and one in October. We did not preregister or tell them we were coming. We just showed up this morning and they put us to work. We were at the seed station where we had to package ten different packs of seeds. They are very well organized with planned breaks with presentation. There is a break in the morning and afternoon and they also serve lunch.  The kids had a great time and Claire of course made a friend. They did not want to leave which is good since we will be back tomorrow.

After  I had “taken” several photos at the warehouse today, I noticed I had forgotten to but my SD card back in the camera.  So, I went by Radio Shack to get another card.  We then headed for Rock Fork Plantation. This was one of those times when the GPS does not work so well because it wanted me to turn the wrong direction on one way streets and took me down a not so great area of town. If you want to visit and are not familiar with the area, I suggest getting some directions beforehand.  The house was the home of General Edward Hand, who was an Adjutant General to George Washington and  led troops at Boston, Long Island, White Plains and Trenton. He was previously trained by the British Army. The tour was very extensive with information about the family and the many artifacts.  The tour includes the first floor, second floor and the kitchen which is in the basement.

The big surprise of the day for the kids was going to see Joseph at the  Sight and Sound Theater. It was fabulous! The show includes live animals, the latest technology and a flying Joseph. The cast is very talented. They had some technical problems but the short unplanned break did not ruin the show. This show runs thru October and I highly recommend going if you are in the area. The kids are already wanting to go to the next show which is Jonah- next year.

A strange thing happened at the theater tonight. An older gentleman, which means older than me, kept trying to pick at Claire. She has an outgoing personality and likes being the center of attention but does not like being laughed out or picked on.   I know the man was trying to be playful and was well meaning but it was really annoying. I was very glad when the show started. Well, then we had the technical problem and the man took off his shoe and put his foot on Claire’s seat in her face. I really was in shock that he would do that. I try to impress on my children to behave and then this man puts his dirty foot in my child’s face. Claire started crying and the lady in front of me turned around thankfully in time to see what the man was doing.  The man asked if she was really crying. The lady who had turned around said, “Yes and I think you should leave her alone”. He did not bother us for the rest of the evening except for his talking throughout the show. Looking back, I am not sure why I did not say anything. I guess I was in shock and I still am. Luckily, the incident was just a blimp in our otherwise wonderful evening.

We are back to the warehouse tomorrow and then off to NJ. Maybe I will get some photos at the warehouse tomorrow.


Tags : , , , , , | add comments

Belize Mission Trip- Be Part of My Home Team

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Saturday Jun 11, 2011 Under Mission Trip, Travel

A few months ago God laid on my heart to go on another short term mission trip. I was not sure to where and then I heard at church about a team to Belize. God had already worked out so many details. Claire was already signed up for a camp that week. I had already been to Belize so my mom would not freak out to much. And God has been so faithful in providing money when I need it.

I am so excited about going because I know that I will be blessed so much more than I can possibly bless the people of Belize. There are several different ministries that will be taking place. There is a woman’s craft ministry, Vacation Bible School, constructions repairs, family night and more.

I would love for you to be part of my team back home by helping me in one or more of the following ways.

First, I would love to have a team of people praying for me and the Hope for Belize Team. Please send me a note and I will keep you up to date with my specific request. Everyone can pray for health and safety for the team and that God will use us mightly for His glory.

Secondly, I am selling $10 Raffle Tickets for a chance to win an IPAD2. The proceeds will got toward materials and supplies needed on the trip. Let me know if you would like a ticket.

Thirdly, I need help with Cobey. Claire is at camp all week so she is covered. If you can take a day or two the first week of August let me know.

Thanks for everything!

Here is the link for Hope for Belize:


Tags : , | add comments