God has a way of bringing people together just to prove to us it is a small world and He is always watching over us.
Before we left home we heard about a gentleman named Rick who had lead volunteer groups out of this same church immediately after the storm. That's all we knew. When we went to church Wednesday evening he was here! We spent a couple of minutes talking with him and he made a phone call to his friend in Bloomington. Last night he stopped by just was we were leaving for dinner so there was no time to talk. This morning we invited him to our usual Waffle House breakfast and Monty ended up spending the rest of the day with him. He also came back to the church to talk with our sheetrock finisher. The sheetrock finisher, Ricky, is alot like some people, he has had his fair share of struggles in life and with the devil. He is reaching for God and Monty and Rick prayed for him. He was touched, clear to his heart, and even helped himself to some CDs that we found while cleaning up. What a nice change it was to come in this morning and hear the Christian music instead of what he usually plays. There are so many people just like Ricky in this world. People who are reaching, searching and yet being held back by things they have done in the past. Monty and I both stand on what our home church, the Vineyard, says, "Come as you are, you will be loved." We are not on this earth to judge or condem, we are here to love and allow Jesus to shine through us. Ricky was so excited about the music he took 3 more CDs to give to family and friends. It only takes a small step of faith and God will do the rest! Monty and Ricky have become best buds and it started with Monty accepting Ricky where he is and letting God take it from there. What a lesson for all of us! Tomorrow is Sunday and when you see that someone in church that you have not seen before, step out and speak to them. You just might be surprised at just how powerful your simple words might be. We don't know where people are in their walk but we do know God is by their side and loves them. Nothing else really matters!
Rick had indeed been organizing volunteers from here and circumstances changed for him so he went out on his own. He is from Minnesota and still here helping those who cannot help themselves. We had alot of time to talk and he is looking forward to helping us get the relief efforts up and running again. Monty had the opportunity to go with him for the afternoon and put up some sheetrock for a gentleman Rick had been helping. The man is 81 years old (they said he doesn't look a day over 80!) and living in a house that was in shambles before the storm hit! They put up some drywall but the floors will need completely rebuilt to make it livable again. They also took him down to the local BBQ restaurant for a sandwich. For this man to be in the position he is, at this age, is tough but he also has that resiliant spirit and will stay in his home, no matter what!
Not soon after Monty and Rick left it started to rain. Now I have seen downpours before but not many like this one! It came in sheets and for awhile I thought it was going to come into the school area again. They had forecast rain with storms but I guess I am just used to what they look like up north. I also guess I should get used to these too!
While they were out I took the time to call my parents and catch up on things at home. I have a brother that was in a very serious accident back in August and nearly lost his leg. He is now facing more surgery but hopefully this will bring about some movement in that leg. It is tough being away from family and not able to see them like we did. But I know God is with him and all my family and he will be just fine.
I also caught up on what is going on with my grandmother. She is soon to be 93 and currently in a nursing home. My mother told me she is printing out each one of our blogs and taking them to my grandma. So, Grandma 2 this is for you----we are doing fine and are keeping you in our prayers. We have seen first hand what an attitude of gratitude can do for one's spirit and this is our prayer for you. We love you and will see you soon!
We took the opportunity this evening to drive to the local mall and look around. People watching has to be the best, and cheapest, entertainment there is! We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant which was good. We also splurged on a couple of chocolate chip cookies and a brownie for a treat. Yes, Ellen, they made us think of you and are no match for your desserts!!!! Oh my how we miss them too!
The mall is smaller than the one at home but it was a nice change of scenery. It is different to not be in a large college town. We are used to seeing college students everywhere we go but down here it is very different. There aren't any! The mall isn't packed like we are used to. The only stores that are packed are Lowes and Walmart.
We stopped at Lowes before coming home and watched a family purchase 13 ceiling fans! It still amazed me to see how busy these stores are and the huge purchases they must make! And these are the people who can afford to make the purchases to rebuild. There are way too many just like the 81 year old man who just sit and hope and pray someone will come along and just make their house livable, forget the frills, he just needs the bare bones basics!
When you are in church tomorrow please pray for these people. That is the most powerful thing anyone can do. We have watched and witnessed countless miracles down here and know they are only just beginning. But after 6 long months the people don't feel as though they are just beginning. They need to be back in their homes, with their families and loved ones. Pray that this will happen. And if you are in the place where you might be able to come down and physically join in the efforts, please give us a call. We will welcome you with open arms and guarantee a life changing experience!
PS This is for Brianna-----you are not too young to come as long as you come with a parent. As far as teaching Sunday School, they do already have teachers but there are so many ways you could help. You could help in the school library in sorting books and getting it back to where the children can use it again. You could help by just cleaning things, toys for the daycare or construction type cleaning. There is something for everyone. You talk to your parents and have them give us a phone call. Our numbers are at the Vineyard. We hope to see you over spring break! Thank you for reading and joining with us on our adventure. God bless you for wanting to help!
We miss all of you and are keeping you in our prayers!
With all our love, Susan and Monty
PSPS. Bitty and Samson REALLY did not like the rain. Rain drops on a camper trailer are a bit on the loud side!!! :)