Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Meow

This is what the "kitchen" area looks like for our volunteers, and us. Sheetrock is hung but not finished with taping, mudding and texturing. But it serves a great purpose for all of us.

The other one shows the height of the scissor lift and the beam that I have been working on. I thought I could get the staining of it completed today but it didn't happen. For some reasont the height really got to me today and I just stopped until tomorrow.

Monty left early this morning for his day of fishing. He and Pastor Hart had a wonderful day and even though no real fish were caught. Pastor Hart has become a real friend and we are thankful for that and feel blessed to be getting to know him. Monty had the opportunity to see the remains of their church and why they are now meeting in a tent. He also saw the existing parsonage and how far they have come with the rebuilding. We would ask that all of you keep them in your prayers as they really!!!! need to be able to get their temporary metal building put up and get out of that tent and begin to restore some sort of normalcy in their church families.

I went to see our "extreme makeover" house this morning. I was amazed! These guys look like worker ants as they are all over the place and working harder than if they were getting paid for their work. The changes they have made are incredible! Gladys's son was there today and it is such a blessing to see the smile on his face as he participates in rebuilding his mother's house. They are putting up the drywall today, the floors are rebuilt, the electric is completed, the cabinets are being repainted, the roof is done, the back porch wall is being rebuilt and so on and so on. This Zionsville team will be leaving tomorrow evening and they have been true angels to this woman and her family. They will all be gathering at one of the daughter's house tomorrow afternoon for a shrimp fest and a time to get to meet Gladys herself! I have no doubt that there will be flowing tears along with huge smiles and even tighter hugs! THIS is what our mission is all about! THIS is rebuilding homes along with lives! THIS is God at work through others!

The Tennessee crew is near completion on the structural changes in the teacher's house they have been working in. They have enabled this family to do things that they would never have been able to accomplish on their own! They have started this family on the way to being reunited back in their home again and becoming a real family again! How do you find the words to thank people for that? There are no words!

Opportunities like these 2 homes are everywhere down here. It takes volunteers like these to take time from their own lives to come here and get involved in the lives of others. There are more of them out there, you are out there and maybe you have been thinking about "maybe" coming down and spending some time here. It is my hope that when you read about what is happening that God will move your hearts to either come down or find a way to support this mission. Without the churches who knows where Mississippi would be?

Today was Meow's birthday! We won't tell how old but she isn't over the hill yet! Her one desire was to have "real" seafood for dinner. She is originally from Singapore and she knows real seafood when she tastes it. The best place we knew of was the Imperial Palace in Biloxi. Going there also gave us the opportunity to show she and DeeDee more of the hurricane damage and what happened to some of the casinos. The dinner was fantastic! As we "pondered" on our meal we wondered just where else Meow could have eaten prime rib, BBQ ribs, fresh shrimp, fresh crab and the best chocolate cake in the world----all in one place----and all in one night! Needless to say we all felt as though we should just roll home instead of drive. It was such a great evening as we sat at the table for a long time discussing so many aspects of God and His blessings. It just feels so good to have friends from our home church here! It's hard to describe just how uplifting it is for us!

DeeDee did more interviewing of teachers and students in the school today. I sat in on part of them and it is amazing to hear the stories. The children start remembering what it was like and the emotion that comes out brings tears to your eyes. One small boy talked about how his daddy was trying to move his bed out of the water and had to call someone to come in because of the huge snake that was in the water under the bed. Another talked about how her parents owned a restaurant and after the storm her momma quickly cooked up all the food they had and served it to anyone that came otherwise it would all spoil. There was a group of teachers that camped out in the front yard of one of their houses for weeks because they couldn't get into their own houses. There was no power, no gas and no phone service. They lived in the dark and the heat was unbearable, over 95 degrees for days! They talked about how painful it was to relive it all but also how much better it made them feel. DeeDee has provided a wonderful blessing to this school, and she has never lifted a hammer or screwdriver! She just came with an open mind and open ears to listen and a warm heart with outstretched arms to give (and receive) hugs on an as needed basis! Just another aspect in the rebuilding of lives!

If you would like to help support us in this mission, please send your tax deductible gifts to us through Vineyard Community Church at PO Box 3277 in Bloomington, Indiana 47402. Be sure to mark your gift for "Katrina fund" as 100% of your gift will be sent to us. This mission would not be possible without your gifts. Our mortgage company doesn't care if we are living in our house or living in this FEMA trailer, they just want their check each month. And without your gifts we would not have the funds to pay for our gasoline to get around and see houses and schedule the rebuilding as needed. YOU make all of this possible, and you never need to leave your home! Next time you stretch out on your couch or lean back in your easy chair I would like for you to think of how it would be if you only had a stiff, straight, hard couch "thing" to sit on. You see, the camper trailers were made to do just that---camp! Not live in, there is a big difference! And for you women, what if your refrigerator was too small to hold a gallon of milk and your oven could only hold an 8x8 baking dish? We don't even want to get into just how small the bathrooms are! And forget taking a bath, you are lucky if you can turn around in your shower! These are the facts of life here! It's not a picnic! It's not a camping trip, it's everyday life and it is getting old! We all need to do whatever we are able to do to get real life restored to Mississippi! We ALL can do something!

I ask you to ask God what it is you can do and then DO IT! You will be blessed for it!

May God bless and keep each of you! Until tomorrow....We miss you! Susan and Monty

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