Thursday, March 23, 2006

We almost lost him!

Two more houses waiting to be demolished. I just can't imagine coming home to see my house looking like these. Where would I start? And remember, these photos are 7 months after the storm!!!! Insurance settlements are slow in coming.

This morning was spent arranging rooms for our incoming volunteers. We have 21 coming from Zionsville, Indiana; 42 coming from Calvary Church; 7 from Tennessee and 2 from our hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. We set up sleeping quarters with rooms for men and rooms for women. We have 9 available rooms with a couple in the upstairs area. Every one is being used this coming week! The following week looks fantastic also!

Having all of these volunteers is what we have been working toward. The work cannot get done without them! We can have all the people in the city call for help but without the volunteers it cannot get done! For those of you who have already been down here, thank you! For those of you who haven't and have been thinking about it, come!!! You will get caught up in the excitement of helping rebuild, of talking with the residents and in praising God for what you have when you go home! Life changing!!!

Monty and Scott continued their work inside the church in the areas where the drywall contractor has been working.

We were blessed today to have lunch with another Pastor who we have gotten to know. He was able to give us some great contact information which will hopefully lead to more assistance and more volunteers. We are so grateful to be working with and getting to know ministers from all around the city. We are all one church and should all be working together toward our goal----to be able to help the people rebuild their lives!

Monty had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Steve, the Convoy of Hope coordinator in the city next to us, Gautier. They went around checking on his jobs and seeing how his crews were doing. It was a good learning experience and a chance to see how others are working their efforts. Steve and his wife,Carol have been here since October and are planning on leaving here sometime in June and head back home to Wisconsin. They have done some awesome work in the time they have been here and been a blessing to so many people.

We were invited out to dinner by one of the teachers here, Miss Linda and her husband Bruce. They are the ones who also treated us to the seafood buffet at the casino a couple of weeks ago. They knew of a good Mexican restaurant which really sounded good to all of us. Scott had gone out bike riding (and he rides for miles and miles and miles) and Monty had just gotten back from his afternoon with Steve. I was inside in the church when one of the students at the school came in and asked me if I knew our dogs had gotten out of our trailer! Sheer panic set in me as I knew Samson would be frantic and not know where he was or what he was doing! I ran outside to find Bitty in the parking lot looking all around for Samson. I called and called for him but he wasn't to be found. Tim came out and was also calling and calling and looking and looking. No sight of him and no sounds. Monty was ready to get in the van and start looking when Tim caught site of cars and trucks screeching to a stop in the road in front of the church, one block away! Sure enough, Samson was wandering around, back and forth across the street, completely freaked out and not knowing what to do. He wouldn't come to Tim and by the time I got there he even ran from me at first! I finally convinced him to come to me when he heard the word "treats". He was shaking all over and completely terrified --- just like I was! I know for sure that his guardian angel was with him----and that I will never leave just the screen door closed on the trailer. They had seen someone and when they jumped up, the door opened and out they went! I don't want to feel that panic again!

We did enjoy our dinner. There were 8 of us and it's so nice to fellowship with others and get to know them! This couple is so awesome---they haven't even gotten their house torn out yet and have already offered for us to come and live in their spare bedroom when it is done! Offers like that are such a blessing, just knowing someone has the heart of Jesus, it's great! Linda has really gotten in to the tear out process! We are going to have a couple of our volunteer construction experts go over one evening and give them some structural advise on their rebuilding. Oh yeah, they have an orange tree right outside their front door and they are just starting to bloom. They smell so good! Surely God has orange trees in heaven because they smell heavenly! :)

We worked for a short time this evening inside the church. Monty taught me how to use the scissor lift and now I can really go where I want to and reach new heights! I was able to reach the cross above the stage and put a light coat of stain on it and brighten it up quite a bit. My next goal is to do the 4 large wooden beams that start on the floor, cross over the ceiling at its highest point and end on the other side of the floor. I don't know if I can take being that high up but will give it my best shot. One of the board members thought they probably hadn't been dusted in 20 years! No one wanted to go to those heights!!!! Pray for me!

As I have said before, Monty and I made the commitment of atleast a year of doing these disaster relief efforts. We are completely dependant upon the hearts of others and would like to thank those of you who have supported us thus far. We want to stand by our commitment and know God will provide what we need. For those of you who would like to join in our efforts please send your tax deductible gifts to the address listed below. Please note on your gift that it is for "Katrina relief" as 100% of your gift will be sent directly to us and used to keep this effort going. Please send your gift to: Vineyard Community Church PO Box 3277 in Bloomington, Indiana 47402. (one of our major expenses is gasoline/diesel fuel. We not only check the houses prior to sending volunteers but are busy checking on the volunteers while they are working and bringing materials to them as needed. You have seen the prices, they aren't any lower here. Our last trip to fill both our van and truck cost $150.00 (the truck has 2 tanks). This is just to give you an idea of one expense.

We thank you for your support and prayers.

Until tomorrow.....we love you and miss you! Susan, Monty, Bitty and Samson

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