Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iowa in the deep south

Here they are, Iowans at work in the deep south! The top photos introduce Cindy and Jim to you. They had flood waters knee deep inside their home and although they tore out all their walls 48" up from the floor the inspector came in and said they all have to come out all the way to the ceiling. Moisture "leaks" upward in sheetrock therefore mold can grow and so they all have to come out. To be honest, it's easier to re-sheetrock a home when the walls are completely out instead of trying to match the old with the new about half way up the wall. This team dug in their heels and away they went. They had quite a pile of debris by mid-afternoon and were going full steam ahead. Cindy stood in awe at the progress that can be made with a few extra hands. There are actually 6 team members at her house and 6 at Virgil's.

Next we introduce Virgil to you. Virgil had water come in from the roof and you can see that his subflooring took the brunt of the damage. The team started cutting away the rotten flooring and getting ready to replace it with new. Virgil had also torn out all his walls half way up but some of them had to be taken out the entire way. They also managed quite a pile of debris.

Both teams of Iowa will be continuing in their respective homes again tomorrow. We could be ready for some insulation and new sheetrock if they keep going at this pace. We will be limited in what we can do until all their electric is taken care of. Virgil's house must be completely rewired where Cindy's just needs new boxes. Pray for some electricians in the next group (which is also from New Jersey).

Speaking of New Jersey, this team planned this trip this week just so they could be here for the Halloween Outreach planned by the church. They are now sunburned, mosquito bitten and have sore feet from being on them the entire day but they had fun!!! The worked the set up from 8am this morning, came back long enough to put on a clean shirt (on top of the sweat) and then headed back to participate in the evenings festivities. When Monty and I walked through Pastor Mike was playing his guitar putting on a solo concert for all those waiting in line to enter. Trish was helping with the games and Jack and Sue were working the prayer tent! They were having a blast and no doubt will sleep more than well tonight! We are so thankful to them for coming this week to participate in another avenue of spreading the word of Jesus to those who need to hear!

Also, today was an extra special day ---- HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRISH!!!!! She chose to spend her 20th birthday with us, what a sacrafice and what a blessing! She said she wouldn't want to spend it anywhere else ---- God bless her for her heart of service!!!!

When we have days like this, 3 new jobs going at once, it's awesome!!! Seeing the looks on the homeowner's faces, looks of amazement and thanks that they cannot put into words --- once again the blessing of a lifetime being able to be here, working with Convoy of Hope, and rebuilding for the Lord!!!!! We thank all of you who make this possible! Please continue to pray for us, the devil never sleeps!!!!!

Until tomorrow ..... Susan and Monty

Monday, October 30, 2006

Welcome Iowa, Good job New Jersey

Here they are, New Jersey at its finest!

The top group photo was taken before they ever entered the home of Rosemary. Next is the photo of Rosemary as the team was able to locate some paperwork she had been looking for since the storm! She was thrilled to find it!

The bottom two photos show the before shot of her dining room, covered with nothing but mess from the storm. The right photo shows the after, the furniture trashed and everything neatly organized and stacked in the middle of the room. Stacking things in the middle allows us to work around the room with the insulation and sheetrock, when the time comes. It's nearly impossible to ask the homeowners to empty their homes as they have no place to put anything. Working around a pile in each room is as good as it gets.

Rosemary was unable to take all of the day in! If she told me once, she told me 15 times that we were sent to her from God, she was at the end, she didn't want to go on as she couldn't get done what needed done --- and NOW she sees a new beginning instead of the end! She has a totally new outlook and cannot thank the team enough! And today was just the first day there! Another total God-thing and one of the blessings beyond measure of being here, working this effort and expanding our ever growing family!

The New Jersey team will take a one day break from Rosemary's tomorrow. The church here, The Refuge, is planning an outreach for a Halloween alternative. The team came here just at this time to help with the outreach. They will be working at it all day, setting up and then participating from 5-8pm. It should be an outstanding day so be sure and stay tuned for photos! The church is planning for 5,000 people---keep us all in your prayers!!!

This evening we welcomed our second team for the week, Iowa. There are 12 of them, 5 men and 7 women. They are all part of the Assemblies of God RV Maps organization. This organization travels around the country building churches. They won't be building any of those this week but they will be doing plenty of blessing of others. They will be divided between two brand new projects. You will be introduced to Virgil and Cindy. Each has their own story and each is desperate for help. Hold on one more day --- help is on the way!!!

I wish I could convey the feeling when someone tells you that they feel you were sent directly from God to help them! We continually tell them that it isn't us -- it's God! They follow up with, "yes, but you make yourselves available to be used by God" and I guess they are correct. It's the absolute greatest blessing in the whole world -- being here rebuilding lives by rebuilding homes! Words cannot express it, you must experience it! God is such an awesome and loving God and it is such an honor to be rebuilding for Him! You should try it --- then you would understand!

Don't forget about emailing for your free DVD about our relief efforts. It will tell and show you just how badly you are still needed here --- 14 months later! ANYONE can get one, no cost, no obligation. Just email to: forycindi@gmail.com and they will be happy to get one out to you asap. Take what you see to heart, then think about coming with a team or organizing a team! We 100% guarantee --- it will change your life!!!!

Monty and I would like to send an ENORMOUS thank you to some very special people in New Jersey who sent us some "fluff"!!!!! You know who you are and what you did for us!!! There are no words to thank you enough! Your hearts, your efforts, your care and love --- you are family to us and we love you!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

Steve --- Monty could really use you about now! He just finished his 3rd day underneath the truck (he's done) and his back and neck are gone ---- adjustment here he comes!!!!

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Welcome back New Jersey

Here they are the last time they were here, just a few weeks ago. Four of them returned this evening and we are so excited to see them again! It's like family coming back! Their flight was a bit rough but they made it and are getting busy with the settling in and food preparations for tomorrow.

They will be starting a new project for us tomorrow. It's one with ministry as the first priority. Rosemary cares full time for her terminally ill mother and can in no way rebuild their home. She can't even do the cleanup process, which is where this team will come in. Pastor Mike is with the team -- another appointment from God! Be sure and stay tuned as there are bound to be blessings flowing back and forth on this job all week long!

Monty spent the biggest part of his day underneath the truck again. He made real progress today -- the new fuel tank is now on the truck. There is still quite a bit of work to be done in reattaching the hitch and wrapping up all the details. The prayer now is that is doesn't leak!

I spent most of the afternoon trying to better organize the hundreds of photos we have. They are all in folders on the computer and sometimes get downloaded without the proper explanation as to who and what they are. It took hours but I think I got it! Atleast I can figure out who was where now.

We are looking forward to the arrival of our team from Iowa tomorrow evening. Please pray for safe travel for them as they are driving. They will be divided into two teams and each will also be starting a new project. Should be an eventful week, to say the least!

Don't forget to email for your FREE copy of the DVD made by Convoy of Hope. All you do is email Convoy at forycindi@gmail.com and they will send you one free of charge. Also remember that the last 3 women that they interview are homes where our teams worked and blessed the households. It's an amazing testimony of what has been done and what still needs to be done! I think it will really be an eye opener to alot of people! Get yours today and show it to your congregation, family or whoever! Then see about putting a team of volunteers together and coming down. January is wide open just waiting for YOU! Remember -- without the volunteers this rebuilding of lives and homes will stop! We need you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Turning back time?

Does this look like a crew or what? The gator is inside Gator's Cajun Restaurant and these men from California had some fun posing with it!

We said goodbye to our Indiana team early this morning. Some of them were headed back north and others of them were headed to Florida with their motorcycles. They were all heading out a bit on the tired side but still wanting to stay a bit longer! They did such a wonderful job on Bruce and Linda's, two rooms ready for paint and then they can move in them. Both rooms are bedrooms which means they can now get out of their FEMA trailer and feel more at home, even if the rest of the house isn't done yet! There's just something about sleeping in your own bedroom that makes life so much better! Thanks, Indiana, we really enjoyed having you here and pray you will be making plans to return soon!!!!

We also said goodbye to two of the California team. I took them to the airport in Gulfport this morning. They had obligations to get back to and had to leave before the rest of the team does tomorrow morning. One of those that left was Scott and it was REALLLY hard to send him off again! He had really wanted to stop in and see Gladys and her completed house but time just got away. We said it is just another reason to make a return trip--- and he agreed! The rest of the team continued working away at Charles and Lynne's. They had all 3 rooms nearly completely sheetrocked and Charles had even started taping and mudding one of them last night. This is just the "boost" he needed and doing that kind of work isn't strenuous and will not be hard on his heart. The team was taking Charles and Lynne to dinner this evening----an added special treat for sure!

Monty spent the entire day underneath his Ford truck. We did get the transmission resolved but now the issue of the leaking fuel tank must be addressed. We have the new tank but getting the old one off and the new one on isn't quite as easy as it sounds! The rust underneath is a force to be reckoned with and with the help of one of the church members, James, Monty had some great help most of the afternoon! The old tank is now off but he will be spending atleast all day tomorrow and probably most of Monday getting the rest of the work done. Watching your diesel fuel leak out on the pavement is a bit disheartening and now that will be resolved! Keep him in your prayers as this is tough work and anything mechanical can try the best of patience!!

By tomorrow evening our incoming team from New Jersey should be here. There are 4 of them, all 4 came with the last trip about 6 weeks ago. We are excited to be seeing them again. They are flying in specifically for the outreach the church is having on Halloween night. It's called the "Holy Ghost Weenie Roast", a night designed for all the kids and it should be alot of fun! We are so glad the NJ team wanted to come back and help out!

Incoming immediately behind them, arriving Monday evening will be our team from Iowa! No doubt they will enjoy the warmer temps here! Today is was in the mid 70's with a real breeze from the north which means lower humidity --- a real change of pace for here!

Tonight it the night we turn back the clocks and gain an hour of sleep!! What a fantastic thought! It will make it quite dark quite early here but the morning will be good and early! I continue to be amazed at the beautiful sunsets here! Just another reminder of the beauty of God!

Hopefully all of you will be in your home churches tomorrow praising and worshiping our Lord for all the blessings we have! It's a day to be refreshed, refueled and better prepared for the upcoming week! We thank you for keeping us and this effort in your prayers.

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty

Friday, October 27, 2006

Indiana pictorial

I want to pay tribute to someone very special from this Indiana team, even though she may not be here in the physical sense, I know she is reading and keeping a close eye on her parents.

Candice -- what you have been through these past couple of years is an inspiration to us all. Your parents shared the video with us and we stand in amazement at your faith and strength! You will continue to be in our prayers for continued healing, strength and most of all God's love to continue to shine upon you! We feel honored to know you, even if it is through the video. Keep up the good work and thank you for blessing us this week with your parents being here!

(for those of you who are wondering what in the world I am referring to, Candice is the daughter of one of the couples here from IN this week. A couple of years ago she was severly injured in an auto accident and, against all odds and against the voices of numerous medical professionals, she lived through it and is a walking miracle today!) We thank her parents for sharing their walk of faith --- may God bless and keep your entire family!!

You can see by the photos that this team has really accomplished their goal of blessing a family here. Bruce and Linda are speechless! They can see their house being transformed into a home right before their eyes, on a daily basis. We join them in thanking this team for all of their hard work but most of all for their ministry while they have been here! They truly did rebuild lives through the rebuilding of a home! They will be leaving us tomorrow morning and they will be missed! They brought their skills, they brought their tools, they brought themselves, but most of all they brought their hearts of service and love for the Lord and THAT is what made the difference! THAT is what rebuilds lives! We pray safe travel for them and also pray that they will return soon to share even more blessings and receive what the Lord has for them here!

The California team also continued to bless Charles and Lynne. It was a bit more difficult today as it decided to rain quite hard throughout the day and part of the team worked in the rain just to help clean up outside the home. They accomplished wonders and will continue tomorrow. They invited us for dinner this evening and it was such a blessed time of fellowship and prayer and we thank them for both!

We thank you for everything you are doing to make this rebuilding of lives and homes possible. You might think that you aren't doing much but praying --- THAT is what we need the most!!!!
We do have a request, something for you to think about and possibly make some calls to see if you can help us --- we are looking for a small forklift to help in the unloading of materials used to rebuild homes. If you have one, or know of someone who has one, and would like to donate it to this effort (you will receive a tax donation statement), please enter a comment at the end of the blog and let us know. You would be offering a blessing that would spread out all along the coast!

Until tomorrow ... thank you !!!! Susan and Monty

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Photo night with CA

For some reason there have been alot of problems with the blogspot this week and tonight is another one. I planned on doing a pictorial of both teams but it will not allow any more photos other than those here. My sincere apologies to the Indiana team. I will have a "special" on you tomorrow evening. I have heard that Google purchased the Blogger but haven't gotten anything to let me know. I just know that the problems have been more than aggravating and hopefully whatever is happening will be corrected soon.

First news -- the Ford truck is repaired and running well. I am not a mechanic and couldn't begin to tell you what the problem was but it is working now and purrs like a kitten, a diesel one anyway!

As usual, the teams were working well again today. The Indiana team is ready to prime and paint a couple of Bruce and Linda's rooms. Their expertise at both hanging sheetrock and finishing it is amazing. We (and they) wish they could stay longer and do more! All in God's timing!! The women have the place nearly spotless, or as much as possible on a construction site. Tomorrow is their last day and this evening they asked if we could do the morning devotions at 7am instead of 8am as they want to get an early start. Getting an early start on day 5 with all of the aches and pains of the week really catching up with you is remarkable! We are so very thankful to have had the pleasure of getting to know this team and counting them as more of our family.

The California team found themselves doing things they hadn't expected. They did a wonderful job in repairing the roof ridge and making more patches as needed to get the thing dried in. Just in time as it is supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. They also got the new windows installed, more sheetrock hung along with some structural changes that were necessary. They have been such a blessing to Charles and Lynne and their grandson! You can see the "family photo" taken of the team with Charles and Brian, the grandson.

Monty and I visited 2 more homes this afternoon. We will be starting both of them next week. Rosemary cares for her terminal mother full time and was literally at the end of her rope. She kept telling us that she just knew God sent us to her because she was "at the end". We will start with helping her get the house cleaned up, just the place where our incoming New Jersey team of 4 will be perfect. We also called on Project Recovery to pay them a visit, something they did this afternoon immediately after we called! They are a team of trained counselors who are life savers down here! They will get some immediate help to Rosemary and her mother and will be working right along side of us to see that their needs are taken care of to the best of our ability.

The next home is one we helped with back in March. Wendell and Sharon lost literally everything in the storm, including 4 vehicles. They have 4 children, the oldest of which just returned from Iraq. They rode out the storm in their attic, convinced that they might not make it. The water stopped at the entrance of the attic. They both work full time, raise the children and have been trying to rebuild on their own. They need help!!! We will be in sometime in the next couple of weeks to get some extra hands to do some extra work.

This evening we were blessed to be invited to bring both teams to the home of Jamie and Cindi and their daughters Elaine and Anna. Jamie loves to cook and gumbo is one of his specialities. They love to invite the teams over for some good old southern fare and it is such a wonderful evening to be invited into their home, share wonderful food and watch relationships grow. We are so thankful to them for sharing their home with us week after week and the volunteers sure do enjoy the southern hospitality!

Just a reminder to those of you who didn't catch it last night, the Convoy of Hope DVD. It is a 4 minute video showing what has been, and is still, happening all along the coast since Katrina and just how desperately the volunteers are still needed. This video is completely FREE to anyone or any organization who would like one. Just email Convoy at forycindi@gmail.com and they will make sure you receive yours. If you are thinking about sending a team this video is just what you need to spur some enthusiasm! Email and get yours today.

Until tomorrow ... God bless .... Susan and Monty

Ups and downs

Wednesday has been knicknamed "hump day" and Monty and I traveled over a few of those humps today. As you can see, one of them the blogger being unavailable again last night so this entry is being entered way earlier than any of you would be up!!!! I don't sleep well if I can't blog before I go to bed!! :)

The top two photos are of the CA team working away at Charles and Lynne's house. Welcoming Scott was a priority!! We picked up a few sheets of outside siding for them and they were planning on even doing some roofing on the ridge vent when we left them in the afternoon. There are no limits as to what a team can get into when they get on the jobs and this team is ready and willing to do whatever is needed, and more! Charles had been able to get the back portion of his roof reshingled before his heart attacks and thought the front part was in pretty good shape. He kept saying he would get to it "later". Later became yesterday because when the team got the ceilings torn out you could see daylight through them, thus it became evident that the "later" was now! Off they went, headed to Lowes, and would be repairing the roof so the work they did inside wouldn't be all for nothing. They are coming along fine with the insulation and sheetrock and two rooms are really starting to come together.

As you can see in the bottom two photos, the IN team rode in with style! The motor home is beautiful and when they opened what we thought was a rather large tool trailer, out popped the two bikes! They are on their way to a bike show when they leave here so they really came prepared! They also continued with insulation and sheetrock at Bruce and Linda's home. It never ceases to amaze me how God always sends just the people we need at just the time we need them. As I said, we have not one -- but three -- sheetrock finishers in this team and they are doing a fantastic job! It won't be long and they will be ready for primer and paint in some rooms!! Bruce and Linda are in shock and awe at the pace that their home is coming together! All these months they have been trying to do what they can and all it takes is a few extra hands and hearts of service and love and ta-da, a real home is coming together!

Monty and I spent the morning in meetings. The first one was a financial one regarding Mike and Faye. We are in the planning stages, looking at many different options, trying to get them into a home. ECD Hope is an organization that is going to be instrumental in our planning. The meeting went very well, Monty and I both learned alot and we feel things will go smoothly. I took quite a bit of paperwork to Mike and Faye and when they have it all completed they will call me and this ECD Hope representative volunteered to drive back and pick it up in order to expedite the process! God bless this organization, they are doing some wonderful things to help out people all along the coast.

You might also remember that our Ford truck has been in the shop all week getting the transmission problems taken care of. It was finally done yesterday evening! There were a few glitches along the way but we were told it was all put back together and would be the awesome work truck it is supposed to be. We picked it up and headed to Pascagoula to make yet another trip to Lowes. I was amazed at how much smoother the engine ran and all seemed to be right with the world, until we pulled into the parking lot! There was a light "thud" and all of the sudden we had NO gears, none!!! So .... thanks to our friend Joe, we called AAA and they towed the truck, and us, back to Gautier, in front of the repair shop once again! One of those "humps" I was talking about! (you might want to pray for the truck but at this point it might be a better idea to pray for the repairman!! :) )

Our other morning meeting was with our Convoy leaders. We always enjoy when they come for a visit! They brought us more Tshirts and it gave us the opportunity to share some of the things that have been happening here. They are always on the road and having a morning to visit with them is always special for us. I do want to remind all of you that the DVD to encourage volunteers, and to tell a short story of the relief effort, is FREE for anyone who would like one! It only lasts 4 minutes but they are VERY powerful minutes! If you would like one sent to you, at NO CHARGE, please email our Convoy leaders at the following address and they will be happy to send you one. If, after viewing it, you are interested in sending a team or coming with a team, please email that same address and they will get you everything you need. The address is: forycindi@gmail.com

Today is a new day! It will be a blessed day! It is the Lord's Day! "Rejoice and be glad in it."

Until this evening ..... Susan and Monty

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Welcome California

Here they are, Indiana and California working away!

The top 4 photos are Indiana at Bruce and Linda's. You should see these guys finish sheetrock! They kept their talents hidden for a day! We are so blessed to have them as they are doing a professional job and finishing (taping and mudding) is not a talent many people have! The house is looking fantastic, changing by the hour and looking more and more like a home. They got the insulation done and were also addressing some electrical and plumbing issues. This team has many skills and we are putting them all to use! Linda was cooking their dinner for them this evening and they are sure to have a feast. Linda does catering when she isn't teaching at one of the local Christian schools and we know how she can cook! She is the one who made my birthday cake and I nearly overdosed on chocolate! She had turtle brownies waiting for this team when they first arrived on the job yesterday morning and when I asked about them this morning they were smiling when they said "those are all gone!" Just a small blessing the team is receiving back for all the blessings they bring to the family!

The California team started one of our new projects this morning. Meet Charles, Lynne and their 18 month old grandson, who they are raising. The photo of them is taken in their family room, notice the walls in the background! There isn't one single wall in the home that has complete sheetrock. The CA team is ready to also spread blessings and one of them was a new set of double windows for the front of the house! They also were busy with insulation and sheetrock, but only after doing some structural repairs. They have more than enough work to keep them busy for the week they are here! It was especially good for us to see Scott again! If you remember, he spent a month with us back in the spring and volunteered whenevery and wherever we needed him! We were also surprised to find that this team consists of 5 men and not the 4 planned. One gentleman decided at the very last minute to come along, even though he had to take a separate flight that got in a bit later than the others! That is the kind of surprise news we love to get -- MORE volunteers than we thought!!!!

I also want to update you on what is happening with Mike and Faye and their situation. Although getting them out of their house and into the FEMA trailer happened quickly, nothing from here on in will happen that quickly! We are now in the ever present paperwork realm of things but all is progressing forward with no steps backward. I have a meeting with a company tomorrow morning to start some of the process. He has already done the leg work on his end and seems to think the paper process won't be too long. We also spoke with Joe, from the WV team that just left and he is lining up some things on his end to possibly do a "speed build" sometime right after the first of the year! PLEASE keep him and his team in your prayers as they really!!!!! want to do this build. Pray that the Lord places all the steps in order for them and they are able to bring this thing to completion.

Speaking of prayers, please keep the IN Pastor's wife and family in your prayers. Her mother passed away this morning and she is traveling from northern IN to southern KY by herself. Even though her mother was elderly it is still a loss and they would appreciate your prayers for comfort and strength.

On another lighter note I need to say a very !!!! belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our "some guy named Dave" back home! He hit the BIG 50 a few days ago and I didn't mention this on the blog until I knew all of his surprises were unveiled! If you are reading this and know him you also know he received the gift he has always wanted --- a long haired daschund puppy --- which he appropriately named Java Bean (he is a coffee nut)!!!! HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY PASTOR DAVE ---- WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Until tomorrow .... blessings to all of you and thanks for coming along with us on this mission of rebuilding lives and homes!!! Susan and Monty

Monday, October 23, 2006

Turn on the heat???

Yes, last night there was also difficulty with the blog, thus no entry. Today is a new day and all appears to be running well.

Yes, we awoke to something called a "cold front" that blew through here last night and not even 2 fleece blankets kept me warm. You see, these camper trailers cool down just as fast as they heat up. It reached somewhere in the mid 40's and if we were home we probably wouldn't have needed the heat, but ... we're a long way from home living in a metal box!!! :)

Today was beautiful, high around 70 with a wonderful breeze, one of those days we have longed for. The "locals" seem to think it's too cold --- we're not locals!!! We love it!!

Today was the start of a busy, blessing filled week for our Indiana team. Part of them went to Margaret's house to wrap up a few things on the punch list. They were making great progress by the afternoon and if they did not finish this evening they should be after a couple of hours tomorrow. They will then be joining the rest of their team who are working away at Bruce and Linda's house. They are putting the wall and ceiling insulation in, hanging sheetrock and starting to finish some of what the WV team hung last week. There is more than enough work for the entire IN team for the rest of the week there. It sure is starting to look like a house again and Bruce and Linda are absolutely thrilled. Their son finished the electrical over the weekend so the team was ready to roll. Be sure and stay tuned to see how they progress over the week. They come to bless and the blessings turn right around to bless them back. Another of those "God things" for sure!

As I write this we are awaiting word from our team from California. They were to land at the Gulfport airport at 5:30, rent a vehicle and head this way. Shouldn't be too much longer now. We are really excited to see them as one of them is Scott, who spent an entire month with us back in the spring! He became really close family and we can't wait to see him again. We have also worked with the other men coming on the team and it feels like "old home week" with them making another return trip. They will be starting a new home project for us, Lynne's house. They will be doing some structural, insulation and sheetrock. They have their work cut out for them and we know they will be prepared to bless the family. Also stay tuned for the latest happenings with this new project.

This afternoon we had some family stop by and visit with us for awhile. Teresa and her husband Berry came and spent a week volunteering a couple of months ago. Teresa ended up staying behind when they left and worked with us for another 2 weeks. She also became close family and it was so good to see them this afternoon. They had been in Florida and were headed home to northern Alabama but decided to come by and see us. We're so glad they did --- and that they got the chance to do some shopping at Hudson's while they were here! Teresa made daily trips and we loved teasing her about it! This time it was Berry's idea to stop --- he knows the bargains she got while she was here!!!!!

Last night we were blessed to attend a different church here locally. Our dear friend, Pastor Ken, was a guest preacher and invited us to come. I have a few "one liners" that he spoke about that I want to toss out to all of you ... for some deep thought and inner reflection. I won't go into the details of the sermon but guess you will be able to read between the lines to fill in the blanks. It was an incredible sermon, one I won't forget!!!! Read these, really read them .... and then take them to thought and prayer!!!

Faith is the substance of the Christian life.

Stand up and become who God called us to be.

Tithe as you would like to be blessed.

Trust God for who He is and watch the miracles take place.

There's nothing we can't do through the blood of Jesus.

Stop being who others want us to be and start being who God called us to be.

We need to start the spiritual warfare that God calls us to do.

We must get ourselves out of the way.

Stop worrying about what other people are doing.

AMEN and AMEN and AMEN again!!!

Until tomorrow....Susan and Monty

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sorry for the delay in writing, the blog had some difficulties last night and I wasn't able to write. Looks as though it's back and running this morning.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our team from West Virginia. They were up and headed out early, notice I didn't say "awake" and ready to go! I think they were a bit on the tired side yet still thinking about the evening before with Margaret and her wonderful prayer. As with all the teams, we will miss them and pray for their safe travel. They should be home by now, reunited with their loved ones and on their way to church to share all of their experiences and no doubt give thanks to God for being able to be here!

Hopefully all of you are also on your way to your home church to give thanks!!!???

Two of the WV team had arrived, and departed, seperately. Marv and Donna were on their way to Florida for the winter and decided to stop and help for a week here. They brought their RV and had to get it all unhooked and ready to pull out yesterday. They took their time and it gave us a chance to visit with them a bit longer. As they were leaving the parking lot our next team from Elkhart, Indiana came rolling in with their RV! This team has 4 staying in the RV and 3 more at a local hotel. They had made better time than they thought and so arrived quite a bit earlier than expected. They busied themselves for the rest of the afternoon getting "camp" set up.

Monty and I took a couple of hours and finally got to the local county fair. It's been going on all week and yesterday was the last day. It's all we heard about, everyone so excited that the fair was happening this year. After the storm last year none of the festivals or the fair came about and all were really missed. The weather yesterday was perfect for an afternoon at the fair. We walked through the midway, saw the smiling faces of the little ones on the rides, the others who were popping balloons for prizes or watching the mouse to see what color of hole he would run into. We also did what we were supposed to do -- the BIG thing to do at the fair -- taste the gumbo!! It nearly becomes a competition between food booths as to who has the best gumbo. They laugh when we tell them we have no such thing "up north". Pastor Ken was there with us and he and Monty both had to taste some. Both agreed it was great and probably would have indulged in an entire bowl if we hadn't been planning on eating with the new incoming team for an early dinner. It made us feel a bit more at home to see the farm animals, although this climate isn't so great for them and thus there were very few there. It still helped me to just be able to see them and yes --- pet the pigs and cows!!!! I grew up on a farm and am still a farm girl at heart and always will be!!!

Dinner with the Indiana team was very nice. It gave us a chance to visit with them and to get to know them a bit more. They should be another great team as they are skilled, have been on quite a few overseas mission trips and have construction skills. But --- we warned them that they have entered a new "territory" and will be working in conditions they can't imagine!! They'll soon discover that we are right!!!

Today the team will be joining us in worship service and then they will load up and travel west for the afternoon. We encourage teams to go west and see more of what Katrina did to the coast. They will come back changed people! You can't see it and not be changed, even after nearly 14 months now! I've said it before and will continue to say it --- IT'S NOT OVER! IT'S NOT ALL OKAY NOW!! They will see for themselves and they will realize the reality of it all. It is our deepest prayer that they will then take that information back home with them when they go! Spread the word that the volunteers are still needed and without them this effort will not be able to continue! THAT is our prayer and we hope you will join with us in that prayer!

It's time for worship, a time I look forward to all week! It's our time to be refueled by the One who has blessed us with the privilage of being here serving Him. It's our time to praise Him for all His blessings and to also ask for the strength and wisdom we need to continue following His leading. Join us in doing the same!

Until later tonight ... providing the blog is working properly ... Susan and Monty

Friday, October 20, 2006

One of God's warriors has a new kitchen

Here you have the story of one of God's special warriors with her brand new kitchen! Today was the final "push", the final day of what was a wonderful week! Joe and his crew pulled no punches, left no stone unturned, worked until way after dark and the result was the entire team of West Virginia, with Margaret, in her kitchen with her breaking into a prayer that broke every single one of us in the circle! The last photo is of Joe with Margaret, a couple who grew to love each other and became true family this week!

We always tell the teams that even though they are coming to bless the residents here, there will be a special blessing just for each of them here. We encourage them to not get so busy that they miss it. This team GOT IT and will be taking it home with them to last forever! Today Donna got it! Donna has worked with Joe at Margaret's all week. She and her husband are on their way to Florida and wanted to stop in and help for the week. Donna spent alot of time with Margaret -- she is now able to understand every word Margaret says!!! Not an easy task, believe me! Donna was the only one who was able to get Margaret to understand how her new installed Lazy Susan worked! No amount of explaining by any of the rest of us worked. When Donna brought her into the kitchen and actually showed her, she got it!! It was amazing and something only Donna could do!! A true calling from the Lord!

There were some of this team who had not gotten to meet Margaret yet. Bob is one of them. He is also the one sitting next to her, her arm resting on his leg, and the bond they developed within a few minutes will also last each of them a lifetime!

Today was one of those days where words cannot relay all of the blessings that flowed faster than a raging river. Best as I try, I just cannot find a way to convey the real story. It's also one of those days that we all pray for, one of those days that bring Monty and I to tears -- tears of thankfulness that we are the privilaged ones who get to be here, to stay here and to be working this effort for the Lord! Yes, we are exhausted, but only physically. Mentally we will have a difficult time "shutting off" the day, the week for that fact! But we are the blessed ones to have our family grow each and every week with both the volunteers and the homeowners. Thank you Vineyard Church and Convoy of Hope for making this blessing possible for us! YOU are angels and warriors for our Lord!

Not to slight the other two homeowners where the team worked this week. We were not in Bruce and Linda's today but we will be returning Monday morning with a new group of people ready to spread the blessings. Today their son was going to finish his "project", their electrical! Not a small task but one he wanted to do himself and we don't want to be the ones to rob him of his special blessing in helping his parents get their home rebuilt!

The team did work in Dane's today. When they got done the place was immaculate! Not a small feat on a construction site, let alone one that is "high and lifted up". They were hanging sheetrock, finishing sheetrock, cleaning trash that filled a small trailer, shopvacing the entire place and just plain spreading blessings all over the place! Dane will now be able to get some things done over the weekend and actually be able to walk in the house at the same time!

Monty and I want to thank this awesome team from West Virginia and it is our hope that they will return shortly. We know they have mentioned wanting to come back and that is the highest compliment anyone can pay! They are exhausted, a bit bruised and probably worked harder in these past 5 days than they have in who knows how long. But they leave with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that the homes they rebuilt they rebuilt for the Lord! They will be leaving us very early tomorrow morning and we will miss them! Please keep them in your prayers, for safe travel, for rest when they return home and most of all that the blessings they received here will shine forth from them as a ray of sun, too bright to look directly at but yet life supporting!!

We thank all of you for what you are doing to make this rebuilding of lives possible! Without you it would not work!!! May God bless you for your servant hearts!

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty