Yes, another great holiday spent on Billy Joe's houseboat on the Pascagoula river! This is getting to be a tradition for us, one we are so thankful for. Holidays are days usually spent with family and our family has grown and grown and spending our holidays on this houseboat is such a blessing! Thanks Billy Joe and Brenda for such warm hospitality!!!
The first photo on the left is the Teen Challenge girls heading out on a pontoon boat trip on the river. The lady in the blue denim jacket is taking the very FIRST boat ride of her life! And -- even more special -- she will be graduating from the program next month! LaTanya --- you have worked so hard and we have enjoyed watching the Lord work in your life!!! Go Girl!!!
The top right photo is me with our new "parking lot" neighbors here at The Refuge. Don and Jean (and Don's guide dog Dusty) joined us out back yesterday. They will be working with Habitat for Humanity and are parking their fifth wheel camper out back with us. We took them with us today and I know they had a New Years Day they will not forget. They are all the way from Wisconsin. They were here last year, also volunteering, and worked in Slidell, Louisianna. They will be here with us for the next 2 weeks and we are so glad that they also took time from their lives and families to come and bless those who so desperately need it here on the coast! Not to mention that our dogs, Bitty and Samson now have someone to play with also! :)
The group photo is taken on Billy Joe's houseboat. You can see that they had quite a crowd today! What you should have been able to see was the spread of food that fed all us people - with enough left over for another army!
The next right and final left photos were taken in route to their houseboat. The long horned cattle really caught my eye, being raised on a farm like I was. Only thing is that you just don't see this kind of cow up north! There is an entire field of them and I think they realized we were from the north when we stopped to take their photos!
The tree is one you see quite a bit of here, although most of them sufferred tremendous damage in the storm, they are still standing! Their beauty and size is difficult to capture with a camera. This one is one of the less damaged ones and so beautiful!
As this new year rolled around Monty and I were talking about how January is the only month in the calendar that we have not been here. We arrived the first part of February last year. The time has flown by so quickly and we have been so blessed to be here and to be doing the work God called us to do. Going to Billy Joe's today, seeing so many people that we see each holiday, really getting to know them more and more, having them know us ... all such priceless blessings. We don't know how long we will be here in this location; it doesn't matter. We will be here as long as God says we should. He will let us know if something should change. Trusting in Him is the key!
The message on the front of our church bulletin yesterday morning stated it quite well:
"Let us not love with words...but with actions and in truth."
Let that be our goal for 2007 --- and for the rest of our lives!
Until tomorrow .... Blessed 2007 to all from Monty and Susan