Friday, March 30, 2007

Special Request

I know I said I would be "off the air" for a couple of days but there is a very special prayer request I would like to ask for.

Diane, our long term volunteer and dearest friend from Wisconsin has been working down here off and on over the past 13 months plus. She leaves behind her 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren up north. One of those daughters called the other day with heartbreaking news from one of her best friends.

Beniah, age 2, fell into a sewer drain. His father rescued him. His mother is expecting their 3rd child and was ordered to bed rest until delivery. Beniah is now in a drug induced coma and needs prayer to have all his organs restored to normal health. The next few hours are critical. This is an enormous tragedy but we all know all things are possible with God and that He is our ultimate healer. Please keep this entire family in your prayers. I will do my best to keep you as updated as I can from here.

I did make it back for my son's wedding. It took 12 hours but the travel was uneventful, thankfully. Tomorrow is the wedding which will also require more traveling. Thank you in advance for your prayers for safe travel. I will then be heading back south for another 12 hour trip come Sunday morning. Hopefully I will have some great family photos to share with you next week.

Thank you again for your prayers. Accidents happen all around us, most of which we know nothing about. This one is now known. Thank you for caring.

Until next time ... God bless this family ... Susan and Monty

Thursday, March 29, 2007


This blog entry is early, I know.

Very early tomorrow morning I will be leaving to attend the wedding of my son. This means there will be no blog entry until I return on Sunday evening.

Your prayers for safe travel would be appreciated. It's a really quick trip but I am not going to miss my only son's wedding. I have also found that being mother of the groom requires alot less time and preparation than being mother of the bride! :)

By the time I return our team of 150 volunteers will be on the ground and ready to rock and roll come Monday morning. We will be awaiting the arrival of the additional 45 Sunday night. Be sure and stay tuned as the week should be awesome!!!

Have a blessed weekend.

Until Sunday night .... Susan and Monty

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Help still needed

NOTE: To Pam --- yes, by this summer most of the tearouts in New Orleans will change to demolition and rebuilding. At this time we would need to have you hook up your RV at another church location other than where we will be. We just do not have the room, but all is always subject to change! YES!!!! bring a team when you come -- and of course, bring Cooper! Glad he is better. We miss all y'all somethin' awful!!!

Today was a day spent looking at more homes requesting help! Yes, they seem to be coming from the woodwork - still!

Our first stop was at Susan's house. Susan is one of those who still has not asked for help. We were given her name by a friend who is concerned about her. His concern was well founded! Susan still doesn't have her house torn out, there is still mold inside and we discovered that her entire home will need to be rewired before we can do any rebuilding. She and a friend are cleaning up her household things that were still strewn about the house. Mentally she just hasn't been able to go in and sort through things - too many emotions. She is having some difficulty but she is making progress and promises to have everything out by Monday morning when we will come in and finish the tear out process, spray for the mold, get an inspection and then look toward the future.

The next stop was at Marcus and Leanne's home. They were blessed with another church team of volunteers a few months ago that did get the sheetrock hung but didn't have the time to finish it out. They also had a couple of accidents where a foot went through the ceiling when they were putting a new roof on so those places will need redone. We also plan to start in there Monday morning.

The last stop was at Melvina's house. Diane was on the team of volunteers that tore out Melvina's house back in October of 2005 -- yes, nearly 18 months ago. Diane looked her up to see how she is coming along and although she has all her walls up and they are painted she is in need of doors and all the trim. She was so glad to see Diane as she had nearly given up on getting it completely done. We will also start in there on Tuesday morning, she works on Monday.

You might be asking how we can start all three of these homes next week? God is blessing us with a team of 150 (yes, you read correctly - 150) volunteers from the great state of Illinois! This is a school where the students are all highly skilled construction volunteers and they are planning on spending their spring break here blessing others rather than laying up drunk on some beach somewhere! What a wonderful thought! And along with that team we also have a team of 45 coming from California to do the exact same thing! Like I said -- we, and the people of the Gulf Coast, are blessed!

At this point in time we have 10 homes in the process of being rebuilt and it would be our hope to get each family in their home before we relocate to New Orleans at the end of April. That will NOT happen without the prayers of EVERY one of you who have been following along with our mission to rebuild homes through the rebuilding of lives! We ask that you intensify those prayers! We know that with God all things are possible! We see it and live it each and every day!

Until tomorrow . . . Keep those prayers going! Susan and Monty

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Shopping Day

Today was a day Faye had looked forward to for a very long time but thought it might never get here, her shopping day.

God blessed them with the funds to purchase some new furniture for their new home. She was more than thrilled all the yet realizing what a blessing it truly was. Hoping and praying for something for such a long time and then having it finally arrive can feel surreal sometimes. Today was one of those sometimes.

Diane, my mother and I loaded up in Diane's van this morning and headed to Faye's house to do some measuring before starting out. There was only one thing Faye and Mike asked for with this house -- that they could have a new mattress! Faye told us that during her entire life they had never had a new mattress set. They had always taken the old ones and passed the new ones on to their children. THIS was their turn! Before Mike had his last surgery they went shopping and picked out a set. Today they were able to buy that set. God smiled down over them and now they will be lying in the bed, looking up and smiling back at God, only now in a more comfortable bed!

We also shopped for some new family room furniture and she was able to get some photos to take to the hospital for Mike to look at this evening. I know his hospital room is filled with smiles and thanksgiving and planning and more thanksgiving going on. To know how this family lived for over 13 months after the storm, to know that they were not the ones who asked for help, to know how God placed them in our lives and directly told us to help them, to know how so many people listened to God telling them to also help them, to see with our own eyes the hand of God work in this family over the past months . . . it's one of those things that is nearly impossible to put into words. It is a joy that comes from so deep inside, not dependent on "things" but only dependent on the word of God! It's what our mission is all about. It's what God commanded us to do. It's the example he gave us while he was on this earth! And once again, it's such a blessing for Monty and I to be here experiencing it all! THANK YOU!

PS It appears that Mike might be released from the hospital this Thursday. Please keep the entire family in your prayers.

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, March 26, 2007

Preparation . . .

Another beautiful photo taken Saturday at Bellingrath Gardens. Looks like a postcard!

Today was a day of preparation, preparation for our upcoming move into the 9th ward of New Orleans. We headed out very early this morning for what should have been about an hour and 15 minute drive. Over 3 hours later we finally arrived! There was a fatal auto accident on the bridge that crosses Lake Ponchatrain and everyone was rerouted off of interstate 10. We did finally arrive and although the meeting was a bit shorter than planned we accomplished what was needed.

It looks like we will be "on land" ready for work on May 14th. We will be closing up the Convoy station here in Gautier in late April, taking a bit of time to relocate everything, including ourselves and Diane and possibly take some time away for a few days? The time away thing might end up being a dream but time will tell.

It was good and exciting to meet with Pastor Teresa and Joel. They both share the same hearts as Monty and I and having a support system and structure set up even before we arrive will be a real blessing. We got a chance to see our new home, a small trailer donated by Samaritan's Purse, the organization originating with Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son. We will have a real bedroom, kitchen and shower .. the finer things in life! :) We are just so thankful to this organization for providing housing for us and giving us the chance to "spread out" from our current 144 square feet of living space!

From the reports from Pastor and Joel it seems the gutting of homes will be nearly complete by the summer --- they are starting demolition!!! A really GREAT thing for the entire area. This means some infrustructure decisions have been made and progress can move forward! We look forward to more rebuilding and more changing lives!

We hope you will take the opportunity to organize a team of volunteers, plan a date and come and see us in New Orleans! There will be no age limitations, only that children MUST be accompanied by a parent! Get your calendars out and take a look at the rest of the year and let us know. Just call me directly or leave a comment at the end of the blog if you don't have my direct number!

We thank all of you for all you have done to help the people of the Gulf Coast rebuild their homes by rebuilding their lives! Without you this mission would not be possible and could not continue! Both Monty and I are so blessed to be here, to be working for our Lord and to be supported in prayers by YOU!!!

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I wanted to post another photo of the Collierville, TN team who just left here Friday early evening. Two of the team members have left wonderful comments on the blog about how this trip changed their lives! I know they don't realize just how those comments change our lives! Teams come and go and we sometimes wonder what their thoughts and feelings have been about their trip. I want you two girls to know just how much those comments mean to Monty and I and how thankful we are to you for writing them! We look forward to having y'all back whenever you can make it! You are all team leaders now, you have experienced the blessings first hand and YOU are the ones who made a difference and will continue to make a difference in the lives of the people on the Gulf Coast! THANK YOU!

Once again Pastor Rick's sermon this morning was just for me! (wonder how he does that?) Undoubtedly a God-thing! He spoke on a chapter in Deuteronomy and when he did God told me that those verses were our verses, our mission, for going into New Orleans in a few weeks.

"You have stayed on this mountain long enough ... See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers ... See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go, take possession of it as the Lord, the God of our Fathers told you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."

When Monty and I started out on this mission we really had no idea what was ahead of us. The calling I received just said "go and help the people". Nothing else. But it was a calling, no doubt about it. It was also a dream I had continued to have since I was a young woman. When I graduated from high school I dreamed of joining the Peace Corps and helping "someone" "somewhere". It didn't happen then. As I grew and became a mother I would listen intently as pastors in our church would talk of upcoming mission trips to all over the place. I had young children and it didn't happen then. After my children were grown there was another mission trip to an Indian reservation planned. It didn't happen then either, I was a single mom then and had to work. But I held on to that dream. It never left my heart. God kept it there -- for HIS timing, for HIS purpose. And NOW is his timing and his purpose!

Pastor Rick told us how we should keep our dreams in front of us, to protect them and to go after them! He also told us that the people who tell us it can't be done are the once who tried -- and failed! Monty and I had people who doubted we could do this, doubted we would last, doubted everything about this mission. God knew better. There were (and are) times where we are still told "it can't be done" ... Mike and Faye's house build was one of them. BUT I held on to my dream, protected it and kept it in front of me! THIS TIME is was THE time! It was God appointed time!

A challenge for ALL of us is to change our mindsets to focus on the positive, the "why I can do it" instead of the negative and all the reasons why "I can't do it".

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." NEVER forget that, NEVER doubt it!

God will never call you to do something that he hasn't already equipped you to do!

Like I said, another sermon just for me. Another word directly from God to me. Listen for his word for you. Then grab onto it, protect it and do whatever it takes to make it happen. You will NEVER be sorry, you will NEVER regret it! Living the dream God plans for you is priceless, there is nothing like it and when you live it you won't trade it for the world!

Until tomorrow ... dream those dreams ... Susan and Monty

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flowers, flowers, flowers . . .

Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, Alabama was our destination today. We all agreed that we needed a day off, a day away, a day to enjoy the wonderful weather.
It was all of the above. My mother, Diane and the two of us headed out this morning. The weather was perfect and we all agreed we have never seen such beauty. It was a real reminder of God and all his glory and made us all think that if we thought this was beautiful, what must heaven look like?
There is one flower here that we don't know about. Maybe some of you recognize it. It's the third one down on the left, the petals look like small purple spoons?
This evening our builder from WV, Joe, called. He was just checking in and saying how the entire team is ready to build another home once we get relocated to New Orleans! The Spirit of God is moving among them in a mighty way! They are doing a presentation at their church tomorrow which will tell the whole story. We are just so blessed to know and love this team and to know they share our hearts for the people.
We pray all of you will be in your churches tomorrow thanking God for all your blessings.
Until then ... Susan and Monty

Friday, March 23, 2007

Goodbye Tennessee and South Dakota

Yes, we sadly said goodbye to 2 teams today. Greg and Pam left for South Dakota around noon. Before leaving they headed to the vet with Cooper. It seems he has a sore throat, swollen glands and was attacked by the gnats with sharks teeth and had an all around bad night! The vet ended up giving him 6 shots and meds so hopefully when they arrive home he will be feeling better! They have been here for a month and needless to say we will miss them terribly! We know they will be back as soon as they can. God be with them as they travel such a long distance home!
The Tennessee team was on the road around 4pm. They had planned to head out earlier but really wanted to continue working to get a few more things done. They did a fantastic job finishing and priming Jim and Cindy's home. It is nearly ready for paint. The team learned so much and felt as though they could conquer the world when they left. They all agreed Diane is quite the teacher! :) The rest of them were at the Spanish Village and Dane's and have done miracles! The 2 trailers at the village now have floors that will support them and walls and ceilings. The minor details! Dane's is looking great with its new white and yellow colors. We are so thankful to this team for coming out of their comfort zone and being such a wonderful blessing to these families. We know they are planning a return trip and that we will be seeing them again in New Orleans, probably July. May God also guard them as they travel home.
My mother and I did more visiting with Ms Faye today. She is getting more and more excited at the thought of being able to move in shortly. It should be only a couple more weeks and we will have the permit completed. After visiting with Mike in the hospital this evening he just might be released Thursday! He is doing great in physical therapy and is eager to learn and be mobile on his own. Faye is also learning how to be of a help to him when he does get home. It does my heart so good to see him in less pain, smiling and feeling better than I probably have ever seen him. He was laughing as we shared stories of their childhood! We are family, the kind of family that God plans, not people!
My mother and I also had the opportunity to go and visit with Gladys. You will remember that we rebuilt her home last year about this time. Gladys turned 94 years old last November and is as good as ever. She was just as excited to see us as we were to see her. Her house looks wonderful and she still talks about how beautiful it is!
Once again, family planned by God!
Thank you for becoming a part of our family by continuing to hold us up in prayer.
Until tomorrow ... Susan and Monty

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Mom is back :)

Day 2 with teams always runs smoother than Day 1 and today was no exception. You can see by the photos that everyone was really enjoying the sunshine and warm temps, nearly 80 today.
The work at the Spanish Village, Jim and Cindy's and Dane's kept right on flowing. The painting of the outside of Dane's house tests those who might not like heights! It looks fantastic and what a way to catch some rays while working.
The second coat of sheetrock finishing was on by noon and that team headed over to the Spanish Village to start on the second trailer. Looks to me like they were having alot of fun while working. I think it's that "joy of the Lord" thing going again!
It's always amazing to see how much different each working day is. Day 1 is adjustment time, trying to figure out just what in the world needs done and what to do first. By day 2 they are in sync a bit more, more familiar with each other and what needs to be done. By tomorrow they will feel as though they have been here for weeks and things will easily roll. As I have said before, Monty and I are so blessed to be able to be here on a continual basis and see the hand of God each and every day.
Yes, my mother returned this evening. She flew in and will be here for about 9 days before traveling back home with me for my son's wedding. I am not sure who is more anxious, Ms Faye or my mother! Hopefully there will be time to get teeth brushed in the morning before seeing Ms Faye's new home! Mom plans on taking her to do some shopping so that should be a blast! Mike is doing better each day, the pain from the infection is now gone and he is busy with rehab each day. Please continue to keep him in your prayers for healing!
Last night there was another TV segment done with this family. If you would like to view the video of it please go to and search under Convoy of Hope in the upper right corner of the screen. Then go to the story with the little red camera on the side, Rebecca Powers with Mississippi Heroes is the story. This story is the heart of our ministry, the heart of our journey, our hearts - period. We hope you enjoy watching it and that it will also touch your hearts.
Until tomorrow. . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tennessee meets Mississippi

Tennessee had a "Monday" on a Tuesday. They were up and ready to go this morning.
We had them divide into 3 teams, one at Dane's, one at Jim and Cindy's and one at the Spanish Village.
The team at Jim and Cindy's were busy finishing sheetrock. According to Diane (their leader) not many of them knew how but by the looks of the finished product they did a wonderful job! They got the first coat on and needed it to dry so they went on to Dane's for late afternoon.
The team at Dane's was busy finishing his doors before hopefully getting them hung later in the week. There were also some of them painting the outside of the house.
The team at the Spanish Village were busy putting outside siding on and also working on floors and walls inside. They will be working on 2 trailers at once tomorrow. The families already have all the materials on site and work right along side of our teams. They enjoy learning how to do it themselves and can carry on with the work after our teams leave.
It takes the first day to get the feel of what is happening and to get settled in to a routine. Many times team members find themselves outside of their comfort zone and are pushed a bit. A few of these team members are finding that out here. But they are also finding out just how much need there is here and what a blessing it is to help them get back into their homes.
Early this morning we said goodbye to our PA team. Ms Faye came to the church to say goodbye and I know there was another bucket of tears shed. This team was just what we needed, they spent all of their time with the family, helping them physically, emotionally and spiritually. We were so blessed to have them here and are so thankful for them taking time away from their families to be a part of helping Mike and Faye start their new lives in their new home! We look forward to seeing them when they return and meet with us in New Orleans.
I am still sorting through paperwork from the speed build but almost have a handle on it. It's amazing to realize that after months of planning and 6 days of building that it is done! It still doesn't seem real. But it is -- all you have to do is see the look on Faye's face and you know it!
She is keeping busy watering all the landscaping that was donated. She isn't able to see Mike until 4pm each day so it helps occupy her time and she feel she is helping -- and she is!!
I would like to ask for prayer for our dear friend, Mr. Joe. He not only donated his tractor for our build but also himself and one of his sons. He is in poor health but has a heart for service to others. Please keep he and his family in your prayers as they are going through some struggles and could sure use some help.
Also, please keep my mother in your prayers. She will be flying down here tomorrow evening to spend about 10 days. She also found out she left a piece of her heart when she and my dad were here a few weeks ago so she is returning. We both look forward to spending more time with her this time.
Until then ... Susan and Monty

Monday, March 19, 2007


Our WV team at our Celebration Service on Saturday for Mike and Faye. We already miss them but know they made it home safe and sound and are reunited with their loved ones. We thank those loved ones for sharing their family members with us all last week and for understanding why they came back home so exhausted yet energized at the same time.
Monty, myself, Diane, Pam and Greg all have been feeling that jubilant exhaustion. Yesterday we all did our best to get a bit of rest. Today it was cleaning up from last week. There were tools and materials in many different places and after today we think we have most of them back and ready for work this week. I must admit that I didn't know just how tired I was until I hit the bed last night. Saturday night it was useless to even try and sleep as I had trouble locating the "off" switch to my brain. Even showering at 3:30am didn't seem to help.
Last night was a different story.
The entire city is still talking about the speed build. Most people can't believe it actually DID get done completely in 6 days. The traffic is still going by the house on a constant basis, now they are admiring the results.
Monty and I feel so blessed to have been a part of such an outpouring of the Spirit and the blessings of God. There aren't sufficient words to describe the feelings. To see the hand of God moving in so many different directions, to see the perfect timing, to see the miracles being poured out all over the place, to see people turning over their actual lives to Jesus, to feel His presence so strongly, all just impossible to describe so you can fully understand.
Both contractors, (both Joes) have called and are still on cloud 9. The vehicles were filled with conversations and blessings as they traveled home. They are truly planning on another trip in a few months when we reach the 9th ward and as of today they feel they can build this house plan again --- in 4 DAYS!!!! And they aren't kidding! The entire team wants to come back! Now if that isn't God then I don't know what is!
Once again we just want to thank EVERYONE who was involved in this. It truly was "The body of Christ comes together"!
This evening we welcomed our incoming team from Tennessee. They traveled through New Orleans before arriving here, all 18 of them. It will be another great week, they will be working in atleast 3 homes and will also leave here feeling the blessings being returned to them. Be sure to stay tuned, you won't want to miss anything.
Our PA team once again spent their time with Faye and Mike. They were out early this morning with more shopping. Ms Faye called me, so excited, she has just had lunch with them and had been taken shopping by them. She couldn't believe how exciting it was -- they NEVER eat out and shopping is totally out of the question. She had a gift card from one of the WV families and now has a new vaccum cleaner, window blinds and some other essentials she never thought she would have. She was to be at the hospital by 4pm with Mike and then the PA team would also be at the hospital this evening to spend it with them. Mike is on the rehabilitation floor and not allowed visitors until 4pm. They are keeping him very busy along with keeping up with his dialysis every other day. It has been wonderful to have this PA team here, spending all their time with the family. I doubt we will ever be able to wipe the smile off Ms Faye's face!!!
Our next step with their home is to get all the final inspections and file for the occupancy permit. It should be a couple of weeks before getting them moved in. In the meantime they can be preparing for that move which will make the actual move much less stressful for Mike.
We thank you for all your prayers and thoughts all during the build last week. Without those we could not have accomplished what we did. We are so blessed to be able to make ourselves available to God for anything He might have planned for us. We thank Him for loving us that much!
Until tomorrow ... Happy Birthday Mom!!!! We love you!!!! Monty and Susan

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The start of a new life

Yes, today was the start of a new life for Mike and Faye and their family!
The day was packed with emotion, there was no escaping it. As I walked onto the property it was overwhelming, the tears just started to flow. The beauty of the whole thing was breathtaking.
The team was working fast and furiously getting everything all put together. It was mass cleanup and as usual, they got the job done. You wouldn't have ever known that it was a mess just a few hours before.
The PA team came in and worked miracles in only a few hours. They went shopping and turned the house structure into a real home. You can see the added touches that were more than perfect! We thank the church back in PA who made this possible!
The people started arriving shortly after noon and the celebration wasn't to begin for 3 hours! They just kept pouring in and before long the entire yard was covered with people awaiting the arrival of the family.
One of the WV team members (Big Dave) brought his bus and we took advantage of it completely. He pulled it along side the road, Mike and Faye's daughter drove them up behind the bus, they got Mike out and settled and we "moved that bus".
The initial shock brought Faye to her knees, literally! It took bringing her sister, Joyce, to come around and help out. Mike sat with the tears streaming down his cheeks. The cheering was deafening and God was pouring out His spirit all over the crowd.
Pastor Rick opened everything with a wonderful celebration message referring to all the fantastic things that happened "suddenly" in the Bible and how this house also happened that way!
He and Crystal played and sang 2 songs, 1 was Faye's favorite.
Joe (the builder) spoke on behalf of his team and he also wasn't too successful at keeping the tears back long enough to get the words out.
Pastor Tony, from PA had a wonderful message and dedication prayer. He also choked back the tears!
From there we had Mike and Faye literally cut the red, white and blue ribbon which took them up the ramp and into their home. We allowed them as much time as they wanted to see their home with all its details before letting any other people come inside. Once again Faye was overcome with emotion and this time Mike joined her. There were pots and pans, new dishes, a microwave, toaster, can opener, coffee maker and a table perfect for what they needed and made up like it was set for a wedding.
Many family photos were taken while inside and it wasn't hard to get a smile.
Mike spent all day inside, happily greeting everyone who came in. He was out of the hospital on an 8 hour pass and was making the best of getting to see family and neighbors and friends that he hadn't seen in quite some time. Faye was also busy with the same. Mike Jr and Keesha joined right in.
The day was magnificent and a God given day for sure. God annointed this project from day one and today He gave this family a new start in a new life in a new home. We are SOOOOO thankful to everyone who made this possible. It is impossible to name everyone as I know I would leave someone out. You know who you are. You know you heard God's calling to come and be a part of this. You know you obeyed. You also know you were blessed in return.
THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. To our WV team who are all on their way home, there aren't enough words to say thank you. May God continue to bless and keep each of you and we look forward to seeing you in New Orleans and doing it again???
Until tomorrow .... Thank God for all your blessings tonight. Susan and Monty