Friday, April 27, 2007

Break Time

This photo was taken yesterday as we bid goodbye to Steve and Carol. They have been operating the Convoy of Hope station to the northeast of us. It's very difficult to say goodbye to friends who have become family!! They will be doing some traveling to see family before heading back home to Wisconsin. Please pray for Carol's mother as she fell and broke her hip a couple of days ago.

I want to let everyone know that we will be taking a much needed break for the next 3 - 4 days. One of the local pastors here has been trying to offer us a break and we are going to take him up on that offer, especially since we are not going to be able to go home before heading to New Orleans.

I also have another prayer request. Another Convoy leader, Fory, is sick with a bad case of the flu. His wife, Cindi, also had it the first of the week and it seems as though she shared it with her husband. Having the flu down here seems to hit people much harder than when home so please keep them in your prayers.

We look forward to sharing some photos with you when we return. In the meantime please continue to pray for all those here on the coast.

Until next time . . . Blessings to all. Susan and Monty

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Ryan and Tony

Yes, this is my son who turned 32 years old today!!! This photo was taken at his wedding a few weeks ago where the guys were getting a kick out of him holding onto the bridal bouquet while Dedra got her dress taken care of. I guess my dad was right when he said "you know you're getting old when your children start getting old". Now 32 isn't old but . . .
And a Happy Birthday also goes out to Monty's stepfather, Tony. We won't mention how old he is but I'm sure he would trade ages with Ryan! :)
Before I get into this I need to ask for another prayer request. You may remember Tony and Shirley who came and spent an entire month with us back in January. Their granddaughter was having heart stents put in and could use some extra prayer coverage. Goodness knows she is just a child and needs prayer for complete healing! To Tony and Shirley - we miss you and hope you will be coming to work with us again when your schedule permits!
Today was spent getting some personal things ready for our move. Monty has been working on and in the tool trailer and it is now done and ready to be loaded with our tools. He also worked on getting his truck unloaded from the tools and reorganized. When you pack tools and materials from job to job things can get "less than" organized and it can be a job finding some sort of sense to everything. He's doing a wonderful job and should have things lined out soon. His truck is in need of some more repairs so we are "spacing" things as best as we can to have things done in time to roll on down the road.
Most of the things that I need to get ready are inside our trailer and can't be done until the last minute.
We have given ourselves some extra time so we should be fine and right on schedule.
Thanks again to all who are following our blog and keeping us in your prayers. Without you this entire mission would be impossible.
Until tomorrow . . . Happy Birthday to 2 of our favorite men!! Love you Ryan and Tony!!!
Susan and Monty

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


"Do a deed of kindness;

Though its end you may not see,

It will reach like widening ripples

Down a long eternity."

"Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life."

"The people whose lives we touch need to experience God's love through our compassion and generosity. That's why we should ask God to make us aware of opportunities to show kindness."

Some pretty powerful words. The above photo of Diane and Melvinia is a shining example of the smiles that come from acts of kindness. Lives and hearts forever bound together in love. Just one of thousands of examples that have occurred along this Gulf Coast since August 29, 2005.

In just a couple of weeks our journey will take us west, into the heart of the 9th ward of New Orleans. There are countless lives and hearts that need a touch from God there. We ask God to open the doors for us, show us the people, enable us to do Your will, guide us and protect us. We thank Him for the opportunity to work for Him.

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, April 23, 2007

Packing up . . .

Packing and packing and more packing was the agenda for today.

Convoy of Hope came in this morning and closed out our location. It took a trailer, a pickup truck bed and then another partial trailer to get everything moved out.

Our bulletin board that once held photos and news articles is now barren. The rooms that held tools and most anything one would need in the rebuilding process are now empty. The kitchen items will be donated to the daycare here at the church.

It was a process that we expected and knew needed to happen but was sad none the less. Monty will be going along with Fory this Thursday to unload things in New Orleans. The end in one place and the beginning in another.

The location we are going in to has already been in operation for some time and has some material but could always use more. With the teams of volunteers continuing to come into that area there just never seems to be enough tools to go around. We are thankful that Convoy will be providing even more for them (us).

I also had to bid farewell to the folks at the Rebuild Jackson County meeting this morning. They have been so helpful, so filled with knowledge and some have become personal friends that saying thank you and goodbye wasn't easy. They will continue to find and help those who are still without housing and we give them our blessings.

Cindy (of Jim and Cindy) called this evening to thank us for all the volunteers that have come into their home and helped rebuild. She talked of how each one had been a special blessing and made a comment that amazed me, even though I have heard it before. She said that it was worth going through the storm to receive the blessings they have received!!! Miraculous, indeed!

We also thank ALL who have come and worked with us both here in Gautier and in Pascagoula. Without YOU none of these homes would have been rebuilt. Without YOU none of the lives of the homeowners would have been touched as they have been. Without YOU your own families would not have been increased through the relationships you gained while you were here. Without YOU Monty and I could not have done anything! May God touch your hearts and stir your spirits to plan a return trip and work with us again in New Orleans!

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Sorry for the "off" time with blog entries. There were some technical snaffoos that needed to be taken care of with the internet connection we have here at the church. Getting reconnected took some time but we are back and faster than ever!
The photos above show all the work that continued over the past days with our teams from Iowa and California. You can also see that this type of work will "stretch" you in some ways you might not have stretched before. No one complained and sooooo much work got done, both in the rebuilding and in the relationships!
Mike, from Iowa, took some time and played a one man band concert on his harmonica for Rosemary's mother, Dixie. I don't know who enjoyed it more, him or her!
Mary, also from Iowa, literally cleaned everything there was to clean in Mike's house. She even emptied the refrigerator and cleaned it! I would love to have seen the look on Mike's face when he returned home to not only find his two bedrooms completely rebuilt but his entire house cleaned!
California got 95% of Rosemary's tile flooring done. Her brother, Maury, will take it from here as David taught him step by step the entire process.
Susan's electric is completely done along with all of her wall insulation and most of the ceiling. As soon as her heating and air items are completed the ceiling insulation will be done. Her son, Milton, continued working right along side the team and they (and we) discovered the extreme gift Milton has in his artwork! He can draw faces of people that are identical to them in reality! I have never seen such amazing work! Both Scott and Jim from California took home pictures of themselves, and took home utter amazement and a new family.
Yesterday one of the Iowa team members, Gil, helped with the big Convoy of Hope outreach held across the highway from us. The church here, The Refuge, along with 10 other churches help sponsor the event and it was awesome. 700 people came for the entertainment, free lunch, games for the kids, free groceries and prayer before they left. What a blessing to the community!
This morning we bid farewell to both teams! It was really tough this time as they are the last teams we will host here in Mississippi. They just don't have any idea how much they ministered to Monty and I while they were here! Both teams are planning on returning and working with us in New Orleans as soon as they can! Like I have said before, that's family!!!
Tomorrow Convoy will be coming here and packing up their tools and things to start the official closing process. We approach things with both sadness and excitement! Please keep us in your prayers as we go through this transition process.
Speaking of prayers, I need to send a special note to Diane's church team who were here a couple of weeks ago. There was a very special group of those kids who got to know and bonded with Mr. Leroy from the church here. They lit a spark in him and spent time with him and really blessed him with their hearts and love. FYI --- this past Monday night Pastor Rick received a call that Mr. Leroy wasn't breathing and his heart had stopped. Pastor lives right across the street, ran over and found Mr. Leroy ashen in color and literally "dead". He was on the phone with medical staff getting directions as to what to do to get his heart started but nothing was working. He immediately phoned 2 men from church and told them to pray and pray hard! Within 10 seconds of that call Mr. Leroy started breathing. He did have more trouble on the way to the hospital and was put on a breathing machine. Late in the night the hospital staff told the family to gather as Mr. Leroy wasn't going to make it. When Pastor went to see him early the next morning Mr. Leroy was sitting up and drinking from a straw and on seeing Pastor in the doorway said "Hello Preacher!" And on Saturday Mr. Leroy was helping at the outreach!!!! God isn't finished with Mr. Leroy! He was dancing and praising all morning in church and I thought the Wisconsin team would join him (and us) in that praise!!!!
Until tomorrow.... let us all count our blessings tonight before bed ... AND tomorrow morning when we awaken!!! Susan and Monty

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flexibility - the word for the day

We awoke to the "pattering"? of the rain drops on the top of the trailer this morning which meant a rearranging of schedules for the day.
With just a few minor adjustments we were all headed out the door and ready for the day ahead.
The top two photos are at Rosemary's house where the floor tile continues to spread across the floors. David has the wet saw down to an art and the rest of the team is busy spreading, placing and spacing the tiles. They are a mixture of California and Iowa and you would think they had know each other forever.
The following two photos are at Susan's house. The team is discussing whether they will be ready for the rough in electrical inspection. The decision was yes so off to the building department I went. They were kind enough to squeeze us in for tomorrow afternoon and the team promised they would be ready.
Next is the team at Jim and Cindy's with the grouting. By the time Gladys had cleaned the tile on the bathroom floor you could have eaten your lunch there! They finished their jobs by the end of today and Jim and Cindy are pleased. This team will learn the meaning of "flexible" for tomorrow as they will be divided and heading to other jobs.
The last two photos are at Mike's house. The mold had been so bad in one of his bedrooms that even the subflooring had to be removed and replaced. That's Mike Jr taking out the flooring from the basement below! They not only got the old flooring out and the new in but they also insulated under the new! Betty and a team will continue the insulation tomorrow. Betty is our insulation "queen" (at the young age of 84) and came equipped with her tool bag ready and loaded!
Diane and team continued at Melvina's with hanging doors and doing the trim. The men there will be relocating to Rosemary's tomorrow to install all of her cabinets. Mike does this for a living so he is excited to take on the task. Diane will have a new team going with her to continue with the trim and caulking.
By the middle of the day the sun was shining and it had turned into a typical spring day in the south. The forecast is for more of the same through the weekend. Iowa is especially happy as they left some pretty cold temps back home.
Both teams are here until Sunday morning so we are only mid way through our work week. The days just run together and pretty soon they have turned into weeks and then into months and we have no idea where we are on the calendar! That "joy of the Lord" thing!
Until tomorrow ... Blessings to all. Susan and Monty

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

5 jobs and tax deadline day

Here they are, and what a day it was!
Five jobs going at once along with the deadline for taxes proved to keep all of us on our toes -- and some on their knees!
The top 2 photos are at Rosemary's house. Nearly 1700 square feet of ceramic tile going on the floor so there were some people spending ALOT of time on their knees. The layout is done and they are starting to get the hang of things. Let's just hope all can get up from their beds tomorrow morning! :)
The next two are at Susan's house. That's her son, Milton, in the rafters running the new electrical wiring. All of them were wiring and you can see by the one photo on the right, sometimes it takes us all back to the school desk to get the calculations done!
The next two are at Jim and Cindy's house. You should've seen the smile on Cindy's face when she recognized some of the team from Iowa as they had worked in her house before! It was like long lost family being reunited. Pierce and his "girls" did a wonderful job of grouting! We also hope they are able to stand upright again tomorrow!
The last two photos are of Mike and Faye's family room and bedroom. They are in the process of moving in and knew there would be "viewers" out there who would like to see some of the finished product!
It was an amazing day to be a part of. Both California and Iowa working together, side by side, you would think they had known each other for a life time! It just never ceases to amaze me how the "joy of the Lord" shows up every single time with the volunteers. They come and are sometimes so out of their comfort zones, working in conditions they could only imagine and sleeping in less than comfortable "beds" and still they are laughing, smiling and truly enjoying what they are doing! Like I have said so many times, Monty and I are the ones who are blessed to be here, not having to leave after a week of work!
It is also such a joy to see "family" in both of these teams. There are quite a few who have been here before. Scott, from the CA team surprised us and came back--for the third time! The familiar going back home and encouraging the "new" ones to come back --- that is what changes the coast and that is what changes the world!!
Thank you to all the family members of these teams who are staying at home to care for their loved ones and making it possible for these team members to be here. You are in our prayers and we bless you for your sacrifice!
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, April 16, 2007

Welcome back Iowa and California

Yes, here we are in our last week working in Mississippi and we are so blessed to have Bettendorf, Iowa and Cupertino, California here with us for the whole week!

Both teams have returning members along with new ones. I must admit we were really shocked and thrilled to see Scott come back with the California team! This is the third time he has been with us. Last March he spent the entire month with us and then returned in October. It's only fitting that he take us out of MS.

Both teams met each other and had dinner together even before we realized they were both here. Both ended up and the Mexican restaurant across the street in the mall. It was another of those "God-things."

There will be alot of jobs happening at the same time this week. With 7 homes that we would love to bring to completion and knowing that won't be possible we will be doing the best we can to get them as far as we can. "Flexibility" is the word for the week and both of these teams are ready!

Monty spent most of his day just getting materials ready at one of the work sites. Most of the homeowners already have what they need on site but in Susan's case it's a new "tear out" for us so she needs everything done! Please keep all of us in your prayers this week. We always tell the teams that "you won't fix Mississippi in a week" and now we ourselves must heed those words.

Be sure and stay tuned for a wonderful and super busy week. The blessings will be flowing from all directions and you won't want to miss a single one of them.

Until tomorrow ... Susan and Monty

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A "new season"

Just as nature has its seasons, so does life. This was the topic for the sermon this morning and I am certain Pastor Rick had no idea that his sermon was two-fold, for the church congregation itself AND directly for Monty, Diane and myself! God knew!

The three of us are getting ready to start a new season in this disaster relief ministry. A teacher said that "God tells us to go but He doesn't tell us to stay". This is something missionaries have to keep in mind. This is something the three of us have to keep in mind! God told all of us to "come" to Mississippi but now He is telling us to "go" to New Orleans.

When God directs us into something we must keep in mind that He has already walked there. We don't go it alone, we aren't just "out there" mindlessly wandering with no direction. The direction is there, we just have to be obedient to listen and follow.

Pastor told us that when God speaks to us we are to ACT NOW!! Delayed obedience is really disobedience. We aren't here to second guess God!

He also reminded us that we are to give thought to what God has called us to do, to stay under control. Most likely we will be facing some of the same "opponents" that we have faced already, just remember that we defeated them the last time and can do so again, with the help of God.

Another reminder is that we aren't to be afraid to leave what is comfortable for what is best! Think about that one. Even though Monty and I live in a camper that is only 144 square feet, it has become home and we have adapted and it has made us comfortable. We may have to shower inside the church and sleep in separate beds but it's still home. When we get into New Orleans we will be leaving that camper and moving into another trailer which was donated by Samaritan's Purse. It will be a blessing, but it will require us to change what we are used to and readjust. We have also become comfortable with church here. We know the people and they know us, they are our friends. Leaving them will be most difficult. Working in the public as we do has allowed us to get to know more people than we do in our hometown. Leaving them will also be difficult. But God has called us to leave and we will follow His calling upon our lives! Easy??? not in some ways. A blessing??? in every way!!

Pastor challenged us to "not wait until the calling makes sense." If Monty and I, and Diane, had waited until this calling made sense in our lives we would still be at home. Quitting secure jobs, leaving families, leaving our home . . . none of that made sense to the world. But it made perfect sense to us. God had it all planned out, and will continue to do so!

I share these things with you for a reason. God places a calling on each and every one of our lives. Neither Monty, myself or Diane are any different than any of you! The only thing that we did was listen to His calling and GO!!! YOU can do the same! Really listen to what God is calling you into. Don't hesitate because it might require you to leave where you are, or because it makes no sense to you at the time. Just listen, be obedient and follow. I PROMISE you that you WILL be blessed far above anything you could EVER imagine!

Our thanks to Pastor Rick for his message this morning. He was preaching to the congregation because they themselves are about to make a huge change! They are going to be relocating and relocating to where is a mystery right now. But God has a plan for all of them and they are dedicated to listening and following. And so are Monty, myself and Diane. How about you??

Until tomorrow ... thank God for walking before us and making a path for us. Susan and Monty

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And the thunder rolls . . .

The skies didn't quite look like this today. The thunder, lightning and rains came and kept us indoors for most all day.

By this evening the fog is so thick you can hardly see where you are going. And with living in a swamp area it won't be lifting very quickly tomorrow morning.

The weather did hold off long enough for our church here, The Refuge, to have their morning outreach at one of the local mobile home parks. They had "breakfast in a bag" and had partly sunny skies in order to bless the people with breakfast.

Next Saturday will be the huge Convoy of Hope outreach at the local community college just across the highway from us. The plan is to have 3,000 bags of groceries ready to hand out to those who come. Be sure and stay tuned for photos as it's sure to be a great day.

We hope all of you will be in church tomorrow praising God for all your blessings.

Until then . . . Susan and Monty

Friday, April 13, 2007

Florida --- here she comes!

God answered my prayer today!

My youngest daughter, the one on the far right of the photo, received an offer for the job she interviewed for this week!

She will be relocating her life to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and I just hope this company knows the "prize" they are receiving! And yes, I am a bit partial and biased and am happy to be both!

As parents all we want in our own lives is for our children to grow up and be happy in this world. My older 2 are just that and I am now pleased to say my youngest is on her way! Thank you God, for once again blessing my children!

Last night we had our mission classes and thus no blog. It's very late when we get back and I just can't get it all done. Graduation was the discussion last night, it doesn't seem possible that we are that far along with the classes. Each one is so interesting and opens our eyes to so many things! It is a real blessing to be able to attend these and to look forward to graduation the middle of June.

Today held quite a few things in store. We are preparing for our incoming, and final, teams this coming Monday evening. Both California and Iowa will be returning. It's always so good to see teams return and to recognize the faces and see new ones! It's sad to think that these will be our last ones here but also exciting to know God has a new world in store for us in just a few weeks in New Orleans!

We made a visit to Susan this morning to get she and her family started with some electrical materials so they can work on her house this weekend. Her son, Milton, is also ready to work with the incoming teams who will be in their home. They also plan to be back in church this Sunday also!

Our camper trailer required a little "repair" today also. The bed that Monty sleeps in had one of the supports underneath give way. We thought the squeeking sounds the past few days were a bit abnormal? He got it some new support and let's just say that it won't be falling down anytime soon!

Early this evening we took a trip to one of the only piers that has been rebuilt around here since the storm. It's a great place for fisherman and today it was an outstanding place for them! One gentleman was catching them almost as fast as he got the bait back on the hook. He had a 38 inch red drum and a small shark already pulled in when we arrived! The man next to us caught his 5th stingray before starting to catch the edible kind of catfish. They say that the fishing at night is even better. They installed lights on the pier and supposedly they attract the fish and you can hardly reel them in fast enough! We'll have to go and see some night, if we can avoid being carried off by either the mosquitos or the gnats!

This evening we are listening to the weather alerts, supposedly severe storms are headed this way. To look outside tonight you would never think it was possible. But ... one thing we have learned is just how fast the weather can change when you are this close to the coast!

Until tomorrow ... take care and thanks for all your continued prayers. Susan and Monty

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Certificate of Occupancy

Today was the day!

The final inspection was completed and the certificate of occupancy was issued.

Mike and Faye can start moving in ------but wait ----- one last "glitch" jumped from nowhere!

There is no hot water! Yes, it seems the water heater has an element out of it and will need to be replaced. Just as we were leaving the house and wondering where we would find a plumber to do such a thing without costing an arm and a leg God stepped in and answered our prayers --- as always!!

David, from our incoming California team called! And guess what -- they will come prepared to take care of it all! And here we were wondering?! Will we ever learn?! God always has perfect timing, from the beginning "dream" of this house until the very end! All is in His control! And aren't we glad and blessed that He does!

We also got a surprise visit from Stephen this afternoon. You remember, he's the college student who volunteered with us all this past summer. We helped rebuild the damage in his own parents home and he worked with us. When we finished that he continued to help until it was time to head back to Ole Miss. He had an interview here locally and came by for a visit. He will be graduating in another month, doesn't seem possible! We pray God will direct him to a job where he will be fulfilled and able to carry out the calling God places on his life!

My own daughter had a job interview in Ft. Lauderdale today and from her phone call it sounds like it went very well. I also pray she will find fulfillment in a career and walk with God's call on her life! Good job Lindsay!!!!

We also heard from our St. James, Missouri team who are in their planning stages for a return trip this May. They are bringing some students to us in New Orleans who are ready to open their hearts and serve the people. They just keep coming and we continue to be blessed by each and every one of them. Thank you -- all of you!

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Judy

Yes, today is Monty's mother's birthday and this rose is for you. Sorry we can't be there to give you the real thing! We love you and miss you!

Today was one of those days where you are just better off to be inside all day. When it rains here it pours and that's what went on most of the day and into this evening. It always amazes me to watch the clouds down here, the speed at which they move and all the different directions.

I think I have mentioned that Monty and I are in missionary schooling and are scheduled to graduate in June with our license in missions and also, God willing, we will be ordained into the ministry. Each week we have homework assignments and I must admit, it's been a year or two ??? since I've done homework. The weekly work isn't too tough to keep up with but this "research" paper thing is another story! We are blessed in that our homework can be done together but that thing had me stumped. With it being due in only a couple of weeks I took today to sit down and tackle it. It took ALL afternoon and into the early evening but, with God's help, I think I have it done. We were to research an "un-reached" people group and go from there. I had the research done but getting it all on paper proved to take a long bit of time. Thank goodness for computers where it can be typed nice and neatly. Anyway, it is now done and like I said, we pray all will go well and graduation will be assured.

Today was also a day to try and readjust to the quiet of teams being gone. After weeks of "bunches" of team members today seemed a bit on the weird side! When you go at such a hurried pace for so long it becomes second nature and seems odd when you aren't going at that pace. I will admit that Monty, Diane and myself are glad to have a few days to recuperate before our next 2 teams come in together for next week. Iowa and California will be on their way next Monday and they will be our last teams before Convoy relocates us into New Orleans.

For those incoming team members who wonder what you might be doing in the way of work here -- we have a 1700 square foot home to do ceramic tile in, yes, the entire house! And yes, we have a wet saw here. In that same house there will be the base trim and then hopefully we can pronounce it "done" and Rosemary and her mother can move back HOME!

Another location, Susan's, may be ready for insulation and sheetrock.

Another location, Melvina's, needs the rest of her doors installed and her base trim and window trim also installed.

Yet another location, Mike's, needs his subflooring taken out and new installed. He also needs insulation and sheetrock, both in the ceilings and walls.

And finally we have Jim and Cindy's home. Ceramic tile was being installed last week but I don't know if it was completed. They also need some sheetrock hung, some painting done, kitchen cabinets installed, trim and doors installed.

So there you have it --- quite an array of work in a short amount of time! Hopefully this will help you to plan accordingly with tools and such. We are SOOOOO thankful that both teams are returning teams who know the routine and will, once again, be such a wonderful blessing to the homeowners.

For those of you who have been wondering about Mike and Faye -- we have the final inspection in the morning so pray all goes well and they will receive the certificate of occupancy and will be ready to move in asap. Which brings me to one more small, side job for next week, if possible. They have a short section of privacy fence, in panels, that needs installed to the side of their property. Mike Jr. will also be helping and it should take less than a day.

We pray our Wisconsin team is now back home safe and sound and without snow!!! We just want all of you to know how much we enjoyed your trip here and look forward to seeing all of you next time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty

Monday, April 09, 2007

Goodbye Wisconsin

What a rough goodbye! Kids who are crying because they don't want to leave. Adults who are giving testimony about how this trip changed their lives! Amazing! And what a blessing to be the ones who DO get to stay!
The top 4 photos were taken at Susan's house. The house is now completely covered in Bible verses and prayers, all written on the studs and all over the house. You can see the kitchen and bathroom being some of the final rooms being gutted. You can also see "Papa Joe" with Brenda who is in her gutting "gear". If I heard Papa Joe once this week I must have heard it 100 times! The team fell in love with him and he with them. He will be stepping in and helping rebuild Susan's house until our next teams come in. This is one of those family and relationship things that will bring tears to the strongest ones. I have no doubt that Susan's son, Milton, will be receiving phone call after phone call from his new Wisconsin family! I wasn't there when they had to say goodbye and it's a good thing! It's tough enough for me to say goodbye to the teams when they leave us!
The next 4 photos were taken at Melvina's house. The team had some special surprises for her when she arrived home from work this evening. Not only did they get her shed outside done but they decided to move inside and hang some doors and put up some base trim. She called Diane when she got home and was thrilled! Because she was always working when the team was there they did not have the opportunity to meet her. Hey team -- be sure and watch the blog through the next weeks as we will "feature" her! To her you were all like angels who just came into her home and started the transformation. Thank you!
The rest of the team worked their magic at the Spanish Village. I didn't get photos of them because they were just heading to lunch when I arrived. The did take Anita and her daughter with them and also had a tough time saying goodbye! Now 2 more trailers are homes!
The team was on the road by 5pm and heading toward the 23 hour drive home. PLEASE keep them in your prayers for safe travel. This is a long drive, they are tired and need our prayers.
Also remember the musicians who blessed us over and over again with not only their music but their hearts of service working in the homes along with the team. They are heading to Montana, also a very long drive. I just wish all of you could have been in church last night and heard the absolutely fantastic concert these guys put on for us. Never have I seen so many people enjoying songs about Jesus, dancing, clapping, singing along and praying! We all could've listened all night long!
I do have another very special prayer request, actually 2 for tonight. The first is for John, the missions leader of this team. John is suffering something terrible with back pain and could really use prayers for healing. You would never have known he was in so much pain while they were hear. He and his wife, Brenda, really are amazing people and with him having to make this long drive home and having back pain it just doesn't make for a good combination.
The second request is for one of our dear friends we have made here, Amy. Amy works tireless hours counseling those who have suffered from this storm. She is one of the Project Recovery girls who literally drive into neighborhoods and knock door to door asking how the residents are doing. We have been blessed to work hand in hand with them and have gotten to know some of them quite well. Amy's father is on life support in the hospital here. Without going into family details, which are quite painful, this entire family could use your prayers. With everything Amy has done, and is still doing, for the people on the coast she is the one who could really use our prayers now.
We thank you for your prayers. We know they work miracles! We see evidence of them and are so grateful to all of you!
Be blessed in the Lord this evening and until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He Is Risen!!!!

Easter dinner, volunteer style! The grill was going once again even though we had a severe drop in temps that brought sleet - yes, sleet, all night long! The clouds went away, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day!
The Easter service was outstanding this morning, especially for some of the team members when they saw Susan and her entire family come into church and Susan's boyfriend dedicate his life to Jesus at the end of the service! It's always special when the homeowners come to church and this morning was exceptional!
The kids did some shopping this afternoon and came back with an Easter candy "hunt" and roses for Monty and I. They are such fun to be around. They had a sharing time where they talked about some of the experiences they have had, what they have meant to them and miracles that they have seen. It was such a blessing to just sit and listen and take it all in. God has touched each and every one of them while they have been here and 3 of them have also dedicated their lives to God! Hard to top that for an Easter, or any time!
We are so thankful to this team for all they have done in the time they have been here. Tomorrow they will be working a full day and then heading back north to Wisconsin. They have a really long drive ahead of them so please keep them in your prayers.
Speaking of prayers, would you please pray some special ones for the team leader, John. He fell a couple of weeks before coming here and injured his back and hesitated on whether or not he could make the trip. He has been in alot of pain and could sure use some healing prayers. He has done an amazing thing in getting all of these kids and adults organized to come here and do the things they have done! Please remember him in your prayers.
Until tomorrow ... Praise Jesus for saving us all! Susan and Monty

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Goodbye CA, Hello WI Outreach Day

Yes, very early this morning we bid a sad farewell to our team from Kings Academy in California. They were headed to New Orleans to see where we will be relocating and then to the airport to fly home. It was such a joy to have them all here and we will miss them! We pray for safe travel and a blessed Easter back with their families tomorrow.
Today was the local park outreach planned by Diane's church from Wisconsin. You can see from the photos there was quite a crowd who enjoyed a taste of the north, for a change, brats! They even learned that the proper way to eat them was with mustard only, not ketchup! :) The weather took a turn toward the very cool last night but that didn't bother those from up north who are used to much colder temps than we even like to think about. We were so pleased to see Susan and her entire family come and spend the time with us. She is the one whose house had to be gutted over the past couple of days by this team. Her granddaughter also got her moment in the sun when she took over the microphone and sang "Jesus loves me" as though she was a professional already!
The music was provided by a group from "Life Promotions" who travel all around the states singing and playing upbeat Christian music. Everyone really enjoyed them and some even got up and were dancing and jumping and singing along. You can also see in one of the photos one of our own Refuge members, Leroy, with his new found friends. He brought his own guitar and played a couple of tunes of his own.
It was so great to see the smiles on the faces of the kids who realized that the food was really free, even the chocolate chip cookies! The parents came pulling them in wagons or the kids came riding their bikes when they heard the word.
The mayor of Gautier even came by and spoke a word of thanks to everyone! He said that if it hadn't been for the Christian organizations and their volunteers coming to this city it would not have been rebuilt! He spent time walking and talking to the folks who have traveled so far to come and be such an incredible blessing.
After the outreach the kids in the group joined in with the city of Gautier in their annual clean up the city day. They donned the bright yellow shirts given out by the city, took their trash bags and cleaned the entire park! And laughed and had a blast doing so! Another of those "joy of the Lord" things!
Once they cooked, sang, danced and picked up trash they headed to the beach! Yes, even though the temps are in the 40s and the clouds over-ruled the sunshine they didn't care. Remember -- they live way up north! The temps will be completely forgotten once the feet hit the sand and they see the water.
The final project for the day will be the cleaning of the church once they return after dinner. This week has also been spring break here and thus the lady who takes care of keeping the church and daycare clean has also had a break. And with a total of 84 volunteers in and out this week you can imagine that some cleaning might be in order before our Easter celebration service tomorrow morning! No doubt it will be looking awesome by the time they are done!
We pray all of you will be celebrating our risen Lord tomorrow. Easter is such a refreshing time of the year. We all realize just what Jesus did for each of, the lengths He went to make sure we are forgiven and that we have a place reserved for us in heaven! Join in that celebration tomorrow, sing and praise and give thanks like you have never done before! Look at it as a new day, a new chance, a new life!!! Jesus wouldn't want it any other way!
Want to hear an early Easter blessing, a true miracle ... the 2 year old who drowned in the septic tank (Beniah) .... he is sitting up in bed, eating, smiling and only needs to have one more bowel movement and he will be able to GO HOME!!! Now there's another reason to go to church tomorrow and thank our Lord for continuing to do miracles! Thanks to ALL of you who have been praying. The doctors are saying that this truly is a MIRACLE!!!!
Until then . . . Blessed Easter to each and every one of you! Susan and Monty