Saturday, June 30, 2007

Welcome Washington and Indiana

Today was one of those days where I sit back and wonder where each hour went? Time seems to get away, even on weekends.

There were the usual couple of errands for a weekend and then the day was just gone.

This evening we did take a trip across town, way across town, and went to the Vineyard Church. Our home church is a Vineyard and until I went inside this one tonight I didn't realize just how much I missed it. This one was very large! Ours at home isn't so large. But the feeling was the same, just minus the family we have back home. This Vineyard also runs a disaster relief station, Mercy Response. We met one of the women who does the cooking for their teams and she talked about how they are venturing into the rebuilding phase come this fall. Their teams continue to come and therefore families continue to be blessed. God at work, no matter what the label above the door says. One Body! It's what we have preached since we arrived long ago!

By the time we returned this evening two of our incoming teams had arrived. Northern Indiana, Joel and Jessica's hometown church, and the state of Washington are here. They total 25 and are raring to go. The Indiana team is mostly youth and Washington are skilled workers. They will be staying here at New Orleans East Church with us for the wee.

By tomorrow evening we will be greeting our own hometown team, most of them football players from Bloomington South High School. There will be 42 of them so you do the math and will quickly realize it will be an awesome week. They will be staying at St Luke church. We are also praying that whatever has caused the power outage in that area will be corrected by tomorrow morning so we can worship in less than 100 degree heat and the team can sleep in air conditioning! You might want to join us in that prayer!

We pray all of you will be in your home church tomorrow, worshiping and praising God for the many blessings you have. Number one being a safe, clean and dry roof over your heads and a soft bed to sleep in. Remember, you don't know how much you take something for granted until you don't have it any more!

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Friday, June 29, 2007

So long Michigan

Yes, they made their scheduled time of departure. The entire team came down in a huge bus and they had a timeline to meet. They would be changing drivers at a specified location and set time and they should have made it with no problems.
I don't know if all 54 are in the photo but if not, it's close. There was alot of last minute details going on at the same time. Some were busy cleaning the sanctuary because they had been sleeping there. Others were upstairs cleaning where they had been and still others were cleaning the kitchen and cafe area. It's up to the teams to clean before they leave and the more team members there are the more cleaning needs done. They all did a great job and the place is not only ready for church on Sunday morning it is ready for the next team of 42 coming in Sunday night (our hometown team).
This morning we also bid farewell to our PA team. They did join us for devotion where we could repeatedly sing Happy Birthday to Dave as today was his 55th!! Ooops! Was that supposed to be public knowledge?
We pray for safe travel for both teams. They were all such wonderful blessings to the people here and to us. Seeing their smiling faces and hearts of service are always uplifting to us!
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Remember the story of the house where the woman made dolls? This face is one of them, found on the floor and carefully, very carefully, placed for this photo. Also remember that if you click on the photo it will enlarge for you.

If you look VERY intently maybe you can see the woman in the pink dress and brown hat that covers the baby's nose?

Just another of those things that become lost and destroyed in the storm. The son who worked along side us in the house shared how he had carefully saved as many of the faces as possible and had no idea the extent of the doll building that his mother did.

That same man came to church this evening. On Thursday nights we have a special worship service with praise and worship music and a time where people, anyone, can share their testimony. There is such power in ones' testimony, ones' story of their life. Tonight was really powerful! I lost count of how many people spoke out about how their life had been and how God had changed them and everything around them. Each story was different but yet the same. All of us have different lives but all of us are loved by God and when He steps in and changes us the praise and glory rings true with each person. They are unable to completely express how they feel and it's as though you can literally see their heart on the outside of their bodies! The church was filled with the presence of the Lord! We even opened the windows of the church so the people walking or driving down the streets could hear the music!

Early tomorrow we will bid farewell to our 12 from PA and around noon another farewell to the team from MI. We ask God to protect them as they travel, to cover them, to lift them up and to reinforce the love and blessings that they brought with them back to them one hundred fold.

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cough, cough, cough

Yes, once again the teams were busy mudding and gutting. The top photos show where some of them were. The white "spots" on the one photo are dust in the air.
Monty worked with some of them today and had a story of a smell of a different kind. We all know that THE cardinal rule here is to NEVER move the refrigerator in a home. Everything is still inside and after 22 months you cannot imagine the smell! If it "drips" out on your shoes, you will need to literally throw away your shoes. Well, today entered another "smell" that nearly brought up lunches. It seems the homeowner made dolls. There were some plastic containers, with lids on, that held what used to be human hair for the dolls. Mark happened to pick up one and spill it in the process. Monty says he can still smell it tonight! Even the masks can't block things like that. That is the reason we suggest smearing Vicks Vapo Rub underneath your nose before putting on the mask. It can save your lunch!
They did get the work done and the homeowner was so happy.
Michigan continues on Janice's house and it is really coming together. They are also learning more than they probably wanted to know about finishing sheetrock. Part of the team went to another location today. One of our church members is getting closer to being back in her home except it is such a mess no one could work safely. Part of the team went over and got a good start on things. Tomorrow they plan on renting a floor cleaner to hopefully save her hardwood flooring.
This evening was our weekly dinner meeting at Pastor Teresa's house. She always has a good message for all of us and it's fun to get together with everyone and sing and laugh and share God's word.
I am struggling with some kind of really nasty cough that I can't seem to get rid of. I took today to work here at home and get a few things done along with getting some extra rest. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated as this thing is really rough on me. Thank you.
I would also ask for prayers for Pastor Teresa's sister who is battling cancer and the treatments for it. She has young children at home and could really use our prayers.
Thank you for keeping up with God's miracles here on the coast!
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Michigan Mud/Gut X 4

These photos might be a bit shocking but they are truth; they are what we see every day, what we work in, what the residents see, what they used to live in, what was home to them.
Today the Michigan team finished one gutting job in the morning and moved to this double duplex in the afternoon. Two of the duplexes had already been mudded (furniture out) and the other two not. One was impossible to even get in through the door. The water levels are very evident, the black mold continues to grow everywhere. The furniture, clothing and everything else in the house turned into trash. Some of what you see on the floors are the ceiling tiles that fell from the ceiling. After being so wet and the mold taking over they turn to ash. Like I said, this is reality and this is what thousands of homes still look like. This is NOT in the 9th ward, this is in the city. What I found amazing is that two neighbors came over immediately and told us to be careful in the one house as the floors were caving in and the other one warning us that there was a mother cat with babies in one of them. All they wanted to do was watch out for us and help in whatever small way they could.
As you see these I pray you will pray for the people here. I pray you see the reality of what has happened here and that after 22 months some things are still the same as 22 days after! This is why we still need YOU! This is why this relief effort has made a 10 year commitment here!
The last photos are the PA team hard at work finishing sheetrock. They also learned that what you mud you also sand until you get it right! But you can also see the fun in their faces. Isn't it amazing that asking a teen to clean their room brings objection like nothing else but put them in these circumstances, in these surroundings and they smile while they are working harder than they have in their lives! Must be a God-thing!!
We thank both of these teams for the help and hope and life they are bringing to the city. We also thank those who are scheduled to come and bring more of the same. May God touch your hearts to come and show God's love in a REALLY practical way! Our prayer is always that when people see us they see Jesus in us!
Remember, we may be the only Jesus some people ever see! Does He shine through you?
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tearing out to Rebuild

Here they are, both Michigan and Pennsylvania working away.
The top two men from Pennsylvania are working on rebuilding. Look overworked?? Looks more like they are rather enjoying building houses for Jesus, doesn't it!
The following are of the Michigan team, also working at rebuilding. I'm thinking there might be more sheetrock mud on the kids than on the walls? They are learning and having fun in the process. They are all sitting on the porch taking one of their water breaks. Those breaks are mandatory every 30 minutes in humidity like this!
The rest of the Michigan team was busy gutting out a home. Sorry for not getting photos of them. Hopefully tomorrow. They will be returning to the same home for the morning and after lunch will be moving to mud and gut two duplexes that are located side by side. That will most likely take them atleast two days to complete.
This morning at devotions you could feel the excitement in both teams. The "adults" from PA were trying to be a bit more subdued but the kids from MI just let it all go! I would imagine most of them are in bed a bit earlier tonight!
I spent most of my day at the church. We are now getting more and more into the real world. The building is cabled for telephone, fax machine and cable television!! Wow!!! Now all we need are the telephones, fax machine and television! It's just amazing at how we take such things for granted -- until we must learn to do without them.
Monty spent his time running between teams, checking on how they were doing and keeping them in materials. Thankfully they were all working in the same general area of the city. Tomorrow it will be a bit more spread out.
We welcomed our Minnesota long term volunteer back this evening. Mark is a youth pastor and had to travel home to preach a couple of services. We were all very glad to have him back home with us.
Today was also Dovie's birthday! We started her off with a huge sign in the porch where we had devotions. Some of the guys really got a kick out of singing happy birthday to her. Her husband took her out for a nice dinner this evening and we had cake waiting for her when they got back. It's just one of those things you do with family!
Be sure and stay tuned this week as having a team of 54 with only 9 adults is sure to bring out some awesome stories. God moves with such power here and sometimes even more power within the kids.
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Welcome MI and PA

What a busy day it has been! Did someone say it was to be a day of "rest"?

Yesterday our team of 12 from Pennsylvania arrived and early this afternoon our team of 54 from Michigan arrived. The 54 is a team of youth and most of them are making their second trip. They were double shocked when they arrived, once for how much has been done on the church and second for how the city still looks like it did! They realized just how much they are needed.

We also had a nice surprise when 2 girls from northern Indiana returned to work for the week. They have been here before and when their jobs allowed them extra time they headed south! Pastor Teresa was all smiles when she saw them in church!

After getting everything unloaded, they came in a tour bus, we all gathered in the church for our orientation meeting. This is where the basics are spelled out and all of us "long term" volunteers tell where we are from and why we are here. It's a fun time, a time to see the faces of those who have been here before and are thrilled to be back and then the faces of those who have never been here and are wondering about everything. Each day those faces take on an entirely new look. It's an amazing thing to watch. God reaches out and touches each and every person who comes here and it's written all over their faces!

After our orientation we returned home and had another meeting with Joel to discuss the plans and work areas for the teams tomorrow. They will be doing everything from mudding and gutting and yard work to hanging sheetrock. As I have said before, "something for everyone".

The PA team will be having their meals prepared for them by Dovie. The MI team brought their own cooks and will handle things on their own. It's a great choice to offer teams and for only $10 per day per person you can have 3 meals a day prepared for you (Monday through Friday).

Tomorrow is also a special day as it's Dovie's birthday. We all love to celebrate special days and this one will be complete with cards, cake and a couple of surprises!

I also heard from Diane and she arrived home safe and sound early this afternoon. She already had one grandchild with her and was headed to see the other two! Today is her birthday and I'm sure her entire family had a very special day planned for her! (Still doesn't make me miss her any less) :(

Tomorrow starts a new week which will no doubt be filled with miracles and blessings. Be sure and stay tuned.

Until then . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Graduation and Goodbye Diane

Yes, we have returned with graduation from missions school completed! The ceremony last night was wonderful and as you can see by the first photo, Ms Faye was there! She made my night! The only sad part is that Mike could not be there. He could use your prayers, again. He is back in the hospital with blood pressure problems. They found him on the floor nearly comatose and admitted him. But there was nothing, and I mean nothing, that would keep Ms Faye from coming!
The single photo of "the shoe" is to prove to some who questioned - - - it is NOT a reflection, there is a white stripe down each side! Stylin' to the max! And you can also see that Monty was asked to speak at graduation last night and did an outstanding job of speaking his heart about what classes had meant to him. "Life changing" was the heart of his message. For those of you who know him well --- you know just how far outside of his "comfort zone" he was, and I only wish you could've been there to see how God moved him and what words of life he spoke! Wonder what the future holds? I have always been known as the one who speaks in public --- look out world!!! Now we both can!!!
We want to thank International Gospel Outreach for the blessing of being students. But something happened to all of us in the class, we became family! We all gathered after the ceremony and had the same thought, "what will we do on Thursday nights?". We have once again added to our family and in that addition we have 2 Spirit filled prayer warriors who have made themselves available to us with just a phone call! Thank you Evelyn and Charlotte -- we love you both! Thanks to Randy and Charlotte, James and Charlene and Bill and Wanda for the blessing they are to everyone who walks in the doors of the school. And most of all, thanks to Anna Merle for becoming our spiritual "mother".
This morning was a tough one for both Monty and I. Diane left for home and saying goodbye to someone who has become our sister was aweful! We know she needs to be home with her family, with her daughters and her grandchildren, but it just doesn't lessen the pain of loss! When we moved from Pascagoula to Gautier and met Diane we had no idea how the 3 of us would become inseparable! I never dreamed I would find another woman with the same heart for the people! Whenever you would see one of us you would know the other two weren't far behind! She will be missed, not only by us but by all the people whose lives she touched so deeply. Diane has grown so much during her mission and we know God has awesome plans for her, wherever she is. We pray we will all be reuinited --- SOON! In the meantime, Bailey, Porsche and Grant --- you better take really good care of Grammy! She is a special lady and we will miss her each and every day she is not here!
Until tomorrow. . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Computer problems!!!

The couple on the left are missionaries to Guana and the couple on the right are in the Phillipines.

Sorry for no journal entry last night. There were some major problems with my computer and Monty was up into the wee hours getting them worked out. It seems there are people who can hack into computers, use them for their own purposes and end up causing problems (to say the least) to the one who has no idea their computer is being used by anyone other than themselves! Amazing how satan can take every single thing in the world and use it in a destructive way! Thanks to Monty's perserverence all is working okay, for the moment.

Last night we had some pretty powerful storms come through and the rains lasted most all night. Once again I see what happens when living below sea level and heavy rains come!! Flooded streets become the norm.

We did have the opportunity to travel to the far west side of the city last night and even walked through a mall! Surprising how real civilization becomes the abnormal site! It doesn't take long to return to what is the norm for us, streets with no people and houses with no life! Even the stray dog that is running around our homes can't understand what is going on!

Most of my day was spent trying to get some paperwork done for the church and Pastor Teresa. It's surprising the things that are lost in the storm. All of the offering envelopes were destroyed. It's those little things that really add up. I was able to contact a printing company across town who agreed to print new ones for a reasonable price. Just the thought of having offering envelopes with the name of the church on them as soon as this Sunday brought a smile to Pastor Teresa's face!

Today Monty and Allen spent the entire day underneath the van that belongs to the church. The brakes had gone out and needed replaced before anyone could drive it. With a couple of trips for parts and a day to devote to it they got it done and ready to go. Not an easy task in the heat and humidity either! But with our teams starting back in this weekend and continuing steadily over the next 2 months it will be needed on a daily basis.

This evening we went to Pastor Teresa's home for dinner, our usual Wednesday night affair. She always has a wonderful meal and a message for us. Tonight she "hit the nail on the head" as some would say. She challenged us to think outside the box when it comes to praying for people, not waiting for them to approach us and ask for prayer, praying for those we might not think of and basically stretching ourselves. She also encouraged us to be ourselves, be who God created us to be. We knew God brought us here, directly to her, for many reasons and each time we meet together we see another reason! She has such a "real" way about her, something not often found in pastors. Having her for our mentor is such an amazing blessing for the both of us!

I want to let you know that we will be "off the air" for the next 2 nights. We will be traveling for our mission school graduation. Although I look at it as an "ending" I know God is thinking of it as a new beginning. It is alot to mentally and spiritually take in, being ordained ministers and graduated missionaries in less than a week! It's given me so much to think about over the past few days, I have felt "different" and to this point I am unable to get my feelings and thoughts into words! Shocking? you think; No, reality!

By the time we return there will be 2 teams of volunteers on their way here, 12 on one team and 54 on the other. Get ready for a fantastic week of blessings and miracles!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, June 18, 2007

Little churches, Big faith

These photos were all taken Friday night. The NJ team had been working in this very small church around the corner from where we are living. They had installed ceramic tile in a room 14 x 15. That may seem like a small task but think again. This church had also been destroyed in the flood, it's located across the street from the levy. At one time the church had actually been a house. It still looks like a house from the outside. NOT on the inside. God lives inside this church and all one need do is step inside and you will know. The pastor and his wife wanted to do something to show their love and gratitude. They invited all of us for a dinner that evening and it was awesome. It gave us all time to laugh, to learn more about the church and to pray with the pastor and his wife.
The top photo is our mother and daughter team from NJ. Captured in a wonderful moment after dinner!
The entire group is in the second photo and the last one is Pastor Mike and Joel praying with the pastor and his wife! Moments in time that will last forever! Those prayers pack such divine power! You can feel it from a distance! The smiles, the thanks and the love are all taken home by each volunteer and will be remembered for a lifetime!
The pastor and his wife were thrilled! They can now not only have church, he has a place for a small office that will also double as a place for the children to meet. (At the moment they have a total of 4 members)!!! Please keep this small church in your prayers! God doesn't look at the numbers, He looks at the hearts! These hearts love the Lord!
How big is your heart?
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Goodbye NJ and KY

Amen and Amen!

This morning both our teams were off on their flights home! None of them were ready to go, which says alot for their hearts!

Both of these teams had stayed at the church in the 9th ward and within a day you would've thought they were all from the same place and had known each other all their lives! It never ceases to amaze me that when God reaches into peoples' hearts He actually unites them! As I have said many times there are two kinds of ministry that happens here. There is the obvious ministry that develops between homeowners and the teams who come in and help them. Then there is the ministry that happens within the team itself. Even though they come from the same church they probably don't know each other all that well. After spending a week where they not only work together, eat together AND sleep together, they know each other VERY well! They become a family! For the rest of their lives they will have the bond that was formed while here! That is just such an amazing thing to watch from our viewpoint, and it happens every single time!

Speaking of bonds- - - the first week of July we will have a hometown team coming to work with us. One of the local senior high schools is bringing their football team and some Youth for Christ. I just found out this evening that one of those on the team who is coming is our own Pastor's son! You just don't know how much that means to us and how exciting it is! Not only is a piece of home coming, it's a very special piece of home! We have promised to provide alot of photos that week so his family will realize just how special he really is! Get ready John, you are about to experience a life changing week - - - I promise!

For any of you who think you might like to come down and experience all that we have spoken about, just let me know with a phone call or comment at the end of the blog and I will get with you as soon as possible. The one and only guarantee we have is that it will change your life!!!!

Make sure you attend the church of your choice tomorrow and thank God for your many blessings!

Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Ordination into the ministry

Yes, both Monty and I were ordained into the ministry as pastors last night! It was the most humbling experience I have ever had! I still have a hard time taking it all in.
The entire conference was wonderful. The first photo shows us with some of the world wide missionaries who were able to come back into the states for this conference. They were from the Phillipines, Kenya, India, Mexico and all over. It was so inspiring to be amoung such men and women of God! They all had the opportunity to tell about some of their missions and show photos. It was an honor to be counted amoung them!
The next photo to the right shows me with the guest speaker who opened the celebration -- yes, it is Lou Brock, famous baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals and winner of I can't remember how many World Series! Both he and his wife are also ordained ministers and have such a heart for missions. I had the opportunity to talk with both of them after the evening and especially with Lou. Our son in law, Tyler, is the head baseball coach of one of our local senior high schools and I just kept thinking how I wish he would have been there with us and had the opportunity to hear Lou's message! Priceless!
The center photo was taken for us by Cindi, a missionary to Kenya. In fact, she took most all the photos last night during the ceremony. We are so thankful to her and were blessed to get to know she and her husband, Anthony, better. We also had meals with DC and his wife, Sona, missionaries in India. Their stories are so inspiring and such a blessing to us.
The last photo was taken as we were being prayed over by the Global Fellowship. As I said, being in the presence of our Lord and Savior in that way was more than humbling yet also energizing. We know God has a plan for our lives and we pray we are obedient to follow.
We are so thankful to the Global Fellowship and to International Gospel Outreach for not only the education we have received but for the family we have gained! We know God had this planned from the beginning and we are so thankful for His plan! If someone would've told me a year ago that this is where we would be in a year . . . !!!!! ?????
We are also so thankful to all of you for your continued prayers and support. Without those prayers we would not have been able to continue in God's calling on our lives. We pray you will continue to pray for us, for strength, for wisdom and for guidance in the newest chapter of our lives.
God's blessings to all until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, June 11, 2007

The heat is on -- HIGH

Yes, the heat is definitely on! Even the weathermen are talking about how the heat is here earlier this year! Oh goody! Today we had a temperature of 96 with the humidity above 50% which makes being outside feel like 108 degrees! Sweat takes on a whole new meaning!
Never mind the heat, the teams were off to work. Illinois took their teens and if you think the heat might slow them down you should see them all playing games outside in the yard as I write! Oh to be young again??
Kentucky was busy in their own heat and the above photos are New Jersey tiling the floor of a tiny church not too far from us. The church currently has 4 members! And the pastor is thrilled at that! As soon as we get this flooring done they will be able to have a space for the children to come on Sunday mornings!
Each team has their own stories each evening. Both the NJ and KY teams are taking advantage of our offer of having all their meals prepared for them while they are here. This evening we were blessed to join them and Dovie had prepared spaghetti with homemade sauce and it was great! It gives us a chance to visit with everyone. The IL team brought their own cooks and they are staying at our other location so they are preparing their own meals. Either way works out as there are complete kitchen facilities at both locations.
We will not be blogging for the next 3 days as Monty and I have our conference to attend where we will be ordained into the ministry. Please keep us in your prayers. This was one of those plans that God already had planned but didn't let us know until the time was right! He has a way of doing that! We are so blessed to be able to take this next step. The only thing missing will be both my parents and Monty's. Moments like being ordained are really special and even more so if your family shares with you. We understand that none of them can be there, the distance is just too far. We know they will be thinking of us and keeping us in their prayers and THAT is priceless!
We will be returning with photos and updating you on how the teams are doing.
Blessings to all until we return . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A couple more photos of the mud out that took place yesterday with the team from IL. One of the bedrooms and the bathroom, shocking aren't they! Not to mention that all the dark color you see on the floor is mud, dried, but mud!

This morning we had the blessing of having all 3 teams with us in worship service. Illinois youth group, New Jersey and Kentucky. NJ and KY are staying at the church location and seem to have become family in only one night. They told us how they all had trouble sleeping last night because they kept waking up feeling the need to pray. So pray they did! They were in the middle of their own worship when we arrived this morning.

After the dinner served at the church we had orientation with NJ and KY teams. From there the KY team did some traveling and NJ headed back to Pascagoula, MS to visit the homeowners where they had worked the last time they were here. They had called Rosemary and she was expecting them. It should have been a wonderful thing for Rosemary to see them as they were the first team in her home, helping her to go through all her things prior to any reconstruction being done. One of those relationship things that will last a lifetime - - on both sides.

The Illinois team had taken the afternoon to spend on a "Swamp Tour". They seemed to be quite tired and hot when they got back this evening but said they had a good time. I must admit that I am not completely certain what one of those tours is but I think the name pretty much says it all! With the temps here nearing the triple digits and the humidity near the same it's no wonder they were a bit on the warm side!

Tomorrow they will all be heading to their work sites. Some of them will be finishing sheetrock, probably doing some hefty sanding from their "learning" day last week! :) Others will be installing ceramic tile in a local church and still others will be hanging sheetrock. There will be others painting and as always, the day will be filled with surprises! God has a way of doing that down here! Sure keeps the days from repeating themselves!

Until then . . . God bless! Susan and Monty

Welcome back NJ team

What a day it has been. And it is Saturday! No such thing as a day off sometimes!
The top 2 photos are where Monty and I started out this morning. We went into the 9th ward to check out a church that the pastor would like to have rebuilt. As you can see by these photos there just isn't much to work with. The outside of the building is coming apart, the floors are completely gone in most places, the walls are so crooked and leaning that the entire building would need to be jacked up and straightened. You can also see that they took the pews, tried to clean them as best they could and then stacked them with the hope of reusing them in a new building. We are at a loss at this point as to which direction we will go. If we tear it down and rebuild it the flood codes will require us to raise the building 3 feet. That's not all that high and would probably be the easiest thing to do but that also requires dollars and there is the problem. Right now the only thing to do is take the entire matter into prayer and see what God has in store. Your prayers would be appreciated also.
The next 4 photos give you some samples of a "mud out". The first left is just the start of the pile of "debris" which is really the entire life of some family. The family is not around, left the city and no one knows if they will return. The home has been sitting with all the belongings and furniture since the storm. The bottom 2 photos tell the story quite boldly! What you see is the kitchen, in case you weren't sure. All the rooms were just as bad. The photo where you see me standing, complete with mask, is the house next door that was done last week. I show it to you so you can get a small idea of what they look like once the mudding and gutting has taken place. I realize this might be shocking to see but please realize that you are only seeing the tiniest bit! This is our reality, this is our everyday, this is why we need help! This is life here, this is what the families came home to see. This was their life, rich or poor, they all came back to the same sites! And this is now nearing the 22 month mark on the calendar! And you thought everything was okay by now! Every single house for over 40 miles looks like this. There wasn't a business, hospital, shopping mall or home left. I only wish I could give you the view we see. The only way to do that is for you to come and see for yourself!
The team doing the mud out was exhausted by mid day and the intense heat wasn't helping matters. We are to reach the 100 degree mark before mid week next week! Combine that with the smell that is beyond description on mud outs and you really see who has the heart of service! Not one of the kids doing this job was complaining! Hearts of servants!
Around noon our team from Kentucky arrived safe and sound. By evening our team from New Jersey returned. Monty and I are especially excited to see them as Pastor Mike and team have been here 3 other times and they ARE family to us and Diane. After getting them settled into their "home" away from home we all enjoyed a great meal together sharing stories of here and there. They just have no idea how uplifting it is for us to have them back, to be able to spend time with them and to see their smiling faces and hearts of love! Both teams will be with us until next Saturday. Pray for their safety as they head out to all sorts of jobs in the area.
Tomorrow is our day to enter into worship and praises to our Lord. We hope you will be doing just that in your home congregation, with your home church families! We all have so very much to be thankful for. Just take another look at the photos above and realize just how much!
Until then . . . Susan and Monty