Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Next week the National Convention for Vineyard Pastors will be held in Galveston. It was scheduled before the storm and they decided to keep it there. We're really glad they did as we hope it will raise some awareness and let the Pastors see first hand what happens in a disaster and what Mercy Response is involved in.
The convention will start on Tuesday and end on Friday. Part of the schedule required each Pastor to sign up to play a part in the "Renew Galveston Festival" that will be held on Wednesday. Together with Convoy of Hope we will be throwing a huge outreach for the community. It will include a hot meal, BBQ smoked pork loin with the fixins, a free kids zone with all kinds of things to keep them busy and wrapped up in fun, groceries to be taken home, a health fair with all sorts of things going on, haircuts, a prayer tent, live music and more. And the best part -- it's all FREE!!!! Yes, not a single penny will be charged! Monty and I have participated in outreaches like this in the past and its absolutely amazing to see the faces of those being blessed and having so much fun.
BUT -- there is alot of planning that must take place beforehand. Diane has been working on this for a couple of months now and the time is ticking. Today we all headed to the school where the outreach will take place. We took our chemicals and covered the block with fire ant killer. These are quite the nasty insects here and can wreak havoc on a persons feet within seconds. We shouldn't have any trouble with them now! It was more than a bit warm but we "got er done".
From there Monty and Phillip headed back to camp to get the BBQ wagon ready to be transported. One of the burners isn't working properly but the company assured us it will be ready and corrected in time.
Diane and I headed out to cover more local businesses with our flyers. She and others took over 6,000 flyers into the schools last weekend and the phone calls for information have already started.
Monty and I are especially excited as our own Pastor Dave will be coming down for the convention and we hope to get to spend some time with him and take him on a tour of homes.
These next days will be filled with preparations along with continuing the work in homes. Hai understands all that is happening and content to wait for it all to calm down. Marie is also her usual patient self. Victor's team continued putting on his new roof today, we actually made it through the day without rain!!! Praise the Lord! They will be back there again tomorrow.
Please keep this convention, all the Pastors and all the volunteers in your prayers.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Yesterday was the day where teams do everything they can to "finish" what they started. This is always tough on most teams as they won't finish -- we try to get that point across in the orientation but it's still against everything we know. We are taught that if we don't finish what we started we didn't do a good job. That just doesn't work here in the disaster field. They furthered what the team before them did and prepared for the next incoming team. Their part is critical -- and still tough!
Our engineering college students who decided to spend their spring break working instead of laying on some beach somewhere all headed back to school this morning. They did finish Margie's new deck and ramp! Quite the accomplishment considering it wasn't a small project! We were sad to see them leave, especially knowing Stevo wasn't feeling well. He wasn't the only one, Phillip has been in bed all day with an upset stomach! Prayers for healing definitely needed!
Ryan and his friend, Travis headed off to San Antonio for the weekend to do some sightseeing before returning Sunday night and working Monday. Ryan will be on a plane headed back to Wisconsin on Tuesday morning and Travis will return to his home in Houston. Ryan says he's praying that his flight will be delayed so he can stay! If that flight had been today it most definitely would have been delayed -- the storms have been constant and we are totally flooded -- everywhere! Stepping out of our trailer will put us in atleast 4 inches of water --- and it hasn't stopped! In fact -- we are under a tornado warning right now! Yes, a warning! They are different here than in the midwest. They issue a warning when they realize one could pop up any minute. This close to the water causes advance warnings to come early -- to keep our heads looking toward the sky. The worst of that storm has passed us and is in Galveston as I write or I wouldn't be on the computer!
Matt and Jess, from Wisconsin, are staying until tomorrow and working at Hai's today. They hope to do some more grouting and possibly find out where her leak is in the ceiling? It seems to be coming from the roof itself and since it's a new roof??? Monday will tell us why.
Matt and Jess also had a huge surprise for Hai when they arrived -- they had stopped along the way and bought her a brand new lawn mower! For those of you who have been there you know just how much she needed one! And what an amazing blessing!!!
As I write this Matt and Jess just returned to camp and had quite the adventure -- all roads are flooded, standing water and cars under -- every direction they turned was water -- but they finally made it!
We also have water issues in that the church is flooding along the outside walls! The city park next to us is completely under water also! I can't even guestimate how much we've had today but if someone reported nearly 10 inches I would believe it!
We are glad the team made it out when they did and we pray for safe travel as they head back north!
Until next time . . . be blessed and stay dry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Susan and Monty
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
His team cancelled out on him at nearly the last minute but he was committed and came as a team of one.
He planned on staying for one week. God touched his heart and he listened and extended his stay for another week.
It was one of the first times his wife was without him!
He tiled floors, he grouted floors, he painted walls and he jumped in with Monty to work out the kinks in electric. He did whatever was asked and smiled and laughed and showed the love of the Lord to not only Hai but to her children who are crying for attention.
But most of all he ministered to both Monty and myself! He and his team came and worked with us last summer in Indiana and we knew from the start that he was a special friend destined to become family. Seeing him again, getting to spend so much time with him again, laughing together and working through some more than difficult times -- all were a blessing just because he was here with us!
To his wife, Lindsay -- we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for not only sharing your husband with us but for understanding the calling God has placed on his heart. He is a very special man with a very special talent for that calling. God has big plans for him -- for the both of you! He places us with our mates for all sorts of reasons, some we understand and others that leave us shaking our heads but realizing it's the perfect match to bring about the perfect balance in each others lives.
We miss Timothy already but we also know we will see him soon. God brought us all together as family and we are so very thankful!
For those of you who have emailed and commented and called with your response to Hai's salvation -- bless you for seeing the work of the Lord! Make sure you stay tuned for the pictures of her baptism next Sunday!
We pray you all have a wonderful and blessed Easter. I received a phone call from my daughter this evening and she was telling me my grandsons understanding of Easter. He is nearly 4 years old and in preschool. He came home with his colored picture of Jesus with the words "He is risen" at the top. She asked him to tell them the story he learned from school and this was it: Three bad men killed Jesus. They put him in a cave and some men came and put a lock on the cave so Jesus couldn't get out. An angel came and opened that lock so Jesus could get out. Then the angel went and told all her friends! Precious and just as Jesus says, "the faith of a child." It brought both a smile and tears as I listened to her and listened to him thanking me for the Cars stickers we sent him in his Easter card! My heart aches being away from them, not being there to see them grow and change. I pray they have a wonderful and blessed Easter!
To all of you -- have the faith of a child on Easter -- hearing the story for the millionth time yet hearing it for the first time! The awe, the amazement and the joy of what Jesus did for all of us!
Until next time . . . HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! Susan and Monty
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Mercy Response says "the thing is not the thing", we tell volunteers that the rebuilding of the homes is secondary to the ministry that happens with homeowners, we encourage volunteers to drop their tools if the homeowner comes in and wants to talk or share their story, we've all heard the saying about preaching the gospel using words if necessary . . . all for a reason, all for a purpose!
A few weeks ago I had a volunteer come to me about a homeowner, telling me that homeowner did not know Jesus and asked me what I was going to do about it! My answer was to roll up our sleeves and SHOW them Jesus! He looked both puzzled and disappointed. He was ready to preach -- using words!
This week we have seen transformations that are nothing short of miracles. You all know that Hai is raising her 5 children alone. Her life is filled with turmoil, sadness, feelings of being alone, confusion, fear, loss . . . all together on any given day. She has been telling us that her 4th child, Peter, doesn't talk. They try and try to get him to do so but nothing! This week he spoke, and he spoke and he continued to speak. Phillip has been both laying tile flooring and grouting -- yet he has taken the time to spend with both Peter and Daniel -- time individually with them -- and Peter started talking! Miracle 1.
Daniel is only 2 years old and more than a handful. I think he alone could give the Super Nanny a run for her money! He is the 5th child, his father is gone, his home is gone, his mother is wearing more hats than the local hat shop and he is lost in the shuffle of it all. The only way he figures he can get attention (and have it work every single time) is to act out -- to be a trouble maker. He has thrown an egg through the open window onto the new tile floor, he has run his car through the newly painted walls, he has taken white paint and smeared it where it doesn't belong -- and a number of other things! This week he has been listening to Timothy, Phillip and Monty. He hasn't acted out with any of them. He has laughed and played and been quite a different little boy. Miracle 2.
Early this evening I received a phone call from Pastor Bob. He was in tears and just had to tell me what had just happened with Hai. I was afraid of what he was going to say and braced myself. He told me that she had just left his church (she isn't a member there but goes there for most any kind of assistance) As she was finishing faxing her paperwork she started telling him about all the volunteers that have come to help her. She talked of their devotion, their work, their smiles but most of all their love. She just kept telling him about it. He asked her what her relationship was to the Lord. Her answer, "I'm Catholic." He followed by asking her "if you were to die tonight are you certain you would go to heaven?" Her answer was a resounding "NO!" He ministered to her, they prayed and she gave her life to the Lord! They both prayed again, both with tears of joy! She will be baptized a week from this Sunday -- we WILL be there!
He wanted us to know. We want YOU to know! Those of you who have come and worked in her home, those of you who came and knew her even though you were working in someone else's home -- those of you who have never been here, have only seen her picture here on the blog -- those of you who have prayed for her! THIS is God! THIS is why we are here, why we started in this disaster "ministry", why we continue doing what God has us do and why we plan on continuing to do what He has called us to do for as long as He has us do it! THIS is what being the hands and feet of God is for! THIS is IT! Miracle 3!
The angels are rejoicing, God is smiling -- He welcomed one very special child into His family today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Until next time . . . be blessed! Susan and Monty
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
Before and after photos of Terri's house -- quite the improvement!
It was a weekend packed with things to do. Most of my Saturday was spent at the computer trying to get caught up. I did get alot done but still had alot to do, paperwork just never ends does it?! Monty did take a couple of hours and go fishing but it seems nothing was biting.
Timothy and Phil Jr headed up north to help Phil Sr get a platform built in a local church. It was dinner time before Timothy returned. Phil stayed to spend the weekend with his family.
Sunday found Diane under the weather with a cough that just won't let up so she decided to not go to church. She did get some sleep and was doing a bit better today. We were sad to bid another goodbye to Gregg and Pam as they headed home to South Dakota. They decided to leave their camper trailer here as they plan on returning in a few weeks and a blizzard was happening over many of the areas they would be traveling through. We pray for their safe arrival home and another safe trip back to us! Timothy, Monty and I had a quick lunch and decided to use a few of the free NASA tickets that were purchased for us by one of our past teams. It was a beautiful day although the winds picked up and nearly blew us away. We spent the entire afternoon there and it was awesome -- brought back alot of memories and taught me alot of things I never realized. We got the see the main command center and that was really neat. It was a trip that could have taken all day but we just ran out of time. Thanks to the team who was so generous as to purchase the tickets so we could go when time allowed.
Today had us loading one of our trailers with items to donate to Pastor Bob's church for their Easter outreach this coming Saturday. We took trash bags, hygiene kits, water and more hygiene items. It should be a great day, fun for the kids and gifts for everyone. We are blessed to have played such a small part.
Monty, Timothy and Phil headed off to Hai's house. Monty and Timothy were tackling some electrical issues while Phil continued tiling the bedrooms. They worked until late in the day and were back quite late for dinner. Progress continues one step at a time.
Diane and I spent our day with Phil, book work, paperwork and financial work! We made it through everything we needed to get through and I even got a bit more of my own paperwork caught up with! Amazing!
The team we had scheduled for this week cancelled so it's just the 5 of us making our own team! It has caused us to have to step out of a few homes this week but we pray the teams coming in next week will grow in size and we will be back to spreading as many blessings to as many homeowners as possible.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty