Sunday, May 31, 2009

A tough day

I've always said this blog is just my heart being expressed in print.

Today I find myself needing to really !! share my heart.

I'm admittingly having a tough day. Yes, we went to church and it was an awesome message and I did take notes and have re-read them. It's still a tough day.

Change is always difficult. Numerous changes are more difficult. Yes, change is good and God is walking with me the entire way. Yes, this disaster work is a calling from God and I am not second guessing any of that. It's just a tough day.

First, I have told you we are selling our home in Indiana. Even though I know this is God's direction and it's the right thing to do, it's tough. We aren't even able to make the trip home to go through our things deciding what to pack -- we can't even be there to pack it! The original plan was to use one of the spare bedrooms to store our things until we could get home, plans are sometimes made to be changed, and that was one of them. We are now relaying back and forth via telephone what stays as ours and what can either be sold at a garage sale, what can be sold outright to anyone interested and what can be donated to charity. Yes, it's just "stuff" -- but as we learn with disaster survivors -- it's "our" stuff and our lives. It's just tough having someone else do those things.

Second, we are in yet another transition into another organization, learning their ways and making those changes. Yes, those changes are few and they are thrilled to just have us "do what we do" but it's still change. Our location is changed, and will be changing again, the people we see on a daily basis have changed and life in general is just different. Yes, different can be good and can be just what we need -- it's still change. Yes, we are excited about all joining another group and continuing to help the people but it's still change.

Third, vehicle problems can be tough. Yes, we just picked up my truck from being in the shop all week for the fuel pump and problems that go along with that. I drove it one day. The temperature gauge is through the roof and we now discover there is at the least a hole in the radiator! We already have spent more than we have with the first repairs, and he gave us quite the deal. Now we are faced with something even bigger. I know it happens when vehicles get some age on them, they aren't much different than us people, it's still tough! You all know we survive purely on the donations of those who choose to support us and our ministry. Yes, those donations keep us going with daily life. This isn't daily life. No, I'm not asking for money. I am expressing my heart and truths of life out on the road.

Fourth, friends. Traveling as we do sometimes makes having them tough. Yes, I am friends with so many of the homeowners and we have thousands of volunteers who have become friends -- but -- the homeowners have their own difficulties and the volunteers come and go. Sometimes I long for a friend -- a real one -- to just talk about "things" with, one who really knows me and really cares. Yes, Jesus is my friend but I will admit that seeing Him, visually, would make it better sometimes! I think my dogs are tired of listening --even though they would never tell me!!

Fifth, changing churches isn't the easiest thing in the world either. Yes, we are welcomed here probably like noplace we have been before. The hugs and smiles are great, but it's still tough making the change.

Sixth, I miss my children and grandchildren! My granddaughter will turn 1 in a few days and once again, I won't be there. Yes, I'll get the gift in the mail but won't be able to see her open it. Selfish? Some might say so. Those "some" aren't here to fully understand! Do I have a multitude of other children here who don't have grandparents to love and I can help out with that -- of course -- but it's not the same!

Am I having a tough day? You bet!

Will it last? No it won't!

Will God take care of all these things? For sure!

It's still a tough day and I sure could use your prayer covering ramped up a bit more than normal!

Until next time . . .thanks for listening to my heart! Susan and Monty

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Brain Overload

It might be one of those nights where sleep is difficult to come by.

There are so many things running through my head that my brain will not shut off long enough for my eyes to close. So . . . I will write. . .

The past couple of days have literally flown by. Yesterday began with our weekly case management meeting where FEMA came and told us about a new website created for the clients to be able to use to track their own information. It's an awesome site and should be extremely helpful to all. From there I presented another case for funding and was approved. Benjamin and Rita in Galveston will be relieved that now their house can definitely be completed! Thanks Long Term Recovery!

After the meeting we headed off to have a luncheon meeting with Pastor Bob and his secretary, Dana. We had alot of things to go over as they would like for Monty and I to run their incoming teams over the next weeks. Goodness knows we have plenty of work for them and getting it lined up will be a pleasure. The homeowners will be thrilled to have the volunteers come in and bring them another step closer to completion -- some might get all the way there!

The afternoon brought a flurry of phone calls and another chiropractic visit for Monty. Seems he really messed his back up this time and the xrays showed some twists and turns that just aren't supposed to be there!

We were called to go and look at a home in Galveston that needs to be completed in less than 2 weeks. There is a huge event coming to town and as the details come about I'll be sure and let you know. Not a single one of you will want to miss it! Anyway, this family has 5 children, most of them are not biological. They have worked miracles in the lives of these children and yet are still trying to get back into their quite small home. We made a visit and weren't able to meet the homeowners but did meet their "angel" Carissa. She has nearly single handedly done all the work to date and had a smile from ear to ear when we told her we were going to partner up and go for additional funds and help! These people have been such an enormous blessing to these children it's the least we can do!

We also received a phone call asking the both of us to complete 4 home estimates as soon as possible. These homes already have funding behind them but need a materials listing. A local church has committed to sending their volunteers to complete the work but they need to know materials for each. Not a problem, we're to meet with the Pastor next week and will get the estimates done and typed up as soon as possible after that.

Before we realized it we saw the sun setting over the water and realized our day was done. Where did it all go?

This morning we started out with me going to the dentist. Seems one of my fillings has decided it has remained in my mouth long enough and would like to leave -- in bits and pieces! Finding a dentist isn't the easiest thing to do. But I did locate one not too far away and when he heard about our calling he decided to not charge me for the xrays and exam. But I now need that filling replaced and even with a discount it's going to cost a bit . . . it will wait for awhile!

From there we headed into town to pick up my truck that has been in the shop all week. Come to find out the fuel pump was done - along with a couple of other things. OUCH!! But thanks to Austin going over everything it is now running smoothly and I am not concerned about getting stranded along side the road somewhere.

After that stop we headed to another home visit. Art had been referred to us through Victor. Art is a Vietnam Vet and suffers from post traumatic stress and will be entering the hospital in July. He will need to stay a couple of months and would like to see his house a bit farther along before he leaves. He had to remove his old home and build new. This one is raised quite high off the ground and is dried in but needs everything inside. We once again gathered all his paperwork and he will make a materials listing for us to use as our estimate and I will head to the Long Term Recovery to request funds. Art had quite the smile on his face at the thought of not only getting his materials but also some extra volunteer hands to help him with the labor!

As we were heading back we stopped by Paul and Linda's. They already had their paperwork in order and all we need is the estimate to go with it all. That will come next week and here we go again for funding.

If you have lost count --- I have 9 families that just might be ready to be taken to the funding request table next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pray for all of them!

After those visits we headed back into Galveston to actually meet Doug and AJ, the house needing done in less than 3 weeks. We got to meet some of the children and watch them participate by painting their bedroom walls! It was quite the site and to some might have seemed like chaos but to us it seemed like music! We look forward to working with them and getting to know them better.

And then it was evening . . . and emails were stacked up, phone calls still coming in and more notes needing taken to get my own mind in order.

God may have released us in one capacity but He stepped things up and opened a brand new door in another! It's awesome for Monty and I to be working together again, side by side, doing what God called us to do. The energy is flowing back and forth between us again and God is showing up and showing out like never before! He has opened opportunities, He has strengthened His call on our lives and we feel alive and ready to take yet another step out in faith, knowing He is right there and actually walking in front of us paving the way. Will it be easy? Not in some ways. Will it be awesome? You bet! Far more awesome than we can possibly imagine! He's already given us glimpses -- we don't need any more than that!

We're on a journey and it's amazing!

All the while this is going on our house in Indiana has sold. We can't even get the time to go and sort through our things. The homeowners are doing it for us via garage sales, outright sales and donations of what doesn't sell. They even want to put up posters at the garage sales to let everyone know where their dollars will go and how they will be used. I am still trying to locate a storage unit where the new owners can take what few things we are keeping. I should know alot more on Monday. In the meantime we have them sorting through our things and yes, it feels a bit weird. But God has spoken to us to let us know that all is well and He has it all under control. Boy am I glad of that!

What an amazing journey . . . and another chapter is opening wide!

Be sure and keep tuned in . . . every hour brings another page!

Until next time . . . be blessed in all you do. Susan and Monty
PS I wonder if I can sleep now??

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Moving Forward - quickly

My oh my have we been busy! It's difficult to recall everything!

For the past couple of days it's been answering phones, making home visits and answering more phone calls. Some of our homeowners have been a bit confused by the change of things but we have reassured them that we will still be helping them -- we committed to doing so and we're not backing out of our committment to them!

We stopped by Terri's yesterday and took her a copy of a prayer that has been very special and helpful to us. She isn't working at the moment and was catching up on some rest. She sends her thanks to all who have been holding her up in prayer.

Another stop took us to Hai's house. She was happy to hand over some shrimp she had cleaned and frozen for us. Khanh had called me last week and had all sorts of fresh fish. I picked it up and took most of it to Hai. She insisited on cleaning it and us taking some of the shrimp. Now we just have to cook it (cooking fish inside a camper trailer isn't the best thing to do)!!

Vicky called this afternoon to make sure things were progressing forward for her. She has all her paperwork turned in and we are now awaiting an estimate for the remainder of the work needing done on her home before taking it before the funding request committee. She is getting excited that things are moving forward.

We also made a home visit to Paul and Linda. They were a direct referral from the Mental Health group. What an amazing family!! They have taken in 3 teenage boys and done miraculous things with them! Nothing short of angels!! They did what they could do to patch up their home but the roof is leaking, the outside siding is not done and the kitchen needs gutted and redone. Once again they are getting their paperwork in order for me to pick up, get an estimate and take it to the funding table. The only thing that concerns them is that their boys are not embarrassed of their home!!!

Marie is now getting her laminate floors installed. They are a beautiful oak color and she is thrilled. Hopefully everything will be done in a couple of weeks and she will be completely home!

We made a return trip to see about Garaldeen. She took all of her FEMA funds and purchased a new/used mobile home to replace the one that was destroyed beyond repair. She is getting some more paperwork ready and we will also be taking this one to funding to get the electric and plumbing run to the trailer, a couple of decks built and call them in and safe. We might need to do a ramp on the deck as it looks like Joe will need his other foot operated on and those toes also amputated!

The last thing on our agenda for today was finding a chiropractor! Usually this is one of the first things we do when we relocate and this time it just didn't happen. Monty was in misery with mid back pain and after having a heart attack at the age of 39 any time there is chest pain, no matter where it originates, it's not a good thing. God has a way of watching over us and providing just what we need at the exact time we need it --- Monty stopped in the gas station and was asking the clerk if they knew of a good chiropractor when the lady in line behind him said she was one! She welcomed to her office the next hour and he is now feeling much better. He will need to return tomorrow as he was quite the mess!

Tomorrow morning is our weekly case management meeting and I will be presenting Benjamin and Rita's case for funding approval. I pray I have all my ducks in a row and all will be approved and they can then get the funds to bring that home to completion. It can be tricky getting papers ready but I think I'm there.

Once again, we thank you for all your support -- and once again as we make yet another transition in this ever changing world of disaster relief! Another chapter is being born!

Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty
PS Hope you noticed the new and updated photo of the both of us -- taken by Marie's daughter, Amy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Special Prayers

It's been quite the stormy day around here. It all started during church and continued off and on throughout the afternoon and evenings. Storms are always a special adventure when you live in a camper trailer! :)

This morning we attended San Leon Community Church and it was awesome to see so many friendly faces. Mercy was there, Clarice with her daughter and granddaughter, Jeannie, Richard and Peggy, Mr Carl (Hai's neighbor) and his wife Brenda, Terri and so many other faces we know and have grown to love.

I have a couple of very special prayer requests this evening. First is Richard and Peggy. His emphazema is causing more and more difficulty with breathing. He has only been able to work sporadically and even that is tough. Peggy slipped on their bathroom tile floors and dislocated her shoulder so it's now in a sling and making daily tasks quite tough.

The second request is for Terri. She has decided to put the rest of rebuilding her home on hold as her health problems have escalated. She has an artery blockage in her neck, trouble with leg veins and heart problems that have all occurred along with her other health problems. She was in tears as she spoke with us. She feels she needs to "put her affairs in order" and put the house on hold. It was tough to hear but understandable.

Both of these homeowners need our prayers for healing, for strength and for comfort. When we are our weakest God is at His strongest and that strength is what they need right now. I know the strength of all of your prayers and thank you ahead of time for them.

Be blessed over this holiday weekend and let us remember to pray special blessings on all of our military who have, and continue, to make it possible for all of us to enjoy our freedoms!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, May 23, 2009


And here I thought we would be without internet!!!! What was I thinking? Is there anyplace in the world without it anymore!

I know you have been wondering what is going on -- why the mystery -- questions with no answers! God has been working, and surprising us!

This past Tuesday we were taken a bit by surprise at our staff meeting. Turns out Mercy Response is going to do some "restructuring" and our "services are no longer needed." Like I said, we were a bit surprised but also knew God was opening a new door for us -- a new adventure -- a new chapter in our walk with Him.

These past few days have been filled with unfolding blessings, new horizons and uncertain details.

Many questions still remain unanswered but one thing we do know -- we are continuing in disaster ministry and will not be walking away from what God has called us to do.

We are currently taking some time off, time to put things together, time to spend with God and time to restructure ourselves. We have had offers from numerous relief efforts here, all begging us to stay and join forces with them. There is so much work to be done and so many relationships have formed -- and isn't God all about relationships?

Many things are in the works -- if you are one of the homeowners we have been helping -- know that we are NOT walking out on you! Your home WILL get done! Diane will see to that! Mercy Response is not closing their doors -- they are still working with teams and working on homes. They will be relocating their warehouse and taking a look at what the future holds -- as do all of us from time to time.

We are so thankful to God for always knowing just where He is leading us and His promise that He will direct us. When Monty and I stepped out in faith back in December of 2005 to start this disaster ministry we stood on those promises and remain standing on them today.

We are excited about the future -- we have great plans --we know where God is leading us and we know we will follow.

For all of you who have been praying for us and helping support us -- we are blessed beyond measure because of you! Just know that God has opened a wonderful door for us to continue in this ministry -- be sure and stay tuned as the final details are made -- as we have them you will have them!!!!

"The body of Christ coming together."

Until next time . . . be blessed and have a great Memorial weekend! Susan and Monty

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ta - Da, kitchen and bath

Marie's house is changing by the minute. She is getting a bathroom that looks like a bathroom and a kitchen that also just might be able to be used as a kitchen!! And she smiles, praises God, thanks the teams and works in her yard and garden -- all with the love of Jesus in her heart! The team is working hard, spending days in the attic in not so cool temps just to make sure her attic is insulated and her electric bills will stay low. They don't complain about the sweat dripping from their brows, they just do the work. The women learn how to cut and hang sheetrock and anything else that needs done.
The rest of their team along with Gregg, Pam and Phillip are working away at getting Benjamin and Rita's floors all tiled. Another week of spending all their time on their knees and all they do is smile as they tell about their day!
Our world changes by the minute . . . all for the good and each step we see God's hand directing us. I would like to send Him a watch or something as His timing isn't quite like ours! :)
He is all powerful and continues to just "bless our socks off."
We will need to be off line for a couple three days while in some transition so please make sure you stay tuned.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Changes . . .

God sure has a sense of humor, doesn't He?!

Things are a changin' and those changes are big!

We don't have details right now but we will be sure and let you know as they come about.

Just be sure and stay tuned!!! God is awesome!

On a side note, remember that the team left Marie with a real lamp with a real lightbulb in it at the end of yesterday -- her first electricity since the storm. When the team returned this morning Marie told them she had to turn the lamp off last night and use her lantern because it was too bright!!! :) It's the lowest type of flourescent bulb out there!!!! :)

Until next time . . . Be blessed. Susan and Monty

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Luke

Yesterday we arrived back at camp and were welcomed by Mark, our returning team of one from Las Vegas. He was here before with the team and decided to come back and spend a couple of weeks helping out again.

We did get some very much needed rest while we were away. Many have asked us what we did while we were gone and our response is "nothing!" It's why we went away in the first place. We did watch some movies on tv and enjoyed not rising each morning at 5am! But as with all breaks, they come to an end. Actually, I was ready to come back! I missed my homeowners!

Later in the day we were joined by a team of six from North Carolina and also the return of Gregg and Pam from South Dakota! It was so great to have them return for another couple of weeks! They've spent so much time with us over the past years that they are definitely family!!

This morning all were up and headed to Galveston to work. They were divided into two teams, one to Marie's to get some kitchen gutting done, Monty to get the final electric done, sheetrock hung in the bathroom and all sorts of odds and ends. The other group headed to Benjamin and Rita's to start the ceramic tile on the floors. Yes, once again Gregg and Phillip will be working on their hands and knees! I am in the process of applying for additional funding for this couple and just need some documentation from FEMA and will be ready to meet with the financing committee and hopefully get a signed check for all the remaining materials! Pray it will be just that simple!

I have spent the entire day getting caught up on paperwork. I still can't believe how quickly it accumulates and after being gone . . . It's been a successful day and I feel much better now. I have 5 families that need additional funding and preparing all that paperwork and getting all those ducks in a row isn't difficult -- just time consuming. As soon as FEMA gets me my paperwork I'll be ready to roll. I've already called the long term recovery to let them know I'm coming!!

I also received a phone call from Pastor Bob's church secretary in San Leon. They have multiple teams coming in over the next 2 months and would like for us to organize and head up those teams to work in the San Leon area. What a blessing for us! And even more of a blessing for the homeowners! I plan on meeting with her in the next couple of days to introduce them to the paperwork they need and hopefully get some great plans underway! It's all about everyone and every organization working together or else we all fail and the homeowners are the ones who suffer!

Today is a bit tough for me for another reason -- our grandson turns 4 years old today! We missed his party and those times hurt my heart! I know he's just fine but it still hurts! We sent him his first Bible as a gift and pray he will be able to understand the stories. He's attending a Christian preschool and loved the Easter story -- as a 4 year old! Precious!

Monty and I also have the news that we have sold our home in Indiana! Yes, we could be counted among the homeless I guess. Some have asked us about where in the world our home will be and we tell them we travel with our home, it has wheels and has become our true home! It is a bit strange to sell the home we have lived in for the past 14 years but God told us it was time and He's always right. We aren't even going to be there to go through things -- the homeowner is one of my best friends' daughter so she and her mother will go through things and store them in one of the spare bedrooms that they don't need right now! Another God directed thing! When the time comes we will make it back and get things moved -- somewhere . . .
Where our "home" will be . . . we have trusted in God all these years and will continue to see where He leads us.

Until next time . . . Happy Birthday Luke! We love you and miss you!
Grandma and Monty

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Working" vacation????

Yes, even though we aren't in our trailer at camp the phones still ring and yes -- I have to answer!

The past couple of days have been thought provoking, to say the least.

Yesterday I received a call from someone on a past team asking if it was "all over" down here -- we didn't still need help, did we? It struck a cord in me -- and not a good one! I was courteous but yet let him know it was a long way from "over" and even years from now it won't be "over." Maybe he'll come with a team!

Another call from another organization who has and hopes to continue donating funds to the local Long Term Recovery organization here. They would like for Monty and I to meet them at Marie's house tomorrow --- to visibly show these donors what it's all about. They need to actually see a home being rebuilt -- to hear about the process and to know that it's not "over" and their funds are desperately needed to continue. And yes, even though we are supposed to be "off" this week -- we will certainly be there!

Yet another call came from an organization planning on coming to the San Leon area in June and want to take on the rebuilding of Mercy's house. It's been quite some time ago when I told you about Mercy. She lives in a double wide mobile home with her 5 children. Her latest doctor appointment resulted in the news that she will be loosing a kidney to cancer. She still comes to Pastor Bob's church every single Friday morning and helps hand out food to those who wait in line just to get their basic needs met!! Her home needs a new roof, siding, insulation underneath, skirting, windows sealed, ceilings in 2 rooms repaired and the kitchen sink cabinets and flooring replaced. This team is planning on bringing 62 volunteers with them along with a few funds. We were blessed to be approved for funds through the long term recovery but haven't been able to find the volunteers to go and do the work --- I think I see God's hand in things again!!!! It's another one of those "His timing" things and it was such a blessing to just be able to talk with him on the phone. We will start putting together materials and plans immediately next week!

So "is it all over?" some might ask---far from it! Do we need the additional funding that sources can supply? Without a doubt! Do we still need the teams of volunteers to come? Positively!

The calls for help continue to come in. The needs are there. It's up to us to know and tap into the available resources. It's up to YOU to come and help.

Time off? Yes, we've sat by the pool for a short time, we've eaten a couple of nice meals -- and the phones still ring and we still take information and we still continue the calling God has placed on our lives!

Time off? You've got to be kidding! :)

Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Monday, May 11, 2009

Taking a break

You might have to click on the photos and enlarge them to see what they really are, down underneath! Monty and I went to downtown Houston on Saturday for the Art Car Parade. It was quite the site. The parade lasted a full hour and one after another they came by, some causing heads to turn and wonder what was really underneath it all. We had a great time but the sun and temps of over 90 made the long walk back to the car a bit tough!
This week we are taking a break. After the convention and outreach last week Mercy Response had already pre-planned and closed the camp for this week. I have mentioned before that they have a policy that all long term volunteers are to take a week off every quarter. This is our week! We didn't want to drive for a long distance so we just drove to Galveston and will be staying here for the week. Nothing planned except some much needed rest! We might take a walk? We might find our way to the water? And we might just do nothing? The main activity will be doing just what Jesus did when He got tired . . . rested!
Mother's Day was nice, I got a phone call from each of my children. It's always good to hear from them and know they are doing okay. We also spoke with each of our mothers and are happy to know they are also doing fine. Being so far from all of them, and our grandchildren, can be tough on holidays that are usually spent with family!
Just a quick update on Hai . . . I talked with her Saturday night and she is doing what she always does -- move forward. She has a friend who will be installing her sink and doing some kitchen touch ups. She herself has finished the tile grouting and sealing and will be ready for us to return next week and hopefully get most everything done and move closer to getting her moved in. She also has someone who is looking at the air conditioning system and might be able to do the work. Pray that we get the volunteers we need to get not only her home done but Marie's as well.
As we take this break this week we ask for your prayers, prayers for the rest we need, prayers for the re - energizing we need to continue in God's calling. As the temps rise along with the humidity it can get tough working construction. Pray for teams to continue to come and help those who are still suffering such loss. Pray for the families to know God's direction and love for them.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thanks Pastor Dave

The amazing black widow spider that welcomed us yesterday morning -- she's one of quite a few Monty has found around here! Beautifu -- but -- now dead!
You can see Khanh and his wife in front of their brand new refrigerator!!!! Behind them is the stove and beside them is their washer and dryer. The bath vanity cabinet was broken so Lowes will be returning with another one next week, complete with sink and faucet set. Khanh was nearly beside himself trying to express his appreciation! He can now head to Louisiana to get some shrimping done and hopefully bring in some income to support his family! It was especially nice as Pastor Dave was with us when we stopped by!
Yes, the convention is now over and I returned Pastor Dave and Pastor Jeff to the airport this morning. It was with a blessed yet heavy heart that I drove them there. Blessed because of the amazing blessing Pastor Dave was for us while he was here. Blessed that we could spend some time with him, take him on a tour of the San Leon area and let him see first hand what God is doing there! Heavy hearted because he had to return home. As you well know, it's always extremely difficult for us to say goodbye to people from home, but this was worse. Pastor Dave may be our Pastor but he is also our deepest friend! We are so thankful to those who made it possible for him to come and be here at a time when we really needed him! YOU know who you are!!! :)
The convention is done. The cleanup from the outreach is 99% done. The trailers, the vehicles, the smoker, the pots, the pans, the tents, the coolers, the mess and everything else that went with it are now back at camp and will be sorted through at another time!
This evening we celebrated Marty's birthday with a nice dinner out, complete with the wait staff singing happy birthday.
This evening we all try and get a bit of rest.
This evening we miss Pastor Dave!
Until next time . . . be blessed . . . and thanks to Lisa for sharing him with us! Susan and Monty

Thursday, May 07, 2009


From the beginning of set up -- very early in the morning -- to the take down and clean up --late in the evening -- the day was phenominal!!!!
The pictures can't even give you the full scope of all that happened. The not so final tally --- over 850 volunteer workers, over 2500 people from the community that attended, over 900 prayed for and 11 that gave their heart to the Lord while there!!! Not bad for a 4 hour event!!! God showed up and showed out big time!!
From the blessed welcome to the free groceries, to the meal of BBQ pork loin and jambalya and salad and rolls and brownies and drinks to the free haircuts to the free family portraits to the kids zone with more games and toys that Disney World (almost) to the prayer tent to the free health screens to the community service tent that offered free legal advise --- it was incredible and more than busy!
Some came and got some free things and left, others stayed the whole time, and still others were coming in after we had completely torn it all down and were trying to head home!
The faces tell the story -- everyone smiling, even through the over 90 degree temps and sun bearing down on us!
We are so thankful to the Vineyard Churches for their participation. This is the week of their National Conference and they all came and spent a day serving others in one of the most practical ways possible -- just love on them and pray with them and smile!
We thank Convoy of Hope for coming and guiding us all through this amazing outreach! They do around 50 of these a year, all throughout and not only in disaster areas! What a blessing to all they touch!
Today is the final day of the conference. Monty and I are choosing to miss this mornings session (this blog needed to get out and my feet need a rest) but we will be picking up our own Pastor Dave for lunch and taking him on a tour of the San Leon area where we have been doing the most work. We will all gather for the final session of the conference this evening.
Today is also the day Lowes will be delivering the appliance to Khanh -- who was in tears when I made the phone call to let him know today was the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"This is the day the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and be glad in it."
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Only hours away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The hours are flying by, they are turning into days and each day draws us nearer to tomorrow!!!

I have to begin with the awesome blessing we have -- our home Pastor (Dave) is here with us for the conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot begin to tell you what an amazing thing that is for Monty and I!! He has never been able to come anyplace where we are working and having him here -- at this time -- is God's perfect timing! We picked him up at the airport yesterday morning and then returned to pick up his friend from Evansville, IN who also came for the conference. We had some time to talk and be filled up and it is awesome to see him every day! Lisa -- we sure would like to keep him a few days longer!!!???

Yesterday was spent getting people and things back and forth between here and Galveston. It was a super busy day and it ended with the beginning of the convention. What an amazing beginning! It opened in the evening with worship and the guest speaker, Burt Wagoner, the head of the Vineyard. He had an amazing message and we all left feeling filled up.

This morning started bright and early with heading back to Galveston for the morning session, complete with worship. We had a woman guest speaker who brought us all to some much needed realization and received a standing ovation -- despite stepping on all our toes!

From there it was direct to the outreach team leaders meeting and then to the site to continue the preparations. The tents were going up, the kitchen area and stage being created, table and chairs being set up, orange fencing being put up -- you name it and it's happening. The city is starting to take notice and the more they notice the more will be there. I didn't have my camera with me today but sure will tomorrow!

After numerous trips back and forth we were back and had a whole hour to prepare ourselves for a dinner invite from the Convoy of Hope guys who were in town. They are such wonderful friends and family and we always enjoy seeing them and getting to spend time with them! Each one is a mountain of wisdom and we love soaking up all we can. They will be heading home tomorrow and we will miss them so much!

Today was also a big day -- the power was turned on at Marie's house!!!!!!!!!!!! We only have a few things to finish up the punch list and she will be able to turn on her lights! The second part of the big day was receiving the funding to purchase the appliances for Khanh and his family!!!!! They will be delivered on Thursday and I am hoping to be able to be there when the Lowes truck pulls up! Maybe we can even have Pastor Dave with us!!??

Tomorrow we will all be up earlier than usual and headed to the outreach. Even though it doesn't begin until 2pm there is much to be done and we are excited to see what God has in store for everyone. Be sure and stay tuned to see for yourself. I may be so exhausted that there will only be pictures but will do my best to let you see for yourself.

Please keep all of us in your prayers. The temps are to be in the low 90's and that is quite warm! Please pray for the community that they will come for the food and leave with the Bread of Life!

Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Setting Up Begins

Back and forth and back again. Yes, we were all in the mode of transferring things to the outreach site in Galveston.

We started bright and early with the loading of the flatbed trailer. All sorts of things went on but mainly the large tent pieces. It will be put together with the rest of the tents on Tuesday.

Phil and Phillip spent the day wiring for all the power that will be needed on site. The food will take quite a bit along with the stage for the live music.

We got the trailer unloaded along with the truck filled with wood for the smoking of the meat. From there we headed to Lowes to pick up the pallett of water they donated. We also had lumber to pick up for the sound stage. Strapping a pallett of water on a flatbed trailer isn't easy but Monty got it done.

We headed back to camp with the trailer, parked it and hooked up the 5th wheel that belongs to Mercy Response, the one Diane is living in. We took it back down to the site, it will be used as the command post and a place where those who might get overheated can go to get out of the heat. The forecast now says sunshine and 90 degrees!

When we returned to camp we met up with Marty again. He just returned from Greenwood, Indiana and will be here for another 3 weeks. He, Monty, Phil and Phillip started loading the UHaul truck in preparation for its trip south.

Diane and I headed out to Walmart where we picked up another 10 coolers to go with the 6 purchased the other day. With temps that high and volunteers numbering near 900 (yes, 900) we need to make sure we have more than enough cold water on hand.

By the time we got back it was past dinner time and I had Priscilla (Nathan's hairdresser wife) waiting to give me a much needed trim. Phillip also got one and now we both look a bit less "scruffy." Thanks Priscilla!

Diane headed out to spend the evening and tomorrow with her family, Phillip headed home with his dad and Monty and I headed to the showers. Marty joined us for dinner and all 3 of us are more than tired -- but I still need to get some laundry done -- working as we do creates quite the dirty clothes!

Tomorrow we look forward to church and an afternoon of rest? We can always hope anyway!

Until next time . . . be blessed with a morning of worship tomorrow! Susan and Monty