Can it really be Friday and are they really leaving us? Where did the week go? I still can't believe we had that many team members and it all went so smoothly. BUT . . . we did have 2 injuries -- in 1 day! When we arrived at Trang's house to see how the team was doing in clearing her yard and surrounding lot we saw the bandaging going on in the photo above. Seems he found out that bamboo can be quite sharp, especially when it hits the back of your head. A quick disinfecting, a bandage tied around the head and he was good to go. And her yard was incredible! Then this team reached out even farther -- to the neighbor. Seems he had lived a few blocks down the street and had been evicted due to lack of rent payments -- he's a fisherman and gone for extended periods of time and the landlord just couldn't work around that. So Trang allowed him to move his trailer onto her property, even though he's living there with no power and no water! That is hopefully coming soon. In the meantime this team agreed to go to his old location and clean things up for him -- "love thy neighbor" coming to life! At the end of today his old location was all cleaned up and a local Vietnamese association is coming to offer him help.
The other photo is Butch and Teresa's new deck at their house. The team, along with Butch, did a fantastic job and by the end of the week thought we might want to wait a week before sending another team as Butch was completely worn out!
Monty got in on the act at Archie and Nina's showing some shortcuts in handling 12' pieces of sheetrock when trying to hang them on the ceiling. Archie and Nina cooked up what sounded like the biggest barbeque in Texas for the team today! They all looked like they needed a 2 hour nap after eating! Archie also admitted to them that when they pulled up on the first day he figured they were all too young and inexperienced for any real production to get done -- and he found out he was oh so wrong! The second accident did happen here -- one of the boys was using an axe to chop down a tree and found out what happens when one axe mixes with one leg -- the axe always wins. Just 4 stitches later he was good as new and back at it again today! Oh to be young again?!
The next photo with all the people on ladders leaning up against the house is at Mariano and Maria's. Mariano and his nephew, Nelson, were both working along side the team all day yesterday and today! This is what we love to see -- enough hope coming to the homeowner that what used to seem like a job just too difficult to ever get done now changes into something they can see the end to and something they put their own sweat into! Jesus at work! There was an added blessing today for this family --- the incoming team for next week called to ask if we had a kitchen someplace that needed cabinets. Of course we do -- right here at Mariano's. The deal is this -- the team is bringing a professional cabinet maker (he does this for a living) and he will come down the first day, do the kitchen measurements, return home to north of Houston, make the cabinets in his shop, return to Mariano's and install them by the end of the week -- all as his donation to the cause!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention seeing God's hand lately? When I told Maria about the news she immediately broke into tears, folded her hands and thanked God for answering her prayers!
The last photos are of Victor's new kitchen, cabinets and walls. This Maryland team went the extra few miles and stained the wooden walls Victor had installed, painted the trim and also stained the cabinets to match the existing ones! It transformed the dining room and kitchen and Victor had a smile from ear to ear. He had donuts waiting for them this morning and was richly blessed by the wind chimes the team hung on his front porch as a small gift for he and his family! All who enter will know the love of Jesus as it spills from the kitchen!
Art also bid farewell to the team who have been at his place all week. And he also is exhausted! They got all the plumbing roughed in, the insulation in the flooring and that insulation covered with additional supports of plywood. Art will now take next week to get the rest of the plumbing installed, the electric roughed in and then we will come along and start with interior insulation and walls. He also was amazed beyond words at what volunteers do when they come to help!
The last part of the Virginia team worked at Donnie and Sissi's today -- not doing construction or rebuilding but moving the family into their newly rebuilt home! They carried things from the FEMA trailer to the house probably a hundred times over and were that added blessing that I spoke about earlier. That wasn't in our schedule for this week -- but it was in God's schedule and as long as we are obedient to follow His -- love and joy and peace follow!
As I sit and think about this week I feel both joy and sadness; joy at the way these teams came -only to serve and do whatever needed to be done -- and more. There were no problems, no real confusion, just willingness to do and go above and beyond and to take the extra step into the unknown. The sadness comes from realizing we won't see them tomorrow.
But . . . we will be welcoming a local Texas team tomorrow morning. Once again we will adopt the local park for our morning orientation and welcome those who have also come to do whatever needs done. They are a smaller team and will all be continuing the work at Mariano's. Seeing locals helping locals -- I think God had that sort of thing in mind!
What a week! Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Last night we attended the church service that UMCOR holds every Thursday night for all volunteers in the area. We had been asked to speak and share our story quite a long time ago. It was amazing --- over 200 volunteers gathered outside, in the heat, and worshipped God! We shared our story, prayed with some, talked with more and had a wonderful evening. Lives were touched and changed forever! God at work!!!
Until next time . . . THANK YOU MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA!!! Susan and Monty