Friday, July 31, 2009

Thanks North Carolina AND Colorado

These past couple of days have been whirlwinds! Yesterday we said goodbye to our Colorado team as they took Hank, Cherie and Blake for a day at the waterpark. It was a day to keep them from working, to keep them from even thinking about working. A day to play, a day to laugh and a day to deepen relationships and say goodbye at the same time.

Cherie called me today to say how awesome the day was. It worked! They didn't even think about working, rebuilding or the hurricane. Thanks team -- thanks for going the extra mile - for everything you all did in a few short days! God WILL return the blessings and we hope you return to work with us again.

This evening we bid farewell to our North Carolina team. We missed doing so with Jim as he headed home a bit early. Jim -- we thank you for everything but most of all for touching the heart of a small 4 year old little girl!

This team worked up to the last minute and what they accomplished over this past week is phenominal. The house is completely sided and trimmed and caulked and is ready for primer and paint. The inside walls are all sheetrocked and also ready for priming and painting. The newest bedroom is framed, insulated, a new window added and sheetrocked. The kitchen sink is in and ready to go, the bath vanity and toilet are also in and ready for use. Al, our AC guy returned today and will be there again tomorrow and most likely be all done. We still have a few electrical things going on and hopefully will have the service reconnected next week and all systems will be "go" from there.

Maria was up and out very early this morning cleaning up the yard, back and front. This afternoon all the children were brought a special surprise by the team -- brand new backpacks filled with school supplies! It was amazing to watch the smiles come over their faces as they saw their backpack, in their favorite color - and then to see all the goodies inside. Little Maria spent the rest of the afternoon blowing bubbles (an added gift in the bags).

We were blessed to join the team for a homecooked dinner this evening and Wayne shared a devotion with all of us -- the heart of God! This team touched the heart of Maria and her children and in that - touched the heart of God and put a smile on His face. That I know for sure! We are so thankful and are so sad to see yet more new family members leave us!

Monty and I would also like to express our deepest thanks to all of you who have commented on this blog, commented on NBC Brian Williams' blog, emailed, called and texted your supportive words and immense amounts of love! You have ALL touched our hearts and we don't have enough appropriate words to say thank you! We are humbled by your love and support and will repeat what we have said before -- it may have been our faces out there but . . . YOU are the forces behind us and without YOU there would be no "us".

We love you, we thank you and we are honored to serve on your behalf!

Until next time . . . be blessed. We sure are! Susan and Monty

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quick Answer

THANK YOU!!! so much to all who have called, commented on this blog and emailed us with your response to the NBC Nightly News segment!

We are humbled by your love and want you to know that we might have been the ones "seen" but it's due to those "unseen" making it all possible!

We have had numerous questions about the same topic - our funding. Please go to the very top paragraph here on the blog (it's in navy blue) for the information you are seeking.

Once again -- THANK YOU so much! God is so awesome in His plan for our lives! We hope and pray the news segment brought a smile to your face and in doing so brings a song to His heart!

Be blessed. Susan and Monty

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NBC Nightly News

Today started -- and ended -- with a bang!
We all know that a phone call very early in the morning usually doesn't bring good news. Maria and children were calling to say their mother dog and all 8 puppies (5 weeks old) had been killed by another dog! Only Monday had they moved them outside to their own little spot. It's a tough job to tell 5 children that kind of news! I headed over there and we called in the Animal Control investigators who took info and will see what they can do, if anything. Little Maria asked me if her puppies would be coming back after they got done in heaven? Oh the faith of children!
The team kept on working, hanging and mudding sheetrock, working on the outside and caulking. The house has taken on a great transformation these past couple of days!
Our Colorado team of youth finished the painting of Hank and Cherie's trailer and moved inside to the painting of the kitchen cabinets. Everything is beautiful and there have been quite a few lives changed in this team this week! God at work!
This evening Monty and I were honored and humbled to be featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in their "Making A Difference" segment. We are thankful to Janet and Al and the rest of the team for bringing new awareness to disaster situations.
If you were unable to see the News you can access that story along with another video on the NBC website:

The reporter, Janet, contributes to Brian Williams Nightly News blog and has written about her time with us. You can find it at

This story may feature us but it's all about YOU!!!!! Without YOU there would be no "us" and we are forever grateful!

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


There's no such thing as an "accidental" meeting! Not in God's world. Not in His plan!
You can see by the above photos that both of these teams are giving it their all, and more. Hank and Cherie's mobile home took on a whole new transformation today. The team once again jumped into their blue suits, put paint to roller (or brush) and went to work - with a passion. Tomorrow I hope to show you the before and after, you'll be amazed.
In the photos you can see Cherie doing the painstaking little detail work while another guy on the team paints -- with his broken thumb in a cast!
This evening Cherie called me and I have to relay most of the conversation for you - you need to fully understand the relationship thing! As I told you, we didn't know about this young Colorado team coming until very late Sunday night. Some people might think they are here by accident. I think they themselves thought that -- until yesterday. Their team leader, Katy, spent some time painting with Cherie today. She was telling Cherie how many mission trips they had done in the past - alot! But this one is different! This one is special! On past trips they have not had the opportunities to meet and get to know the people they are volunteering for. When they arrived at Hank and Cherie's yesterday they were amazed at the warm welcome they received. It was something they hadn't experienced. Throughout these past couple of days they have bonded with both Hank and Cherie and their 8 year old son, Blake. Katy told Cherie today that the lives of each of her team members have been changed forever -- due to this trip! Isn't God amazing -- how He has the plans already in motion and all we need do is obey! Katy and I talked a bit about this as we spoke for the first time on Sunday night. I wasn't certain she believed me -- but I know she does now. She has experienced what happens -- the relationships made -- such strong relationships in such a short amount of time! It's a God-thing for sure!
More of that was happening at Mariano and Maria's. With Mariano leaving for 3 weeks just to be able to work to earn some money so the children can get the things they will need for upcoming school it's a bit tough for Maria. This team has jumped in, head first, and made sure she is taken care of when it comes to her home being rebuilt. Today they framed in the utility room on the back, complete with a new window and entry door. Maria was thrilled when she saw it. They continued their work on the outside -- with Kevin reaching new heights as you can see in the photo! He's the one that ended up with scrapes on his face and legs yesterday in the raising of the soffit support - see yesterdays photos. Crystal is the caulking queen who never seems to run out of energy! She's constantly working away and keeping everyone on the team hydrated and taken care of at the same time! What a woman!
The sheetrocking repairs are also underway as Ken and his rental car - literally packed with tools - arrived safe and sound. He is a master at this and I am so excited to see the results by the end of the week.
The kitchen sink, bath vanity and toilet also arrived at the end of the day so the framer will turn plumber tomorrow. No problem he says!
Monty and I also spent most of the morning at Lowes getting all the interior paint selected and loaded on the truck. The kids were allowed to select their own colors for their rooms and those colors really brought a smile to the gentleman mixing them! Bright pink, purple, green and blue will turn some rather blah rooms into ones kids will love! They were more excited about seeing those paint cans than the freshly made cookies left to them from the team! The joy of the Lord spewing from kids is contagious!
All this happening with the temps once again hovering near 100 and feeling like way over that mark with the humidity. No one complains, we all just sweat! And laugh while doing so!
Living the dream -- really and truly and thankfully!!!!
Until next time . . . thanks Colorado and North Carolina! Susan and Monty

Monday, July 27, 2009

Surprise -- 2 Teams!

Usually when the phone rings at 9pm on a Sunday night I expect the worst. It's just part of being so many miles from children and grandchildren and parents and brothers and a 96 year old grandmother. Not the case last night!
The phone call was to let us know we would have a second team this week, one other than the North Carolina team we already expected. Great -- send them on! After a few phone calls back and forth we were blessed to welcome the "blue" team from Colorado!
Yes, they donned their blue "attire" and headed back underneath Hank and Cherie's mobile home to install the vapor barrier. Those donated blue "things" are priceless -- and one girl wore the knees clean through on hers! They all talked about how difficult it was for them to get her to come out from under the trailer! What a blessing they are, a true surprise gift from God sent directly for Hank and Cherie and their son Blake! Tomorrow they hope to get the trailer painted.
Our North Carolina team still is missing a member, their team leader. Seems his truck broke down in Mobile, Alabama. He thought the part would be ready this morning but that didn't happen so he rented a car, loaded as many tools as he could fit in the car and headed west. He should arrive late tonight and be ready to go tomorrow. He is our sheetrock man so he will be working inside while the others continue working on the outside of the home. You can see by the photos that bracing the existing soffit became quite the teamwork project. They did get it done and when Monty came home this evening one team member was still there -- and says he'll return very early tomorrow morning to get a head start! Another direct blessing from God! They brought 2 women who are doing nothing but cooking for this team and we are to join them one evening this week -- yea!!!
I just have a feeling that this is going to be a week where alot happens -- be sure and stay tuned as you won't want to miss any of it and things can happen quite quickly at times! God is moving and He waits for no one!!! Thanks God!!!
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pastor Ellen's Bakers Dozen

They signed up for once a month -- and they were not kidding. Today Pastor Ellen returned with a total of 13 volunteers!!!
We started the day with orientation in the park as you can see by the photo. They were completely prepared for the day as Pastor Ellen and I had talked about what they would be doing and they had been reading the blog.
Our first stop was at Hank and Cherie's home where the team donned their lovely blue scrubs and went to work spreading out all the cardboard underneath the trailer. I said they were prepared! They even brought an air driven stapler! They knew they would be installing insulation under the trailer. I have to admit I never thought they would get as far as they did --- the finished it! Even Cherie was shocked when she came to check on them! She and Hank were inside putting together the tub in their bathroom. The sides for the tub were delivered this morning so they also got to work. We even have some insulation left that will be returned to Lowes and that extra will be turned around and re-used for materials for their home!
After seeing that they were all settled in we headed around the corner to Mariano and Maria's. Their task was to move all the inside furnishings to the center of the rooms and cover them with house wrap plastic to enable next weeks team to work on all the walls. They also jumped right in and even managed to get a very large !!! desk out of the house and donated to the place 2 doors down that is in the process of becoming a food pantry. After getting the inside done they moved outside and worked on the trim around the windows. We were super blessed to have Mona on this team as she speaks fluent Spanish and made the communication much easier. You can see her with Maria and the girls and then also learning to use the drill. They worked wonders with the windows and even when Hank and Cherie's team was in the church bus waiting to leave this team continued working. For all I know they might still be there!! :)
It's always nice to have returning teams, that family thing! We look forward to seeing them next month and hope that some might even return this week as they talked about. More team members means more work done and more blessings flowing back and forth between homeowner and volunteer.
Maria and girls are to be thinking about paint colors over the rest of the weekend. With children sharing bedrooms we want to do the best we can to get the colors each one would like to have. They were having fun with the color booklet I left with them. I'll be anxious to see what they came up with when I get there Monday morning.
Mariano had his truck up and running, not to my surprise! What a difference a starter makes!
I also learned of a couple of large bath vanities and some kitchen cabinets that were not needed in a couple of other homes. All I need to is go and get them and hopefully one vanity is just what we need for Mariano's home. Each piece will definitely be a blessing for someone, that I know for sure.
We want to thank Pastor Ellen for her faithfulness in dedicating one Saturday a month to come and be such wonderful blessings to the folks who need to know there are people out there who just want to come and do whatever needs done -- no agenda -- no judgments -- just love! It's a lifeline -- not only to those homeowners but also to Monty and I.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Friday, July 24, 2009

Electric AND a starter

You might be wondering about the top couple of photos. Lately, nearly every late afternoon a pretty big thunderstorm comes up and yesterday looked like the one photo you see. We packed the dogs in the truck and decided to drive a bit closer to the water and see what it looked like. About that time the winds kicked up and Samson was having alot of fun hanging his head out the window. Monty managed to capture quite the view!
Today Glen, Monty and Mariano got 99% of the electric completed in Mariano's house. The siding is now up on the corner we had to leave off for the electric panel and things are coming together. The house is also equipped with smoke detectors, for the first time! I also received the funding for his starter for his truck and was able to drop it off this afternoon. Now all we need to do is pay the back electric bill and have the power turned on. I also spoke with the HVAC man and he is scheduled to begin working on Wednesday morning and feels he will be done sometime on Thursday. He plans on building a platform around 5 - 6 feet in the air to set the unit on -- just in case of another flood! Smart planning.
Art also called me this afternoon. He has a break from the hospital and wanted to check in and thank us for everything -- even though we haven't done much yet. He is getting the medical attention he needs and feeling some better. It was good to hear from him.
After a trip to Lowes I was able to drop more material to Hank and Cherie as they prepare for tomorrows team and one for all next week. We hope to get the insulation completed underneath the trailer and be able to move on to painting it and then working inside in the bathroom.
It's nice to feel like things are coming together and getting closer to being "home" again for families. Tomorrow I will be checking on Hai as I think she might be just days away from moving in and also starting a new "normal" for she and the children. With school just around the bend this is so important for children. They have been displaced for so long, not fully understanding all that has and is happening. All they know is they want their home back again and with the help of God we will get them there, eventually!
Until tomorrow . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Funding? Yes!

Yes, this morning I took the cases for additional funding for Mariano and Maria's HVAC system and Paul and Linda's complete rebuild and both were passed with flying colors!!!

I have explained the case management process to you before and how the homeowner is required to produce documents and information that we combine with an estimate before we can even take their case to the funding table. Both of these families did just that.

Mariano and Maria's case was taken quite some time ago and we did receive the funds we needed. BUT . . . then came the discovery that the entire house would need to be rewired and thus the available money was used in some different ways than we originally planned. Being able to return to the table with the request for their HVAC was awesome and we are so thankful for the favorable response. This will move this family even closer to being back home again.

Paul and Linda's approval means they will get a new roof, the rest of the house sided and a new kitchen and bathroom for them and their 3 teenage boys! Linda was more than thrilled when I called her with the good news!

I also was able to pick up the check for the final payment of Garaldeen's electric and plumbing.

Tomorrow I will be picking up the checks for Mariano's starter for their only vehicle which has been out of service for the past 2 weeks. I also will receive the funds for their stove and water heater. Another check will go for their electric bill which fell behind due to the loss of Mariano's job in the shrimping industry. These all came from separate funds other than construction and are such blessings to not only this family but to many others who are in such dire need.

Without funds such as these there would be no rebuilding! When there is a disaster there are funds that start coming into the area affected. These funds are always distributed by the local long term recovery committees. They set the guidelines for disbursement and we all are accountable for the dollars spent. Accountability is key.

We are so thankful to all those who send the funding. Whether it's from the private sector, businesses, churches, you name it and we need it! Thank you to all of you!

It's those funds that bring the smiles, warm the hearts, strengthen the hope and show God's love to those hurting so deeply!

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Funding preparations

Yesterday Monty spent the entire day at Mariano's working on the electric, alone. Glen had to be elsewhere but he was back this morning and they are really getting close to being done. All the wire is pulled and Mariano was going to put up that last piece of outside siding this evening so the electric box could be mounted and they could start wrapping things up. Glen has to be at another job tomorrow but will be back with us on Friday. We sure are thankful to the Baptists for sharing him with us and blessing Mariano and family.

I started off this morning with a meeting of the UMCOR crew. Lee, the case manager, and I had to put our heads together to prepare paperwork for 2 funding requests tomorrow. Lee will be out of town so I'll take them in and sit at the table to explain my case for each family.

The first case is for Mariano. We were not aware that we would need to completely rewire the entire home so alot of the construction funds went toward that. He also needs a complete heating and air system, that is the request I am taking in. I have a more than reasonable bid and hope to get the request through with flying colors.

The second case is for Paul and Linda. This will be a request for all the materials needed to complete the home; new roof, kitchen and bathroom. Linda was great about getting all her documentation in order so off we go -- please keep both families in your prayers.

I also spoke with a couple of our incoming teams today. One is coming for the day Saturday and the other for all week next week. They now have a better idea as to what they will be doing and can pack their tools accordingly. Sounds like we are getting some good skills coming our way! Praise God!

Later in the day I met with Alan, our construction manager for UMCOR. The recovery effort just closed its doors in Port Arthur and Alan was bringing back tools -- priceless for all of us! I met him at the Lowes south of us where we spent the next hour packing my truck.

Once I got back with the tools I realized it was just me to get everything unloaded and into the tool trailer. I managed to get it all done just in time to go and pick up Glen and return him to Galveston. We both looked like we had already taken our showers -- but we sure didn't smell like it!

And then the day was done --- if only the heat would go with it! Oh well, guess that's why they call it summer!

We have some really exciting news coming tomorrow so be sure and stay tuned! Can't let the cat out of the bag just yet!!!!

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

Power is on the way

Step by step, drip by drip, the electric at Mariano and Maria's gets closer to being complete -- the right way!

No, he didn't just get out of the pool (there isn't a pool anywhere near us) - that is sweat from rewiring, rebuilding outlet boxes and everything else that goes in with rewiring an entire house. Mariano once again was on the wrong end of the saw and by the time this is complete he will know every square inch of his home.

Glen, the electrician returned this morning - a wonderful thing! He is doing a fantastic job and I think having a good time while working!

I made my usual couple of trips to Lowes to get materials as they were needed. All I need to do is call in my needs as I'm heading that direction and they have it all ready for me as I pull into the lot. It's service that like that helps speed up the jobs and keeps the guys from having to wait.

Mariano and Maria were planning on putting on the last coat of poly on their kitchen cabinets this evening - after all the dust settled down. I wonder when they sleep as it seems they work 24 hours a day.

We did get some great news this morning. A gentleman, Glen (another Glen) is heading up a program where he will bring in skilled labor and rebuild aproximately 30 homes in 30 days. All we have to do is have the funding and paperwork in place. Today we heard that 3 of our homes will be in that program!! Paul and Linda, Vicky and Walter will have their homes rebuilt in quick order! What an amazing blessing and I have no doubt that God will be showing up big time! They hope to begin sometime around the first of August, if everything is in order.

Be sure to stay tuned.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Miraculous healing

It's unbelievable, even the nurse said so. This much healing took place in only 7 days -- Monty wanted to personally thank each and every one of you who have been praying --- what power you have!!!
On an entirely different note; we all know the financial difficulties we all face these days. I just received an email from one of the disaster relief agencies we have grown to know over the past years. They are in danger of having to close up operations due to lack of funding! Every missionary we have had contact over this past year have talked about how their finances are down, donations aren't coming in like they used to. All are praying and standing firm in their faith. But . . . we entire organizations are in trouble it really hits home!
I am not one to rely on numbers but . . . take note of these statistics that were just released from the local Long Term Recovery for the work that has been done by relief organizations here in Galveston County;
90 homes completely rebuilt
construction funds (donated to Long Term Recovery) used thus far: $496,559.00
volunteers: 19,377 hours they have worked: 238,181
value of that volunteer labor: $5 million (hourly rate determined by Independent Sector)
unmet needs allocated: $84,000 with 72 families served
These are awesome numbers! These numbers show that things are getting done, people are being helped and the donated funds are being used -- that the funds are desperately needed! All funds donated to Long Term Recoverys are dispersed through the case management of all relief agencies! Every dollar!
But . . . it takes dollars for the relief agencies to keep going.
And . . . it takes dollars for the volunteers working with the relief agencies to be there to be the ones serving.
I know times are tough, no one has enough, everyone is suffering, the economy is in a tough time . . . the list goes on and on.
But God! I, for one, have read the Book and know the ending . . . and . . . we WIN!
So folks, if you were helping support someone or some organization and have stopped . . . I am begging you to reconsider. Read what the Book tells us all and then re-think giving!
For those of you who aren't, and have never, helped support someone or some organization I beg you to think about it. Take another look at those numbers listed above.
99% of the USA has forgotten about hurricane Ike. It's those of us "on the front lines", "in the thick of it", "in the trenches" . . . we can tell you that it's NOT all okay and we cannot be here without your support.
Is this a request for funding? YES! For EVERY single missionary, for EVERY single volunteer who is out here trying to be obedient to the calling on our lives!
God is an awesome God! We ALL stand firm on His promises to provide for those who have been called.
Just some thoughts for a Sunday evening.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Super Progress

What a busy past couple of days! Yesterday we were pleased to finally welcome an electrician to Mariano and Maria's house. Glen, who we have "borrowed" from the Baptist relief effort, spent the entire day working either in the attic or under the house pulling all new wiring for the house. He was a welcome site when he arrived and we are so thankful to Pastor Billy for sending us his very best!

The rest of our day was spent arranging materials for today. It took about 3 hours just to get the electrical materials lined up for Glen to return on Monday. We shopped at the end of the day and after a few trips we had it all done.

Today we welcomed Pasadena, Texas to San Leon. All 14 of them came to do whatever needed done and as you can see by the photos some of it was less than pleasant! Part of them went to Hank and Cherie's to begin the process of insulating underneath their trailer. They didn't mind the dirt and laughed at the thought that atleast they were in the shade. And to my surprise, some of them even asked if they could come back another Saturday!!!!

The rest of them were at Mariano's working on the outside trim. It proved to also be quite the challenge and they had to pull out some extra creative thinking but they rose to the occasion and mastered the task. If only we could keep them! They got enough done that the next incoming team will know exactly what to do. The women got the kitchen cabinets their final sanding and I will go in Monday and put on the final gloss coat of poly.

It was an amazing day watching the team get creative and get underneath, on top, on the side and anywhere else needed. We know each one will have a new found love for their showers when they get home and we hope to welcome them all back soon!
Almost forgot to explain the top photo -- it still amazes me to watch the storms on the gulf coast! This is a funnel cloud with the funnel shooting from the side -- just over the park where we live in our camper!!!! The winds blew around 50 mph blowing up dust and dirt and this cloud -- and then it was over --- and now they are blowing up again so . . .
Being on the computer is not a good idea.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Thursday, July 16, 2009

She's going where?

Our morning started quite early today. We met Glen, the electrician, at Mariano's house so he could take a look and put together a plan for rewiring the entire house (with the walls in). He has done alot of work for the Baptist relief camp located on the island and came highly recommended. He will return early tomorrow morning and get to work with Mariano and his nephew, Nelson at his side. It won't be easy but he knows where he's headed so we pray it will be a success - for all of us!
From there we welcomed our girls from Oklahoma who were starting their last day of volunteering before heading home this afternoon. They finished the poly on the cabinets and even helped get things cleaned up around the house. I am still amazed at how awesome this kitchen is looking and these 3 women were angels for this family! They managed to get Maria to feel comfortable enough to come in and get some ideas of her own! Ministry at its finest for sure!
Our next stop was to load up the tool trailer and head to the island to get some more tools for our teams. Since our trailer was newly donated it needed to be properly stocked with the tools we will need. We packed compressors, hand tools, power tools, paint etcs, sheetrock etcs and anything else we thought we might need. Now we have the task of opening the trailer and getting it all organized !!! I love organizing so this should be fun! We thank UMCOR for making certain we have all we need for our volunteers so they can work at their best for each task.
While on the island we thought we would stop by and see how Marie is doing with her newly rebuilt home and new Today Show gifts. What an amazing lady! You can see her with her newest adopted kitty -- just what she needs, another cat! And her beautiful front porch furniture which is now family room furniture - and covered with sheets to keep the cushions clean! Her kitchen is beautiful although she got a real kick out of opening the toaster to find it able to toast 4 slices of bread and openings large enough for bagels! She is using the microwave and has the glassware and dishes in her china hutch.
You can also see her new stackable washer and dryer now nicely placed in her back porch. This is the only thing she specifically asked me for while being rebuilt. And guess where she said she was headed as we left??? To the Laundromat!! Yes, you read right!! She said she can't bear to put her dirty clothes in that new washer and dryer!!!??? No matter what we told her or showed her -- no deal! All we could do was laugh and give her a big hug!! God and His sense of humor once again!
Before we could return to San Leon we had our usual stop at Lowes to pick up materials in preparation for Saturdays team. We got caught in a rainstorm -- short but quite the downpour -- just adding to the already high humidity! We are now in our 39th day of temps over 95!!!
After returning to unhook the trailer we checked on Mariano's house and got measurements to get materials ordered and delivered tomorrow for Saturdays team also. The team will be adding the hardiboard trim on the outside of the home along with replacing the soffit and making some structural improvements. I also picked up another gallon of poly so Maria can have the glossy shine she wants on her cabinets - the final coat. Getting that order put together took nearly 2 hours and I pray it will come through correctly. Big orders have a tendency to get a bit confusing at times.
We also got to bring the good news that through case management funds Mariano will be getting a new starter for his truck, their back electrical bills will be paid and Maria will be getting a new gas stove! We are so thankful to all those who make blessings like this possible!!!! With this old 1985 truck being their only transportation it's critical to keep it running. Again, thanks to all who have the heart of Jesus and listen to those hearts!
By the time this was all done it was past time for dinner and time to get this blog written for all of you who wonder what is happening from day to day. My wish is that you could be here for just one day to experience it all -- to "really" understand. But since that isn't possible -- we thank you for keeping up with what God is doing here in the good ole' south.
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Transforming lives

Our team of women from Oklahoma with 2 of Mariano and Maria's daughters. It's been quite the family affair in finishing these cabinets. When I walked in this afternoon one of the girls was standing on the counter top with nearly all of herself inside the cabinet trying to reach the very back with the stain and poly finishes! They are all enjoying watching the kitchen come to life.

Maria said even Mariano is getting excited! A guy getting excited about a kitchen is truly God!

Maria even put some thought into the color she would like on the walls - red - it's her favorite color. So guess what -- red it will be! There is a bit of sanding to be done on the sheetrock finishing, priming and texture and it will be ready for paint. We plan on having the door and window trim a bright white, along with the ceiling so the whole room should be fit for a magazine!

We also made the arrangements for the materials to be delivered to Hank and Cherie's tomorrow afternoon. They are preparing for the team for Saturday and know it will be an awesome day.

Our day began with our usual weekly meeting with the UMCOR team. We were going over our schedule of teams and praying the teams start calling to get on board. This heat doesn't make this the most popular place but hopefully as the summer nears fall more will call and come to be a blessing and end up being the ones blessed.

We were thrilled to hear from our Iowa team -- they are planning a return trip for October! Monty and I have come to realize we just simply cannot have a disaster without our Iowa team coming to the rescue!

As we stopped by Hai's this evening it was nice to see the front of her house sided and the inside nearly complete. Her air conditioning is done, thanks to one of her very good friends! Couldn't believe we could actually go inside the house and feel cool! She is sooooo anxious and I pray she will be able to move in soon. She so desperately needs the stability of home again and so do all 5 children!

Tomorrow morning we are to get officially started on the electric for Mariano and Maria's house. Monty will be working right along side as will Mariano. Our hope is for it all to be completed within a couple of days so we can continue on and hopefully also have this home declared a home again in the upcoming weeks.

We did hear from Art's girlfriend that he is doing well in the hospital and getting a couple of his health issues taken care of. We are keeping him in our prayers and will be ready to resume work on his home once he returns home. We are meeting with his AC man tomorrow to see about having him do further work for us in some other homes.

It was one of those days of running here and there and seeing progress at every turn. I like those days, those are the ones that keep us running in a forward motion. God smiling each time we take time to notice!!!!

Until next time . . . look around and see His smile for you! Susan and Monty

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Healing power of prayer

Thanks to all of your prayers Monty is healing nicely. The headache is still around but much better. He sends his thanks and appreciation!

And now you can see Hai's house transforming before our eyes! Phil and his team from Vineyard started putting on the hardibacker siding yesterday. They are trimming it in aluminum and Hai is thrilled with the white trim. She has picked a beautiful blue for the paint which should make a beautiful house! The team is doing a great job and it's extra nice to see the smile on her face, and the kids!

This morning we welcomed our team of 3 women from Oklahoma who have come to spend the week. When I saw them pull up at the park for orientation I knew they were my kind of women, they came in driving a pickup truck! :) They are working at Mariano and Maria's house staining the kitchen cabinets. If you go back a couple of weeks you can see photos of the custom made, beautifully transformed kitchen. The women are using a cherry stain and went through a gallon in the first day. Maria wants one more coat on before the polyurethane will be applied, also in 2 coats. Maria surprised them with home made lunch today and even had a plate prepared for Monty and I to bring home since we were in a meeting.

Tomorrow the electrician, Oscar, is to get started. He's a couple days behind schedule but he promises he'll be there at 7AM. I sure hope so as Monty plans on meeting him there! It should only take a couple of days and he will have the entire house newly wired and up to code.

I also met with Hank and Cherie as they get plans together for the incoming team on Saturday. Cherie will be power washing the outside of the trailer in preparation for painting. It's a bit tough to even walk through the trailer with all their cabinets inside for Cherie to stain but they are thrilled and excited to see things finally happening.

It's been a day filled with things happening in all directions and we are thrilled to see progress happening in all corners. Once again, thanks to the volunteers who brave the weather to come and bless those needing the blessings so desperately!!!

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

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Using his head !?

If you have small children reading this you might not want to click on the photos to enlarge them!!!

Our morning literally started off with a bang --- Monty had gone outside to shave, yes, with a mirror he can see better than in these trailer mirrors and before one goes to church one would like to look as good as possible in above 100 degree heat!!

BIG -- Mistake!!!

He decided to pick up some trash, or something, and upon raising up he hit the arm that holds the awning and cut his head wide open. I knew he hit it as there were some loud words being "spoken" and that told me it wasn't good. Next thing I know he's opened the door screaming for my help, blood running all over the place.

It only took one look to know we needed an ER and now! I know head wounds do bleed alot but you take a look at the photo and you'll agree with me.

Now the question -- where is the nearest hospital? I knew Texas City had one because I passed it on Friday as I went to the dermatolgist to have a pre-skin cancer removed (ouch). I headed in that direction and thank God for those big blue signs with the "H" on them -- within 15 minutes we were there.

The next couple of hours were quite painful but they did put 9 stitches in it and sent us out with 2 scripts. One script is for antibiotics as the nurse was sure to tell us that staff infections are a real problem here in the south!!! Now we feel better!!!!!???????

We did what we could to explain to everyone, especially the billing department, that we operate without health insurance!! Yes, even though Monty has had a heart attack 5 years ago and has 2 stints -- it's just not financially possible for us. We pray someone in that department will have compassion on us the same way the dermatologist did for me the other day -- he didn't even charge me -- for anything, office visit or procedure!! Please join us in this same prayer.

In the meantime, he will be down for the count for a few days.

It's definitely NOT the way to get ready for church, which we never made! And I don't even think having a head full of hair would have helped this time!

We thank you for your prayers of healing!!!!!!!!

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

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pasadena blesses Rick

Pasadena is only about 45 minutes from here --and this team had never done anything like this before! As you can see by the smiles on their faces the heat index of 113 degrees didn't take away from the blessings they gave out and received in return!

They were here for 8am orientation and from there we took them to Rick's house. As I said the other day, this house still had furniture inside and the mold had taken over. This team of 8 jumped right in and started cleaning . . . and cleaning . . . and cleaning. We were amazed at how quickly they worked and how much they got done. By afternoon they were gutting the sheetrock and had the family room done and were moving into the bedroom!

Some of the ladies were in the out building that had been turned into a bedroom. They worked and hauled and hauled more and got 'er done!

We are so thankful to this team for their hearts of service and their willingness to come and do whatever needed done - and do it to the best of their ability - no matter what the weather! It is our hope that they will decide to return for another day!

Our electrician also made a trip to Mariano's to start preparations for his work on Monday. The house needs completely rewired and we will be getting the materials tomorrow so all will be ready for early Monday. They hope to begin very early as they will need to be in the attic -- not a place to be in this heat!

I am also happy to let you know that my Daddy is doing much better - thanks to all your prayers!

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

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

BANG!!! It's morning

Yes, the morning started off with a bang -- in the literal sense! As I was beginning to check email we heard the loudest bang I think I've ever heard! Everyone, including the dogs, jumped to the roof and waited for it to come crashing in. Nothing else happened. We checked everything inside and then headed out, only to be met by the neighbors who also thought we'd all been shot! As Monty walked around the back of the trailer it was evident what had happened. The spare tire had blown up -- literally blown up! Now you ask, "how hot is it?" It also managed to rip the rubber trim from the side, blow the tail light cover to kingdom come and open the locked water access on the back wall! Atleast the sky was not falling!
The rest of our day was more than busy -- everything involving being outside in the extreme heat warning alert for the day. We met up with Darryl who is doing estimates and managed to get estimates on 4 of the 5 houses we needed. We started with Vicky, moved on to Walter, then dropped off a dining table and chairs to Art, went to Rick and Nelda's, then to Paul and Linda's and ended up at Regina's where Darryl will return next week to finish hers. Each house required us to be outside and inside, both equally as hot. We did get some relief at Paul and Linda's since they are the only ones still trying to live in their home.
The photos you see here are of Rick and Nelda's. I spoke of them a couple of days ago and here you can see the results of nothing being done since the storm. The refrigerator was tipped over and it will be wrapped with an entire roll of duct tape before even attempting to upright and take to the curb for trash! You just don't want to know how bad it smells and what drips from the doors! You can also see the water lines on the walls. We hope to be able to remove the sheetrock walls up to the 4' line but won't know for certain until we get them torn out and see how they look. It will take more than a bit of work but we are going to start the process with our incoming team this Friday. Pray for them!
By the time we arrived back at the trailer I felt like Lot's wife who had looked back and turned into a pilar of salt! I had salt deposits on my legs that could easily have been mistaken for sand --- and believe me --- we had not been to the beach! The shower, complete with it's luke warm water coming from the cold tap were life saving!
On a side note -- I would like to ask for prayers for my Daddy! He had a medical procedure done a couple of days ago and has had some rather nasty side effects from it and will be returning to the doctor tomorrow. The side effects are extremely painful and I would ask for prayers of healing and restoration and good results from the procedure results. I know the power of prayer -- especially when I have all of you praying for him!! Thank you!
Until next time . . . stay cool and be blessed. Susan and Monty