Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Hopefully all of you are not only stuffed full of all the goodies of Thanksgiving but you are also remembering and thinking about all your blessings. It's the one day of the year set aside to do just that -- and if you're like me you realize that if you counted all your blessings it would take every day to list them all and you would still not have enough time!
Monty and I did spend our morning preparing for the incoming team tomorrow morning. Getting tools and such ready takes some time and organization but we are loaded and ready for tomorrows orientation and to meet some new servant hearts.
Then it was time for our Thanksgiving feast! Yes, Hank and Cherie had invited us to share in their family day -- what an honor for us! It felt like home when we walked in the door. It also brought back memories of the first day I walked in their door, saw how they were trying to live after the storm and prayed God would show us the way to help. And now . . . it's absolutely beautiful -- thanks to all of you who came to crawl underneath to clean out the muck and mire and critters, to those who climbed on ladders to paint, to those who put the finishing touches of the skirting around the trailer and to those who shared their love with Hank, Cherie and Blake and made a lasting impression in their hearts!
It was a wonderful afternoon of sharing, laughing and loving. That's one of the most amazing things for Monty and I -- to meet strangers who become family! Sitting around the table together, praying together, laughing together, remembering together . . . priceless blessings!
Our deepest thanks to Hank, Cherie and Blake for their loving hearts, their trusting hearts and their sharing of a true Thanksgiving with the both of us! We love you all and are blessed to be a part of your family!
To our families back home -- we miss you all -- especially on days like this! Please don't worry about us -- God extends your love to us through others right here!
Until next time . . . We thank You, Lord, for allowing us to serve You every day!
Susan and Monty
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We started out early to meet Al, our HVAC contractor who is installing the system for Hsilda's family. He layed out the plan for building the platform to hold the unit. These platforms must be built high off the ground in case of another flood. Hsilda's will be 8 feet in the air. Her husband, George, will do the building. He will also be working on their home all during the holidays. He has done amazing work on his own and as long as we can provide them with the materials they will keep going. He was working on finishing the deck railing this afternoon while Hsilda was painting bedroom ceilings. They both do all this work with 4 children at home!
From there we headed to the island (Galveston) to pick up a trailer that Monty will be using with our incoming team on Friday. A few weeks ago we cleared brush and trees at Martha's and at Walter's. The disaster trash trucks are no longer picking up debris so we will be utilizing some of the youth on this incoming team to load this trailer with the debris and haul it to our local dumpster located at Mel and Billie's. We hope to keep the dumpster there and have it at our disposal all during their rebuilding also.
Making a trip to the island is never quick. Once we got there we had light issues with the trailer and finally had to give up and drive it back without lights. Thank you, Lord, for diverting the policemen to other folks as we made the trip! :)
We also ran into Pat and Chester who worked at the Presbytarian camp. They are no longer with the camp but hope to remain in the area volunteering. When I saw them Saturday Chester said he didn't feel well. Turns out they ended up in the emergency room later that day and discovered Chester has a very nasty case of pneumonia. They did run the test for the swine flu and he is clear. Please keep him in your prayers as he is quite weak and not well yet.
Our island construction coordinator, Sandy, sent us back with a couple of picnic tables to donate to the RV park where we stay. With each of them 8' in length it was quite a feat to get them loaded and unloaded but Tom, our park manager was thrilled to have them. He hopes to put them to use with a possible Christmas cookout for the park residents!
A special thank you to our dear friend, Gary from Illinois who phoned us today to wish us a blessed Thanksgiving and to send his love. He and his team came and worked with us years ago while we were in Gautier, Mississippi and he has covered us with love and prayers ever since! It's nice to have "family" all over the states! Blessed Thanksgiving to you too Gary!!!
And now the evening has come and I am putting together the material list for Hsilda and George to continue the work on their home. With our weekly UMCOR meeting tomorrow morning I will stop at Lowes on the way back and have a truck full by the time I pull out and into their drive. It's great to see homeowners working on their own and a blessing to be able to provide them with the materials they need to get done and get home!
Until next time . . . have you blessed someone today? Susan and Monty
This morning had us heading to Lowes bright and early to get some materials lined up for a couple of houses. Robert now has a new front and back door awaiting installation along with the hardware to secure the home properly.
Hsilda has the molding that will be installed on the ceiling where it meets the walls. She also has some subflooring that will be delivered on Friday. This is needed to secure the trailer side flooring and then we can put in the final flooring knowing that all is sturdy and level. We have yet to make a decision on the permanent flooring but have plenty of time.
Logan and Janey will have a delivery of sheetrock also delivered Friday in preparation for the completion of their home. Janey was looking at a long term recovery organization for Logan to be moved to when he has improved a bit more.
We also contacted our electrician buddy, Glen and he will be returning to fix a "wrinkle" that showed up at Mariano and Maria's. It was good to hear from him and we look forward to seeing him.
It was also a pleasure to reconnect with Richard and Peggy this afternoon. If you remember we spent quite a bit of time helping them rebuild their home last winter and spring. Richard is able to lead his own volunteers with all his construction experience. The outside of their home still needs some work along with their deck. They will be putting together the documentation we need to see about getting some funding to finish them up. Richard's health is not good but we know God is the ultimate healer and we turn Richard over to him. Please do the same with your prayers.
Our incoming team leader called this afternoon to say their number is around 20 with quite a few of them college students. We will have them lined up in quite a few jobs, one of which will be using the UMCOR trailer to haul away the tree and shrub debris from both Martha's and Walter's. We have a dumpster at Mel and Billie's and will be using it as our "staging" dumpster. It can be changed out easily and makes for a great project for this team along with a great blessing to the homeowner to have things finally cleared away from in front of their homes.
And then we came to the end of the day with not nearly all of my "to do" items cleared from my list. Oh well, there's always tomorrow! I add todays things to tomorrow and pray I can make it through them in time for . . . Tuesday? Gotta love those lists!
Let's see how tomorrow ends up! :)
Until then . . . love and blessings to all. Susan and Monty
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Janey and Logan's kitty had fun posing for this!
Wednesday is the day where teams are working away, feeling comfortable in what they are doing and knowing they have a couple more days to work. Today was just that, and more.
Rosalind's has a bedroom and bathroom gutted which exposed some pretty major termite damage along with the roofing falling in due to the trees landing on it. The team was ready to remove the bathtub as I left and we hoped the flooring underneath would hold up. There were a few places where there is no flooring at all and the team will board up those places to keep critters and such from entering. They completely filled the dumpster and were awaiting a change to an empty one.
Hsilda was also in waiting - waiting for her cabinets to be delivered. The team had the kitchen area all cleaned and ready to begin painting them and installing them. They were also working on the deck steps railing and finishing up painting doors. One man was laughing as he told me he had become the king of door painting and would be glad when they were done. The HVAC contractor will be coming on Friday to install their heating and air unit and hopes to be completed before Thanksgiving day.
Robert has 99% of his flooring installed and they were working on the trim. As soon as we get the word "go" we will also be installing his heating and air. I still need to get a new front entry and back entry door along with doing some patching of his exterior siding. He's getting so very close and it's awesome.
Logan and Janey are all gutted out and sprayed for disinfecting. The insulation will be installed tomorrow and Janey reports they are going to try and wean Logan off of life support tomorrow. She said she felt like he knew she was there last night, even if he couldn't communicate it. Please continue praying.
Steven and Martha got to see the beginnings of their new flooring today and the volunteers said they would have a working kitchen and finished cabinets by the end of the day! It all looks so beautiful and Martha is nearly speechless as she watches all the changes. She did pick out the color yellow for the exterior siding, if we can afford to paint it.
With the clear blue skies and temps around 70 everyone was thrilled to be able to work both inside and outside and enjoy the beauty of God's creation all around them. I love to pull up to each job and stay out of sight for a minute or two. It's always fun to hear the laughter that comes from each job. It never fails, laughing and working - all together!
Tomorrow I will be traveling up to Houston to work a special project for UMCOR. I will have a team of 8 volunteers who are coming to work for the day. We are installing ceiling tiles so it should be interesting. I'll try and get some good photos.
Our incoming teams are calling to check on what they might be doing and more are scheduling each week. That is what we need -- more and more volunteers! I've said it before and will continue to say it -- the volunteers are KEY!! If they stop coming the rebuilding of lives will stop!
If you have been thinking of coming south to get out of the cold, how about coming here and not only feeling the warmth outside but also feeling the warmth inside, the warmth of helping someone who thought they would never get help, someone who is reaching, who is holding on to their last bit of hope that they might be the next ones . . . come make a dream come true and have your lives changed forever!
Until next time . . . be blessed. Susan and Monty
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
This mornings orientation started at the same time the big cold front, complete with pouring sideways rain and high winds. Never fail - we just used the other side of the park shelter. A little bit of rain and wind wasn't enough to stop these 3 teams!
Our UMCOR team consists of 10. We have them divided between Steven and Martha, Robert and Logan and Janey. A side note, Logan has been transfered to a Houston hospital and isn't doing well, still in ICU.
Steven and Martha have an electrician working on some more work along with kitchen cabinets being installed and finished with polyurethane for a finishing touch. They also have the flooring in case they run out of work! :)
Robert's flooring is continuing to go down along with the base trim. They just might get that done this week?! Ever closer to being done! The back deck stair material will be delivered tomorrow -- to keep them busy!
Logan and Janey are getting the other half of their home gutted. Most of their household items are now relocated into the newly rebuilt side to make room to get the final gutting and rebuilding done.
We have 2 Presbytarian teams. One team consists of 10 folks who worked today and half of tomorrow. They are beginning the transformation of Allan's home. He called me late afternoon to say how shocked he was to see the progress they made and that he was heading off to get more materials for tomorrow!! Go team!
Our other Presb team are working at Hsilda's and Rosalind's. Hsilda is getting her interior doors painted, more walls painted and materials for the deck stairs also arrived today. They are looking forward to the arrival of the kitchen cabinets and counter tops tomorrow. Job security!
Rosalind was getting started with the process of going through all her household and personal items, trying to make the difficult decision of throwing it away or keeping it. This is so very difficult for homeowners as they didn't choose the storm or the loss of their things so getting rid of them is extremely hard to do. She is doing fine, the team is walking her - praying her - through the process. Each day will get better and the result will be an entirely gutted house and a clean slate to start the rebuilding with. This home is in Texas City and we have a totally different set of inspections and regulations to work by. The windstorm (insurance) inspector was very helpful and made an immediate trip to her house to talk with me and lay out some plans. We won't have a definite plan until we see what we have to work with.
And then I had my daily trip to Lowes to plan out 3 homes worth of materials for delivery. It took a couple of hours and then some but it's all done and lined out and now we hope to make sense of everything when it arrives! :)
Once again it's a week with 6 different homes being blessed, volunteers in every direction and amazing results coming from both. I love to see everyone come together, dropping their denominational "names" and just doing what God has called them to do -- help others! Their smiles and their tears combine to create true joy --not based on circumstances but based on the love of Jesus living inside them!
What an awesome God we serve!!!!
Until next time (with photos) . . . bless someone, feel the joy! Susan and Monty
PS We are supposed to have lows in the 40s tonight!!!!!!!!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
They arrived late Thursday night and were raring to go come Friday morning. This team was led by Tom and Jeannie who are NOMADS. This is a Methodist group who travel around the country blessing others -- and this team they led was from their church and they continued the blessing of others.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
So this is the week where I play catch up and also plan for next week at the same time.
Yesterday started with a phone call that was literally 5 tons of blessings. Sandy, the construction coordinator for UMCOR who runs volunteers on the island of Galveston, called saying he had a donated AC unit, a 5 ton one! And then the question I was hoping for, "do you have a home for it?" Do I have a home???????
We headed off to the island, got some help from some guys in the parking lot to load it into my truck and away we went. We knew "the" home would be Hsilda's home. We already had the bid from our HVAC man, he planned on a 4 ton unit so this would be great. When I called him to discuss what we had he said "free is always good." A man who knows the reality of working in disaster recovery!
We had the help we needed to get it into the truck and now we needed to get it out of the truck. All it took was one call to Mariano - they live around the corner from Hsilda and he and Maria, along with Hsilda's husband and a friend of theirs got it unloaded and up on the deck. Not an easy job but they made it! Now our HVAC man will come and take a look at it and rewrite the bid. And we will have a substantial savings to go along with the amazing blessing!
The unit is only 3 years old and still under warranty! Thanks for the awesome answer to prayer Lord!
Today was our monthly Long Term Recovery meeting. One of the main focuses is always funding. There is more coming down the pipe line but that pipe is a long one so we all keep going with what we have, pinching every penny when we can and pray for the pipe to shorten -- someday! It's always good to hear the uplifting stories from the other organizations "in the trenches." As the UMCOR main case manager, Lee, and I talked we realized that UMCOR itself has nearly 100 homes in process!!!!! Amazing!!!!
I had to stop at Lowes to finalize the order of cabinets and flooring for Martha and Steven. It's that planning for next week thing. I have a sample of the flooring, a peel and stick tile, to take to Martha and Steven to make sure they like it. We use the peel and stick as it makes it easier for volunteers and looks great when it's completed.
Monty continues working in the box truck, both repairing and rebuilding the box portion so it can be used in all sorts of ways. We can haul things, we can store things, we can help move families . . . you name it and we can put it to use! Another of those surprise blessings.
We thank all of you for reading, for supporting, for volunteering, for praying!!!
Until next time . . . be blessed and bless someone else! Susan and Monty