Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 6 = Alton's gift to us

Before we get into the rest of our trip I need to update you on Carla.  She did indeed have a stroke yesterday, caused by the cancer which is now in her spinal column.  It was devastating news for everyone.  She is still in intensive care awaiting the next move.  Please continue praying for she and Todd.

Today I spent most of the day at my parents house.  I had a great uncle who was an Indiana State Policeman.  He was shot and killed in the line of duty one year after I was born.  I have heard the story many times over the years.  Today a section of highway in my hometown was dedicated and named after him on the anniversary of his death.  That brought family to town that I haven't seen in who knows how many years and some I have never met until today.  Rather than have everyone try and get into some restaurant my mother decided to have everyone back to their house for lunch.  She had everything prepared ahead of time -- no surprise!  Us girls showed up to get everything out and placed and ready for everyone to eat after returning from the ceremony.  It was great to see the family members I do remember and even better to meet those I did not know until today.  They were all still there when I left and they all had to travel back home to Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin!  I know this meant alot to the entire family!  It's just a shame families don't get together like they used to!

And now --- back to our "story" . . .

Tuesday was day 6 and the day set aside by Alton to take us all snorkeling.  This was his gift back to all of us and we were really excited.

We got busy early in the morning and continued our work.  Charles, Bobby and Becky upstairs working on walls and electrical issues.  The women were painting the kitchen and it ended up looking beautiful. 

Alton had planned on coming up and fixing us hot dogs on the grill but had the clutch go out in his truck so we took the opportunity to clean out the refrigerator and had way more than enough food.

By the time he got there he was ready to load up and go but it was hard to get everyone to come to a stopping point in their work!  They finally did and we loaded up coolers of drinks, boogie boards, skim boards and extra clothes because we were also being treated to a special evening at the condo where Sus and Schel were staying.  They were gathering a group of their friends and having a big meal brought in for all of us.

Off we went and stopped at the place where Alton thought we could see alot of fish.  The wind was so strong and the waves equally as strong that we weren't able to really see fish.  It took all our strength just to work our way through the water and waves.  Charles admitted he isn't a good swimmer and was concerned about snorkeling.  No problem -- we just put him on one of the boogie boards and he was set!

Realizing we were battling the wind and waves Alton decided to take us to another location.  So we loaded up everything once again and this time the place was heaven on earth!  Way at the end of a road that literally ended in the water!  The water was super calm and after making our way across the black rock and getting our gear on we watched what had to be the best show on earth -- or atleast under the earth!  Huge fish in every color imaginable were everywhere.  They would brush against us as they passed by, not at all concerned about us being in their territory!  We didn't want to leave and continually came to the surface and forgot about the equipment on our faces and in our mouths as we got so excited and tried to tell someone else what we saw!  Alton just stayed on shore and smiled!  His perfect thank you was indeed perfect!

But time ticked by way too fast and it was time to head to our special evening dinner party.  We ended up at one of the most beautiful resorts I have ever seen in my life!  That just had to be a corner of heaven in preview!  A feast awaited us along with a bunch of people who quickly became friends.  We enjoyed wonderful food and afterwards Sus asked a few of us to share a bit about our trip.  When Bobby and Charles spoke the entire place was in awe!  Their words were priceless but their hearts were poured out all over each one of us! 

By 8:30pm we were packing up and heading back.  We were all worn out not realizing how physical the snorkeling was.  Once we arrived back we just literally unloaded everything inside the door and headed to bed.

Each one of us realized that tomorrow is our last day and the day we will be cleaning the entire building.  Our actual "work" is done -- there has to be a stopping point and no one wanted that point.  Each person commented that they wished we had another day or another few days . . . the ultimate compliment for a team leader and the realization that God reached in and touched each heart, each life and they will never be the same!  Success!

So we all slept with the goal of leaving the place in better condition than we found it.  I had no doubt we would meet and surpass that goal!

Be sure and stay tuned . . . the last day is a good one!

Until next time . . .   good job team -- good job!                                        Susan and Monty

Charles trying to take it all in.

The cove where all the fish were -- along with the black rock and coral -- which many of us cut our feet on!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time Out

I know I said this blog was going to be about our snorkeling trip but God has changed things up a bit today so that will hopefully be tomorrow.

For today . . . let's back up a bit. . .

Last fall a dear friend of mine from church, Carla, thought she had pulled a muscle in her chest while working in the garden.  She put up with the pain for awhile before a friend convinced her to go to the doctor just to have it checked out. 

That trip to the doctor changed her life forever.

The diagnosis was stage 4 lung cancer, a mass behind her heart and cancer in her adrenal glands.  Surgery was not an option!  Now talk about having your world turned upside down!!!!!

And that wasn't the end of the news.  After an MRI she was told she had numerous cancerous brain tumors!  No warning signs!

So for the past months chemo and radiation have become a part of her life.

Those of us in church have watched her get smaller and smaller by the week.  She is so thin and so frail but yet maintains her smile that lights up a room the second she walks in.  She has always been physically beautiful with this long flowing light brown hair and a love for Jesus that is uncomparable.  Just a year after Monty and I were married she met the love of her life, Todd.  She and I laughed many times that we both married someone much younger than ourselves and how awesome that was!

When she lost all her hair and was a bit nervous about coming to church for the first time with a hat on the entire church surprised her by having "hat day" that Sunday!  Nearly every single person had some kind of hat on --- it even made the front page of our local newspaper!

Week after week she would somehow make it to church and sit in her seat in the front row and raise those frail little arms high in the air praising Jesus.  Sometimes I would see tears streaming down her face as we sang but she always had that amazing smile on her face.

A few weeks ago adding insult to injury she developed Bell's Palsy on one side of her face.  It was frozen in time and heart breaking - but it didn't stop that smile.  It just had a little twist to it now!

This morning Pastor Dave sent me a text saying she was in the hospital, taken by ambulance.  She had a massive seizure and tests showed trouble in the spinal fluids.  The doctors said she has a 50/50 chance of making it through tonight.

I stopped in to see her this evening and even though she is under the influence of some tough anti-seizure meds she still recognized me.  The hardest part ---- her smile wasn't there!

I write this asking for prayers.  God is in the business of miracles and Carla (and Todd) could sure use one right about now. 

I don't understand alot of things and seeing a friend fight so hard and suffer so much is one of those things I just don't understand.

But God didn't give us all the answers and all He wants is for us to trust in Him.  I know Carla trusts and if she can trust through all of this it should be easy for me.  Should be  . . .

Lord, you are the Almighty Healer and we are asking for one of your miracles . . .

Until next time . . . please join us in prayers.                                           Susan and Monty

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 5, Monday = Double Duty

Even though it was really late when we all settled down and got to bed last night Charles was up and working when I got up at 6:30am. 

Before I could even get done with my usual morning call home to Monty I got a text from Don here at home.  The Hartsville team was working on his house and needed materials.  I had already made a trip to see my guys at Lowes before I left - just in case.  The men went to Lowes to get what they needed, called me from the checkout and the Lowes men took it from there!  Now that is what I call service!

Since the volunteers will return tomorrow we may need to do the same thing.  The 6 hour time difference is a bit tough as they cannot call me during their morning hours.  When it's 12 noon here at Don's it's only 6am in Maui.

Everyone gathered for devotions -- this one came from a book I had been reading since we arrived.  Found it there at the church and it was a good one.  I chose a devotion on life and how we receive it by serving others.  It brought out quite a bit of conversation which is always good.

Bobby, Charles and Becky went back to their loft. Becky continued to mud and finish the walls while Charles and Bobby tackled building a platform in the loft for the closet.  This was a project where I told them I was counting 100% on their creativity and imagination and skills.  They did not disappoint me and by the end of the day had put together their design and finished it!

The women were downstairs learning to texture the kitchen walls and ceilings.  I learned back in Texas that texturing with a roller was the way to go with volunteers who have never done such a task.  The roller is really made to use with paint but I used a bit of my own imagination and by taking drywall mud and mixing it with water, getting just the right consistency, it makes a wonderful texture.  The girls were to practice on scrap sheetrock first, working until they felt they had the hang of it.  Bev and Hannah were quick to get the feel and moved inside to the kitchen.  Hannah wanted to focus on the ceiling since that's where she'd been for a couple of days.  She stepped in and took ownership of it -- awesome!  Bev started on the walls and before long both of them were rolling away with perfect results!

I decided to get in on the fun and worked on the walls.  When I realized I was swaying back and forth as I rolled I challenged the girls to some "texturing aerobics" which they (without my knowing) captured on pictures!  Remember --- we have to learn to laugh at ourselves!!!!!!

We all had a blast and once again were laughing hysterically AND getting work done!  With the Christian music playing in the church it was a perfect blend!  I sure am glad God has a sense of humor!  Sure makes life alot more fun!

Lunch arrived, along with the start of a pot of chili for dinner.  Schel came to do more plumbing work and managed to get the loft shower working. 

Linda arrived by late afternoon and finished the chili.  She also got a kick out of the texturing and was amazed at the progress both upstairs and downstairs.

Immediately after dinner Bobby and Charles headed into town to church for another meeting.  We continued to finish the texturing so we could paint tomorrow.  We didn't even realize how much time had passed till the guys walked back into the kitchen.

I asked Bobby how the meeting was and he told me just how God had showed up -- big time!  First of all he told me that he was planning on going to the meeting alone but when he got into the shower God spoke to him and told him to take Charles.  So he got out of the shower, asked Charles - who agreed to go- and then got back into the shower.  He said God doesn't usually speak to him that way but I said God always speaks to him -- he's just learning to recognize His voice!  He agreed.  When they got to the meeting they each introduced themselves.  When Charles finished with his introduction one of the pastors headed straight for him and said he had a word from the Lord for him.  He said he could see the heart Charles has for his own people (remember -- he is from Kenya and has only been here in the US for 4 years) and he saw Charles back home leading his people as Moses led his people!  I asked Bobby what Charles's reaction was and he said he took in every single word!  Quite an evening for the both of them!

By the time we finished the kitchen it was nearly 10pm.  Showers were taken and as I headed upstairs the young ones were outside around the picnic table discussing the day.  That sharing and laughing and learning and loving is just what this trip is all about!

I read a quote that I feel is "right on" ---- "trips like this aren't vacations.  They are so much more.  These experiences show you what's possible and challenge you to examine the paths you'll take in the future."

Tomorrow is Alton's thank you gift to all of us --- snorkeling in the afternoon!!!!

Be sure and stay tuned --- you won't want to miss that!!!!  Believe me!!!!

Until next time . . . what has God said to you lately?                            Susan and Monty

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunday, Day 4 = Fun Day

First and foremost --- our prayers are with all those along the Gulf Coast.  We are praying that all the rebuilds we did are high enough to be spared flooding again!  I can't even think about what might be happening!  I did try and call Ms Faye but the phone number I have isn't connected so . . .

Sunday, August 19th was the day our team had set aside for a fun and travel and site seeing day.  The kids were looking forward to it because they knew we would be on a beach somewhere.  Bev was just as anxious as she had never (yes, never) stepped foot into an ocean.

Church that morning was amazing!  Our team was asked to stand and we were told, numerous times, that we were an answer to prayer for Alton and Linda and the whole church.  Those words really had an impact on the entire team.  It's humbling and an honor when someone tells you that you are a direct answer to their prayers!  God really touches their hearts!

After church we gathered outside in front of their beautiful fountain for group pictures.

From left to right on the back row:  Alton, Linda, Becky, Kevin, Autumn, Bev, Schel, Mary, Hannah, Charles --front row left to right, me, Sus and Bobby.

After all the pictures everyone was ready to hit the road.  I gave the map to the kids in the back of the van and we headed to the city of Lahina.  What a beautiful area.  We found a shopping area and it was there that we discovered the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant.  It was a unanimous decision to eat lunch there.  In my opinion that's one of the best movies ever made and it was fun to go in and see the signs and remember all the parts of the movie.  Out front was the bench where Forrest's tennis shoes, suitcase and box of chocolates were made out of concrete.  You can see that we all had fun taking a seat!
Everyone needs the chance to be a kid again!

Our food was delicious and after a bit of shopping we all decided that we should hit the beach and return later to shop.

Bev got her chance and stepped into the ocean for the first time in her life!  She was not disappointed.  The water was beautiful and you can see the cloud on top of the mountain in the background.  The kids had a blast and built sand castles and Charles made a shark in the sand as you can see below.

After a time of swimming and playing in the sand we headed back to the shopping area.  It was fun watching each one trying to make that just right purchase for their parents or kids or special someone.  I watched as each one purchased something for themselves only after they had purchased for others in their families.

It didn't take long and everyone was hungry once again.  They all decided it would be great if we could find a place where we could sit near the water as the sun was setting and they all wanted pictures.  It didn't take long and God took us to the perfect place.  Our table was directly over the water and God provided us with a view that had to be straight out of heaven itself!  See for yourself!

We have many, many pictures of the sun setting and each one doesn't begin to do it justice but it's all we have to share. 

We continued shopping, taking pictures and just walking and enjoying the views till nearly 9:30pm and we still had nearly an hour drive back to the facility. 

Our ride back was a blast.  Bev and I got to laughing about the oncoming lights and how they changed shape in the windshield of the van that was loaned to us.  I don't know when I have laughed that hard and I think if someone looked not so closely one would find atleast a dozen golden eggs underneath Bev's seat!  The joy of the Lord was pouring out all the windows and doors making that little van unable to contain it.  And that joy brought healing --- lots of it.  From that night on Bev was healed and whole and working and working and healed and whole!

When we did arrive back and get things unloaded and I sat to write in my journal all I could think about was how well this team was becoming family.  When one person was looking to make a purchase they would ask the others what they thought about the item.  Conversations were all over the place with everyone and I just marveled at how awesome God is.  He called each and every member of this team to go and each one obeyed the call.  I watched the blessings pour out on each one and knew God was going to continue pouring them out!

As each relationship grew and was strengthened I knew all the glory was going to God and how He must be smiling from ear to ear!

Thank you Lord for that wonderful, carefree day that we could all spend with You.  You orchestrated each moment, each meal, each picture, each person and each blessing.  We are all so thankful to You!

Tomorrow it's back to work and the day of fun today just spurred each person on to do more work and be more of a blessing!

We will go into tomorrow with great expectation Lord!

Until next time . . . what an honor to serve such a loving God!                   Susan and Monty

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 3 -- Saturday

Saturday morning I awoke to find myself not only sleeping in my pajamas but also my hooded sweatshirt -- with the hood over my head!  Yes, it was that cool in our room!

During the night Mary had gotten up and covered me with a comforter on top of the sweatshirt too.

This morning we were on our own for breakfast so each one got up at different times and did different things for food.  We decided to hold devotions till lunchtime when we knew Schel and Sus and Autumn and Kevin would be able to join us.

Bev was really struggling this morning.  The drive the night before had pushed her tummy over the edge and it was just too much for her.  Try as we may to convince her to take the day off it wasn't easy to finally convince her.  Her heart was there to help and resting wasn't helping -- in her eyes!  But she did give in and went upstairs to rest in front of the fans and beautiful view of the mountains.  Different women went up to check on her and spend time with her throughout the day.  When I made my morning call to Monty I told him what was going on with her.  He said God didn't bring her up there to work but to rest!  God loved her that much that He took her all the way to paradise to get some rest!  She had been under an enormous amount of stress at work and also had been diagnosed with an ear and sinus infection 2 days before we left.  I immediately went upstairs to share this with her and she was shocked!  The love God has for her was a bit overwhelming and although tears streamed down her face she did rest for the remainder of the day and it worked! 

Autumn decided to take on the sanding of the kitchen ceiling. 

Yep, sanding a ceiling means all the dust has to come down directly on your face!  The stylish sunglasses just set the entire scene.  Even though she was a mess all I could hear was her laughter.  I texted her mother and told her I had not seen Autumn that happy --- ever!

Hannah, Mary and Linda put the finishing touches on the painting of the pantry and went to work planning for the flooring.

Schel and Kevin started the rough in plumbing for the kitchen and the closing in of the double doors in the kitchen.

Sus was cleaning and getting things organized to put back into the pantry.

Bobby, Charles and Becky were busy upstairs in the loft with sheetrocking and framing and taping and mudding.

Lunch was brought in by another church member -- homemade chicken salad that we all agreed was the best we've ever tasted.  Devotions finished the meal and it was back to work.

The entire afternoon was fast and furious with work and laughter.  The girls were working on the peel and stick tiles for the pantry and Autumn was learning how to cut the angles.  She got the hang of it quickly and did an amazing job!
Linda was getting them all layed out and it ended up beautiful and an amazing improvement!

Mary decided to tackle the job of stucco on the outside of the building where the double doors had been removed and framed in.  None of us had ever done it but all it took was reading the directions and getting the feel of it and she had it down.  Sus decided to jump in and help her and between the 2 of them it was perfection.  You could not tell where the doors had been.

You can just see the joy of the Lord shining through each of their faces!

Dinner arrived and it was a true Hawaiian feast!  Everyone had such fun trying and tasting and laughing.  Charles really loves vegetables and so he really enjoyed this meal.

After dinner the guys helped unload 1 of 3 truck loads of kitchen cabinets that had been donated.  They are beautiful and yet will require someone good at solving puzzles to get them all lined out in the way they should be.

Hannah and Mary wanted to make a Walmart run so I drove them and was thrilled to find souveniers inside Walmart. 

It was getting late by the time we got back and decided team showers were in order.  Somehow -- showering in a facility with no roof and outside made us laugh.  Modesty has no place in a situation like this and soon it had spread throughout all the women.  What happens in Maui stays in Maui!!!!!!

As I sat on my bed and began journaling I realized just how well this team is working and living together.  What a blessing to be a part of.

Tomorrow is church and we have to be ready to leave by 7:30am so lights went out fairly early

Autumn and Kevin will move into their condo and spend the rest of their time celebrating their anniversary.

Sus and Schel also moved into their condo and although we will see a bit of Schel, probably not Sus.

So our number of workers gets smaller but the growth of the family gets stronger.

The outside showers!!!  How brave would you be?

Until next time . . . "giving trips always change me in some way.  But seeing the expressions and experiences of the people that join me on the journey is equally, if not more, powerful."

Susan and Monty

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Maui Days 1 and 2

We're going to travel back in time a bit over the next few days.  Back day by day to do the best I can telling you about our recent mission trip to the Hawaiian island of Maui.  Although I did not take my computer I did journal every evening (yes, good old handwriting in a notebook).  If I had not there would be no way I could remember.

Day 1 = Thursday, Travel Day

Up at 4am in order to meet Bev, Bobby and Hannah at the Sam's Club parking lot.  Our goal was to be on the road to the airport by 6am.  We are an hour in driving distance and with our plane leaving at 8:55am we wanted to be there, checked in and ready.  Any "wait" time needed to be after we were checked in.

We were on the road at 6am sharp and parked, shuttled to our check in area and completely checked in by 7:45am.  Some of us were concerned that our luggage might weigh in over the 50 pound limit but we were all under.  Each checked bag cost us $25 so we all just checked one.  Mary was to meet us there at the departure gate since she has family in Indy and stayed up there the night before.  She was there, we were all ready to go and decided to grab a bite to eat.

The plane was already at the gate so we knew we would be able to leave right on time.  The flight to Dallas was 2 hours with another 2 hour layover before departing directly to Maui.

Bev had only flown once before in her life and was a bit anxious about these flights.  She is very prone to motion sickness and had both her prescription patch on and meds in her carry on if she needed them.

Both flights were on time.  The one out of Dallas to Maui was an 8 hour flight, quite long!  The landing was one of the roughest I have ever experienced and the rest of our group agreed.  The pilot had to cross over the island and then make a U turn before landing.  It's always very windy on the island and maybe that had something to do with it?  Either way we had landed and met up with Charles, who had landed less than an hour before us, Sus and Autumn who had flown in the day before with their husbands and Becky who had also arrived a bit earlier.

We were taken directly to Alton and Linda's house where we had a few minutes to be introduced to everyone and get some land legs under us.  The drive was only about 15 minutes which made us all happy.

Once there we were treated to a wonderful meal and quickly transported up the Kula mountain to their facility.  Sus and Schel and Autumn and Kevin would be staying with Alton and Linda while the rest of us stayed on site.  They wanted us to be there before dark so we could take a look around and atleast know where we were before going to bed.  We arrived on the mountain in time to do all of that and just before it got dark.  They are 6 hours behind us here in Indiana and it gets dark there around 7pm.

We got oriented and were more than tired as 9pm rolled around.  Since that was 3am time for our bodies some of us had been up for almost 24 hours.

Day 2 = Friday, First Work Day

None of us slept very well but were up and ready to go.  The nights there cool way down and since we had 2 box fans in the room we were colder than we thought.  There isn't much air conditioning on the island but we sure didn't miss it that night!

Alton and Linda joined us by 8am and blessed us with bags and bags of McDonald's for breakfast - a welcome site for all of us.

We had morning devotions and decided to focus our work and energy on 2 priority projects;  the living quarters upstairs where the site manager couple will live and the kitchen/pantry areas.

Bev got a morning call from Monty.  He prayed with her and encouraged her and in doing so brought her to tears.  (Back note = when I first mentioned this trip Monty's first comment to me was, "you need to find another woman to go with you as I don't feel called to go."  Another woman?  Are you kidding -- women don't do what I do!!!!!  And then Bev felt the Lord was calling her to go but with her physical challenges she didn't think there was anything she would be able to do -- until I made the comment that Monty had made and then we all knew.  She wasn't his "replacement" but she was my support, my companion, my friend and my God given partner)  His phone call was such a blessing to both of us!

Charles, Bobby, Schel and Kevin took on the upstairs project while all the women tackled the kitchen and pantry.  The pantry needed completely cleaned out and sorted and bleach cleaned.  One of the biggest problems on island is termites.  They eat everything --- and I mean everything.  Alton and Linda are hoping to raise enough funding ($5000) to have the entire building tented and treated. 

By lunchtime we had the pantry cleared and were organizing the contents in the sanctuary.

At noon our lunch arrived.  We had a wonderful area outside to eat and were hungrier than most expected.

The afternoon took Becky upstairs where she could help the guys.  They had been hanging sheetrock and she had plenty of experience in taping the joints and mudding.  She ended up there the entire week and did a wonderful job! 

The work in the kitchen continued with also taping and mudding over the ceiling joints and numerous places of damage on the walls.  The younger ones caught on quickly and learned that mudding is like art and rather fun to work with.

Dinner was also delivered by some of the church members and was delicious. 

Linda needed to make a run to the dump with alot of debris and scraps so I volunteered to go with her.  On that trip she told me how she made her first mission trip to Maui with the MAPS group and felt in her heart she was to come back.  She did return and met Alton as they were both Teen Challenge counselors.  They have been married for 25 years and this House of New Life has always been their dream but had felt as though it might not happen.  She told me our team was an answer to their prayers, years of prayers!

Evening was an option;  go with Sus and Schel to a special youth service at the church or stay with us.  Everyone but Bev and I decided to go to the service which Bev and I smiled about since we were the older ones there and it gave us a couple of hours to ourselves!

They showered quickly and were ready to go.  The showers were located outside.  Lava rock walls and one of them has a net for a roof while the other is open to the sky.  There are 6 shower heads in each and for some it was quite the experience!

Bev and I decided to take a short drive around the place but that didn't end up very well.  The curves and bends combined with the dark made it impossible to see and Bev's motion sickness really kicked up.  We came back early and she layed down.

The kids came back really fired up from the service.

As I thought about how this first day was I found myself shocked at how much work had actually been accomplished.  Monty and I have run teams for years and years and the first day is known for not being a day of production.  This had not been one of those kind of first days!

The team worked as if they had known each other for years, not like most of them had just met one another.  If you were an outsider you would not have been able to group them into the 2 church groups represented!  God was already moving and I don't think anyone really realized it. 

Charles cutting sheetrock for upstairs.

Shel hanging sheetrock upstairs to close in the shower area.

Hannah and Bobby at the evening youth service.

So days 1 and 2 have come to an end.  The plan for tomorrow is already set.  Everyone knows their part.  Sus and Schel and Autumn and Kevin will only be working with us one more day as they also planned some time for themselves as couples with this trip. 

Everyone was plenty tired but there were those up talking, sharing and allowing God to fill their hearts with even more love, devotion and service than imaginable!

Be sure and stay tuned for tomorrows blog which will be Day 3 = Saturday.

Until next time . . . to God be the glory!                                      Susan and Monty

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back from Maui mission trip

We made it back today -- but for our body clocks it's actually yesterday?  We missed an entire nights sleep and right now I am running of fumes and disorientation so if there are misspellings or such please understand.

I have over 200 pictures of my own and will be getting discs from the others as to combine them for here and a church power point presentation.

The view from the window of our room.

Our sleeping quarters and where the 8 young men will sleep once they move in.  Their program of scriptural rehabilitation will be starting the first of September.

The front of the building that faces the mountains and water.  There are also mountains directly behind it.

Sus and Autumn cleaning the kitchen equipment.  Since there isn't a sink base or sink in the kitchen, the one out back worked miracles.

Each day someone from the church brought us lunch and dinner each day. Sitting outside in the sunshine and breeze was wonderful.

The men tackled the upstairs living quarters for the live in supervisors. They made amazing progress and is not ready fror paint and flooring.

I don't want to put too many pictures this afternoon. I still don't know what time zone I'm in but wanted to get something out there for you.

This trip will take up quite a few blog entries and all was super.

Since I was there on our 14th wedding annversary when I walked into the house this afternoon this was waiting for me on our dining room table.  Oh how I love my husband!!

 Be sure and stay tuned --- it only gets better.

Until next time . . . food, sleep and a new day tomorrow will bring me back to normal???
Susan and Monty

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

12 Hours

In 12 hours 4 of the team will be meeting at the local Sams parking lot, loading our luggage into Bev's truck and heading to the Indianapolis airport. 

Our flight leaves a bit before 9am.

4 of the team is in flight today and should arrive around 9pm our Indiana time.  They will meet us at the airport.

1 of our team members is flying another airline but also leaves tomorrow and will arrive just minutes before the 5 of us.

I just checked with everyone and they are all packed and ready to go!  Like I expected anything else!

For those of you who "try" and keep up with what's going on --- I will NOT be taking my computer so that means I will NOT be blogging anything while we are away.  I just cannot deal with hauling it via the airlines and frankly am looking forward to just focusing on what God has for me there.

There will be plenty of stories and pictures for probably days and days --- all of which will wait until we get back home.

So . . . depending on how this old body reacts to the 6 hour time difference I just might be back here blogging on Friday the 24th???

The main thing we ALL need is prayer!  Please !!!!! cover us daily with prayers.  This is a long way from home, a big mission --- one that will not only change lives --- but actually save lives!  God has all the details and we each are trusting fully in His guidance and His love.  Your prayers are priceless and if God prompts you to pray for us at a particular time ---- please do so at that exact time.  You have no idea what might be happening but God does and He knows your prayers are needed right then!

I would also ask for prayers for Monty as he is not going.  His job is making it possible for me to go and he will have much more responsibility here at home with his job, the house and 3 small dogs!  Please cover him twice as much as you cover us! 

I will be gone for our 14th anniversary so maybe on Thursday, the 22nd you could double up on the prayers --- for both of us???      :)

Thanks to all of you who donated, who encouraged, who loved and who prayed.  May God return your blessings a hundred fold!

Until next time . . . "IGO where He sends me."                         Susan and Monty

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's all Arnold's fault

The Hartsville men returned to work on Don's roof today.  All except Arnold --- so --- anything that happened was Arnold's fault.  They warned him before they left and it just seemed like a good blog title!

Although it appears Rob is taking a nap he was really working hard getting the drip edge just right in that awkward corner.  I told him this picture was worth a thousand words!!! 

Tom was working on the areas where the roof of the house meets the roof of the porch. 

This is the area where the roof gable meets the porch and according to Don it's been a problem for years and years.  It always leaks here and being right over his master bedroom does make it a big problem.  You can see that there are literally layers and layers of shingles, tar and anything and everything someone could think of trying to repair it.  Tom worked and worked and managed to get it all repaired and from now on there should be no more problems!

Once again John joined the team and was a great help in lifting the shingles up onto the roof and tearing off the old roofing.  Here you can see most of the porch area.  Although the pitch of that porch roof isn't much of a pitch Tom decided it would be best to shingle it like the roof.  Since he is the resident authority and does all his work to perfection --- who am I to disagree!

Mark also stopped by and has a plan for continuing inside once the roof is done and we are sure we have no more leaks.  As soon as this porch roof is completed he can start in the master bedroom.  As good as he is with sheetrock and painting he'll have us ready for flooring before we know it!

Mark also volunteered to oversee things while I am on the mission trip to Maui.  My gentlemen at Lowes also are going to work with us to make sure materials can still be provided when needed.  I am just a phone call away and we can make it work that way.  Much appreciation to Mark and the team at Lowes!  It takes a team --- and all sorts of people make up that team!

So Arnold --- we missed you today and hope you make it on the next trip because we don't want to continue making things all your fault!!!!      :)

Once again a HUGE thank you to these men who travel the 90 minutes, one way, to be such a blessing to Don!  You're the best!

Until next time . . . let's go team!!!!                                                  Susan and Monty

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rained out? Are you kidding?

Monday morning --- and we were supposed to be on our way to Holiday World to do something we haven't done in . . . well . . . we've never been there and as for doing something just plain fun . . .

And the rain is falling with a 70% chance all day long and a 40% chance of tornadoes!!!!  We're in the worst drought in who knows how long and today it would rain!!!!!????

I cannot complain --- but --- I can be disappointed!

A dear friend of ours gave us tickets to go and have some fun, bring out the kid in us, and I guess we will have to wait until after I get back from the Maui mission trip.  The tickets are good for another month although the park will not be open during the week, just weekends. 

Anyway . . . now the next 3 days will be busy with final trip "stuff".

We did have a wonderful day at my parent's house yesterday.  Got to see my brother, niece and her daughter.  I laughed until my stomach hurt, which is the norm when we are all together!

Some of them will be coming over here on Tuesday evening when we get the chance to see them again.  My daughter is having dinner for them and us so the 2 little girls who are nearly the same age can play.  Should be a fun evening.

Hope all of you have a great Monday. 

Holiday World will wait, packing will continue and God is always good!!!!

Until next time . . . a special thanks to my aunt for the donation and we will be praying for your procedure!                                                     Susan and Monty

Saturday, August 11, 2012

5 days -- really????

Okay -- where did the past few days go as the last blog said we had 9 days until we leave???

I know I worked at my old job on Friday and looks like I might be going back to work full time sometime in September.  I worked there for over 5 years before we headed out into the field and financially it has become a necessity.  Anyway . . . that's another day!

I have started packing and trying to make sure I've got what I need to get through the week without doing laundry!  Should be fine but did pick up an extra pack of socks this evening.

Bev told me she is already packed and ready.  I imagine Bobby and Hannah are the same way and Charles is also planning and packing.

Heard from Linda, in Maui, and she has a very long list of things that still need done.  We will wait till we get there to be able to visually see the projects and see who feels comfortable doing what. 

Today I spent part of the day putting the second and final coat of stain and poly on the trim for Don's house.  The Hartsville team will be returning Tuesday to hopefully wrap up the roof rebuild and that will then allow us to get the trim up in the family room and dining room and to then get started in the master bedroom. 

The other part of today had me underneath Monty's truck, with him, trying to remount the gas tank.  It sure got a little crowded under there but we got it done and laughed while doing so.  And it actually started and ran quite well when we got done!!!

Tomorrow I get to see my brother and niece and her little girl.  This brother lives in Florida and we don't get to see him nearly as often as we all would like to.  It's usually only once a year!  My niece and her little girl live in Missouri and it's the same with them.  So tomorrow is a big day, a fun day with family!  Pizza and family = the best ever!

We also will get to have our church congregation and Pastor Dave pray over our team.  That is so very important to all of us.  Being sent out and covered in prayers is priceless!  The part of the team coming from Pastor Martie's church will also be prayed over.  And that will happen again at Tuesday morning Bible Study!  Can't get enough prayers so please join in those prayers and keep us covered so tightly that the enemy can't even see us -- let alone try to reach us!

Until next time . . . welcome home Ross, Sarah and Peyton.  Can't wait to see you.    
Susan and Monty

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Countdown from 9 . . .

Tuesday morning Bible study was awesome, as always.  It was good to be back as I had to miss the past couple of weeks.

A sandwich with Bev afterwards where we could talk about our upcoming mission trip.  9 days to go and counting down!  We've been talking and planning for so long and now it's down to days -- in single digit days!

We have a tentative schedule from Maui and it looks good.  Their church will bring our dinner meals to us each evening.  Since 6 of the 10 of us are staying right at the facility we are helping rebuild and are up in the mountains, bringing dinner will be great!  We won't have to clean up, drive down into the city and find a place to eat.  The church also plans on stocking the local refrigerator with more than enough foods that we can make our own breakfast and lunches on site.

They also sent a list of all the things that still need completed.  At first look it seems like a really long list considering they plan on opening the doors for residents and employees by September 1st.  And although it's nice to have the list, we will make decisions on what we will be doing once we get there and can put our own eyes to the projects.  Of the many things we have learned -- we don't "assign" project tasks to other volunteers.  Each of us will take a look and make our own decisions on what we can and will work on.  So the list is great but for now it's just a guide.

It seems Sunday will be our day to have some fun.   After church that morning we hope to hop into the vehicle they are providing for us and take a tour of the island, beaches and views and all.  Should be alot of fun for all of us.

So we continue to fine tune our plans and continue to pray for God's will to be done, for wisdom in our decisions and choices and thanking Him for using each of us -- just a bunch of broken vessels -- for His glory and purposes!

Until next time . . . how is He using you?                                Susan and Monty

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Details coming together

It's August 5th which means our team leaves for Maui in 11 days!  My, oh my!

The details are coming together.  I received info from Linda (in Maui) just today with our schedule and a list of things that need done.  Going by that list we need 5 times the number of people going and 5 weeks!  But . . . one thing Monty and I have learned over the past 7 years is that it WILL get done, we don't have to be the ones to get it all done, and God will be happy with whatever we DO accomplish! 

We had another team meeting Thursday night where we learned Mary will be joining us, which brings our team to 10 people!

Today I learned that our team might grow to 11 over the next few days!  We might be down to the wire and people still wanting to schedule!  How incredible is that!

I have a big meeting tomorrow with the gentleman who might become number 11.  There are alot of "issues" in this scenario and I would ask for prayers of guidance, wisdom and open doors for this gentleman -- and myself!

God has so much going on with this team, with His plans and with His itenerary.  Please pray that we will all be open to hear, obedient to follow and covered in our spiritual armor for the attacks just around every corner!

Blessings to all until next time  . . .                                Susan and Monty

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The trimmings

As I walked around the corner this morning this was the site I saw!  Looks like Bitty is trying to figure out how to fix Monty's truck!?  I hope she knows as he is a bit exasperated to say the least!  Had a fuel leak for awhile and just when he thought it was fixed . . .

This morning I headed off to purchase some interior trim for Don's.  No, we aren't there yet but I am anxious and this helped with that anxiety.  I got all the trim to put up around the ceiling, the trim for the doors and the trim for the new windows.

I managed to get myself set up in our back yard, underneath the big shade tree.  I could straddle between the tail gate of my truck and our picnic table.  And then I used my sideboards as drying racks.  It worked quite well.
Being a trim carpenter, I learned a long time ago that one of the easier ways to trim around doors and windows is to use these decorative blocks at the corners.  It avoids the mitre cuts and also makes the trim stand out even more.  The 2 big blocks are for the trim around the front door and the rest for the new windows.

I got them all stained and polyurethaned and ready to be installed when the time comes. 

Quite beautiful --- if I do say so myself.

I did have 3 little "helpers" as you can see below!
They are on our back deck.  Samson kept his back to me and I think it's because he was a bit hot! 

So now all we need is the roof to be completed and we can start working on Don's bedroom.  I pray that the Hartsville team will be returning soon.

In the meantime . . . we do what we can when we can and trust in God's perfect timing!

Until next time . . . blessings to all.                                  Susan and Monty