Sunday, December 02, 2012

33 volunteers - 2 houses - 1 day

Yesterday was our trip to Holton, IN to help rebuild from the March 2nd tornado that ripped through the small town of around 450 people.

We met very early, it was still dark, at our church and this time I had everyone come inside for a short orientation.  With such a diverse team I felt this was important.

We had 8 students from Indiana University, the director for the Volunteer Network here and a friend of hers, some people from our church, a couple more from Tuesday morning Bible Study in Bedford and a mom and son who have been through Red Cross disaster training.

When we arrived in Holton we were given the task of framing in 2 complete homes.  All the lumber for these homes was donated by an organization who also pre-framed the walls so it was almost like putting together a puzzle.  The foundations were ready and we divided up into 2 teams, A and B.

Here you can see the foundation of house A with preframed walls stacked in front.

Each team jumped in with the first task -- gathering all the walls for their home.

These things were quite heavy, especially the exterior walls.  The team work had everyone laughing while they were working.  A sound that surely brings a smile to God's face!

The rest of the day had me between both houses. They were across the street from one another and each team enjoyed keeping track of the other one's progress. 

Before we even went to lunch we had a neighbor, Mike, join in.  He wanted to help out since he was going to be the owner of the 3rd new home right next door.  His house was already framed and roof trusses on and will hopefully be completely roofed by the incoming Amish this next week.  He felt like he wanted to be able to do something for someone else and ended up workin with us all day long.  He was still there when we pulled out at 5:30pm and if it hadn't been for him house A would have been in serious trouble.  Their generator ran out of propane and even though the construction coordinator had another tank within 5 minutes --- on the first pull of the starting cord --- the cord broke!  Thankfully Mike had a gas powered generator at his house (where he's renting) and so he and I hopped in my truck and within 10 minutes everyone was back up and running.

Walls started going up.

When some of the exteriors were just too heavy -- the good old red Ford came in handy!

Lunch was a great treat for all of us.  Bob and Debbie, who are starting a disaster feeding program, provided us all with homemade soups, hamburgers and some incredible desserts!  It was nice to sit down and visit with everyone but no one stayed seated for long.  In less than 45 minutes everyone was back on the job.  Time was ticking and with only one day to work . . .

The expression on his face tells it all --- total concentration!

Many of them got lessons in hammering 101 -- and the laughter could be heard across the street!  Some used 1 hand, some 2, some framing hammers (which are very heavy) and others short, almost funny looking ones.  But each hammed enough that I wonder if they could hold their forks for dinner!

Our church secretary with her power drill ---easy to see Jesus in that smile!  Although -- at the end of the day she sent me a text that said, "these hands and feet of Jesus are really tired."   Priceless.

Just back from Afghanistan, her husband was one of the team leaders on house B and throroughly enjoyed being home and having his entire family with him!

Don't know what happed with this color thing -- but Keith had the fun job of cutting out the doors and windows on the exterior walls.  He was so covered in sawdust that you literally could not see the top of that shining head!

Bet showed us all that there's more than one way to tackle hammering nails in corners!!!!

Charles may be tall and a bit on the really thin side --- but he can hold up the walls of a house when needed!!

Friends are a great blessing!  Becky went with us on our mission trip to Maui and hasn't been the same since!  This was Mark's first time to do anything like this and he's also changed forever!  I imagine they will be on every trip we do from now on -- no matter where it is!

All in all it was a wonderful day.  Both houses have all the exterior walls up and both have almost all the interior walls in place.  Lives of volunteers were changed -- 3 of the IU kids even volunteered to  help lift roof trusses on another house down the street for a team of way worn out men from Greenwood!  People learned skills they never knew they had, new friendships were formed and old ones strengthened.  Neighbors watched the progress and felt the love of Jesus coming from each worksite.  New team leaders were born, compassion was rebirthed and love made more powerful.

For me --- it was an incredible day to share with people I know, people I didn't know so well and even some strangers -- who are no longer strangers but friends!

The single most asked question at the end of the day?  "When are we coming back?"

So . . . I will be keeping in touch with Darrin, the construction coordinator, and we WILL plan another trip where hopefully we can install insulation, hang some walls and ceilings and bring these houses closer and closer to becoming homes!

My deepest and sincere thanks to each volunteer yesterday!  You took the words at orientation seriously and really were "the hands and feet of Jesus!"

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

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