Showing posts from 2007

Tommy's Notes

Tommy walked in with probably the most technical skills and the least amount of attitude. He also was the resident chowhound researcher for the trip. Here are some excerpts from his thoughts Feeling His pleasure.My one line quote for our support letter was, “I’m looking forward to experiencing a new part of God’s kingdom and hopefully ‘feel His pleasure’.” I definitely “felt His pleasure,” but not quite in the way I imagined. In the movie “Chariots of Fire,” the main character Eric Liddell says,” I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”I thought I would feel His pleasure when I was using some of my construction skills, but that literally didn’t happen until the very last hour. Instead throughout the week I was struck by the reality of one of John Wooden’s quotes: “It’s amazing how much work can get done when nobody cares about who gets the credit.” Time and again I sensed God smiling as He saw ten guys working vigorou…

Reflections from Team Leader, Dennis

An excerpt from Team Leader Dennis' reflections Through My Shaded Window PaneI wish I had the wisdom and insight to be able to write a deeply introspective and touching synopsis of our recently completed mission trip to the Gulf Coast. But I’ve learned a man has to recognize his limitations, so I’m leaving the deep writing to others on the team that are blessed with that talent. :) Though I leave the Pulitzer-prize-worthy writing to my more talented teammates, I do want to share with you a few thoughts that stand out strongly for me.Seeing the remnants of houses, buildings and personal property destroyed by Katrina reminded me of what we have been studying recently regarding the treasures that we store. Indeed, the treasures we have here on earth are very, very temporary.Our team was diverse in age, skills, talents and thoughts. We did not recruit for specific talents, skills or roles. By God’s grace alone, the volunteers for the team numbered exactly what we had planned for and…

Post from Steve

Steve was one of the most interesting, if not energetic, of those on the mission. Here's an excerpt from his notes: Life’s Moments... Dressed and PressedI thought it best to write down my thoughts whilst they are still fresh and felt, so in no particular order:One of our goals as members of EBC’s Katrina Project was to intercalate (to join, or combine or unite with others to increase the quality, quantity, size or scope of) ourselves into the culture of this devastated region and serve as envoys of God’s hope and love to the people so devastated by this “act of God.” It seems we did. In the process of building a home, we also did other things; have fun, learn about ourselves, each other, and most importantly about the God we serve and worship.We ate. History has it that during a bitter local transit union strike, two brothers took pity upon the jobless “poor boys” and gave out inexpensive sandwiches. They evolved into a signature Southern-style po’ boy. Take fried meat or seafo…

Post from Rob

Robert made a few sacrifices during this trip. Some expected and some unexpected. His anniversary fell on the Friday during this trip, but had prepared for it by having a surprise gift waiting for his wife, Tobi, back home. He had a big smile and took great delight that he had planned it out in his absence. Unfortunately, also on that day, Tobi's grandfather passed away on that day as well. You could see the sadness not only of the loss, but also that he couldn't be there in person to support his wife.Here's an excerpt of his thoughts:Before I began this missions project, I did not know what to expect.How much of the house are we going to build? Will I be able to hammer some nails? Am I going to eat rice and red beans every night? In the end, the Lord went beyond my expectations. As a team, we were able to build the frame, put in windows and doors, pound the OSB into the frame, build the trusses (roof), and put the OSB into the roof frame. The only thing we did not do w…

Return to L.A.

We took separate flights back to L.A. One of us (Peter) returned via LAX, the rest via Ontario.Along the way, some luggage was delayed, some flights were missed, but I think we're all back safely.Mathias, Mo and I (Peter), were scheduled to take an earlier flight to Atlanta, and then I'd continue back to LAX, they'd wait for the rest of the team in ATL for the flight back to Ontario. The night before we left, another volunteer had shown us a book with before/after Katrina pictures of the area. Mo wanted a copy and we went looking for it (it looked so good I picked up a copy myself). It's quite good and had pictures similar to this one: Unfortunately, we got to the airport with little time to spare, and I was the only one to make the plane. But it all worked out because my layover was shortest, and Mo and Mathias came on the next plane with the rest of the guys.Right before I had left, a friend/member of my support group had said that she had never hadthe excitement of r…

Day 6 Travel

As we prepare to return to L.A. via our flights out of Gulfport, some of the guys are going to try and head over to New Orleans before their flight to see things first hand... and maybe to sample the local fare...Good Lord, you think these guys would be tired, or tired of each other... :)Let's pray they make it back in time for their flights...

Day 5 Prayer

We came as a church. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization.I know that there's been a lot of interest and questions regarding the work we were doing, and between doing the actual building and keeping you informed, it did seem to get a little wrapped up in the task at hand. Besides, we're guys.But other things were going on as well. We grew as men, and men of God.Prayer Walk
Today was our last day on the site on Prince George Street. We'll miss the house, working together, and working on this house, but mostly we'll miss the people we met, and we wonder about the home that will one day fill the house.We took our last moments on site to pray.We prayed for the future tenants, the local area, for Habitat, for Bracky, Diane, David and all the others seen and unseen. We prayed for peace within families, especially the family that will call this their home. We prayed for God's protection over all these things and prayed for a blessing on the home. We prayed mos…

Day 5 Construction and Dinner

Thanks so much for the encouraging blog comments, emails and phone calls we've been getting. We miss you and will be flying back tomorrow, but now to the pictures and the house:Just to let you know the technical aspects of trusses (that we all learned too well): They are connected to this home at two points, each side of the house. They are kept in by some hurricane brackets, but initially are positioned with four toed-in nails to a side. The peak of the trusses are kept the same distance apart by a 2x4 that is nailed near the top.The spacing of these trusses is crucial (we learned all too well) because the plywood that will rest on it needs to be properly nailed in at regular intervals. Well due to our work and re-work, we got the trusses set appropriately apart, but somewhere along the line they fell out of true. This required a little extra help/coaxing After the trusses were set, (and lunch)It was Rob's Anniversary, and he was spending it with us ... .. we went to work on pu…

Day 4 Construction

Our 2nd to last day in Gautier.We woke up to thunder and lightning, and were briefed about our work. If it's inclement weather, Habitat will often take workers to homes that need interior work done. That makes sense.Today, we were told just to ride out the storm. It would pass in a few hours. We arrived to our work site 2 hours later than normal, and then proceeded to spend over an hour emptying it of water. We had to hold off on the roof because of wet conditions, and also we had to fix the trusses. They have to sit directly on the outer walls, and some were bumping into the interior walls. We had to cut notches in them to let them float. Windows Windows Windows
We got to put in some windows. Two windows were ordered too small for the opening that was made for them. We had to adjust the window openingsThe front door, wrapping the home in moisture barrier, some paneling for the roof and the front gable were all highlights of the day.I (Peter) also got to run to BP (local gas station…

Day Zero Pictures are up!

Actually, we're still on site, wrapping up, but wanted to post this thank you before we wrap up for the day.So we'll take you back.. three days..We wanted to thank all our families and friends, both who could come out to the airport to see us off, or to wish us well in our meetings before we left.Each team member has an Missionary Support Group to give us support and help us feel connected to our church and family during the prep for the trip.At the airport, some of them were able to come out and pray for us before we left. Because of the time and distance, we know it was hard and told many to stay at home. We appreciate all.
Some pictures from the sendoff We flew out of Ontario, CA at 11:15pm, went through Atlanta (where we saw the sun rise) and arrived in Gulfport in time for breakfast.We tried to sleep in the plane, but got most of our sleep during our two hour layover in ATL.
Pictures from the airport While on the flight to Gulfport, I (Peter), had the most interesting con…

Sun came through

The sun came out and we went to work. putting on roof decking and wrapping the house

Storm Watch... Wait.. Tornado Watch

Woke up this morning to pray. Saw flashes, but they weren't coming from inside. A storm is coming our way.. and actually is right on top of us.Yes, that's us, Biloxi, at the front end of that little dark part of the storm system.We're not sure yet if we'll be going out to work on the site today, but we're willing and able. If not, the Habitat folks have things to keep us busy.In the meantime, we can still continue to pray for the region. Just a few days of this Mississippi weather has brought us intense heat, beautiful cool weather and now a Tornado watch in a nearby county. As beautiful as the weather has been, when I hear the thunder and see the lightning, I wonder what it was like 18 months ago when Katrina hit.We're building the homes with some new building standards and features specifically for hurricanes. Additional straps and concrete footings were required after Katrina. In building the houses, it's easy to see how roofs could separate and house…

Construction Day 3

Fearing rain, we prepared for the worst, but we were happy to experience some cloud cover vs. the previous day's heat. We got to meet Diane, Bracky's wife, who also introduced us to the Palm Nailer. A tool we wish we found on day 1. It's the best thing in the world.. air powered hammering. Any of the guys that got to use didn't want to go back to the elbow grease hammers.Today was high-wire work for many, especially Gary and Mo. Working on the trusses, they lived high above our work. It's amazing how much work is involved in setting up the framing for the roof paneling that we hope to install tomorrow.New tool added today:
Chop Saw. That gave us straight cuts, and yes, Steve was eager to cut up any pieces of 2x4 that were requested. Still no major injuries to report.The beginning of the day was squaring up the house. A string is placed around the outer walls, and we push/pull and secure the wall at various points to make sure the walls are lined up with the string…

Ultimate Frisbee and Other Thoughts

Mathias' Notes, our lone ambassador to Ultimate Frisbee last nightIt seems Ultimate Frisbee playing got some attention in a few recent posts so I thought I'd pop in a tell the whole story. Every Tuesday night is Ultimate Frisbee night at camp. The Americore people who are here for more than one week at a time run the games. They're pretty intimidating since some of them had uniforms and even made up a special chant. We played three games between Americorps teams before another team from the Salvation Army side of camp came to challenge us. We lost that game 5-3. I'm not sure how Dennis puts me on a Wheaties box since I managed to drop a scoring pass in the endzone.Apparently Art and I look alike because Art says a lady came up to him this morning and said, "You play a mean game of Frisbee". I'll chalk it up to the stereotype that all Asians looking the same. I don't think I look that much like Art.A lesson learned from this episode: "don't pl…

Reward Dinner

Our reward dinner. Lookout 49 in the city of Gulfport, MS. Our Construction manager "Bracky" and his wife Diane with their grandson Charlie/Charley joined us at a restaurant they liked. Pictured are Corn Fritters that were crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside..
A good dinner for a hard day's work.

Putting up trusses

Halfway to a roof. Trusses in place. OSB tomorrow we hope. We're treating ourselves to a nice dinner tonight

Day 3 Wednesday

As Rob flips open his phone, he says "Hey, I didn't realize that your phone automatically changes the time to Biloxi time.."We chuckle that he figures this out on Wednesday after we got here Sunday.Also, something that I (Peter), didn't realize/remember. No Tank Tops or sleeveless shirts are allowed on the work site. I had to run out to Wal-Mart and buy 3 extra T Shirts.Rain rain go away...there's a 60% chance of rain. Hopefully we don't get all muddy.

Two videos from Day 2

Art was told to shout "Noise!" so that people wouldn't think it was a drive-by, he had his own shout.

Steve with yet another power tool

Ramblings from the so-called "Team Leader"

Dennis has been doing a great job keeping the team organized, happy and on track. And yes, he requested the above title for this post :)An incredibly amazing mission thus far! So much to share, so little time to do it. I have new found admiration and respect for every member of this team!If I did half as much as Frank has been doing when I'm his age, I'd have a heart attack.If I read blueprints/plans upside down in reverse like Mo, I would be an architect.If I played ultimate frisbee like Mathias, I would be the next athlete on the Wheaties Box.If I joked like Tommy, I could win Comic-of-the-Year award.If I shot pool like Gary, I'd be hustling on weekends at the nearest Billiard Hall.If I took orders like Art, I could be a waitress at Philipe's.If I used power tools like SteveO, they'd call me Tim the Tool Man Taylor.If I ate like Robert, I'd crush the scale.If I shopped like Peter, I wouldn't be writing this, I'd still be in the store looking at shoes …

Katrina Day 2 - Construction

This morning, we lost Dave our project foreman, and got his boss, "Bracky" for the morning. Dave had to take care of responsibilities at another site and joined us once he finished.After Dennis and Steve joined us after lunch, Steve discovered many power tools, and if you look at the slide show.. Frank meets his match..:)It was a good hard dirty hot day of work, but we all were satisfied with the work we're doing and the reasons why. We pray for the neighborhoods we travel through, we let people know why we're doing this, and we can't help but be touched by the many prayers that we're helping be a part of.Many have prayed to help this region, many have prayed to be helped. We're just helping out in a practical and spiritual way for this part.
Katrina Day 2 - Construction Hopefully we'll have some more video uploaded by tonight for you.. we're beat and need our sleep, but want you to be involved with us! :)

Katrina Day 2 - KP

Steve and Dennis stayed behind in the morning to do our commitment of KP.It included washing down both our (Habitat for Humanity's) and the Salvation Army's VillageSteve got to use a power washer
Photos from our KP Duty

Yesterday, video of our first wall going up

This video records the first of many times we put up this corner.Because our blueprints were not the same as our house, we had to make several attempts at interpreting them correctly. We got good practice at it.

Gary Siesta

Gary takes a 5 minute nap.

After our lunch, (we ran out of building materials so we had an early lunch) we were also waiting for Steve and Dennis to join us after their KP duty.

Lunch Time

Lunchtime means eating the lunches we packed earlier today.It's hot. Hotter than yesterdayHot!

Day 2 Begins

Thanks to the well wishers and family members..We're on our way out to the job site.. which is near the corner of St. George and Waterloo in the city of Gautier...We've been told to try the Po'Boys at the BP station out here..We're short two men for the first part. Steve and Dennis volunteered to do our commitment of KP. They, with Gary and Art, served us breakfast, but Steve and Dennis will be back doing clean up and I helping to server dinner on our return.We're hoping they can rejoin us at lunchtime.After last night's run to buy Gatorade, water and shoes for Peter, we're good to go..

Day 1 Video

By the end of the first day, we had put up all the interior and exterior walls, secured them together to the straps in the concrete slab.
Preparing the to put the final wall in place.

Putting the final outer wall in place

Pictures Pictures Pictures (Day 1)

We did a ton of work on Day 1Originally we didn't think we'd be doing any work on the walls, instead working on preparing to put down a slab...But we were happy to find out that were going to be working on erecting walls on a nice clean slabWe've got a TON of pictures, and have put them in some scattered order that we hope to clean up, but right now, we're trying to go to sleep, but wanted to share them with you.
So here's some highlights from day 1 Some things of note:
All 10 of us were able to work together and adopted Doug from another Baptist church.It felt like we built two houses, but it was only one. The blueprints we had were reverse and mirrored from what we actually had, so it took a while to find out which way was left, right and up.Heat's not too bad.. yet.Peter with the wrist problems experienced an equipment malfunction, launching a hammer at Steve. Yes, (I) Peter was hammering with my right hand, but know that I had that one in a wrist brace a mo…

Lunch Time Day 1

Our walls are up, well almost. we put up the exterior walls and left one corner down for bringing in the interiors. each wall is strapped to the concrete for new hurricane codes. Now it's lunch time.


We're putting up walls! we're in Gautier and sunscreen and bugspray are required.

Making Lunch

It seems you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of lunch they make!

Work Assignment

Victor (in yellow), our construction manager for the week has assigned about 3-4 baptist church groups to do work together (about 40-50 ppl-Evergreen is the largest with 10).

Morning Prayer

Habitat is a Christian organization and welcomes anyone of any faith, but stay true to their roots.Every meal begins with a blessing. They ask if you aren't Christian, if you could be respectful during the prayer. Everything's pretty cool that way, but I will say that most of those that are here for the week are from a local church.NY, IL, WI and of course CA are represented this week

Highway 90

Clearly the bridge is a little broken.

Good Morning From Biloxi

Good morning!Just to give ya'll a quick run down of the morning schedule.Wake up is at 6amLunch making is 6:30amBreakfast is at 7amAs you can probably guess some its a little early for some of us.We go to our construction site today. Be praying that no one breaks a fingernail!

Day 1 - Asian Tour Group

Now that day one is over I can now definitively say I understand what it is like to take an Asian tour. Our day after arriving here in Gulfport/Biloxi has been one big tour. After grabbing lunch at the Waffle House and supplies at the local Walmart, we began our whirlwind tour of the Biloxi area. We would drive for five minuets stop run out grab some pictures. Then drive again to the next stopping point, stop run out grab pictures and then start the process over again. The amazing part was the stares we kept getting from people when all ten of us Asian guys descended upon them.

Biloxi 1st day

Taken from historic downtown biloxi. What amazes me is that this area sustained winds over 120 mph and floodwaters over 35 feet. That's taller than the two story buildings here.

Our plane

Our connection to Biloxi. It's not big, but it's here :)Editor's note: We're well aware that this flood of posts will come to an end quickly once we get working... and yes, we had a three hour layover in Atlanta.

Family Men

Robert, away from home, and sleep deprived. Our biggest decision at this point is whether to eat now or hold off to Dennis and Tommy's promise of some Waffle House breakfast once we arrive.Apparently this is one of Robert's first extended trips from his family. We weren't even quite through security at Ontario before he started missing them..Pray for the guys and their families. A lot of them don't want to admit it, but they're missing them. Mathias and I are the only single guys, and Mathias brought his dad, so he's covered...On the way to our connecting flight, Dennis had forgotten his phone on our first plane, remembered and quickly returned to get it. Calm, cool, collected and quick, he returned with a smile and a phone in his hand. We sat around waiting for our fearless leader, and the computer-types broke out their pda's and such.

Hello from my palm

Now we can have true real time blogging from our mobile phones. (scary!)So now both Peter and I (Mathias) can send messages to this blog from our palm treo's.The story on the Chinese couple for those few who were wondering is that they just so happen to be going to gulfport as well, and the person escorting them thought that since we happen to be the only other Asian's in the airport we would be natural candidates to make sure they get on the plane and off safely to gulfport.


We've Atlanta! We've got a few hours before we complete our trip so we've started posting pictures. Some of the highlights so far:Starbucks is across from our gate!Peter's MSG cared to send us food/snacks and even a greeting card. Thanks! We appreciate all the support from our families and friends at home.
The landing which Peter says was exceptionally bumpy.Waiting near the airport subway.

(all we need is a guitar and a hat) Sleep!

(seems to be a very popular past time) Being adopted by an elderly Chinese couple (next time we need to bring a translator)
Here's some shots from the airport

Actually in the plane

We're taking off...Thanks much to you that came out to visit us and send us off...We're excited, all accounted for, and heading for our layover in atlanta..