Showing posts from May, 2008

Craig's Reflection

Craig was this year's team leader. He describes his feelings about the trip
Personally, if I could describe my experience in one word, that word would be "humbling." Here's why: The "suffering" I endure in life is nothing compared to what the hurricane victims endured and continue to endure. I come from a very stable family, I own a house, have a steady job, make a decent salary, drive two reliable cars, eat three meals a day, and sleep in my own bed every night. The Hurricane Katrina victims, with what little they have, are still trying to rebuild homes, relationships and a sense of normalcy. Others have relocated to other parts of the country with hopes of starting anew like the woman we met at the Gulfport/Biloxi airport who was on her way back to a new home in Iowa. So, I find it difficult to complain about any of my "sufferings." I hope to now have a new perspective and thank God more often in my circumstances.Also, as a Christian, I feel so…

Tommy's DC Hammer Reflection

Tommy, a veteran from '07 and '08, was co-leader of this year's team. Maybe more importantly, he was the escort for DC Hammer
I brought DC Hammer down to Biloxi hoping to pound many nails in honor of my friend and last year’s team leader Dennis Cho. Tuesday morning as we started to assemble top and bottom plates of wall sections, I hammered a few nails more concerned about accuracy than honor. After settling in to a routine, I paused and lifted a prayer for my friend. It felt good as I imagined that each blow was somehow killing a cancer cell. After a few more honorary blows, DC suddenly changed. Here I was using a hammer to pound nails to honor my friend, hoping to Defeat Cancer. But wasn’t it a hammer that drove the nails into Jesus’ hands and feet? DC became the Death of Christ. It was surreal for a while as I hammered nails visualizing Jesus outstretched hands and realizing it was because of my sin that Jesus had to be nailed to the cross. After remembering that Jesu…

Biloxi Katrina Footage

While working onsite, we met locals who talked about some video that was available on the internet.Here's one that shows the Beau Rivage, a casino about 1/3 of a mile from where we were working this year..

3d Panoramic Views of Katrina

While looking for some pictures for a presentation we're doing at church, we found this 3d Panoramic site for some shots.

Day 6 - Return to Los Angeles

We spent the night at Antioch House, which was a blessing in itself.The home was comfortable, peaceful, enormous and a fantastic value.We had our morning devotional and breakfast with our hosts, and took a picture outside with Stanley.We flew back through Biloxi, Houston, and arrived at LAX.At the Biloxi Airport, we saw people arriving for the JRCWP, and Paul was more than eager to shake hands, smile, and let them know that he had helped prepped the work they were about to do..Met some nice people on the plane back, and Peter once again almost flew back on a different plane. This time he volunteered to be bumped, which was later found not to be necessary, but he and Kevin enjoyed his meal voucher at the Houston airport.We arrived to find a large contingency of family and friends waiting for us at baggage claim. Some had signs, some had smiles, some had tears...It was great to be back, and we thank all our supporters.

Day 5 - Day Off and Debrief

In preparation for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, all volunteers were given Saturday off.That meant we had the day free to explore New Orleans.We had coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and then toured the French Quarter, having lunch/dinner.While standing in line for lunch, we ran into the girls from U of Findlay again.We did a little shopping, with Will telling us how much money we could save at the flea market, and we thought we lost Steve O at Margaritaville, he was actually buying an alligator head, and a special tie for his fake son.....We returned to Pass Christian, to the Antioch House, a Christian Retreat Center. After an orientation meeting with Stanley, we talked about the NBA playoffs..We had our debriefing meeting, scheduled to last 60 minutes, it went on for over two hours... Peter had to apologize the most, but you already knew that.Here are the photos of the day...

Day 4 - Paul's Reflection

Paul "V-Neck" Liu reflects on this last week... As our time winds down here in Biloxi, I've had some time to reflect back on our experiences tonight. The one word that keeps coming to my mind is fortunate". I am fortunate to be here to serve, to be able to eat the food they provide me, to sleep in a trailer with 16 other guys, hanging out in the makeshift living area under the concrete stadium bleachers, to be able to get blisters on my feet, sunburn on my body, sore muscles, and everything else that has happened during this great week. I am fortunate because this experience has made me realize even more how short life is and how important it is to make a difference in our limited time here on earth. One volunteer named Keith shared yesterday that we all have a beginning and end point represented by birth and death in this life, however, it's the line in between that really counts in this life and what you do with it.I just also read about Millard Fuller w…

Day 4 - Steve C's Reflection

Steve Chen and his thoughts about his work here in Biloxi....
The Katrina team (known as Evergreen team here in Biloxi, Mississippi) has been staying at Habitat Village's sleeping quarters. We walk on gravel paths to the barracks. Since the 1st day we got here, I noticed that there were oyster shells on & by the gravel. I didn't think anything of it. Then I was perplexed as to the reason for the oyster shells being there since the Village is about 3/4 mile away from the beach. I soon realized that these oyster shells came from the ocean during the Katrina hurricane. How unusual to gather shells off of grass, pebbles and walkways.Reflecting upon this scene, I felt that the 10 of us on the team is analogous to the oyster shells, OUT-OF-PLACE. We are OUT-OF-PLACE because we're from California & are here in Mississippi. Although Katrina caused devastation here in the Gulf Coast, there has been waves of assistance/aid in the form of supplies & manpower to help in t…

Day 4 - Done

We finished up at the beach...We started today with doing our devotional with everyone on our work crew at the beach. It was quite an honor and great experience.They took about half the work crew away, including the Findlay girls, to do more work in prep for the JRCWP in a few days. Meant more work, hard work, but we finished the job.Note: Peter found out that the pebble in his shoe since day 1 was still in there all this time. Ouch. Also, he's as red as a lobster (okay, Crawdaddy) .. another ouch. :(Thanks for all your support and prayers.

Day 3 - The News

A local TV Station came to the site today and shot some footage in preparation for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work project... Some of our team can be seen in the video, but featured in the interview is our very own Steve C. Take a a look at the content of the article: Habitat Volunteers Participate In Framing Frenzy In Biloxi
Posted: May 8, 2008 05:58 PM
Updated: May 8, 2008 06:43 PM
BILOXI (WLOX) -- In the parking lot adjacent to Biloxi's historic lighthouse, several new homes are going up at an amazing pace. And despite all the hard work, the volunteers are having fun doing it. They even have a pet name for their unusual construction zone."They decided since we're in such a gorgeous location on the beach, it'll be banging beach," says Site Manager Vic Fasolino.But these homes aren't staying on "banging beach." They are just part of the pregame show for the soon to kick off Jimmy Carter Work Projec…

The Girls From Findlay

One of the benefits of working with this larger crew has been meeting new friends.One group has been Lisa, Pam, Gail and Alicia. These four girls are officers and members of their local HfH chapter at The University of Findlay.School just let out this week. Gail graduated on Saturday, by Sunday evening they began a fourteen hour drive to Biloxi, just to volunteer together. No church sent them, no Missions Support Groups.. just to serve.All four of them have been so encouraging and inspiring to us all. Craig mentioned that at their age, his biggest concern was probably about his car. But to see these girls so outward-focused was quite humbling.Tommy and Peter were able to work with Gail and AliciaPam worked with Will, Kevin and Steve C.Lisa worked with Craig, Chris and others on the team.To these young ladies, actions speak louder than words. Their thoughtfulness and unselfish attitudes have touched us all and their friendship has been one of many blessings and inspirations that we hav…

Highlights from Day 3

Abandoning Steve C
We drove down to the beach as a team, but then we lost track of Craig's car.Apparently he was annoyed with Steve C, looked over his shoulder to tell Steve to close his window as the air conditioning was on, and then realized Steve wasn't even there.Craig had to drive back to Yankie Stadium to find Steve C.The reason why he was late is that he was photographing rocks. He claims it was fascinating, but we have yet to see the proof.Here is a photo of Craig re-enacting what he saw as he walked past Steve C, before he drove off and left him at home. Think of "Home Alone" Biloxi Style...Paul, V-Neck
Paul has brought two V-Neck Tshirts. He thought he brought three. We've been seeing more of those shirts and more of Paul than we had wanted or expected. But he had to wash them so that he could last the week. Today he showed us that he had a (different) crew neck T-shirt. We now call him "V-Neck" El Guapo
At the end of the day, Melinda, a volunteer,…

Day 3 - Framing Frenzy Part III

Okay, so now we know why it's called Framing Frenzy.The JRCWP that will be happening here next week will have one of their main media centers at the beachfront location we've been working at.Part of the set up will include showing how Project Home Delivery (or house-in-a-box as we call it) works.. So they'll be taking the lumber that we've cut into section and assembling them together into framing sections for future homes.So with all of our efforts, we're helping affect about 50 or so homes.It's been sunny, hot and today, pretty windy. The work is hard, the blisters have grown, but the work and people are well worth it.We begin each day with a devotional, and this morning Craig reminded us to speak in more encouraging terms, to bless those around us with wholesome thoughts and words. We're called to be a blessing to others, whether on this trip or at home, let it be true here. We prayed for some of the new friends we've made.We started the day with the…

Day 2 - Return to the '07 House

After dinner at The Shed, we returned to the house that the '07 team had worked on.We prayed for the future homeowners and the neighborhood.We also prayed for Dennis, and hoped he could return to serve with us on a future team.In the meantime, his hammer, DC Hammer, represented him.

Day 2 - The Shed

Tonight's dinner was a feast of ribs, chicken, pulled pork, sausage and everything else barbeque'd at a local hangout called the Shed. The food was delicious...if you don't believe us, just ask Chris!

Day 2 - Notes from Kevin

This year, our volunteer effort is different. While we're not working on just one house as a whole team, we're affecting and contributing to about 60 homes as we prepare materials for them. In that process, we've been able to work with volunteers from all over the country, from different walks in life.

Kevin shares his experiences. During our first few days here in Biloxi, I have had the privilege of meeting many interesting people. From college students to retirees, these people all have one thing in common...a heart for service. It is a real blessing to see people from all walks of life and from all over the country working together to help those in need. I have always considered myself to be a person with a servant's heart but after meeting these people I am beginning to find out what it really means to be unselfish and to put other people's needs first.I have to admit that the work is a lot more demanding than what I had originally expected which is evid…

We're About to Eat Dinner...

We're about to eat dinner, but wanted to give you some pics from today..

Day 1 - Framing Frenzy

What a day it has been.First day actually working. It was clear to us that most of our work will be in preparation for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work project (JRCWP) , which this year is being held in Biloxi. We're preparing cut sections and framing for the crews to come out and assemble next week.It's exciting and the HfH staff is a bit proud, excited and a tad anxious. But we're proud to be part of an effort to get a large number of people in their homes next week.Many will be new builds that are assembled in the week, and also some local refurbs.The nice part is that we returned to the Biloxi lighthouse, a site that we first visited when we arrived in town. This is where we saw the HfH staff prepping for us yesterday. Today we were the labor.This section by the Lighthouse will be the main media center for the JRCWP next week, so all the better.We split our team into five crews. Peter and Tommy; Craig, Paul and Steve O; Kevin, Steve C and Will; and Mo and Chris worke…

It's Lunchtime At The Beach

Lunch at the beach... we're prepping homes for jrcwp next week.

We're Working Beachfront Today


Note From Kevin

A note from Kevin K. After a two and a half hour delay in Houston (due to the weather) and with only about three hours of sleep we finally made it to Biloxi, Mississippi. Upon arrival, the "veterans" of our group (Tommy, Steve O., Peter and Mo) took us "newbies" on a "tour" of the immediate area. As we were driving, we were able to see first hand the level of devasation this area experienced as evidenced by the fact that there are still many homes and buildings that have yet to be rebuilt. During this time, we also experienced the love of God as we drove by a worksite that was manned by Habitat for Humanity volunteers who were diligently constructing frames that will eventually be used in the construction of new homes.Seeing these volunteers gave me a renewed sense of energy after a long day of traveling and I am once again ready to tackle whatever God has in store for me during my weeklong stay!

Hello From Biloxi

Paul's note from Biloxi Just wanted to say hi to all my friends and family back home. We are doing well and and excited about the week. There are some cool people here that work for Habitat and Salvation Army at this facility.To my family, I miss you guys and will call you every day. Mason, remember you are the man of the house big boy! Noemi, you are a great little helper for mommie and Wen, I couldn't have done this without your support. Love you guys!To my MSG, thanks for all your prayers and continued support this week? God could not have blessed me with a better team? I look forwards to communicating with you guys this week through this blog?That's it for now? It's time for dinner!God Bless,

Day 0 - On the Plane and Lunch (Craig)

New friends Hamir and Chris...Laura's business cards are coming in handy.Hamir, whom we met on the plane from Houston to Gulfport, is a Riverside native now living in Ocean Springs, a Gulf Coast city near Biloxi. During the two-hour delay on the tarmac while awaiting flight re-routing, he offered dining suggestions and we exhanged business cards. Chris, pictured above, runs Bruno's Cafe, a lunch-only, week-day only cafe where we enjoyed fresh shrimp and crawdads, po' boys, gumbo, pulled pork, ribs, and assorted fried seafood items. Hungry yet? What a great lunch!Guys, if you're reading this blog, thanks for extending Southern hospitality to us big city boys. God bless both of you.

Day 0 - LAX Sendoff

We met at 10p at LAX and were sent off by many well wishers.The support is remarkable, and speaks volumes of those that we represent.We proudly represent our church, our friends and our family.While meeting, Pastor Kyle prayed for us, then our Leader/Captain Craig spoke encouraging words for us, praying for the families we would be leaving behind to work in Biloxi. He prayed for them to know they would be left in God's hands, and that we left to serve in part to honor our friends and family.It was a long flight, as mentioned before, the 1 hour layover in Houston wasn't bad, but we spent 2.5 hours on the tarmack, where most of us fell asleep.Thanks to those who saw us off..


After 2.5 hrs of sitting on the runway, we're finally in the air. it was raining in Houston, and all flights were rerouted somehow. But we're in the air for our 58 minute flight. We're thankful the delay was after we had to make the connection.


Us eating our bag of food minutes after we went through security at LAX.

Day 0 - LAX Sendoff (Steve O Style)

We're in the airport in Houston, with our one hour layover to Gulfport. Steve O wants to make sure his photos and comments get uploaded..Here are his first few shots, including one from the plane.. Click on the photo to see all his pictures. We've been eating a ton of food from the sendoff. Peter's MSG brought an entire duffel bag of munchies, and we started eating it minutes after we got inside the terminal.The sendoff was much appreciated and set the tone right for the trip. We prayed for our families and friends and focused on what we needed to do.Thanks guys

2008 Flight Information

For those wondering...We'll be flying Continental from LAX to Gulfport Via Houston. To Biloxi: Monday, May 5, 2008
Leave LAX 12:45 a.m. (CO1094), arrive IAH (Houston) 5:57 a.m.Leave IAH 7:05 a.m. (CO2525), arrive GPT (Gulfport/Biloxi) 8:23 a.m. Our Return is: Sunday, May 11, 2008
Leave GPT 11:58 a.m. (CO2555), arrive IAH 1:23 p.m.Leave IAH 2:15 p.m. (CO137), arrive LAX 3:51 p.m.Yes, we return on Mother's Day, pray for the guys' families that their wives will be understanding :)If you wish to see us off, we'll be at LAX Ticketing for Continental near 10pm Sunday Evening (May 4)

2008 Personality Profiles

Evergreen has been sending out missions teams for a bit... and has tried to prep and support their teams before they ever leave home.One aspect is the MSG, Missionary Support Group. Another is trying to have the team become aware of their different personalities and styles, ever before any of these differences become apparent while away from home.Two of these exercises include the Myers-Brigg Personality Test and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Resolution Inventory.It was suggested to post our results? The comment was made to compare how these personality profiles might play themselves out during the Mission. The goal is to help us understand, support and communicate with each other (and those around us) more effectively, and is part of our making the most of the mission.All of the profiles and inventories are just a thumbnail of how the team member answered some questions, giving some indication of their dominant personality traits and possibly some weight for them.So, for your edificati…