Showing posts from April, 2012

Art's Reflection:A divine opportunity missed…

Art has been coming on the Mississippi Gulf Coast "Katrina" Missions for 4 years. He talks about his encounter with opportunity and God during his flight home...

A divine opportunity missed…

After a weeklong stay in Mississippi working with great Habitat for Humanity (HFH) friends, partner families and Team Evergreeners, I began to question whether I’ll have a “divine appointment”. Up to this point, others on the Team have had encounters to pray over people and impart God’s love and mercy on them. Part of me wanted to bestow that same blessing on others. But it’s God’s timing, not mine. It wasn’t until our layover in Dallas on our (co-ed Team) return trip from Mississippi where I had my “celestial engagement”.

As our team was waiting for our connecting flight to LAX, I heard a ticket agent announce over the loud speaker that the flight was full and if you had oversized luggage to approach the counter and check it in for free. Not sure what motivated me more, God’s promp…

Day of work at New Life (Videos)

Was a long, hot day, but one where we didn't work at the Habitat site, so instead, we served by working at New Life Relief Center, our home while we're in Biloxi
We trimmed hedges, painted buildings, did minor repairs... and tried to stay cool...
We met Jim and "Nannie," a couple that, we'll say, Uncle Roy called "Uncle and Aunt." they referred to Roy as "Just starting out. They've come to relief Habitat builds at least 13 times. 4 times at this site. They have experience, heart and a spiritual perspective that really energizes, convicts and compels you. They keep trying to get their friends to come to a Habitat build because "once you get the bug, you won't stop."
They joined us for our worship/devotional time and even requested a song. Craig led a heartfelt devotional on being vulnerable and honest before God, and we all prayed for him, even Jim.
It's truly amazing coming across country and meeting new people that share the same…

painting on a hot day

Watch "painting bunkhouse 1" on YouTubeMollie the collie says it's hot

Huck finn and paintin a fence

Video working at the home site

Kelly's reflection on a transition

Kelly works in a supporting all of the team, making sure we have everything we need, and Brad can give a direction and that it'll be followed up. He saw everyone excelled in their job.

The first week is almost over and the most standout thing so far for me is being able to watch Pam Fong and Millie Liao working together. Brad, our site supervisor gave the two of them the task of making and installing all of the window sills (the ledges at the bottom of the windows) starting on Thursday morning and they jumped right in never having used any of the tools they were going to use yet proceeded with confidence and boldness. What a team. They probably don't know how inspiring they are to me.

I'm so proud of them and proud to say that I am a teamate of theirs. Be sure to speak to them about it. Also, if you get a chance ask Carol Nakatsui and Lorin Lew about the green colored caulking. The weather got warm and humid by the end of the week but everyone stayed in good spirits. I…

Good morning.. 2012 04 30

We're not going anywhere
We're staying right here...

Mondays are non-work days for Habitat. But we don't get the day off. We're trying to make the most of our time here. So Mondays we're working at the site where we stay. New Life Disaster Relief is the non-profit organization that provides our housing. We actually live in/at a church building, Biloxi Christian Church, which is leased/borrowed/used by the non-profit. So we'll be paintin', trimmin', fixin' and restockin' this place on this "off" day.

It's a really good day to hang out with Ken, the director of the organization, and his family, as well as give back to the place that has offered us low cost temporary housing while we're here to build low cost (permanent) housing.

We're talking about how different organizations and agencies responded to Katrina, how some of the new builds have slowed down, but how there's still a lot of work to be done in the area. Voluntee…

The Cavalry has arrived!

It's good to have them back. Glad they tried to keep up to date with the blog.. we barely had to bring them up to date...

Here's video and some photos of their sendoff

They've landed!

We just got word that the Coed team arrived at LAX...
glad they got back home safely!

This their shot before they got on the plane to LAX

Tommy made dinner for us..

We're going to leave for the airport in a few minutes to pick up Craig and Gary. We look forward to their arrival

they're on their way back!


In a wheelchair...

Can't keep a good man down...

Last day on site for Coed

So tired.. long day.. people worked hard.

We were joined by two partner families and two local SeaBees (which we learned was for Construction Battalion). We were split into tasks: Stairs in front, baseboard inside, trim caulking and painting (roof, sides), battens and post digging. James and Gary tackled digging a hole, filling it with concrete. They ran into hard soil, obstructions and other complications along the way.

For lunch, we went to Bozo's, a local restaurant that we patronized last year, and enjoyed their po boys.

Had an extra long day with a lot of last minute work to be done to try and get it under the wire.

We prayed for the site, the neighborhood, and then Ken, our host, when we got home...he's been feeling really ill.

The women made dinner tonight, chicken curry. Much appreciated to have rice... it's been at least a week.

Brad and Paul stopped by and shared a meal with us.

we had our debrief meeting

Tomorrow, church at Mosaic, then a plane ride back home…

End of a long week

Wrapping up and praying for site

Sat morning

James on percussion

Last day on site for the Coed team

Car chat update:

Turn on the radio, and it's on some news station. Tommy asks what kind of playlist do we want.

Roy: "This is good too...."

Tommy: "Sure, we can leave it on here..."

Steve: "When the new guys come (in a couple days) we'll have to switch cars. Have Roy ride in another car so we can play whatever we want...."

Roy: "So I can bless another car?..." he laughs

Last night
Last night, we had devotional time after our piping hot lasagna dinner and piping hot showers.

Miss Tomme and Diane joined us for our time of worship and teaching. Paul (Habitat) came and brought two friends with him, Melody and Brad (not brad from the site)

Art taught about how cheering someone on really encourages them, spurring them on to the goal, ending with the blessing of a song that served as way for the entire coed team to bless our guests and the other half of the team....

Miss Tomme, Diane and Melody joined the women in one larger small group. Paul a…

Just got back...

We just got back to New Life, where we're staying, and we've gotten instructions to eat asap.

Lasagna's hot on the table to be served, and we're ready to run.

showers will have to wait..

but in the meantime, enjoy pics from the day..

Good morning, it's day 4

A morning devotional from Kenny (that's the second in two days) and we're on the road. Kenny spoke yesterday about how working on the underside of the house was teaching him that even in the things that one would think were unseen, details are important. Today in retelling of a horrific auto accident involving his daughter, where she was able to come home that night "without a scratch," even though her car was crushed to half its size. As important as it is to pray, that in this case, he had not specifically prayed for his daughter's safety before she left, yet God is still watching over our lives. We must be vigilant, yet trusting.

This morning, Uncle Roy will be giving a devotional at the job site. Unfortunately, the printer wasn't working right and he doesn't have a copy of what he was going to say. I'm praying for him. :)

Steve just chastised Uncle Roy for waiting til the last minute. I love this car.

As we head out to one of the last days of work …

2012 04 06 Tommy on visiting the Choctaw homes

Today, the team visited the houses that they were working on last year...
Tommy's reflection on the visit

"How many houses are you going to build?"

That's the question I'm usually asked when people find out that I'm going to Mississippi to work with Habitat For Humanity. I tell them that you don't finish any houses in one or two weeks, but you just do tasks that need to be done in the overall process of building a house.

Sometimes it's framing, sometimes it's painting or siding or roofing. Today, after our work day we went to see the two houses that we worked on last year. They are both finished and waiting to soon be occupied by their prospective owners. I have to admit to a small amount of pride at seeing them and seeing how great they looked. It certainly is rewarding to see a finished product that you had a hand in building but the most rewarding part of coming down here is the fellowship and camaraderie that is had with each and every tea…

2012 04 26-A Walk in the park for Lorin

The site we're working on is extremely close to the water, so today majority of the team went down to see the beach during lunch... Lorin took a walk in the park

Imagine you are lying down on a bench swing as a constant, cool breeze gently rocks you. Above you verdant green leaves, against a clear sky blue backdrop, allow sparkling shafts of soothing sunlight to warm your face. Sound is suspended, there are no vices or cars. Only the sound of the steady breeze through the trees and birdsong sprinkling about.

Imagine that moments before, you were hot and exhaused and now the swing cradles you and as you look up into the branches of a gorgeous giant oak, the branches reach out above you and appear to be like the trunks of trees. You sway in the swing and begin to fell as if you are floating in the trees. Suddenly you are fully rested and refreshed. That was my quiet time today -out on the beach in Pascagoula just about a mile from our building site. Isn't God wonderful? …

We revisited the homes we worked on last year

Toured the homes that we worked on last year...

Kept the video kind of silent so that if you worked on it last year, you could just kinda take it in..


Visiting site from 2011


Lunch break w pam and art


Sgvhabitat 2012 04 26 Opening comments devotional and prayer

morning chit chat on site

2012 Day 03-On way to job site

Carol's morning devotional encouraged just to "keep doing what you're doing," planting seeds of faith with whomever we interact, be they team members or otherwise...
Sat around the breakfast table, talking about regional differences...a cross-cultural exchange even within our own country... our relationships with Diane and Tomme continue to grow and enrich each other. 
Yesterday, we heard a lot of shouting coming from next door. Not sure if it was just a loud conversation, or there were problems next door. Yet another opportunity to pray.
Unlike the beginning of the week, people don't seem to be talking about how great a 2-week program is.. feet are hurting, harder to get out of bed...  :) Combined with heartfelt late night talking/fellowship, we're more tired and less rested...
But we have some deadlines... Brad's hoping to prep some of the home for upcoming painters, and we've got a goal of finishing up some of the interior before they get here...

Where are the photos?!?!?

Yes, there is a new layout for the blog... Yes, it is harder to find the photos... Ah, but now We put a link up top (next to "Blog Home") for you to get to our photos...

and on the right, under "Related Links"

Day 2 summary video

Enjoy the video summary for today's work..

2012 Day 2 - Lorin laying around on the job

Editor's Note: Lorin came up with the title for this entry, and was quiet amused with herself :)

Col. 3:23Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. I shared that verse in Mon. night's devotional. So why was I lying down on the job today? Well, actually, I was lying under the house trying to nail hangers to the bottom of stairs. I felt like we were trolls hiding under the house. Carol suggested the Wicked Witch of the West. There we were lying under the house with our feet sticking out. There may be a picture somewhere?.?..

What a joy to be here serving in Biloxi! We had another wonderful day of beautiful weather. My group started with staining boards again, then graduated to nailing hangers. We actually got to use a real hammer and nails. Last year I only hammered in 3 nails and then went with a nail gun to avoid hammer pits in the siding. I was actually sad when we ran out of hangers to nail. Tomorrow we may get to nail the boar…

end of the work day 02

As suspected... there probably will be less video and pictures in the coming days. This always happens, and it's a good thing.

James, our primary photographer, has gone from a newbie of wonder, to now a newbie of wanting to work... That's a good thing.

Team was split all over the place working on different aspects of the project.

Art, Pam and Roy working on a cantilever support in the back.

Kenny worked with volunteer Trey, from local William Carey University. They teamed up on some of the trim in the back.

Peter continued his education on Southern charm with Miss Tomme, who made what would otherwise seem like orders sound like requests drenched in Sweet Tea.

Chris, James, Mo and Tommy continued work on the inside, hanging and trimming doors.

Millie continued her community service to Steve, working on the front stairs after their fake scare about the 1/8" difference...

Carol, Gary, Lorin switched between working with staining and helping the Millie/Steve/Diane crew on the…
Watch "Kelly hammering gary and lorin sanding" on YouTubeMillie

Good morning day 02

After a morning devotional by Gary H, we're on our way. He taught about how running a mile under 4 minutes mile was once considered an impossible feat, but since it has been broken, has been passed at least 18 times. His encouragement was that somethings that once were extraordinary slightly more commonplace and we take them for granted. Access to the Creator of the universe through prayer, is something that we should appreciate more.

Speaking of prayer... there was a group of four women visiting from Pennsylvania, who are making their way where they feel that God calls them, praying as they go. Today was the day they were led to the same place, and we were mutually encouraged, in fact a few of us received prayer from them.

Ken, our host, talked about how important he finds for all of us to pray, where people came alongside of him at various times in their life for prayer and support. How often people, including himself, overlook the importance of frequent "c…

Lorin up late to share of her first day at the work site

It's lights-out time at our housing center. Lorin stayed up, almost lost her writings and stuck it out because she wanted to write something on the blog for you guys.

Well, we are on our 2nd day in Biloxi and have finished our first day of work in Pascagoula. I'm blessed and amazed by the number of wonderful people here who are willing to volunteer their time and efforts towards this project. It's encouraging to see God working through the team and others so that His love is expressed in the work of our hands.

We are working on a special type of Habitat home. It's called LEED home and I think it stands for Leader in Energy and Enviroment Design. The home has some extra bells and whistles that make it energy efficient and that helps save the future home owner money and helps out the enviroment at the same time.

Our group worked on making stairways, installing doors, adding trim, completed a wall for a storage shed, made a platform for an HVAC unit, and stained boa…

Day 1-Work site

Saw our old friends Brad and was like coming back to family.

Brad greeted us with a big hand painted banner, and a trumpet blare of questionable skill.

It was a great way to start the week.

We're working on a special kind of house. Habitat has always wanted to use energy efficient options in their homes. It saves the environment, but also saves the homeowner costs as well. Leeds is a special energy rating system for structures in the U.S. We're working on such a house.

It not only goes over the construction materials, but we learned this week, it can also have to do with the construction site and practices. We're being encouraged to use less plastic bottles (we have our own water bottles) and are creating less waste.

Brad goes over some of the aspects of the home in this video (thanks to Art for shooting it, and Gary for editing it [from Los Angeles])

We got to work with two women that are staying with us from Northern Mississippi, Diane and Tomme (pronounced &…

Carol - reflections from Day 1

We just got back to the center where we stay, most people are trying to squeeze in a shower before dinner in a few minutes. Carol takes the time to write something on a 3x5 card....

I'm blessed by the prayers and support of my Evergreen Family and my missionary support group. it is a blessing to be able to serve here in Mississippi.

Praying that God will use me to make a difference in the people we meet.

2012 pics from day 1

Some pics from the day

Ground level

Lorin has an idea...

Day 1 lunch break

Its lunch and we're breaking for lunch. Steve and millie still working. Interesting eye protection

Our welcome


Good morning to day 1 of work

On the road to the first day at the worksite....

Roy is curious if the minivan has a volume control between the front and rear speakers. "Perhaps you should use it...." The van breaks into laughter. Steve says Roy should be more direct...

"Hey Peter, people really liked it when Pastor Cory led worship the other day...."  (where we just had the Sr. Pastor leading our singing a capella, without the usual band of electric guitar, bass, drums, etc.)
We interpret that means he wants a volume control at church as well.. :)

We discuss and pray for Steve's wife's safe return from Malawi. She returns from mission tonight. We discuss another team's mission to Asia later this year.

They say the church is not a building, but the people. This is true, the church is not a white minivan in Mississippi, but the fun, love and heart shared in this car.

James led a convicting morning devotional about a time where he was less than completely polite with a telemarketer, and…

Departure from LAX, Arrival at Gulfport, time for bed.

We're in one of our 3 mini vans on our way back from Bop's, having gone out to put a frozen custard end to a long day. James was chatting it up with the worker there, shooting some footage of the secret world of frozen custard.

After our orientation, a lunch at a new place, and a visit to the Biloxi Katrina memorial....
We reunited with Ken and Dawn, our hosts from New Life Disaster Relief, the team will all be staying within the church building this year. Ken, with a shaven face and a not-shaven head, is still full of life, jokes and wit. Dawn is doing well and stands by his side, rolling her eyes and being the softer side of the caring duo.

Tonight for dinner, their daughter led us in saying grace, with her amen followed immediately with "Blessers and Cooks eat first." We enjoyed our fried chicken dinner, and were able to meet two other women from a church in northern Mississippi that are staying in the same facility as us. They joined us for our devotional time of…

Just Finished Orientation

Good work being done in Mississippi gulf coast. Had a really great and  comprehensive orientation by Adele Lyons and staff.

For the approximately 480 homes built by this affiliate, only about 40 are in inventory, with most of the partner families in the pipeline,  moving towards ownership.

They've also introduced a program even earlier in the home ownership path. Before being able to make a mortgage payments, sometimes before even clearing up some credit problems, this affiliate is trying to coach and counsel some life skills on money management. Teaching the financial value of  home food cooking often starts with learning how to cook and shop.

Okay. Lunch at a new place, Shaggys, recommended by hfh staff.


3 hour and 20 minute layover in dallas fort worth
tommy with a devotional and a yoga studio. Millie says she can nap on the mat After a gate change And a visit to the fancy lounges they have here... steve and millie ..... relaxed Got chances to meet a few people including an airman on his way from calif to training at Keesler. Keep him in your prayers as he had some strange encounters in his visit in Calif and suffice it to say, I think it had spiritual ramifications. But on the lighter side, hope he can join us for BBQ at the shed. : ) On a side note, Peter felt he was supposed to pray for the airman back at LAX, but didn't make the most of the opportunity. It was nice to find out he was on the same flight and Peter could bump into him during the layover. God always has a plan.

Something from our departure...

It's a little raw, but here's some video from our departure.. words from our leader Craig, who will be joining us next week..

thanks Gary for doing the video editing... :)
thank God for youtube video editing... and a team effort from Los Angeles and Mississippi

Hours til we fly..

This is a picture from the site where we worked last year, you can see the white footprint from the previous home. This would be a "before" picture. If you look at the Google credits, it says the picture was from 2008. What a difference a couple of years make.

Previously, it was a really nice neighborhood. Then Katrina came, then it became a sparse one. The google maps images (currently) show many FEMA and other trailers. Once new pictures come in, even the devastation will turn more and more into a memory.

We are hours away from boarding our plane. It's been an exhausting week of wrapping up things from errands, work-related issues, car repairs and family time.

Now we focus.

Each one of the men and women are trying to hone in on our purpose for going. It's to help, that's for sure... We are going to Mississippi to continue the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Those of us that have seen the rebuilding of the Mississippi Gulf Coast region remember the wreckage, …

A recent storm affects Pam's prep

Recently, California had a barrage of thunderstorms that shook houses and nerves. Pam reflects on Katrina and our lives...

It was a dark and stormy night…I just experienced a thunderstorm like none I’ve never experienced. It began at midnight and continued for two hours straight! It alternated between pounding rain, huge bursts of lightning, followed by incredible booms of thunder that rattled the house. It brought back memories of how scared I was during a storm at night when I was little…I would get up and walk to my parents’ bedroom and watch them sleep or sit in the hallway. During this thunderstorm, I kept wondering how my two nephews with whom I was sharing the room could sleep through it all. When was this thunderstorm going to end? I need to get some sleep since I was driving over 400 miles the next morning on my own. Then my thoughts turned to the folks who had experienced and lived through Hurricane Katrina. My thunderstorm paled in comparison. They had to endure a …

Steve, willing to be open to the pruning process

Steve O. is a charter member of these trips. Been one of the four guys that has gone every year. He and Mo have been part of the Coed team since first formed... Yet this many years later, he's still learning and growing...

Some of you know I have this odd-shaped lemon tree in my backyard. And some of you know that my wife, Shirley is in Malawi with Pastor Ian. Since I will have or am having two weeks of time alone, I put together a whole laundry list of chores to accomplish around the house that I can do by myself. Like trimming the lemon tree.

I waited until after Monday, which is trash collection day for me. This way, I had a whole container I could fill up with discarded branches, twigs, and leaves.

After finishing, I reflected upon how ugly a tree looks after it is trimmed. Branches don't taper gracefully, but end abruptly. What branches still remain, that is.

I used a pruning saw for the larger branches and a set of sharp loppers for the smaller ones. It's a good thin…

2012 Last Team meeting, Children's message and commissioning

This is a busy time. Easter was just a week ago, taxes are due, our church is having a conferencing on parenting next Saturday. Oh, and yes, we're flying out in 8 days, April 22nd.

So when Tommy reminded us that we had a team meeting, Friday night, the question was "what are we going to discuss?" "Team Bonding Time," was his reply.

Friday night, our last team meeting
It's the last time before we depart to go over some practical matters, make sure the newbies know what to expect....

We shared a meal, Pastor Kyle (Katrina alumnus) stopped by and gave an impromptu and timely devotional (brief bible teaching). We prayed for each other and blessed the first timers and the women on the team.

But more than anything, it focused us as a team in purpose, unity and prayer. We are representing God and our church members to bless others, whomever they are. As Kyle put it "before telling people about Christ, we're trying to BE Christ" to them. The big picture…

Pam's joining the team! (Sort of)

This is the first year Pam will be coming to Mississippi. But she's been part of our support team as wife to Art, and friend/supporter to many. So we can't really say she's joining, because she has been part all along... This will mark the third married couple we have serving concurrently, in fact  Mo and Carol N will be on the Coed team this year as well.

I’ve had the opportunity to send several dear friends as part of this mission since its inception. It’s such an amazing experience to go to the airport and send teams off and be there when they return. It’s awesome to see so many folks come out. I’ve enjoyed hearing their stories of divine appointments, using a palm nailer, going to WalMart, working side by side with potential home owners, The Shed Barbeque Joint, overcoming a fear of heights, Brad’s (one of the Habitat foreman) inspiring Martin Luther King’s impression, going to WalMart, sharing meals with Habitat families, going to WalMart, etc. Art and I talked abou…

James' Gospel Boots

James will be joining the Mission to Mississippi for the first time, and serving on the 1-week Coed team.

He shares his perspective as he prepares...
As I was going over my “suggested packing list” for the upcoming spring relief trip to Mississippi, under the category of footwear, I saw that “work boots” was listed. I’m one of those guys who likes to have appropriate footwear for any activity I’m engaged in, whether it’s running shoes for a marathon, cycling shoes for cycling, snow shoes for snow shoeing, lounge shoes for lounging, and work boots for working. I guess you could say I have a shoe fetish. I’ve been wanting some “work boots” for a while now but since I don’t really do any real work, I couldn’t justify spending money on some work boots other than trying to make a fashion statement.As you could imagine, I was pretty happy when I came across the packing list and immediately started looking online for some work boots. I was eyeing some pretty nice Red Wings but at $250 a p…