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Showing posts from May, 2012

Katrina Reflection from Gary M

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Gary M's been coming on to Mississippi for these Habitat trips for more than the majority of them. He's been an integral part of all videos and photographs you've seen, but usually behind the camera, that's why it's hard to find pictures of them. As much as his videos have inspired many to keep returning to Biloxi and the Gulf Coast area, his courage and heart fuel the camaraderie.  

Katrina Reflection 5/19/12

After coming back home and unpacking, I started to reflect on the things our team brought home: dirty clothes, yet another HFH T-shirt, dry rub from the Shed, HFH water bottles, bug bites, pictures in our camera, and possibly a pound or two extra muscle (or fat) on the body.

However, more importantly it was not what we brought back but what we left that really counts. Our mission was not to gather and take from the Gulf Coast, but to leave something that remained after we left; a legacy.

The premiere missionary, the Apostle Paul, wrote:
He who plants and h…

Two Invitations!

You're invited to our presentation!

We'll be sharing some food and some stories at our team presentation

It'll be held at our church, Evergreen SGV, on Sunday June 10 at 12:30pm in the Multi Purpose Room on campus. We hope to see you there!

Geneva Dedications
Also, the week afterwards, especially if you worked on the project, our local affiliate, SGVHabitat.org will be dedicating the homes on Geneva! Dedication will be on Saturday, June 16th at 11am. We've also been invited to give a benediction during the dedication!

Information can be found at their website

Okay, a third invitation...
Finally, you're invited to follow along with our sister church, Lifesong, as their journey begins today. After traveling as a joint team with us three years ago, they've been going to the New Orleans area with their church affiliate. Read their blog at http://katrinareliefteam.wordpress.com/

Straight, Square and Level

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Tommy's been on all six trips we've made to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for this project. He's also inarguably the most skilled of our team. Here's something God taught him during this trip.



Straight, Square and Level

When doing construction on a house you often hear the question “Is it straight? Is it square? Is it level?” To check any of these you must have a reliable reference. For instance, to check squareness you’ll use a speed square or a framing square. But what happens when your reference is a little off? This actually happened one day as we were installing baseboards. Pam and Millie were helping me install baseboards. At first I would give them measurements and they would cut the pieces to length and then I would nail them in. Cutting is done on a chop saw. A chop saw cuts boards to length and in our case at either a 90 or 45 degree angle. After a few boards, which were perfectly cut, I had them measure and cut the boards. They would then put the boar…

Homecoming pt 2

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thanks to James and Gary for shooting, editing this together.
What a crew!
Side story: James, part of the coed, first week crew, ran upstairs as far as he could to get the first footage of the 2nd week team arriving.
Unfortunately, they took another route, and, well... here you go :)


That's quite an affiliate..

Habitat Mississippi Gulf Coast really put a lot of pictures on their Facebook

Not sure if you can see them, but here ya go.

We're back (all of us)

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My computer says it's almost 11pm, but that's because I never changed the time on it. For two weeks it has read Los Angeles time, while we were in Mississippi. Tonight, it still reads Los Angeles time, but my thoughts and heart are in Mississippi.

It was a moving trip, and even upon our arrival, with smiling faces and warm hugs waiting for us at LAX, the first thing we did, after greeting our loved ones, was talk to the coed team to compare notes on the shared experiences.

How did it feel for the first timers/newbies? They asked about Jim and Shirley... how did the experience feel to any/all of us?

I'll say this much. Even after 6 years of making these trips, Evergreen knows how to welcome you home. They bring joy and significance to your time and effort away.

You have no idea how much our faith and love grew, both for our fellow man, for each other, and for God and His plans.

I looked at the blog entry for Jim and Shirley's morning inspiration, and to see the clip fro…

Connecting Monorail DFW

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Dfw connection

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Flight left biloxi late. Arrived dfw late. We should make our connection. Waiting for our bags that were checked in at the gate.

flight delayed?

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3352 now 40 mins behind schedule

checked in

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last meal in Biloxi

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Paul Brad Denise at Mcalisters deli

End of the day. End of the week, end of the work

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Busy busy day.

Started a bit late due to praying with Ken. (See previous post)

Worked all day with many SeaBees, one airman, one habitat employee, one ex Americorps friend of Brad's

The Seabees came with all their construction knowledge and helped knock out a lot of work. It was humbling how hard they worked, whether the task was great or small. We painted, stained, sanded, planed, hammered, connected, sawed various aspects of the house. Truthfully, there were so many aspects running concurrently, maybe the videos will help you understand.

We were able to bring the house to a considerably advanced state, finishing the all the stairs, their railings, the beams over the porch and the supports for the eventual screening for the porch. Indoor hardware was finished

But here's the interesting stuff.

This morning, Brad welcomed us, introduced the various teams and left time for us to pray or give any inspirational words. No one said anything. At first I thought it would be a great op…

goodbye: (

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Just left

Last morning, last drive and we're late..

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Last morning, last drive and we're late..

But for a good reason.
Steve did a devotional this morning regarding his ankle. It came about without explanation a week ago. With the hindrance, he has to balance the request from his wife to take it easy and recover with his desire to rely on God. When wandering through the desert, the people of God went through a period had no food, and He provided them manna. Every morning they received enough for the day...Steve's trying to rely on God's provision for each day, including his recovering ankle, so he's working diligently, carefully, but diligently.
Spoke with Ken, praying for his relationship with his kids. Three of the guys blessed him as a father to them.We prayed for Ken to be able to bless Stevie, as a father to a son. Sometimes these things make us run late and we sent one of the cars out first), but we have a spiritual role here as well..
74+ degrees according to the bank sign that we pass every day... for two weeks..

Katrina 2012 05 04

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Second to last day....


It was a long and full day, with a beginning reminiscent of a movie: An inspirational devotional by two people (Chris and then and impromptu addendum by Ken), a morning charge by Jim, ending with a rounding, dancing chorus of "Amen," then rain, sun, and a goodbye to Jim and Shirley. We continued finishing work on the home, which could be finished within a month, then returned home, washed the grit, splatter and sweat off and had our evening devotional. Peter spoke from Acts 1:8-9 and that we never know when Christ will return, and we will never know when our last moments with anyone or anywhere might be, to sense the immediacy. Just like our time in Mississippi... we never know when we'll be back, when we might have the opportunity to meet the people we do, and we should act on it.

Craig had us reflect on our time here. We write down the names of anyone that we felt had an impact on us or we on them for the several years each one of us has served. …

Coed return to LAX photo album

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We miss the coed team, and seeing these pictures while we're still in Biloxi, makes us miss them more.



Last Friday on site, and a morning with Jim and Shirley

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Jim and Shirley Collins spent their last day with us, staying through lunch.

Brad asked for her to give a devotional, she politely declined/refused/redirected. Jim stepped in...

We hope you enjoy this as much as we did...

Collins, and Amen to that

Apparently we have to rent a certain movie for Paul

last day with Jim and Shirley

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Shirley wanted a picture of all of us, took notes of who was sitting where

Good morning and goodbye (to Jim and Nannie)

Editor's note: I love this team. I had to work on something this morning, so I turned around and handed my laptop to Gary M. and asked if he wanted to write something for the blog, giving the morning update. Without a blink, he picked up the laptop, starts typing away. I wish you could experience the natural ease with how this team can operate. We're not perfect, but we're focused on serving God and serving others, and trying to get our agendas and quirks out of the way of those goals. Thanks Gary!

Good morning from Biloxi, MS.  We're on the way to another day at the site.   The weather reports show a possibility of rain mid-day, but after Chris' tearful devotional this morning, we are reminded to leave things to God's plans.

Chris shared about the one year he missed coming to Mississippi (2010).  He was sure that God was telling him that he needed to stay at home and minister to his family after his father-in-law had a major injury the Wednesday before he was …

Our last dinner

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Last dinner with our friends and bosses brad and paul. Been a good two weeks.A lot of old stories of the years and guys and gals we've served with.

Day is done, rain is gone, grit been washed from our ears

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The rain stopped around 11AM.

We were able to resume work at our various places... and eventually the sun started to shine/beat down on us again.

omg.. we're leaving in a second for dinner...

we'll update this same post in a few hours. check it in a bit..

Work-wise

Back of the porch (the James-I'm-not-gonna-dig-those-holes-under-the-deck area), worked on by about half the guys at some point today but mostly Steve with Jim. It was interesting listening to Steve interact with Jim, wondering how different it was than his partner last week, Millie.

Sarge/Coach/Kelly doing his usual valuable support position, but also helping Brad sort out the scraps and place them in the eco-friendly Bag-dumpster. Later on, providing musical accompaniment to our fearless leader (see below)

Mo and Chris putting up facade over the porch, working and fixing and tuning a planer in the process.

Tommy, Roy and Craig working on interior hardware: closet organizers, door handles/locks, etc. Check the …

Chris and mo planer

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Watch "Smoothing out the soil" on YouTube


Just thought this was impressive...

Sun broke through. Working on the house

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Rain rain go away

Watch "2012 05 03 still raining" on YouTube
Paul is feeling ill this morning and will report later. Interior painting is done so we can work on closet shelving, door knobs, etcBrad was just talking about james, and then james sent us a text message 10 seconds later. God is good. All the time.

Helping a friend, who's blessing a friend

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Chris' Note


Yesterday, a couple of us were approached by the assistant site supervisor, Paul, about the possibility of helping him do some rehab work on his friend's house. His friend had some personal circumstances that required him to relocate his family to the Houston area. His house in MS, however, required some work before it could be rented out. We mentioned to Paul that we'll check if anyone on the team would be interested in helping out. Personally, I wanted to help out but didn't think that we would be able to work on another house after working a full day at the work site. At the same time, I felt God called us to MS to be a blessing to others; it didn't have to be someone connected with Habitat. Somehow I knew He would work it out in His timing.

The weather report forecasted substantial thunderstorms throughout the day; we were not disappointed. The weather got so bad in the morning with little chance of it improving any time soon, that our site…

Cloudy, with a 80% chance of work.

On our way...

Ken, our host, got our morning got started a bit earlier, thinking we were lagging behind 15 minutes off schedule. We appreciate our comfort level and familiarity at our home away from home, but we don't want to take it for granted and/or be poor guests.

Mo gave a devotional this morning speaking from Romans 12:1. During this trip, he is trying to be a slave to God, totally submitted to Christ, specifically denying himself (and as Steve puts it, his "Mo-ish tendencies"). He's hoping that God will help him give him the grace and opportunities to serve God while he serves his fellow man. Steve adds, "and lessens the number of inadvertent conflicts, because I don't think he seeks conflict."

Weather report
The roads are wet, it's a bit more than drizzling....wait.. no it's outright raining...wait.. drenching...

okay... this is interesting... Steve is sort of hoping/praying that it rains so that we can go back to Paul's friend's …

Lorin and the airport

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My named was being paged over the airport speakers. Whoa, what did I do? Was there something in my baggage that was going to have me ejected from the plane? Turns out that someone just wanted to switch seats with me so he could sit closer to his family. Was this my divine appointment? "Lord do you want me to share something with these people?", I prayed I took the time to share about our trip to MS and what we'd been doing the past week with Habitat. I was glad that I'd had a chance to share with the family and left them with a card for the website.

A short time later, a young couple took the 2 seats next to me. We struck up a conversation and I shared a little about our work in Biloxi and gave them (Justin and Shelly Brown) some background about some of the other ministries that Evergreen is involved with. I told them about the adoptions from China, Zoe Intl. and the trip to Thailand, Malawi and the kitchen, and Don Julian. Justin took my Gulf Coast card…

Save it for a rainy day...

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So much going on today.

Work on site started with a bang.. a thunderous bang this morning... there was a chance of rain today, but we arrived on site and started our work, but stayed off that shiny metal roof, just in case....

But by 1100a it was quite clear that we'd have to shut down most operations. The only thing that was still going on was that beloved set of stairs at the back of the deck/porch. All the men worked on it in some fashion, wondering what James' problem was.... See, James spent most of his week digging holes with Gary Ho last week, often running into buried cinder blocks, abandoned sewer lines and other obstructions. He joked on video that he was leaving a few awkward holes for us to dig this week. But it turned out that the remaining holes were in pretty soft soil. Sorry James.... :)

But as half our crew watched a couple of the guys pound away at the ground and posts, the others, including Jim and Shirley/Nannie sat around and had some hot coffee and donuts…

Lorin, the Lord and Layers

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It wasn't until Saturday, on the coed teams last day at the work site, that I was struck by a new meaning to Paul's words from 1 Cor 3:10-13.
"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work."

In reflecting on the work we'd done the past week I saw many parallels in the building process to our Christian growth. In working on the house I witnessed first hand how things are done in "layers". The foundation and framing was done by previous workers and we were adding to their work. Brad had us screw…

Millie opens up her heart...

As we drive in a thunderstorm to our next service opportunity, we share a note we got from Millie.

The Bittersweetness of Life It’s only day 2, and that deep aching in my heart still persists, that longing for more of last week. Never did I think I would be so sentimental and so attached.  Never did I think this trip – my teammates would be held so dearly to my heart.  So as I’ve pondered and questioned my feelings throughout today, the Lord graciously revealed that last week was the closest taste of what heaven is like for me.  Besides being in direct conmmunio with our beloved Lord, which should be the given primary desire of a true Christian, heaven is the place with His people, His family – just as last week, my teammates were my beloved family.  Furthermore, of my 23 years in life, last week was the most joyful I’ve ever been – a natural overflow of carefree joy of a child.  Now, of course it sucks to have to be pulled back to ”earth,” but thank God I now know heaven is definitel…

Minstrels of mercy?

We're on the road again.

It went from cool to cloudy to non-stop raining. During that time, we packed up our tools to wait out the storm. Some of the guys worked under the decking on the posts. The rest of us stood around with a lot of ideas, opinions and other "helpful" chatter.

Coffee and donuts = fellowship, so we took our 10am break during this time and enjoyed the hot coffees went out to get. Stories of life and faith were swapped as the rest of the team were sledgehammering away in the background.

But now we're on plan B. Paul, our friend (and second boss) has a friend who recently lost his job and is relocating. Paul offered to paint his home so his friend can rent it out. Paul "put it out there" to see if we'd help, but he kept saying "I know you've already done enough for the Habitat home, and you don't have to feel obligated...."

Given that we can't work on the Habitat site today, we're more than willing to help Paul …

caulk

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Millie, Pam you see any gap? No, thanks to your care .... and that very forgiving caulk.....  : )

figuring out what plan b will be

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Steve's stretching

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He's doing well enough to be doing his stretches ... ankle still swollen but steve was able to work

Good morning, it's raining

There have been predictions of rain on the horizon, and they have come true.

It was pouring rain a moment ago, now it has broken and the skies are cloudy. Either way though, it's humid. Have we mentioned it's humid down here? Oh, well, compared to Southern California, it's humid? Yep. Humid.

The first week's moderate weather has changed this week to a heat that sapped the strength of every man into a van-sleeping volunteer, then today with the rain, we're reminded of the first year we came out here, when the framing was barely up and the job site was covered with water. That very same day of thunderous storms and pouring rain, then an afternoon of clear skies and rising heat. Well, that helps explains the humidity....

With that in mind, we don't know exactly what we'll be doing on the job site today. If raining, presumably, we'll be working indoors, much better than atop a tin roof in a thunderstorm. Habitat usually has backup plans for situations like …

2012 05 01-Welcome Craig and Gary

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It was a long day on the site.

First off, Jim and Shirley/Nannie work hard. They know their limitations, but they work hard, right up to it. Kinda like Uncle Roy, but maybe a bit more.

We arrived on the site to be greeted by Brad and Paul, warm hugs for Craig and Gary, and meet and greet with Jim and Nannie.

Jim and Steve, the hobbler, went to work on the stairs. All day, well, we had several job assignments, but here are the highlights:

Craig and Chris were tasked with moving the portapotty. We had to move it and the sign so that an electrican could have access. Without a blink of an eye, they went to work. You should know that it had yet to be emptied. Put (number) two and two together, and well, it was an unpleasant smell all day.

This dynamic duo was then tasked to go under the house and tack up some plastic sheeting. Somewhere in the process, Craig accidentally hurt himself. It looks worse than it is.

Hot hot day on the site, on the roof.

Finished the day and went to Quakes, to c…

It looks worse than it is

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2012 05 01-Good morning (and happy bday Uncle Roy!)

James is back at home probably sleeping or riding a bike or running or something, but in his seat is Gary. Gary and Craig arrived Sunday night, but today will be their first day on the job site.

We head out a bit weary, but very re-energized by the additional support of these two key vets, but also from an unlikely source, two new friends, Jim and Shirley (who wants us to refer to her as "Nannie"). While slathering on our morning sunscreen by the cars, all the guys were commenting on Jim and Nannie's words from the night before. When asked why he comes down to work on these projects, especially at 80+, Jim said "we come down to make God look good, that's all we have to do," "I don't need to see another castle." The words fell on a smiling but silent and humbled group of men.

Put so simply, it was humbling to hear that perspective from someone that has gone before us. Nannie piped in "I want you to know, that I wouldn't have come down …

Millie's notes...from her blog

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Millie was yes, the youngest on this team, but had a pretty full experience...even on the plane... She said we could share her (personal) blog entry with you, and we felt it was best shared in its entirety.


When we read it aloud, we were at a common stop for us, Bop's, some tears welled up, and we missed our coed teammates.


2012 Gulf Coast Missions Relief TeamDREAMS. PROMISES. HOPES. Having known Jesus for several years by now, last week was my first missions team.  Some how, I’ve managed to say “mm… no thanks” to different opportunities each year.  And thanks to the Lord’s timing, this Katrina trip would be my first experience.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’ve heard testimonies from hard-core evangelizing, “Gospel bombing” the poor souls, to the crazy supernatural encounters of divine appointments and out pourings of healing.  What was this trip going to look like?  Although I had dreams of being the “conduit” for others to have a supernatural encounter with the Lord, I had no…