2013 Day 0-Arrival, Orientation, Pier, Home Away From Home

Orientation 
As soon as we landed, we went to Habitat for Orientation and to see old friends. Teetra, an Americorps volunteer-turned Habitat staffer, gave an excellent orientation. 

HFHMGC (Our local Habitat affiliate) has received a federal grant to improve the energy efficiency of some local homes. Occupants must meet some requirements, including earning below 200% of the federal poverty level. It's all part of Habitat's "hand up, not a hand out" efforts to improve their clients' financial solvency by reducing their costs, as a proactive form of providing financial assistance. 

This week, we will be doing some framing, similar to our first few years, working on a new build, with our friends and site supervisors, Paul and Denise. It's a coveted stage of building, seeing the initial walls go up. Later in the week, we'll be working in some hot, humid attic spaces, working on the energy saving efforts mentioned above. 

Lunch with Brad 
Our dear friend and old site-supervisor Brad joined us for lunch at Shaggy's. We enjoyed his fellowship and it was good to have a team meal in Mississippi. 

Pier
It's surprising how eight years after Katrina , much of the high value coastline property is still vacant slabs. Many people either didn't return or didn't feel it was cost effective to rebuild. 

At the pier, much to our amusement, Craig re-established his relationship with the seagulls enticing them with bread (okay, cha siu bao). 

A simple walk stroll down the pier turned into a spiritual encounter. Peter and Kelly spoke with a couple admiring the beautiful coastline. Surprisingly, Peter felt led to have Linda, the wife, pray for him. It turned out to be an answer to her prayer to bless someone while she was sitting there. Linda prayed for our entire team, leadership and our church. In turn, Kelly prayed for Linda and her husband. 

 It was another example of the teamwork that we get to experience here, with each team member depending on each other and God for taking the next step. We also learned that not only are we here to bless others, but to experience God with those we encounter. 

 New Life-our home away from home 
We arrived at New Life, our home in Mississippi for the last few years, reconnecting with Ken, his wife Dawn and their children Elizabeth and Paul. 

After dinner, we had a small devotional time, with worship (singing) led by Art and Pam. Gary did a simple, succinct and convicting devotional/teaching where he described a couple he knew that felt that chopsticks were too difficult, and had given up after a very brief attempt. 

Perhaps they could have had more success with a bit more patience How often do we give up on possibilities and promises.... Abraham must have been trying to have children for almost 25 years, having children at near 100. 

Finally, we were humbled as we shared impressions and prayer requests for the day. 
Elizabeth, Ken and Dawn's seven-year old daughter, had been sitting with us during the worship time, and contributed some very clear and poignant prayers in support of a family that had someone take their own life.  

(Editor's note: I was humbled, because I didn't expect such a significant prayer to be requested by some young girl that was just hanging out with us. Later in the evening, she still contributed prayer requests for own health that were humble and hopeful. We are all learning that there is no one or opportunity great or small on this trip. Significance comes in all sizes, including by receiving as well as giving blessings) 

Thanks for your support!
Our first day on site tomorrow!


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