Tommy's Reflections on our previous trips-Part 1
|Tommy's been on all the trips|
Peter asked me to write about the previous nine Relief Teams. I decided to try and do it by memory. You can go back and fact check yourself by browsing back through the previous entries. Peter started this blog back in 2007 as we were preparing for our first trip. He specifically named it SGVHabitat.blogspot.com so that there would be a permanent record of all the Mississippi Gulf Coast (at the time) relief teams working with Habitat For Humanity. Little did we know at the time that we would return to work with Habitat For Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (HFHMGC) for seven years, then in 2014 work with Central Oklahoma Habitat For Humanity (COHFH) and return there this year.
2007 – The first year. Steve Ogata, one of the ten members of that inaugural team, in describing that first year experience said, “You can only do something for the first time once.” In many of ways that perfectly summarizes what most of us experienced that first year. First time on a mission trip. First time doing relief work. First time in the South. First time at Waffle House. First time going to Wal-Mart every day. First time building a house. First (and last) time building a house with the wrong plans. I’m probably forgetting many “firsts”, but you get the picture. The blessing and take away for me was the incredible joy of working together with nine other brothers with the common goal of being a loving servant and whole heartedly doing whatever was asked and experiencing God’s pleasure. As 2007 goes further and further into the past, the joy of that first year gets fonder and fonder.
2008 – The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project (JRCWP) pre-build. Although Jimmy Carter didn’t start Habitat for Humanity (HFH), he did help bring it to the mainstream of America. For many years he and his wife Rosalynn would head a Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. One year it would be at a local HFH in the U.S. and the following year it would be at one of the overseas HFH. People who want to “volunteer” at one of these (JRCWP)’s would contribute quite a bit of money for the privilege of working alongside the Carter’s. This helped raise funds and awareness for HFH. Little did we know that the week we arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi was the week prior to the JRCWP. Our task for the week was not to build any houses but to precut all the lumber needed to frame 60 houses for the following week. We were set up on a parking lot next to the beach by the Biloxi lighthouse. We were somewhat disappointed that we would not be building any houses but seeing that we would be instrumental in getting 60 houses framed the next week was somewhat gratifying. By the end of the week I was humbled by four young women from Ohio. These four had just finished their college term in Ohio, drove nine hundred miles to Biloxi, and paid for their own food and lodging. Here I thought that I had sacrificed a lot, but I had been sent and supported by my church. God told me it’s not about the sacrifice, it’s about obedience. “To obey is better than sacrifice” 1 Samuel 15:22
2009 – The Brad Holland story.... (Part 2 coming soon..)