Sunday, March 16, 2008

NOLA Epilogue & Prep for MoBay

Needless to say, not ALL cellphones change time automatically with the annual "Spring forward" to DST (at least not in Commerce, GA.). After a quick breakfast (very quick) we packed up the Bayer van and headed to church at Mitchell Road PCA in Greenville, SC. By the grace of God, the remainder of the trip to NC was uneventful and we were blessed with great weather for the last half of the 875 mile (+/-) trip to Raleigh. We actually arrived back home while the sun was still shining in NC (first time in 3 years of missions trips). Many thanks to all of our family and friends for all your prayer support during our trip. The opportunity to assist in the ongoing Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts was a great blessing to us all. Many thanks to all of our geometry teachers from our "formative years" as well.

Next up for the Calvary Missions Team is "MoBay" (Montego Bay, Jamaica). Preparations are already well under way for the trip upcoming in late June/early July. We have 23 folks traveling to the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD). See attached web link for more information and pictures Looking forward to slowly but surely learning finger spelling and American sign language.

Best wishes to all for a very blessed and Happy Easter next Sunday.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s home from work we go

Got to sleep in a bit this morning before enjoying a wonderful meal of breakfast enchiladas and king cake with Jeff, Laura, Jennings and Rhett. Rhett got the baby. We said goodbye to our gracious hosts (thanks for the NOBTS mugs!) and were on the road by 9 AM, only to come to a standstill in a traffic jam of unknown cause just at the Pearl River.

Having already been delayed about 30 minutes, we decided to take a side trip to visit Lagniappe PCA in Bay St. Louis and First PCA in Biloxi (see Hugger house below). Was encouraged to see that progress was being made but was struck by the reality that the Gulf Coast still has a long way to go to recover. (Note to Rich: Waffle House seems to be aggressive in their rebuilding – there are now 11 fully functional between Kiln and East Biloxi).

We are so grateful for all your prayers and words of encouragement this week. It is quite a privilege to be able to serve in this way. Many thanks to Jay & Lilian, Edgewater Baptist, Jeff & Laura (you too, Jennings & Rhett) and Bob & Marilyn (and Rebekah) for hosting us this week. You all were great!

NOLA Final Exam Self-Test
To “c” how closely you’ve read the blog this week, we’ve included a little quiz today on the week’s events. “C” how well you do.

  1. 45 degrees + 45 degrees =

    1. 45 degrees
    2. 60 degrees
    3. 90 degrees
    4. Cannot be determined with the information given

  2. Identify the people in the following picture:

    1. Kathy & Lisa
    2. Mike & Kathy
    3. Jay & Jim
    4. Lisa & Jeff

  3. Bonus question: Are Jay & Jim related?

    1. No
    2. Depends on the day of the week
    3. Yes

  4. Was the following picture taken before or after Katrina?

  5. Which of the following tasks did Kathy single handedly complete during the week?

    1. Painting door frames
    2. Painting door frames
    3. All of the above
    4. None of the above

  6. Who is Jay related to?

    1. Lisa
    2. Mike
    3. Kathy
    4. Jeff

  7. What is the name of the NOLA power company?

    1. Duke Power
    2. Entropy
    3. Entergy
    4. NOLA Power & Lite

  8. Where did the team spend the week?

    1. On the beach in Hawaii
    2. Skiing in the French Alps
    3. New Orleans
    4. Scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef

  9. Which of the following is not typical New Orleans fare?

    1. Jambalaya
    2. Crawfish etouffee
    3. Big Mac
    4. Beignets
    5. Red beans & rice
    6. Gumbo
    7. Po-boy

  10. What are some common uses for paintable caulk?

    1. Filling “not so 90 degree” angles
    2. Covering “not so plumb” wall seams
    3. a, b & e
    4. Filling tectonic plate boundaries & crevices (given a large enough tube)
    5. Fill nail holes
    6. Teeth whitening
    7. d & f

  11. What is the name of Baptist seminary in New Orleans?

    1. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
    2. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    3. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
    4. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

  12. What people group are Josh & Ashley trying to reach with the Gospel?

    1. Iraqis
    2. Auca Indians of Ecuador
    3. Domari gypsies of Egypt
    4. Romanian gypsies

Friday, March 07, 2008

The night the lights went out in NOLA

Storms last night led to a surprise for us when we arrived at Edgewater to start work, but not for the residents of NOLA (apparently this happens quite a bit). Power was out in the whole church. So, we spent the first part of the morning caulking by the light of an overcast day. Entergy (the local power company) showed up en masse and finally restored the power before we ate breakfast.

"Right horizontal 18 degrees, 82 inches, left vertical 45 degrees..." The directions rang out through the stairwell as the baseboard team spent all day on the stairs - literally. Baseboard and moulding was laid throughout the lobby and all the way up the stairs to the second floor. We coined many new terms, like "caulkable 45 degree angles" and developed our skills at using preprocessed paper (also known as scrap wood) for notes.

After completing the stairs, we realized we still had several hours left to do some additional work, so Jay started us on some chair moulding in the lobby. More measuring, more beveling, more chopsawing, but this time standing up. More geometry, this time to work around light switches and fire alarms. We didn't have time to complete the entire job, but knocked out most of it. Mike made sure he caulked what we completed, so the next group could just finish installing the rest of the chair rail. Kathy completed her eighth door, including windows. She plans to have the paint sandblasted off her skin on return to Raleigh. Now if we could just figure out how to remove Liquid Nail from skin...

We worked a little too long and were late to dinnner with Jay and Lilian and Jim. We had a wonderful meal of (now) famous Creamy Pasta Florentine, salad and homemade foccacia. All was quite tasty, only to be followed by delicious mint chocolate brownies. Thanks, Jay & Lilian.

Tomorrow we plan to leave NOLA before 9 AM headed for snowy Atlanta. We lose not one but two hours on the way home (don't forget to turn your clocks ahead one hour Sunday morning at 2 AM - let me know how that works out for you). Many thanks to our host families - Jeff & Laura, Bob & Marilyn, and to Jay & Lilian for coordinating our efforts and putting up with endless inane questions about the work to be done.

Pleae pray for safe travel tomorrow and that the emotional wheels don't fall off before we arrive in Raleigh. Hope to see you all Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Caulk covers a multitude of shims

Baseboards and painting, baseboards and painting…on and on and on. We’ve learned a lot about installing baseboards, moulding and painting doorframes. We completed installing the baseboards and moulding in the church foyer and started installing up the stairs to the second floor. The staircase work threw us for a loop for a while, but a little geometry review helped us again, not without some frustration and character building.

Jay's twin brother Jim, just in from Connecticut where he works for InterVarsity, helped us with some caulking, in between phone calls from folks needing direction for an upcoming trip to NOLA.

News today was that we were to get power to the second side of the building, but once again emergencies took precedence over routine maintenance and the church power was put on hold. Pray that the power would be turned on before next week, so the teams arriving with electricians can troubleshoot any additional issues.

After a full day’s work that started early (6:30 AM), the team headed downtown to the French Quarter for dinner, Cajun fare for most of us, followed by beignets and chicory coffee at the world famous CafĂ© Du Monde. Tomorrow, more baseboards and moulding up the stairs and for a change of pace Kathy will attempt to paint doors only with her left hand.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Semper Gumby and Monsters, Inc.

It was a beautiful, cool morning in NOLA and work started early, even before the shirred egg breakfast. Mike and Lisa caulked the previous day's baseboard and moulding work. After breakfast, we completed the baseboard and moulding of the raised stage area and the obtuse angles on the front of the stage could be ignored no longer. Lisa ran off to Mike's Hardware (no relation to the Colonel) to fetch the Bill T.-endorsed tool for the job. It's been a few years since any of us have taken geometry, but using our new bevel tool and a lot of scrap wood for drawing, we were able to bisect the obtuse angles, set the saws appropriately and make some pretty tight joints. We were high-fiving all over the place! (Editor's Note: Kids, geometry will come in handy some day, hopefully while you're still young enough to remember it. So, study hard.)

As we finished the baseboard work in the sanctuary, our next job was to be installing sills and chair rail. After some reading in Unca Bubba's handy-dandy construction book and consultation with Jay, it was decided that we would continue with baseboard work, this time in the foyer. Semper gumby!

Kathy now sees door frames in her sleep, reminiscent of the conveyor-belt-of-doors scene from Monsters, Inc. Three coats of primer on two more metal door frames with side excursions of caulking, taping and a trip to the airport during rush hour to pick up her cousin Jim, Jay's twin brother, rounded out Kathy's day.

Edgewater Baptist has a Wednesday evening meal and Bible study/prayer that we were able to attend. A great meal of hamburgers/hot dogs was followed by a challenging message by Chad from Galatians 1:1-4. After a time of corporate prayer (please pray for a little girl named Madison - see for details) it was back to work 'til 9:30, putting the baseboards in the foyer. And more painting for Kathy...

Tomorrow holds more of the same. Maybe some baseboard work up a set of stairs (Bill, get ready for another call). And more painting for Kathy....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

You got to dance with the one what brung ya

The most time wasted is the time wasted getting started. Well, we wasted no time getting started on tearin' up Tuesday. The learning curve from Monday served us well as we easily completed the baseboards around the perimeter of the sanctuary. We continued to shy away from the obtuse angles on the stage. Maybe we'll try on Wednesday.

Next on the list was the decorative moulding on the top of the baseboards. Instead of sticking with what we knew from the baseboard installation, we tried a novel approach for the moulding but realized we couldn't "cope." Ancient words of wisdom rung in our heads, "You got to dance with the one what brung ya." Hence, we returned to the tried and true methods, with Miter Master Lisa deftly handling the miter saw (left-handed, even) and Saw Hero Mike hacking out trapezoids to assure tight fitting joints.

Mike and Kathy took a short side trip to Belle Chasse for Mike to receive his Legion of Merit medal for "exceptionally meritorious service in positions of increasing responsibility, culminating a 30-year career as Director of Support Operations, 377th Theater Support Command." Congratulations, Mike! Even with this break in the day Kathy continued to faithfully paint the myriad of metal door frames.

Work was suspended at 6 PM in order to entertain our gracious host families. A fine dinner was had and NC gifts were presented (even from UNC, although we're not sure why).

After cleanup, we worked another hour to complete the moulding on the sanctuary floor. The evening ended on a high with Jeff figuring out how to "cope." (See Unca Bubba's book, page 260. By the way, thanks Rich. We use it every day, and we're taking good care of it.)

Tomorrow we look forward to more moulding, painting, maybe even a few window sills. Please pray for safety and relief from some soreness. Good sleep is a request, as well. Thanks for your concern and prayers.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Learning curve Monday (aka Sisyphus and the baseboards)

It was Monday. The team was excited to get started on the tasks in the sanctuary, including painting and baseboard installation. After a hot breakfast of egg casserole by Chef Jeff and devotions out of Psalm 29, the crew attacked the jobs with great gusto. Initial enthusiasm was met with a few "opportunities" for character development as the baseboard installation presented many challenges, especially mitering the many corners in the sanctuary. As previous experience has shown, there is nothing in the Gulf Coast that is plumb, level or square (at least post-Katrina).

An after lunch phone consultation with Big Bill T. confirmed our suspicion that 45 degrees + 45 degrees equals 90 degrees. Thanks, Bill! Wish you were here. After circular saw re-re-realignment and a cool New Yankee Workshop imitation by Mike (some incredible handsaw work frome the saw hero), the afternoon installation went much better.
Lisa wielded a mean nailgun and Jeff lost some arm hair to Liquid Nails.

Kathy painted Door Frame #1 and Door Frame #2, three times. They are now officially primed. Coming attractions - Door Frame #3, Door Frame #4...

Edgewater Baptist, with most of their building still out of commission, reaches out to the community with the Gospel and by meeting physical needs. They feed the homeless every week, provide monthly Angel Food deliveries, do neighborhood cleanup and general service to the community. They're also planning two missions trips this summer, one to Mexico and another to Maine. Their commitment to reaching their community with the Gospel is a great encouragement and challenge to us.

Maybe some "after" pictures will show up in tomorrow's entry. Thanks for praying for us. We pray that you will get some of the heavy rain that we're experiencing tonight.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Worship and recon

We had a good night's sleep and awakened a bit early due to the time difference. Worship at Edgewater is at 9:30, with spiritual formation groups (Sunday School) after the worship service. The congregation meets in the back of the church building, as the sanctuary hasn't been restored since Katrina.

The worship service was a bit different with a former seminary student and church member returning to share he and his wife's experience in ministry to the Domari gypsies in the Nile delta near Alexandria. Josh & Ashley shared their burden for seeing God glorified in the redemption of people from all over the world. It was a challenge to hear that missions involves not just going, but mobilizing, sending and praying.

After morning worship, we toured the church and talked with Jay about the laundry list of expectations. Mike picked up the gauntlet for the work week, committing the entire group to complete Jay's list. Tasks include baseboard installation and trim painting in the sanctuary, then chair rail installation to complete the job.

Next, we took the traditional trip to Wal-Mart (the first fully brick Super Wal-Mart seen by any of the crew), not to purchase forgotten items but to procure food for the week. Mike treated us to a driving tour of the French Quarter on the return trip.

A very late lunch led straight to cooking dinner, once we unloaded the groceries. We had a great dinner with Jay & Lilian (including white table cloth, real silverware and plastic plates). Clean up and prep for breakfast and we were done for the evening.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Safely here

We arrived in NOLA (New Orleans, LA) about 7:30 PM, after quite a day of driving. God was merciful to give us uneventful travel over the course of the day.
Left Duncan, SC Holiday Inn Express about 9 AM after a wonderful breakfast prepared by our new friend Rosa.

Drove all day, except for short breaks for gas and the requisite Subway lunch in Opelika, AL. Lisa and Mike did the heavy lifting with the driving.

Crossed Lake Pontchartrain at dusk and headed for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), where we met Jay and Lillian, our contacts for the week (and also Kathy's cousin). Jay & Lilian took us across the street to meet our hosts, two seminary professors and their families. After meet & greet we headed out for a quick dinner before returning to hit the hay. Church tomorrow morning and then an afternoon of recon and stocking of staples for the week ahead.

Several in our host families are sick. Please pray for healing for them and protection from sickness for the rest of the family and our group.