Sunday, July 21, 2013

We're Home!

We’ve made it back safely!  The team left Hattiesburg, MS at 7 am yesterday and arrived back in Raleigh at Midnight.  It has been a great trip, and we could not have done it without your support and prayers.  The team will be providing a report at Calvary Presbyterian church next Sunday night (7/28) after a fellowship dinner starting at 6 pm.  Anyone is welcome to come.  We can’t wait to tell you about the amazing things God has done this week!  Once again, thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Finished Projects

The roof is done!  Today we finished building the roof and placing tar paper on top.  Some men from Ebeneezer Baptist Church (the church that First Presbyterian has joined efforts with to reach the people of Hattiesburg) will be shingling the roof next week.  We have asked for pictures of the completed roof when it is all shingled.
Finishing nailing the tar paper

Austin and Rich supporting a fascia board as Tom nails it from above
Ms. Regina's house is done!  We finished putting Masonite up on the side of her house.  We also did some caulking as well as trimming around the back of the house.   Ms. Regina very graciously came out to help us caulk and put up siding.  We enjoyed working with her cheerful attitude.  She was very grateful for everything we were doing!

Mike showing Regina how to install siding
Another group went back to the "family house."  They painted the ceilings of three rooms and a hallway as well as baseboards.  The rooms took a lot of layers of priming and painting because of dark wood and previous colors.  In the afternoon, the group came back and helped to clean up the church so that we can leave early tomorrow morning.  
Emily and Ashley preparing a paint roller
This evening our team was taken out to dinner by Hope for Hattiesburg.  We went to a restaurant called Newks, and we had a great time!  It was a great end to a very productive week.  

We've been blessed this week through the people that we have come in contact with.  We thank you for all your prayers and support.  Please pray tomorrow for safe, smooth travel as we drive home.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Plan is a Platform for Change

Today was a productive but somewhat frustrating day because of the weather.  All of our groups started the day out very early.  The roofing crew was at their site by 6:30 and the other groups were headed out the door by 7.  We were not able to even begin working because of thunderstorms and rain that rolled through the area all morning.  However, the roofing crew was very thankful they went to their site early because they found a hole on the roof that they had not covered.  They were able to get it covered before it started raining!  All over our groups waited until the rain rolled through to begin working by late morning/mid-day.
Shrubbery removed from Ms. Minor's property
Dr. Mike, Lisa, and Sarah finished up at Ms. Minor's house.  We cut down branches and shrubbery, and we also finished caulking some of what we had put up yesterday.  Ms. Minor got up early to fix us lunch even though she had to leave her house around 11am for an appointment.  She left lunch on the stove for us and it was very delicious!

Around 1:30 we went to Mrs. Regina's house.  We will start work on her house tomorrow.  She needs to have some work done that is similar to what was done on Ms. Minor's house.  We will be putting up siding over a screened in porch.  The supplies will be delivered in the morning and we are hoping to be able to finish tomorrow.  Mrs. Regina even came out to help us work to take down plywood and tarp that was protecting the side of the house.
Surveying the work to be done at Mrs. Regina's house
 Rich, Sandi, Sandra, Ashley, and Emily went to the "family house."  It is called the "family house" because the church will use it to house homeless families once it is finished.  They were able to prime and paint the ceilings.  They made good progress and were able to finish the ceiling in two bedrooms.  They have one bedroom and a hallway to finish up tomorrow.

The rest of the crew went to continue work on Mrs. Floyd's roof.  They were able to finish getting most of the joists up.  The plan is to start shingling tomorrow.  Everyone quit early to eat dinner around 5:30.  The majority of our group returned to the work site around 7:30 to work on the roof until dark.  There is a lot left to be done but we are praying to finish it all by tomorrow night!
Amelia removing shingles so a joist can be nailed to the roof
Austin and Ginger placing decking

We also enjoyed our annual trip to Sonic tonight (thanks to the ice cream fairy).  We all met at Sonic after the roofing crew finished up at dark.  We were able to enjoy some nice, cold ice cream after our hot day!

Thank you for all of your comments, prayers, and encouragement.  Please continue to pray for us as we finish up our projects and begin packing for the long trip home on Saturday.
Ice cream at Sonic

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hot, Hot, Hot

Putting up the awning
Dr. Mike rescuing the cat
Dr. Mike, Lisa, Sarah, and Andy (a member of First Presbyterian) continued to work at Ms. Minor’s house today.  We finished up some odds and ends:  reconnected an electrical box, did some caulking and priming, and rescued a cat.  Our main job for the day was to work on the awning at the front of Ms. Minor’s house.  The awning over the front of her door was too low and sagging.  This did not allow her to open her front door fully because the top of the door scraped the awning.  To solve this problem, we built a brace to support the awning so that we could just pull it away from the house a couple of feet.  After we built the brace and unattached the awning, we replaced the rotten board that the awning was attached to.  We then reattached the awning several inches higher than it was previously.  Ms. Minor can now open her door completely without having it hit the awning!  Tomorrow morning we will go back briefly to finish some caulking and priming as well as clean up some tree limbs and shrubbery. 

What's completed
What's left to go
More progress has been made on Ms. Floyd’s roof, but there is nothing hotter than on top of a roof in Mississippi during the summer.  We have extended the joists over half the roof, laid plywood, and created the necessary extension of the vents from the old roof.  We did find more rotten wood along the soffets that needed to be replaced.  A little after 3 pm, though, we had to call it a day as it was too hot to continue to work.  We will be leaving to work at 6:30 am tomorrow to take advantage of the cooler weather.  The goal is to finish the new roof and lay tar paper, so that it can be shingled on Friday.
In the evening we were blessed by the hospitality of Knox, Deborah (his wife), and a man named Keith (who barbequed ribs and chicken for us).  We had dinner at Knox and Deborah’s house and were refreshed by the opportunity to swim in their pool and play with their 75 lb, 7 month of German Shepherd puppy.  It was such a blessing to have an evening of fun and fellowship!

Tomorrow we will divide into three different groups.  Most of the work to be done on Ms. Floyd’s roof is needed up on the roof instead of on the ground.  So, several people will continue to work on Ms. Floyd’s roof.  The ground crew from Ms. Floyd’s house will go to another house to do some interior painting.   The group from Ms. Minor’s house will go to another house to put up some siding as well as repair a leaky roof. 
Fun in the pool

Please continue for us to stay rested and cool tomorrow.  We have been enjoying periods of clouds throughout the day.  We are praying that that will last throughout the week.  The people here are very appreciative of our work and we are able to see the impact that we are having on their lives.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Raising a Roof and Installing a new wall

Progress at the end of the day
Lots of progress has been made today in raising joists for the roof and laying down plywood.  We have been VERY thankful that God has blessed us with lots of cloud cover and a cool breeze!  This morning we finished replacing some rotten boards on the old roof.  There are now joists on about a quarter of the roof.  Tomorrow we will work on extending the attic vent so we can install joists around it.  Also, we plan on cementing a post to support the front corner of the house that we will be putting the new roof on.
Amelia, Sandra, and Sandi cutting plywood

The team at Ms Alice's house was joined by Andy (a retired US Navy aviator who is both a member at FPC and also very active with Hope for Hattiesburg).  By God's grace there was no inter-service friction (Army-Navy) between Andy & COL Mike :) and the team was able to finish additional supports in the outside wall, reconstruct necessary framing around the living room window, add insulation and install "Hardy plank" siding by the end of the day.  We also had help in the afternoon from another FPC member (Charles) with the final nailing and caulking of the siding.  Expert cutting of wood for  framing and needed siding was provided by the world renowned team of Lisa & Sarah (AKA "Saw Queen").  Numerous trips to the local neighborhood hardware store in old downtown Hattiesburg by Lisa also provided an opportunity to get to better see the extent of the devastation from the Feb 2013 tornado in this part of town (as well as finding new and exciting ways to get to & from the work sites).  All in all, it was a very successful day and the generally rain free weather allowed the job to get done by the end of the day today. Thanks God, for holding off the heavy rain until dinner. Also, thanks for opportunities to chat and fellowship with Ms. Alice while working on items at her home.  She is a wonderful Christian sister who certainly makes us feel welcome.  More opportunities tomorrow with the front porch at Ms. Alice's house and possibly at another site nearby.

Insulating the wall with Charles
Sarah and Lisa cutting away

Monday, July 15, 2013

If you give a mouse a cookie...

Dr. Mike, Lisa, and Sarah (and Sandi for part of the day) went to Ms. Alice’s house to repair rotten siding.  This house has been called the “If you give a mouse a cookie…” house because it seems that once you fix one thing something else needs fixing.  We spent the day removing the rotten siding from the house as best we could.  Tomorrow we will put in insulation and new siding.


The rest of the team went to Ms. Floyd’s house to work on her roof, which is our major project for the week.  The morning started with Austin, Rich, Emily, and Ginger tearing down the pitching above the porch, which was installed incorrectly.  Mike J, Tom, and Ron headed up working on joists for the roof.  However, they realized that all of the wood on the roof, about 1.5 ft from the edge, was all rotten.  Therefore, they spent most of the day taking out rotten boards and replacing them with new ones.  They also found the source of Ms. Floyd’s ant problem when they discovered a nest in the rotten boards.  Sandra headed up debris removal, which everybody else helped with.  Ashley and Sandi cut 2x4s to be used for t-supports that Amelia nailed together.

Fixing rotten boards

Following lunch, both teams went back to their respective sites.  The team at Ms. Floyd’s house had to quit a little early due to afternoon storms, but before then

2 joists were installed on the roof, most of the rotten wood was replaced, and all of the supplies were cut and prepared for the rest of the joists to be installed later this week.  Ms. Floyd’s grandson also drove by this afternoon and will be helping us later tomorrow afternoon after he gets off work.

Cutting boards
Tomorrow both teams will be heading out around 7 am to take advantage of the cool of the day.  Please continue to pray for safety at the worksites and for team members to continue to hydrate well throughout the week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Worship, Recon, and Fellowship


Today was a day for worship, recon, and fellowship.  We began the morning worshiping with the congregation of First Presbyterian Church.  The service was traditional, and the pastor preached on Psalm 24 about how Christ is the only “right of entrance” to heaven.  This was an appropriate sermon for the week as it reminded us that our good works do not get us to heaven, but they are an extension of Christ in us to a lost world.  After worship this morning we were fed a wonderful lunch by some of the ladies of the church.  They have fed us well so far, and it appears we will not go hungry this week!
Brainstorming at Ms. Floyd's house

After lunch we drove around Hattiesburg and looked at the main work site and ‘reconned’ a couple of other jobs for the week.  We will be working at Ms. Floyd’s house tomorrow.  This is our major project for the week.  It involves tearing down some previous work that was poorly done, pitching the roof, and shingling.  The supplies will be delivered in the morning and we will begin work around 8:30 am.

This evening, Sandra, Mike, and Lisa drove to Biloxi to visit Kyle.  This opportunity was a great blessing, since Kyle was not able to drive up to Hattiesburg this morning.  The rest of us participated in the evening worship service at First Presbyterian.  Knox Baird, our point person for the week, preached on Daniel 6.  He discussed how we will be thrown into our own ‘lions dens,’ and that these are prime opportunities to be a witness to those around us.
We are excited to start work in the morning! 
Mike J. showing us how not to operate a breaker

Saturday, July 13, 2013

We have arrived!

Benton lending a little air
We have safely made it to Hattiesburg, MS!  The team left the church a little before 7 am this morning after a simple tire issue with the Mothership (AKA Moby Dick), and arrived in Hattiesburg around 9:30 pm.  After being bade a fond farewell by the Wiggs, Hobgoods, and Randy we were on the road a little before 7.  Fair skies (mostly) and clear traffic (except in Atlanta-note to self:  maybe we should check the Braves schedule before we head through Atlanta again) made for pretty smooth sailing.  15 hours together allowed for plenty of time to get to know each other a little better.  We also learned that fast food is rarely fast, and our pit stops would not meet up to NASCAR standards.  Tonight we are being housed in 5 different homes of families from First Presbyterian Church, and we will be attending their worship service in the morning.  Stay tuned as we will continue to update daily! 
All ready to go!