Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Working from the Wonky, Part II

We began even brighter and earlier than yesterday heading out to the two work sites. At Mr. Price's house, many tasks were done, including building new joists alongside the old rotten ones, removing more weak interior walls, tearing out another section of weak flooring, and continuing with nail and staple removal from many, many boards (thank you Kristin!!).

Removing bad flooring reveals hidden problems

Kristin and Julie removing nails and staples

The fence team at Mr. Holloway's house grew and became a well-oiled machine. Stringers were added to the posts that were set yesterday, and dog-eared pickets were added in a pleasing alternating pattern. We had to leave before all the pickets were up, but we speculate that Mr. Holloway, Andy, and Trey probably finished the last stretch within the next hour.

Pastor Carlos stopped by and mentioned a third site, so Andrew and Tom went to help remove a falling-down porch with Carlos, Buck, and Titus. After boarding up the living room window, they knocked out the supports, and the roof above the porch collapsed. We then hauled the debris to the street.

Andrew and Carlos after the porch support was removed

This afternoon we headed back to United Christian Academy, where we met ten of the summer school students. We introduced our group to the kids, sang a few songs with them, and then were partnered with them one on one to work out little scenarios like, "What would you do if you ordered a Big Mac at McDonald's but they gave you a McChicken sandwich by accident?" We concluded our school visit with everyone sharing the low and high points of their day. We look forward to spending more time with the kids tomorrow, and then working on some painting, repairing, and organizing projects for UCA.

Later we had a presentation about one aspect of Hope for Hattiesburg over a delicious supper. Molly and Kathleen shared how they have intentionally made strong connections with a public school named Grace Christian Elementary in order to help the children with literacy and support the school. They discovered that this particular school was named after a former member at First Presbyterian Church, and used that correlation and a fundraiser to connect with the school. They have spent the last school year volunteering to read with some of the lower performing fifth graders, and those students' test scores have really gone up. In addition, they have built relationships with these students and the staff.

Now since you've probably been wondering, "Working from the Wonky" is the focus of the team this year. There are many ways that we live in the "Wonky." When we compare ourselves to the behavior of others instead of God's standards, we don't see our sin as it truly is. When we make decisions based on what the world says, instead of God's word, we quickly become "off the mark" or "wonky." And certainly when one does construction on homes that are neither plumb nor square, adaptations need to be made to account for the "wonky"! Pray for the team this week as wonky people work together on wonky property to make a difference in this wonky world . . . all for the glory of God.

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