Today started way too early. It was dark out. We were up and on the road at 4:25 headed toward Cullman, AL to meet our dear friends Dave and Carol for breakfast. There were leaving Cullman this morning for Ohio to see Dave’s mom who is quite ill and they left their motor home in Cullman with some NOMADS friends. We were on the way from Red Bay to Oneonta for church. We had a great visit and a very good breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Carol as they make this hard trip. They should be back in the area Wednesday night so we may get to see them again Thursday before they start their long trip west.
About 7:30 we were on our way again to Lester Memorial. It was so nice to be back in our home church. Hopefully we will be able to attend for several weeks now. Missing our church is one of the hard things about traveling doing mission work like we do. The worship service was wonderful, the music great and the message was a word from God. Such a blessing. It was also great to be back in our Sunday School class.
After church we went to visit our LOLs at the rehab center. It was really good to see Aunt Helen and Aunt Jean. Helen had definitely gone down since we left for Texas in January. She is talking less. She did know us although we aren’t sure she knew our names. She of course held our hands and told us “You made my day.” Sweet. Jean was ill when we left in January and is feeling much better now. She seemed pretty spry today. Neither of the ladies seem to have any sense of time and don’t seem to know if it’s been a day or a month since our last visit. Sad.
On the way back home from church, we drove through the tornado damage from Thursday’s storm. It is really miraculous that there were no injuries. Large trees down on houses, and trailers cut in half by trees were easily seen from the highway. They are still working to restore utilities to the area.
Donna invited us to have lunch with her and Barry which was great since our refrigerator at the house is obviously pretty bare. It was great to have some time to visit with them. After lunch and a quick trip to check on the house, we all went back to the church for a meeting about a trip to the Holy Land and Germany and Austria for the Passion Play next year. Sounds very interesting. We may try to make another trip to the Holy Land. Anne’s mother highly recommended the Oberammergau Passion Play. Sounds like it will be a great trip and a number of our friends are also considering the trip. We shall see.
After the meeting and some visiting with friends, it was time to return to Red Bay. Now it’s about time to go to bed.
Yesterday was a very busy day. It rained again during the night but fortunately when our team began packing to leave the rain had stopped. First out the drive today was Mark and Lisa. Mark is scheduled to return later in the project but Lisa’s daughter is expecting so plans may change. A little later Nancy and Gary started their long drive back to Georgia. We heard from both couples and Mark and Lisa made it home and Gary and Nancy were safely in the RV park for the night. It’s always hard to see our team members leave but we know we will see them down the road – hopefully soon.
After the good byes, it was time to get ready for the NOMADS board meeting. This was Anne’s first teleconference meeting since joining the board last September so there was lots to do and learn. Things went smoothly and a lot was accomplished and we were all tired at the end of the 3 hours and 45 minutes. Harry came over and did the conference with Anne so they could work together during the meeting. Harry is secretary so he had lots of notes to make.
After a little break we went to Sammy’s Grill with Harry, Janet, Stel Jodi, Mary, and Randy for dinner. We were sorry Cheri and Butch couldn’t join us. When we got back to FRED, it was time to finish packing up and get to bed.
This morning we were up before 5:00 completing the cleaning and packing. We had FRED ready to roll by about 7:15 with Anne taking the first leg back toward Alabama. It was an uneventful drive except for a time when we drove past what we thought might be a flea market in Mississippi. Cars were everywhere including all along the side of the highway. It was a huge crowd. Then Max saw a sign. It was a chicken auction! Who knew? Never heard of a chicken auction. Car auction, cow auction, pigs. Yep. But not chickens. Anyway we made it back to Red Bay, AL (one mile inside Alabama from Mississippi) safe and sound and now will wait until Monday to find out how long it will take to get some warranty work done on FRED. So thankful for the uneventful, safe travel day. Remember to be in prayer for services tomorrow.
Today was a cloudy day threatening rain from about lunch on. We did not get rain until after we got home from work. We know there was at least one tornado in Blount County with damage in multiple areas. We have not heard of injuries yet and are praying there are none. We also have not heard of damage on Pine Mountain but we don’t know for sure.
We were accused of having too big a smile on our faces when we sang “This Is The Day” this morning at the start of devotion. This is the day we turn over leadership to our new leaders, Stel and Jodi. We didn’t think we were smiling that much.
Gary brought us a moving devotion from Mathew 25:31-46. He shared two times he was visited by angels unawares. We had good discussion. Thanks, Gary for a great devotion time.
After devotion we talked about our final work day in Baton Rouge – until next month – when we won’t be leading. This has been a hard working team. Finishing drywall is difficult work. Lots of sanding over our heads. The team was up to the task. We appreciate their work so much, and we know the homeowners do as well. We finished our week with Mark, Lisa, Cheri and Butch back at Baker Drive finishing drywall and, at the homeowner’s request) reducing the height and lengthening a half wall they installed yesterday.
The rest of the team went back to Norwich. One of the first things we did was move the huge roll-in shower down the hall and into the bedroom. Next was reinstalling the portion of the wall we had to take down yesterday in preparation of moving the shower into the bedroom. The installers have to come do some work before it gets put in the master bath. Then we resumed sanding, and mudding the ceilings and walls. Norwich is starting to come together. There is still a lot to do but it’s getting there.
Tonight we gave the keys to the church to Stel and Jodi. We will be doing the final paperwork in the morning and turning that over to them as well. It has been a great four weeks and we are sure the next eight weeks well be great as well.
Tonight we went to dinner with Laraine, the pastor responsible for missions in the LA conference. We were discussing the possibility of the LA Conference transitioning to a community outreach project with NOMADS after they close the disaster relief down the end of May. We hope this works out for them.
Today was another really nice day in Baton Rouge. It was a little windy this afternoon but no rain again today. Three days in a row during the work week that we could work outside – that may be a record for this trip. Nice.
Lisa led us in devotion this morning referencing “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. She reminded us that everyone always tried to separate Linus from his blue security blanket. Linus drops his blanket when he uttered the works “Fear Not.” The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears. The birth of Jesus allows us to drop our false security blankets. Linus picked his blanked back up. Why? Don’t we all do that too? The show ends with the kids worshiping in song. Linus then leaves the blanket at the base of the tree for good. Jesus wants us to cling to him, not the false securities we sometime cling to. We need to leave our worries, insecurities, anxiety, at the foot of the cross. We had good discussion and several of us plan to watch the movie again sometime soon. Thanks, Lisa and Mark!
Today Gumby was in the mix again. This morning Mary, Randy and Gary went back to Harry’s house to complete the hand rails on the steps. They completed the job by lunch time and joined Anne, Harry, Janet and Nancy at Norwich to continue the drywall finishing. Stel and Jodi went with Max to Baker first thing this morning. They needed to be familiar with that job site since they will take over lead this weekend. Butch, Cheri, Lisa and Mark also started the day at Baker. Butch and Mark were working on the water heater in Pam’s travel trailer while Cheri and Lisa were still working on drywall. After lunch we had them join us at Norwich too. We brought all hands on deck and try to get that house finished before we leave. Gumby struck again. While we were all eating lunch together – a first for this project – we learned our scope of work has changed. We are now going to install the very large roll in handicap shower in the master bath. We are also now going to finish the ceilings to be ready for heavy texture. They need us to move on to other houses, but the needs are growing at Norwich. So, the two bedrooms and hall that we had marked as “Done” are now not done and we will be sanding and mudding the ceilings in those places again. There is much work to be done to install the shower, such as frame in a wall and bust out a portion of the concrete slap and move the drain. It’s God’s work. We are just the hands and feet. Sorry, Stel and Jodi. We aren’t going to get this one finished for you. This afternoon we had to remove the back door to get the shower in the house. We also began removing a portion of the master bedroom wall to allow the shower to be moved to the master bath. All in a days work.
This afternoon Stel and Max rode with Darryl to another house that needs work. After they got there it became evident that NOMADS will not be working on this house anytime soon. It needs the roof repaired before any inside work can be started. However, while there that did see an interesting bathroom fixture and a snake they had not seen before.
Today was Mary’s birthday so we all went out to dinner to a new-to-us restaurant, Montalbano’s Seafood. The food was very good, the company great and then we topped it off with a birthday cake. Happy Birthday Mary! It was another good day.