Louisiana to Illinois

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Leaving Baton RougeYesterday we set the alarm for 4:30 to check the weather. There were differences in the predicted time of arrival of the heavy rains. We reviewed the radar and decided we had to either hurry and get on the road immediately or we would need to wait until 11 am or noon to depart. Heavy rain was on the way. We decided to leave and jumped out of bed and started doing the last minute packing. Joe, Charley, Gary and Abby were real troopers and got up to give us hugs. We pulled out of Francis Asbury campground at 5:34. It was lightly raining at that time. We were very blessed with only light to occasional moderate rain and no storms for the long travel day. We headed out on I-12 and then turned north on I-55 after about 30 minutes. We remained on I-55 crossing into Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and finally into Missouri. After Jackson, MS, we left most of the rain behind and picked up the love bugs. We prefer the rain. We stopped about every two hours for walks in the rest areas and driver change. The interstate was the worst in the Memphis area.

Nice Missouri Welcome CenterShortly after crossing into Missouri, we stopped at the Welcome Center in Hayti. This rest area has a short walking trail and lots of sidewalks to walk. When we went inside the Welcome Center they were celebrating tourist information week by giving visitors free hot dogs and cookies. Nice. Also nice, Missouri allows overnight parking in rest areas so we parked, walked, ate and called it a day. We had been listening to a hilarious audio book, Murder Makes Waves by Anne George for he whole trip and only had about an hour left on it when we arrived. So after our walk we finished listening instead of writing a blog entry. The book is part of a Southern Sisters series that is set in and around Birmingham, Alabama. This particular book was mostly about the Destin area. We laughed a lot on our drive yesterday.

We slept well and were on the road again about 7:00 this morning. We continued north on I-55 through St Louis. We noticed yesterday and again today the severe flooding of the MS river. We also learned that Zachary, a community a little north of Baton Rouge was evacuating some people from their homes due to the rain of yesterday. We passed the beautiful arch in St Louis and it was on to Pawnee, IL and Midwest Mission Distribution Center. We will be helping to complete an addition to the warehouse. It was pouring rain when we arrived so we haven’t toured the job site yet, but we did spend the afternoon visiting with our dear friends Richard and Dianne. Thankful for safe travel.


Our project for the next few days
Our project for the next few days
Still wondering why the Illinois Welcome Center had a hand dryer mounted so high
Still wondering why the Illinois Welcome Center had a second hand dryer mounted so high

Rainy Finish

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Equipment trailer being pulled out
Equipment trailer being pulled out from Norwich Drive house

Today started cloudy and very humid. We tried to make sure we stayed hydrated. After lunch the storms came. Lots of rain. Serious flash flooding. Thankfully we all made it back to the RVs safely but it took considerably longer than usual. When we watched the videos on TV of cars floating down the streets, and water on Interstate 10, we were even more thankful.

Today’s devotion was done by Gary. He shared a devotion by Charles Stanley encouraging us to be available. God wants to use us and will use us if we will just make our selves available to Him.

Crew preparing MHU for removalWe all headed back to our regular homes to begin our last day of work. The mobile home movers were at Norwich when we arrived, readying the mobile housing unit (FEMA trailer) for moving to the FEMA collection center. Our homeowner had to be out of the trailer by the end of April. She is now staying in a hotel until her house is complete. The power company came by earlier in the week to pull the power meter but since we were there working and needed the power, they say they would come back Friday. The guys doing the work today were really nice and let us keep using power until the FEMA office told them to cut it off shortly after lunch. Then in a few minutes they set up their generator and let us have power from that. About 2:00 the storms really came and when the truck came to get the trailer you could barely see to drive. They decided they were not pulling it today and left. The moving guys could have left then too, but hung around and let us continue to use their generator until we were done for the day. Really nice.

Today we placed the trim in the channels for all the transition strips. The transition from the ceramic tile to the wood laminate looks really good. Joe did a great job. Max, Anne and Charley worked on installing baseboard and caulking. Good progress was made. We have completed much of the needed work on the house. If our team had about one more week we could probably complete both houses. Unfortunately, there are no volunteers scheduled here for several weeks. Makes us sad to leave. We wish we could have done more.

Nailing and caulking
Nailing and caulking baseboards
Groom Road crew with the homeowner in her new kitchen
Groom Road crew with the homeowner in her new kitchen

Out at Groom Road good progress was also made. It was raining so hard and water was rising fast so we did not get to go to the Bible presentation at Groom but from the pictures, the kitchen looks very nice. Nice counter tops, Bob and Gary! Sharon and Virginia also completed the portion of the flooring they were hoping to do.

It’s been a great project from the beginning in February through to this week. NOMADS worked 10 weeks last year and 12 weeks this year helping the people of Baton Rouge rebuild their homes and lives. What an honor it has been.

Baseboards, Transitions and Crawfish

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

This morning we had some sun but mostly gray skies. This afternoon and evening we have had some rain and areas just north of us, Baker and Zachary, have been under a tornado warning. One of the houses we are working on is in Baker. We have not heard of any damage and are praying everyone is safe.

This morning’s devotion was brought by Joe and he did a great job making us think about what it really looks like to be faithful. Thanks, Joe.

We then all headed back to the homes we have been working in all week. To start the day Max and Joe continued to work on transition strips. This has been a difficult process due to needing to drill into the concrete slab. We have been through several masonry bits. Max had to trim the laminate to fit the transitions because we didn’t know what type of transitions we would be using when we put down the laminate. By the end of the day all the transition strip brackets had been installed. Anne and Charlie began and finished the day installing base board. They also did some caulking today.


The folks at Groom almost completed the kitchen cabinets. They have just a little trim to install above the wall cabinets. There is just a little more flooring to install and then some baseboard. Wish we could have finished them both but that was not to be.

Crawfish dinnerTonight the Louisiana Conference treated the team to a crawfish boil. We also had the corn and potatoes to go with that and the team provided salads, dessert and bake beans. We had a feast! Best of all we had time to visit with Laraine, Darryl, Charles, and the case managers. Thanks, Laraine for arranging everything. It has been such a pleasure to get to know everyone and work with them. We hope God will bring us together again – but not due to another disaster.

More Things Completed

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Weather-wise today was the same as yesterday. Really nice day. We didn’t even see a gray cloud. The rest of the week is predicted to be a real wash out so maybe the predictions will be wrong.

Virginia had our devotion today and used Philippians 4:13 as the basis and then read us “The Quilt”. Virginia is a quilter so this reading was special to here. We all agreed it’s special. If you haven’t read it you should.


After devotion we all headed back to our regular assignments, Max, Anne, Joe and Charley to Norwich and Gary, Sharon, Bob and Virginia to Groom Drive. Progress was made in all locations. Charley and Joe were excited to finish the laminate flooring in the master bedroom. It looks very good. We also completed the door installation of all the swinging doors. We are waiting for the materials needed to hand the bi-folds. We also started on the floor transition strips. Since we were planning the Bible presentation tonight we also tried to clean and straighten up a bit. Over at Groom they installed the counter tops and finished the flooring in the large closet. Both houses are looking good.

This afternoon Gary did an interview with a reporter for Channel 2, Baton Rouge. One of the church members called them to tell them about the good work the NOMADS have been doing. We will see if it is on the 10:00 news tonight. Hope so. After the interview we went over to Norwich to meet our home owner and make our Bible presentation. We had a nice visit and the rest of the team got to see the house as well. It was another great day.Presenting Bible at Norwich Dr

Start of the Last Week in Baton Rouge

Monday, May6, 2019

Today was another bright sunny, blue sky day. Only three more to go.

We met with Darrel before team meeting to discuss priorities on both houses. For the Norwich house he wants us to just continue and complete items in the same order we would normally do them. We are not going to do the plumbing or the installation of the appliances. Therefore when we got to Norwich Drive, Charley and Joe got started on the laminate flooring in the master bedroom and Anne worked on getting the master bath ready for texture. Hoping the texture people will be back tomorrow. Max returned to working on the door installation. By the end of the day only two rows of flooring remain to be installed. Charley and Joe have done a great job. Hopefully the bathroom is ready for texture and most of the doors are in place. Just a couple left along with some bi-fold doors.


Refrigerator finally coming in the house
Refrigerator finally coming in the house

At about 3:30 today the Lowe’s truck arrived at Norwich with the homeowner’s refrigerator. She has been trying to get a refrigerator installed for two weeks now. The first one she bought would not go through any door in the house. Today they brought another refrigerator that we hoped would make the clearance. It did not. Therefore, just as we had to do with the roll-in shower, we had to remove the back door, and door frame in order go get the refrigerator in the house. We reinstalled the door to the point we could secure the house for the night and we will complete the re-installation tomorrow. Hopefully, there will be no more door removals this week. After everything was secure, we hurried home to get ready for dinner.  Francis Asbury congregation provided us with a wonderful time of food and fellowship tonight with a fried chicken dinner with all the fixen’s.  We had to say our good byes tonight as we will not see these precious friends again before we leave.

We are making progress. We will accomplish what God wills this week.

Baton Rouge Team May 06 2019
Baton Rouge Team May 06 2019

Last Weekend in Baton Rouge

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Another rainy Saturday morningAs expected, Saturday was a rainy day. The rain began about 5:00 am and continued until early afternoon. There were times of very heavy rain and there were tornado warnings for parishes to our south and east but things never got bad here at Francis Asbury. We were glad we decided to do our shopping and errands on Friday. By mid-afternoon the sun was out and that’s when our new team members arrived, Joe and Charley. They are relatively new NOMADS and this was our first time to meet them. We look forward to working with them and getting to know them better.

Since we didn't want to go out in the rain Saturday we made a smoked sausage and cheese omelet
Since we didn’t want to go out in the rain Saturday we made a smoked sausage and cheese omelet

Today, of course we went to church here at Francis Asbury. During the announcement time pastor David surprised us all by announcing to the church that the Bishop had made the appointment for their pastor for next year and that it was Rev. Anne Armstrong. We all got a good laugh at that announcement and he was just thanking Anne for filling in for him last week. Today was communion Sunday and Pastor David brought a message about truly communing with our Lord through the service of communion.

After church the team decided to go to Rice and Roux for lunch. We have enjoyed all our visits there over the past two years working in Baton Rouge. They ownership and staff there always thank us for our service to their community and the owner gives a 20% discount to all the volunteers working the flooding disaster. They also routinely give the same discount to all the fire and police. Tonight we had our regular Sunday night meeting and we will meet again at 8:00 in the morning. It’s been a good weekend.

Another Week Complete

Friday, May 3, 2019

Sorry for no post yesterday but we were tired. It was NOMADS Friday and everyone seemed very glad. The additional heat and humidity has made it more difficult this week. Thursday was another nice day. Cloudy at times and a sprinkle or two but nothing to bother us.

Janice brought us our devotional yesterday using Mathew 23:23, “woe to you hypocrites”. She used the analogy of washing dishes. Do you wash the outside and then use the cup again or should you not wash the inside first? We need to allow God to clean us on the inside first and then do good works. Thanks, Janice.

We all went back to work at our regular houses. Janice and Marvin worked on painting the base boards that were delivered Wednesday. They completed about 2/3 of the boards. Janice is originally from Minnesota although she has been in Texas for over 40 years. She calls the boards “mop boards”. Says they have always been called mop boards in Minnesota. Bless her heart. Anne and Pat began the day working on the master bath ceiling again. Max worked on installing doors with Pat assisting. She learned to use the trim nailer and did a great job. Roger worked on installing the faucets in both bathrooms and the kitchen. He did a great job working in the heat inside the cabinets. He couldn’t complete the installation because we didn’t have all the parts needed for the drains but he got the rest of the installations done. A lot was accomplished at Norwich last week. There is still a lot to do but we are continuing to plug away.

At Groom Road we understand the bedroom vinyl flooring was completed and work began in the hall. Progress was made in the kitchen as well. They also did a lot of staining of the wood walls in that house. The scope of work has expanded on this house so we are not sure how close to completion they are. Sadly, at this point we don’t think either of these homes will be complete when our mission is over next Thursday, but there are people coming after us that will get the joy of completing what we began.

Since we had three couples leaving this morning, we all went out for a nice dinner last night at Bass Pro Shop. Great fun!

We said “see you down the road” to Janice and Marvin, Pat and Roger and Ruth Ann and Dave this morning. Travel safely, dear friends, and we hope to see you soon.

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center signAfter saying our goodbyes, Bob and Virginia invited us to visit Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. It was really surprising to find a swamp in downtown Baton Rouge. It is a 103 acre facility in the heart of Baton Rouge, dedicated to conservation, education, and tourism. There are gravel and boardwalk trails out through the swamp and some really good exhibits inside the nature center. We saw fish, turtles, the largest barred owl we have ever seen, and numerous other birds outside along with all sorts of turtles and snakes in various terrariums inside the center. Lots of fun!

We also found one geocache in the park
We also found one geocache in the park

After returning to Fred, we ran our errands for the week because tomorrow predicted to be stormy. On the way back we stopped at Rice & Roux for some gumbo and fried fish. Hope you all have a great weekend.