First, thank you for all the prayers and support for the Constructors for Christ and Hodge Missionary Baptist Church. We have not yet heard the official cause of the partial collapse of the trusses but we do know there were some serious storms Saturday and Sunday and we experienced one on Friday night before we left Saturday. We also know that the Constructors have had a great week and made great progress. They had all of the collapsed trusses cleaned up by Monday night. We also heard “we are having so much fun” from some of the youth there this week. Please continue to be in prayer because this church is impacting their community for Jesus.
We have had a busy week although probably not very interesting to anyone else. Of course it was great to be back at our home church, Lester Memorial and our Sunday school class. All of our summer mission teams were back in town so there were lots of hugs for everyone.
For the family: Monday morning we were in Birmingham for Aunt Jean’s appointment with the hand surgeon. She will be having surgery July 2 to remove a portion of the middle finger on her left hand and hopefully release the contracture on the other fingers. She doesn’t seemed bothered by this plan and didn’t want to wait another week. It is planned for same day surgery so she should be back in her bed Tuesday night. Please remember her and her physicians and caregivers in your prayers.
Tuesday we were back in Tuscaloosa working to clean out Anne’s dad’s warehouse. Wednesday was doctor appointment – no problems, another visit with the LOL’s and then back to Tuscaloosa for a few hours. Thursday was errands and some donations to the Hope House and finally today we got to stay home. Still lots of work to do around here. But we are making progress.
We just found out that at about 5:00 pm today many of the trusses at the Hodge Missionary Baptist Church build collapsed. The reason has not been determined, but it is suspected that the storms this weekend somehow weakened the structure. Please be in prayer for the church and the Constructors for Christ team this week that will be removing the debris and rebuilding that part of the building.
First thing this morning we drove to the build site of Hodge Baptist Church to take one more picture. We found that the wind had blown our work tent over – even though it was anchored down by six five gallon buckets of water. Fortunately the building frame was not damaged. We met and talked to some of the church members who were also there. They are all so excited about the new building. Here are the pictures we took each morning to show the progress of the build:
We went back to the Bible Camp and flushed tanks, packed up and headed out. It was an easy drive back to Oneonta where we stopped to check in on the aunts and buy some produce. The Gym on State Hwy 75 across from the high school has a large parking lot that is never full so it is a convenient place to unhook the truck and run our errands before heading back up Pine Mountain.
Almost as soon as we finished setting up the rains came. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning for a while but only received some heavy blowing rain. There are still some strong storms in the area but we are not expecting anything severe.
We have continued to have summer thunderstorms and some intermittent rain. We awoke to the weather alert radio announcement of severe thunderstorm one morning. Today has been clear and very hot. Heat index of 105. Tonight we are suppose to have another nasty storm come through. Hope we can get some sleep.
Today was our last day here in Dutton, Alabama. It has been a wonderful week. The Hodge Missionary Baptist Church has been an extremely welcoming church. They truly know how to show Christian hospitality. They have brought us fresh vegetables from their gardens, wonderful cakes and pies, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for us and even had the Little Something Extra ice cream truck come by last night with free ice cream. (Please take time to read the Something Extra story. Very special people.) We have made many new friends in their congregation and community and they will remain in our hearts and prayers as we leave. The progress on their new church building has been amazing, especially since we were predicted to have a very wet week. So glad that did not materialize. But, more importantly has been the demonstrations of their love for their fellow members and their community. Again we experienced several real God moments reminding us that our work is so much more than pounding nails and putting up walls. Yesterday there was a gentleman standing on the outside of the walls of the church, looking in. Hugh and Randy noticed him and told him to come on in. He said no and they asked him if he was a member of the church. He said no, he was an outsider, just looking to see what was going on. He lives in a house very near the church. They, again invited him to come on in to take a look around. He replied “well I’ve never gone to God but now it looks like He is coming to me.” This opened an opportunity for the guys to have a good conversation with him and hopefully plant some seeds. Would love to see this gentleman when we come back for the dedication of the church. He will remain in our prayers as well. Its been a really good week. We will continue to track the progress of the project and will try to attend the dedication of the building.
We had rain overnight with some thunderstorms. Today was cloudy, with intermittent rain. The crew on the slab had to stop twice today due to the rain and they worked through a few more showers. They were a little like wet rats for part of the day.
The day started as usual at 6:00 am for Randy and Max but today it also started at 6:00 for Anne and Debra. Their team prepared breakfast today. It was eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, grits, tomatoes, watermelon, cereal and bananas, orange juice, apple juice, milk, coffee and water. No one left hungry. Anne and Debra spent a good deal of time working in the store today. They are having a sale attempting to clear out some of the old T-shirt stock.
Even in the rain there was a lot of progress made today on the building. Tonight, all the exterior walls are in place, many of the interior walls are in place along with most of the headers. Several members of the congregation came by today and they are so surprised and pleased at the progress. Please continue to pray for safety for everyone.
Today was another sunny and HOT day. It was really hot out on the concrete slab today. We didn’t have any of the scattered showers come over the job site so the crew got a whole hard day of work.
Yesterday we went to the current Hodge Baptist Church for worship. The congregation is so welcoming and excited about their new building being started. We understand they have been talking about building a new church for 20 years so some of their members have been waiting a long time to see the first wall go up. The worship service was very good with good music and a good message. Since it was Father’s day we decided to avoid the restaurants and had lunch at the motor home. After a relaxing afternoon our team meeting began at 6:00. The church joined us for a fellowship meal and time of devotion before we got down to the business of filling out all the necessary paperwork and hearing all the opening announcements.
Work today began at 6:00 am with a break for breakfast shortly after 7:00. Debra and Anne’s team was responsible for lunch. They didn’t have to do much work because there were had so many leftovers from last night’s dinner. It was a successful meal with lots of fresh watermelon, tomatoes and cantaloupe to go with the leftovers. Max and Randy and the rest of the crew worked very hard on the new church and by quitting time today a lot of the exterior walls were standing. Really exciting times for the church members.
It was another beautiful day in Dutton, Al. Nice breeze most of the day with a few scattered clouds. The sun was pretty unrelenting for those working out on the slab. Randy and Max wore their sun hats but faces still look like they may have gotten a little too much sun.
The guys were on the job site with Ray directing them at 8:00. Since Saturday is an “extra” day to get things setup and started, Ray let everyone sleep in today. We will start at 6:00 am starting Monday. The people working on the new church building were laying out the walls and installing the base plates. Some also worked on building the T posts and corner posts. Anne and Debra were back in the kitchen at 8:00. They were assigned the “store” so they spent most of their day unpacking all the T-shirts, hats, caps, sweat shirts, etc. and setting up the displays of all the Constructors for Christ logoed items. We all enjoyed our day renewing friendships with all the people we will be working with for the next week. We had between 30-40 people working on this “extra” day. It was a very productive day and we are looking forward to the rest of our team members arrival tomorrow.