Voyageurs National Park

Saturday, September 7, 2019

It was cloudy and cold today. You might think that we are exaggerating, but when the people who live here have on their toboggans and sweat shirts, we think the statement is justified. By the way, the wind howled all night last night and was still blowing until dark today. This evening the temperature was 38 degrees cooler that back in Alabama.

Gumby is not happy about the windshield
Gumby was not happy about the windshield when what little sun we had today shone on it.

We started slowly this morning hoping it would warm up a little. We did some laundry and book work. When we were out walking the park owner invited us to a pot luck tonight for everyone in the park. Around noon we headed to Voyageurs National Park. We stopped at the visitor’s center and watched the movie explaining the creation of the park. Voyageurs is a water based national park. About 35% of the park is water; mostly lakes and marshy areas. After looking at the displays which were very good, we headed out for a hike. The park is really lovely. Nice hiking trails. Lots of greenery and the every present reminder winter is coming, the changing of the leaves. The people here tell us it is about two weeks ahead of schedule.

The volunteer at the visitor center giving a very interesting talk about the plants and history of the area

After our hike, there was a walking talk with a volunteer sharing information about the plants and history of the area. Then it was time for our boat ride out on Rainy Lake. You really can’t see or appreciate this park without getting out on the water. We had a ranger with us on the boat explaining everything from the Minnesota gold rush on Rainy Lake to pointing out all the eagles, eagle nests, and beaver lodges. We think we saw about eight different bald eagles – two juveniles and the rest adults. It was cold out on the water but we were dressed for it and really enjoyed our day.

We returned home just in time to get our deviled eggs ready for the park pot luck. Since we didn’t know anyone but the sweet young couple who own the park we were a little hesitant. It was so much fun. We shared the NOMADS story with several people, had a great meal and made new friends. Really good day!

A New Adventure

Friday, September 6, 2019

It was just like a work day today, up at 5:30. We planned to leave at 8:00 and we had one couple leaving at 6:00 so we needed to be moving early. Tom and Betty pulled out just as they scheduled and then we got busy doing our final prep of refrigerator, cabinets, etc. We then went ahead a did our morning walk since we knew it was going to be a long drive today. We made our planned departure time after getting our final hugs from our team members. We will see several of them at annual meeting but don’t know when we will be back with some. Safe travels to all. It was a great team.

We headed northwest from New Lisbon, on I-94. After about 90 miles we changed to US 53 for another 325 miles and arrived at Rainy Lake RV park just east of International Falls, Minnesota about 4:15. We came here to visit Voyageurs National Park. We have never visited this park or Minnesota so we should be able to add the state for FRED, get our national park passport stamped and find a geocache or two while we are here. We have a few days until we need to be in Illinois for the NOMADS annual meeting so it seems a good time to take a few days to play. It was an uneventful drive although a little harder due to the gusty winds. We stopped about every two hours to walk and change drivers. We really enjoyed the scenery going north in Wisconsin. Beautiful rolling hills of farm and forest land. After only about an hour we could see more color in the leaves. The further north we drove, we noted the steeper the pitch on the roofs of the barns and homes.  That means there is too much snow for us to live here.  We also got to see Lake Superior today. Another first for us. We crossed into Minnesota at Duluth, but sadly, no time to stop and shop at Duluth Trading today. As we continued to drive north, we noted a big change in the species of trees we were seeing, and of course more color change in the leaves. The leaves are by no means at peak but there are some bright reds and yellows to be enjoyed. It was a good day. Tomorrow we will head to the park.

Last Day

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Our last day in Winding Rivers proved to be another beautiful day. We had another cool night, just perfect for sleeping and a beautiful blue sky morning.

Max and Anne led devotion today using Psalm 46:1-3 as our scripture, and talked about how we can stop the spiritual hurricanes that come against people. This happens as we respond to everything we encounter with Christ’s Spirit and His love. Such an attitude can turn the tide of despair into an understanding that Jesus can meet a person’s every need. Jesus will be with them in every storm of life. The last day of a project tends to mean our meeting gets a little emotional and today was no exception. It’s hard to say goodbye to the great new friends we have made and the old friends we have come to love even more.

We eventually got back to work with Anne, Betty and Sue heading back out to Liana’s. It took just a couple hours to complete the touch up sanding and priming of the basement. We took Liana’s Bible to her house and left it for her with a note. Tonight we received a sweet text from her thanking us for all we did at her house and wishing us all well. With that was done, the ladies returned to the church to join the rest of the team. Nancy was hard at work completing the sanding of the drywall in the sanctuary. Unfortunately that project didn’t get completed because there was no paint. The Lord must want one of the church members to get the joy of completing the sanctuary painting. The remainder of the day was spent completing the sheathing on the new bathroom addition. We were able to close in two sides of the addition before we ran out of OSB. The Lord must want someone else to have the joy of completing that project, also.

This evening we presented a Bible to Nate’s fiance and then another to Rhonda and Denise. Special times. We weren’t able to contact Isaac so will leave that Bible with Pastor Deb. We did talk to JJ and wrote him a note and left his Bible with the preacher too.

After the Bible presentation at Rhonda’s, we went to Pastor Deb’s house for a pot luck dinner with some of the church members we have worked most closely with. Larry grilled pork tenderloin’s and chicken. Thanks so much, Deb and Larry, for opening your beautiful home to us. We had a wonderful meal and the company was even better. Such a beautiful part of Wisconsin. We understand why you like to sit on your front porch.

Our time in Wisconsin is now over. It has been great! Winding Rivers gets the prize for amazing hospitality. We will miss the people of this congregation. They are loving and caring. It is wonderful to see them outside the doors of the church building caring for their community. We will continue to carry them in our hearts and prayers and hope to return one day. Thanks to everyone for making this a great project!

Winding Down at Winding Rivers

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

It’s been a great two days in Wisconsin. Monday night we had rain and thunderstorms all night. Lots of lightening lit up the sky. Most of the team did not sleep a lot Monday night. Tuesday morning was a muddy mess in the parking lot and around the new portion of the church where we worked on Labor Day so we decided to all go back to Liana’s and Nate’s houses. At Nate’s we began installing drywall and encased a vent pipe that the plumber had installed. At the end of the day today after a lot of hard work, all the walls were covered in drywall. They now have a usable bathroom, with walls you can’t see through. We are sure they are feeling life is much better than it has been in a long time. At Lianna’s we worked on finishing the drywall, sanding and mudding. We also worked on completing the install of the sink. Unfortunately, when testing the sink, water appeared to be seeping out from under the drywall to the left of the sink. Today when we returned, and completed the sink installation, we thought there was no leak but after filling the sink several more times, the water appeared again. The leak is in the old drain pipe in the wall behind the sink. The agency decided that we should leave the leak for the plumber to rework. So at the end of the day all the mudding was done at Liana’s and part of the drywall had a coat of primer. When we all arrived back at the church today we worked on the drywall repair we started earlier and the final piece of tin was installed on the new addition.

Team presenting Bible to Teresa

Tonight we returned to Teresa’s for one last time to do her Bible presentation. It was good to see her again and again offer her encouragement. Her house isn’t completed because the basement still has to be filled with sand but we completed our portion. We will continue to pray for her as she continues to deal with the aftermath of the flood. It has been a great and busy two days.

We saw this young family on our Tuesday evening walk
We saw this young family on our Tuesday evening walk

Happy Labor Day!

A Gumby kind of day
A Gumby kind of day

Monday, September 2, 2019

Happy Labor Day! As NOMADS, we labored on Labor Day. We work four days/week and since this is our last week, we don’t have the option of working Friday instead of Monday. It was a beautiful day but much warmer than the past several days. The high today was 80 and working out in the sun on the roof of the church it felt much hotter.

Since the VIM team was still here, our morning started in the kitchen at 6:00 am helping Roxy prepare breakfast. Since there was 25-30 people for every meal we thought Roxy needed some help. But we are looking forward to an extra hour of sleep tomorrow morning.

We kept the entire team together today and worked on the addition to the church with Pastor Deb and her husband Larry. They are adding three bathrooms to the building that houses the volunteers and will be the future church building. It was nice to have everyone together for the first time in the five weeks we have been here. Today we completed installing the tin on the roof except for the very last sheet. We were one sheet short. Larry will try to purchase that last sheet tomorrow for us. We also began installing the sheathing. We did some drywall work in the building they are currently using for their sanctuary. Max, Rick and Tom also delivered 25 sheets of drywall out to Nate’s house so we can begin installing the drywall in the morning. Today was physically hard and the entire team is tired tonight but it was a great day. Lots of laughter and fellowship. Suspect we will be tired every night this week. Lots to do before we leave on Friday.

Last Weekend in Wisconsin

Sunday, September 1, 2019

In addition to watching coverage of the developing hurricane in the Atlantic, we spent Friday catching up on stuff for NOMADS and back in Alabama, writing reports and paying bills, etc. We also had to go to Mauston to pick up some plumbing parts for one of the houses where we are working. While there we went back to Carr Valley Cheese to buy a few thing to take with us when we leave. And of course since we were so close we had to stop at Culver’s for their flavor of the day.

We took advantage of the great weather and made Saturday a tourist day.

The VIM team continued their work on Sunday and accomplished quite a bit on the house they are helping build. We took the opportunity to enjoy our last worship service with the congregation of Winding Rivers. Today Pastor Deb continued her series titled “My Big Fat Mouth” with a sermon on gossiping and lying.

It’s been a wonderful and busy weekend.  Hope your Labor Day Weekend is great too.  We work tomorrow.  Only four work days left for 2019 and so much left to do.