Today was our first day of Sabbath. We know we need to take breaks and after leading the last several weeks, it is time for a break. We purposely had nothing scheduled today. We did have things to do but no schedule. We did some laundry and cleaning and then headed back to Marathon for groceries. On the way we saw sign for Coco Plum Beach and decided to check it out. We found a nice public beach in an out of the way place and will take Barry and Donna back there. Should be a nice place to walk on the beach and maybe okay for sunsets. We also passed a sign for Curry Hammock State Park. Researched it and we will probably go there later in the week to rent some kayaks and tour the mangroves. After surviving a very crowded Publix we headed back to Jolly Roger to await the arrival of Barry and Donna. They arrived about 3:30 and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening catching up. So good to spend time with our dear friends. We walked the park, went to the beach and just enjoyed ourselves. It was a very good day.
Wanda left last night and today was moving day for Karen and Greg and us. None of us had far to go so we didn’t leave until lunchtime. Karen and Greg were going only about one island away and we are now about 30 miles north of Big Pine on Grassy Key. Hard driving day. We are now settled in at Jolly Roger RV Resort for the next eight days. Our cousins, Donna and Barry should arrive tomorrow afternoon. Can’t wait to see them and we have fun planned for the next week. This afternoon we explored the park, watched people fishing – saw someone catch a shark about four feet long. We talked to various other people staying here. Everyone seems very friendly. So far we are pleased with our choice for our “off” week.
Today was our last day as team leaders on the disaster rebuild project in the Florida Keys. It has been a relatively easy project to lead because every week we had wonderfully mission minded NOMADS working with us. They have accomplished a lot for the people here.
We all returned to George’s house after devotion and continued to make progress towards getting the house ready to turn back over to the homeowner. At the end of the day the shower was installed and freezer board was installed on the bathroom walls, the painting was finished and the outside trim was installed around the windows and air conditioners. Jim, the construction coordinator, is planning to have other volunteers working on the house over the weekend and NOMADS will return next week to put the finishing touches on. The agency plans to have a home dedication on Wednesday morning. We hope to attend it and present a Bible signed by all the NOMADS who worked on the house.
After work we went by to introduce Dan and Virgie to Dennis and show them what still needs to be done there.
Karen and Greg brought our devotion today based on 1 Corinthians12: 4-11, which speaks about the gifts of the spirit. Karen used the example of a jigsaw puzzle. As with a puzzle we are all different/unique with various gifts, but in the Body of Christ we are all interlocked and when we are put together as God plans, we can make a beautiful picture – community/world. Sometimes we need to remember that our uniqueness does not isolate us but adds to the strength of the whole. Thanks, Karen and Greg and thanks to Wanda for playing her guitar for our music.
After devotion it was back to Marathon to George’s house. We continued with the painting and completed the living room and kitchen and began working on George’s bedroom. All the paneling was installed in the bedroom. Work continued in the bathroom and the new wall between the shower and linen closet is completed and the shower pan plumbed and installed. There was lots of rotten wood in the bath and the rafters had to be repaired before the ceiling panels could be installed. Air conditioners were trimmed around and some of the windows in the living room were also trimmed and caulked. It was another very busy day. We are still hoping for a home dedication next week. Fortunately there will be some other volunteers working on the house this weekend. It takes us all working together to make this pretty puzzle.
We all returned to George’s house on Marathon to keep pushing towards completion of our work there. The team worked hard all day and got the shower drain plumbed and the pan installed, all three air conditioners installed and operating (yea!), and started painting the walls. Around lunch time the volunteer coordinator came by and borrowed a couple of team members to help him move some furniture for one of the agency’s clients.
This evening Wanda, our unofficial social director, arranged another game night. Fun and fellowship even for us tired old folks.
Sara brought us a wonderful devotion this morning based from 1 Peter 2 based on “Stones”. She collects stones and polishes them into “prayer stones.” Today she brought several with her and allowed us to pick one to keep. She told us she keeps one in her pocket and whenever she reaches into her pocket for something she feels the stone and it reminds her to pray. Sara finished by reading the poem “Prayer Rock.”
The whole team worked at George’s house in Marathon. That is about 20 miles from where we are staying. Jim, the construction coordinator, wants us to put a full push on getting that house ready to turn back over to the homeowner next week. It will be a challenge.
After Greg and Max worked there last Wednesday, the mission group from Marshall University worked there on Thursday and Friday. They did a remarkable job moving the house toward completion. They put up the rest of the ceiling panels and then installed laths over all the seams and nails and installed some of the insulation and paneling. One of the students was in a wheelchair. She told Jim she knew how to install the flooring. With some help getting around she installed all but a few pieces.
Today we installed the last few pieces of flooring in the living room/kitchen, paneled more walls, started rebuilding the bathroom, framed openings for air conditioners and caulked the lath strips on the ceilings. The home owner came by for a few minutes and was very pleased with the progress. We enjoyed meeting him.
Saturday and Sunday have been nice days. A little windy and occasional showers – enough that we didn’t want to be out on the water – but still nice. We were sad to follow all the horrible weather in other parts of the country, including the storm deaths in Alabama. Saturday we had some work to do but also relaxed. We went to the flea market – again didn’t purchase anything but it’s fun to look and people watch. Unlike any other flea market we have been to, we also got to key deer watch. Just as we were arriving a little buck walked in to the market. He looked around a hardware booth then walked down to one of the plant booths and we heard someone yell, “don’t let him eat the roses.” Shortly we saw someone escorting him out. The deer are so protected that you really have to be careful how you protect your property. Of course too many have been fed by people so they will come right up to you. They also don’t mind ambling down the highway and stopping traffic. You aren’t suppose to interfere with them.
Today of course we worshiped at Big Pine UMC and then enjoyed a very nice brunch and fellowship with the members. We got to know a couple from Wisconsin who live here six to seven months of the year (depending on the Wisconsin weather) and return home for the rest of the year. Originally they traveled in a motor home to the Keys but bought a home here about 10 years ago. After visiting Wisconsin and following their weather since we left in September, we can certainly understand their desire to be here. However, today may have been a little too warm for the snow birds because the Keys set a new record high temperature today, 84.
Early afternoon, our new team members, Dan and Virgie, arrived. They will be taking over as leaders next week so this is a transition week. We will take them around and show them the houses we have in progress and introduce them to Jim and the homeowners. Very thankful for their safe arrival. We had team meeting tonight to discuss this week’s plans and are now ready to start our last week as leaders. Hope you all had a great weekend.