Friday we drove back to Alabama arriving back at our home base in the early afternoon. Saturday was haircut and switch vehicle day and Sunday we headed out again, but this time in BB (Beyond Blessed, the B van) retracing our trip from Friday for the first few hours. In Meridian, MS we then took I-20 West rather than heading south on 59 which would have taken us back to Laurel. We spent a nice and quiet night at the LA Welcome Center and then arrived in Shreveport, LA on Monday. There we had a wonderfully fun visit with our dear friends Mark and Lisa. We were so excited to see them that we forgot to take any pictures. We had wonderful food, a tour of the city and most importantly, time with our friends. Tuesday, we continued west into Texas, arriving in Conroe, to visit with two more NOMADS friends, Carol and Dave. There we again had too much wonderful food, a visit to a nearby state park, and Sam Houston’s huge statue, but most importantly time with our dear friends. Such a blessing to visit with these four! Refreshed our souls.
Today we left Conroe and landed at Camp Fimfo RV Park in New Braunfels, TX. We will be here for the next four days participating in the Switch It Up Huddle. More about the huddle next time but suffice it to say we have had more good food and hugs this evening at our first gathering. Thanking God for safe travels and wonderful friends, until next time.
This was the last week in Laurel for NOMADS tornado recovery. But first, last weekend. Saturday afternoon our new team members Sadowna and Mark arrived. This was our first time to work with them and what a joy it was to have them join us. We had a great week! We all celebrated Easter at Laurel First UMC where the music and message were so good. We are so blessed to have a Savior who loved us enough to die for us even before we loved him. Hope you all had a blessed Easter – the best Sunday of the year!
Sunday evening, we all ended up in the nursery again for the fifth week in a row. How ironic that we had our last tornado warning on Easter. Some of the homes we have repaired were damaged by the Easter 2020 tornado. Fortunately this Easter, while there were trees and power lines down, and a few structures damaged, there were no injuries or severe damage.
Monday the four of us returned to the Todd house and installed the remaining siding on the back of the house, the garage doors and the front gable. That completed the work there.
Tuesday thru Thursday we were back at the Henry house where we were not confident we could complete our list in the time we had left. However, by Thursday afternoon, we had installed and trimmed out the three remaining doors on our list, caulked and painted the doors, patched the drywall that had been cut out for plumbing in one of the bedrooms, taped, mudded, textured and painted the patch, installed and caulked all the remaining baseboards, replaced another broken window pane and touched up paint and caulk where ever needed, had the Bible presentation for the Henry’s and the homeowners of another home that was completed earlier. Everything was checked off our list!! As said above, it was another great week!
Friday we regrettably had to say “see you down the road” to our new friends Sadowna and Mark, and to our Laurel friends. Closing down a disaster rebuild project is always so bittersweet. We are so thankful God allowed us to help in the Laurel community and hopefully we can return another day.
Last Friday we said goodbye to Sandy and Steve, Deb and Dave. We missed them but the eight of us remaining in Laurel, Anne and Max, Stel and Jodi, Jim and Dee, Anne and Dale carried on. It was another very busy week with a tremendous team. On Monday Anne M. and Dale were at the Todd house, working on some additional oak flooring as well as installing two ceiling fans. The rest of the team worked at the Henry house completing most of our work there. Another door that was prepared last week by Stel and others was completed and installed Monday. There was additional caulking and painting, trim work and general cleanup.
The remainder of the week the entire team was at the Todd house. Based on the weather forecast we thought Tuesday would be the best day to avoid rain and paint the exterior of the house. Wow, the entire team jumped on that project and completed the entire house. We were all very tired at the end of that day. Wednesday there was some touch up painting and we decided to paint the front door and porch ceiling. We also began the siding. This house was picked up by the tornado and moved 3 inches. As a result, the brick on the lower portion of the house cracked and had to be removed. We are covering the area previously bricked, with vinyl siding. By Thursday afternoon, all but the top row on the back was completed. One of the garage doors had all but the top row replaced. Jim, Dale and Dee also did a great job using the sheet metal brake and replacing the damaged fascia in several areas. Even though we have not quite completed the Todd house we did the Bible presentation while we still had a lot of the team present. We also did the presentation at one of the open house houses on Thursday morning. Always such a sweet and happy time when people are finally back in their homes.
Thursday evening we had another bar-b-que dinner at the church with Hope and Grant from the Glory House joining us. It was a fun evening. Friday morning we had to say goodbye to Anne and Dale, Jim and Dee. Glad they will be home for Easter, but we will certainly miss them this week. Not to be ignored this week was another Wednesday night tornado warning – the fourth week in a row! We are praying that tradition can be broken this next week. There was damage in Jones County but no injuries and nothing in our immediate area. Thank you, God, for the safety of our team!
Today, Max and Anne helped with the Glory House and Laurel First UMC Easter egg hunt in the park and are very thankful that we were able to be a small part of sharing the real Easter story. We were so glad the rain held off until the afternoon.
We had new team members join us this afternoon, Mark and Sadowna. We have another busy week ahead. However, we will pause tomorrow to celebrate what Jesus did for us all. We hope you all will likewise remember the true meaning of Easter as you spend time with your family and friends. Until next week…
We said goodbye to Suzanne Saturday morning and took over as leaders for the Laurel team. We greeted team members Saturday and Sunday with our team meeting Sunday afternoon. Monday we began another week of work on homes damaged by the December 2019 and April 2020 tornadoes that hit Laurel, MS. We had a team of 12 NOMADS who were hard workers and so much fun. We had one couple, Deb and Dave who were on their first project. We hope they enjoyed themselves as much as we enjoyed getting to know them. The rest of the team, Jim and Dee, Sandy and Steve, Stel and Jodi, and Anne and Dale are all experienced NOMADS. The hardest work for us as leaders was to keep work and supplies lined up for them all and then just stand back and watch them get the work done. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we had Sandy, Steve, Anne and Dale at the Todd house working to replace/repair oak flooring that was water damaged. They also had to replace subflooring. What a huge job that was completed Thursday, and it looks great! While there they also removed a lot of brick from the exterior that will be replaced with siding next week.
The rest of the team continued the work at the Henry house that lost its roof to the tornado, so of course there was also lots of water damage. There, the team worked on trim, doors, replacing broken windows, caulking and painting Monday thru Wednesday.
Thursday Gumby visited and all the team but Steve and Sandy, who completed the work at the Todd house, were tasked with inspecting and making punch list last minute repairs/touch ups on six homes that have been completed and were having their open house today. Max and Anne mainly ran between the houses and the supply houses picking up necessary supplies so we didn’t get to take many pictures.
A lot of the various teams and individuals who have worked on the houses attended the celebrations today including some of the Mennonite Disaster Team members from Indiana. What a special time it is when the homeowners take possession of their new homes. We are so blessed to have been a tiny part of all the people and agencies working in Laurel.
The evenings this week were not dull either. On Monday, Jennifer from Laurel First UMC fed us again. This week it was a delicious shrimp boil with some crawfish added for those who had never eaten them before.
And on Tuesday morning we had our weekly tornado warning.
We had to say goodbye today to Sandy and Steve and Deb and Dave. Safe travels and we will see you down the road. Hope everyone gets some rest this weekend.