Monday began as usual with devotion and team meeting. We then divided up and Ken and Michele went back to the house they were working on previously. Cliff and Ann, David and Jae, Max and Anne, and Sara all went to Helen’s house. There we worked on installing trim, caulking and worked on some doors. That project is very close to complete and may be finished up by the homeowner, although we might go back if we have a rainy day.
The rest of the week we were working on the exterior of another house. There we are going to install fiber cement plank siding. We spent the rest of the week preparing the walls for the siding (replacing soft plywood, removing nails, screws, vinyl siding, pressure washing some areas, and installing house wrap) and preparing the siding for the walls (painting it – lots of painting). We have a lift for higher areas. We may be able to start installing the first of the siding tomorrow.
We had to say goodbye to Cliff and Ann and David and Jae on Wednesday as they headed back north for a funeral. Herman and Levina and Jack and Beth joined the team Saturday and Max and Anne are now leading.
Grand Isle is an interesting place. Definitely a place you don’t just happen to visit. You must be intentionally coming here. All the people we have met have been very nice and friendly. We had been told that food was more expensive on the island but since we were fed by people in the community (such good food) three nights last week, we aren’t purchasing much food. What little we have purchased was a little higher than on the mainland but Grand Isle is so far away from anywhere. We will gladly pay a little extra to keep from driving 37 miles back to the closest Walmart – 74 miles round trip. We are having a little trouble navigating to some of places we want to go. Directions are more like “go down the main road and turn left and then just past the blue boat turn left and then left again right after the speed bump.” The family knows how much Max likes such directions. He wants address and GPS coordinates. But… many of the street signs have not been replaced yet. Interesting. The weather has been beautiful – almost too hot by Thursday. Lots of sunscreen required. The Gulf of Mexico is right across the highway. We can hear the waves crashing on the shore when we are sitting outside and the stars are beautiful in the evenings. We expect to enjoy our next two weeks here. Please pray for all our team members safety as we work, and that we will accomplish what God has for us to do in this place.
Since we left The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home we attended a roundup of class B RV owners in Ocala, visited with family in South Carolina, attended services at our own church (Lester Memorial Methodist Church) and took care of some doctor appointments. After that we headed south again to Grand Isle, LA for a NOMADS Disaster Rebuild. We are now set up at Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church, have met with the other team members and will start work tomorrow. More about the location and work next week.
Today’s blog post covers our weeks 2 and 3 of our NOMADS project at Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. Week two was much like week one. Mary, Phil, and the two of us continued painting the same cottage – mostly second coating the rooms that were started by another group and painting closets. We finished that on Wednesday and started installing new blinds in all the windows. We also scraped and painted some exterior window sills and doors. We were so glad to be finished with the painting. Then on Thursday morning we learned that one of the staff members who had an office in that cottage wanted her office painted and the request was approved. So, out came all the clean paint brushes and all four of us concentrated our efforts on that last room and had two coats on the walls and trim by the end of the day. While we worked in the cottage Jack, Frank, Donna and Bill worked on other projects around campus.
We did the tourist thing that weekend and drove to Ponce Inlet near Daytona Beach to visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. We postponed this adventure last weekend when we learned that it was race weekend at Daytona. So glad we found that out before getting caught up in all that traffic. We really enjoyed learning the history of that lighthouse and recommend you visit it. There are also several buildings on site furnished as they would have been back in the day. It’s one of the best we have visited and a nice beachfront drive on a a beautiful day, too.
For week three we (Max, Anne, Phil and Mary) were assigned a new task – to rip up the wooden patio between the volunteer bunkhouse and the bathhouse and build a new one. It was harder and hotter than painting but we were pleasantly surprised with the final product. At the end of the week the maintenance staff provided us with a delicious lunch to thank us for our efforts. We were really blessed to work with such a great team and hope to see them all again soon.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we posted anything so let’s get caught up.
After our unplanned trip back to Alabama to visit the dentist we returned to South Carolina to spend more time with Randy and Debra and prepare for our next NOMADS project. We visited and did a little more work on the deck. All was fine until we discovered a roller had come loose under the same slide on Fred that was worked on last year because a motor had come unplugged. That meant another unplanned trip back to the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay. We arrived there on a Sunday afternoon and waited until they called us into an Express Bay on Wednesday morning. They put the roller back in place in less than an hour and we made it back to South Carolina that evening. Anyone want to buy a slightly used Gumby? He’s beginning to annoy us.
After a few more days there we loaded up BB and headed to the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in Enterprise, Florida for our third NOMADS project here. The drive down was not uneventful. It rained hard for the much of the drive. We are so glad God was with us and protected us as witnessed by this dash cam video captured while Anne was driving:
As always, we are working with long time friends and making new friends. This year we are sprucing up one of the group homes and so far that has meant cleaning and painting. We have completed two bedrooms with bathrooms and the kitchen. On Thursday we started second coating and touching up the rest of the rooms that were started by another group.
This weekend we hiked around the area, did our shopping and laundry, worked on the van and rested. This is a beautiful campus with the usual assortment of Florida wildlife. We have seen ospreys, gators, and one eagle. Of course, most of the time we see them walking back and forth to work so we don’t have the good camera.
We look forward to another two weeks of warm winter weather in Florida, while we work to improve the infrastructure here at FUMCH. Please remember all the children all around the world in facilities such as this one. The young people have experienced so much trauma – much more than any child should ever experience – and now are receiving help putting their life back together. We are hoping our work makes their lives a little better.