Start of Week Two

Monday, April 10, 2017

These wonderful days are habit forming. A little cool this morning and then beautiful blue skies and t-shirt weather.

Today starts week two for our team at Sumatanga. Amanda did devotion for us this morning using a cracked and broken clay pot that water poured right through. The pot of course represented us in our broken and sinful state. She then used it as a lamp shade and the light shown through very nicely representing how God can use us even if we have a broken past. There was some good discussion and sharing.

Of course, we then went to work. Bill and Marti continued to work in Little Brown. They replaced the old fuse box with a breaker box and have most of the rewiring done. Marti also sanded some of the mudding we did last week and they may put on another coat tomorrow. The rest of the team went up the mountain on the McKinney side of the road to what is becoming the new base camp. There is no electricity, or water, at the site. There are 2 old out houses. It’s suppose to be a primitive camping experience so we don’t know what amenities will eventually be added, if any. The “road” up to the base camp is more of a rough trail through the woods. When we went up on the wagon first thing this morning the wagon didn’t quite clear a tree and we had to back down a ways and try again. There is a walking trail up the mountain that has switch backs so is not quite so difficult to walk. Not an easy walk but better than the straight up “road.” Due to the distance, we took our breaks on the mountain today. While there we built the frames for the next two tent platforms and holes were dug for one of them. There was a problem with the tractor brakes so the holes for the other will hopefully be done tomorrow. We completed the decking on the frame that the previous group had built. We still have to put the railing around the sides and the beams across the top. Progress was slow this morning, but once we got things sorted out, things started moving pretty quickly this afternoon. It will probably take another couple of days to finish the four but hopefully we will complete that task this week. Tomorrow we will need to get Sackrete and water to the site to set the all the posts for the last two tent platforms. That may be a challenge. The trip up the mountain is really rough in the wagon or truck so we decided to walk it except the first time when we went up with the tools. Max ended up walking it once and Anne twice. Yep – probably going to be sore tomorrow but we are trying to build back up to full hiking condition. May be there by the end of the next 2 weeks at this rate. Hope you are having a wonderful week and check back in with us tomorrow.

Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Another wonderful, beautiful day. A little cool again this morning – jackets required – but warmed up to T-shirt weather by lunch time. Of course it was jacket weather again this evening. It’s amazing the change in the trees in the past week. Spring in Alabama. Nice!

Springville FUMC contemparary serviceIt’s Sunday, so we get to go to church! Richard wanted to go back to the bluegrass service at Springville UMC but the rest of us went to the contemporary service. The people were again very friendly and welcoming and the service was nice. The snacks were good too.  Pastor Chip again brought a very good message. His Lenten sermon series has been on the Nobodies.  Today he used Luke 19:28-40 and told a story about how his Dad stood up for him when he was getting picked on by bigger kids in his neighborhood.  He then transitioned to how Jesus stood up for the Nobodies and downtrodden and continues to do that for us today. 

We then went back to Sumatanga, finished cleaning house and getting the motor home ready for Barry to come work on the air conditioner. We have had a problem with the dash air. It was determined that a fitting was leaking and needed to be replaced. However, Freightliner in Gaffney didn’t have the part when we were there last fall for FRED’s annual maintenance. The part has been on back order. With Barry’s help we were able to get the part made. We ordered it the first of last week and it was delivered Friday. Today Barry installed the part for us and everything was wonderful. He charged the a/c with coolant and it was cooling great. However, when he removed the coolant tank hose all the coolant came rushing out. Seems the people who made the part did not put the valve core in the part. Very disappointing. Fortunately, Barry can take care of that too, and will return to Sumatanga later this week with the tool to finish the repair. Oh well, FRED isn’t fixed but we had a really good visit with Donna and Barry. We miss getting to spend time with them. We need to plan another road trip with them. After they went home we got a good walk on the Lake trail and then some reading and rest. Hope you had a great weekend and are looking forward to a good week. Pray that we stay safe and accomplish what God would have us do here at Sumatanga.

Second Saturday of the Week

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Many have heard us say that the NOMADS week is Sunday, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday. Usually when we are on a project we try to do fun stuff on one of the Saturdays and “domestic” stuff the other. Well, today was the “other”.  It started out quite cool at 35 degrees but turned into a beautiful day although never really got very warm.

Interesting recipe
Interesting recipe

While Anne worked on taxes, Max made a trip to Pine Mountain to pick up some things from the house and visit two of our LOL’s (Little Ol’ Ladies). Both were doing about as expected. While at his mother’s house she mentioned this interesting recipe in a magazine that Max’s brother was reading a few days ago. Anne will NOT be trying that recipe.  Max also, stopped by Walmart on the way back to pick up a few things.

This afternoon Anne took a break from taxes to cook some burgers, grilled asparagus and baked potatoes, then Max replaced two more day/night shades in Fred with blinds. We ended the evening with a nice walk along the Lake Trail, more house cleaning and some strawberry shortcake.

Field Trip

Friday, April 07, 2017

Today we went on a field trip! It was a cool, windy, but beautiful morning. We left around 9:15 to make a 10 o’clock appoint to tour the Blount County 9-1-1 Center in Oneonta. This is the new center that Max was responsible for starting and getting close to completion before retirement in April 2014 – 3 years ago. The team was met at the center by 9-1-1 Director, Caleb Branch. Caleb discussed the history of the center then showed the team some geographical information system (GIS) maps showing the emergency response density around the county. Harriet and Jim, who had experience in a volunteer ambulance department were very interested in how those maps were being used to improve emergency medical service (EMS) and ambulance response for Blount County. He then took the group into the dispatch room and talked about the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and all the other electronic tools the dispatchers use to help them do their jobs faster and more accurately. Of particular interest were the large monitors on the wall showing images from the surveillance cameras mounted on the covered bridges we were going to tour when we left the center. Caleb also told the team that Blount County is one of only a few 9-1-1 systems that has implemented “text to 9-1-1” and recounted some instances where it was used when it was not safe for the caller to talk verbally. Once instance was when a lady’s house was being broken into. The dispatcher had her get in a closet and hide and continued to communicate with her by text until law enforcement arrived. Caleb also reminded the team that it is always better to call by voice if that is possible. At the time of our visit, there were almost 60 years of dispatch experience between the three dispatchers on duty this morning. Yes, we remain proud of our 9-1-1 dispatchers and center.

After we left the 9-1-1 center, we drove just north of Oneonta to Horton Mill Bridge, the highest of the three covered bridges still in use in the county. From there we drove to Easley Covered Bridge, the oldest one. Then we went to Cleveland to see Swann Covered Bridge, which is the longest of the three.

O' So Good
O’ So Good!

We then drove back to Oneonta to stop at the O’ So Good barbecue trailer in the Hometown Market parking lot. Everyone selected and bought their lunch and we went across the street to Woodland Park for a chilly and breezy picnic. Then Anne had to leave to pick up Max’s mother for a doctor’s appointment and the rest of the team loaded into Pat’s truck and returned to camp for an afternoon of rest and house cleaning. The team seemed to really enjoy seeing the bridges and tour of the center and since there were no leftovers, we presume they liked Oh, So Good too.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

NOMADS Friday

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Jim and Harriet provided our devotion todayToday started cloudy and dreary and much cooler. Later in the day the sun was shining brightly but with a strong wind it was still quite cool. Harriet and Jim gave our devotion reminding us that sometimes we never know the impact we are having on others lives, but rest assured others are watching and noticing. She told us of how honored she was when a nephew asked her to read some scripture and say a few words at his wedding. She and Jim had kept the two brothers at times when they were young to help their dad (Harriet’s brother) after their Mom abandoned them. Harriet said they never thought much about keeping the boys. “It was just what we did.” Because of the wedding her nephews told her how much their time with Harriet and Jim meant to them. We all need to remember this. As Christians we may never know the impact some of the “little” things we do might have, but God can and does use those things. When we were working the disaster rebuild project in Maysville, Oklahoma, Anne and some of the other ladies were outside cutting some lumber. They had noticed a car going back and forth, up and down the block. After several passes a lady stopped in the middle of the road, got out of the car and came over to talk to the ladies. They were afraid she was going to complain about us parking on the side of the road and slightly in the road. WRONG. She wanted to know what we were doing. She had seen the NOMADS magnets on our trucks. We explained what we were doing and then all of a sudden she started telling us her life story. Most recently she was dealing with drug addiction and was now sober. She told us how hard that was in Maysville where drugs are so prevalent. She then asked us to pray for her and Maysville. What an awesome experience that was and what an honor to be able to pray with this woman. Just being there, with some magnets, and a “God wink”, as a friend would call it, occurred. God can use us all, wants to use us all, in all sorts of ways we can not even imagine.

After devotion, we got busy working in the Pool Camp kitchen in order to get the kitchen back in working condition for the weekend. They will actually be feeding 140 people each meal from that kitchen this weekend. Bill and Jim worked on plumbing, Patrick and Richard reinstalled the large sinks, worked on the exterior wall putting up batten strips and the interior pipe cover along with Max. Anne, Marti and Harriet worked on cleaning, and getting the kitchen back in order. Bill spent most of the day on his back working on the sink drain. We think he was actually sleeping part of that time. After lunch, the ladies went back to Little Brown to sand and mud the drywall the guys mudded earlier this week. It was a busy but productive day and the kitchen is ready for guest this weekend. YEA!!!

Stormy Weather

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Driving to devotion and team meeting this morningToday was a day of weather preparedness while we were working. It started with another deluge and ducks swimming in the yard again. After devotion, we set up a computer at Pool Camp to monitor the National Weather Service radar and emergency manager chat room. We kept the team close together so we could get any weather information to them quickly. Rains came and went with no warnings for this area until after 6pm when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for this part of St. Clair County. Radar showed a large storm cell tracking northeast along I-59 but spreading out laterally. Max was on his way back from a doctor appointment and arrived at the campground at the same time the edge of the storm passed just to the south. By that time Anne had warned the team and the ones that were here pulled their trucks and cars under the roof of McBee pavilion. Bill and Marti had gone to Walmart in Springville. While they were there, the store closed for lack of power and the Subway lost some ceiling tiles to the wind while they were eating. Just a mile or so south of us they had baseball size hail. We are so thankful that we and our motorhomes were spared that horror.  We are also thankful for a good report from the surgeon for Max.  He is to slowly resume his normal activities.

Otherwise, a good bit was accomplished today. Before lunch Pat, Richard and Jim finished the casing of the new door and mudded the drywall around it, and Max and Bill worked on building a frame to protect some pipes in the Pool Camp kitchen. After lunch Max went to his follow up appointment with the surgeon in Cullman and Bill, Jim, Richard and Pat went back to the Pool Camp to work in the kitchen. They got the plumbing in the wall for the sink and the back wall insulated, plywood installed and caulked. Anne, Harriet and Marti continued reorganizing the storage rooms at Little Brown and inventoried a few more closets. Tomorrow we must get the kitchen back to the usable stage since we found out today that they must use it to feed about 70 people Saturday and Sunday. We will be busy.

Work Day Two

Tuesday, April 5, 2017

Beautiful evening on the lake makes it hard to believe severe weather is expected
Beautiful evening on the lake makes it hard to believe severe weather is expected

Today was another gorgeous day!! The high was in the low 80’s with beautiful blue skies and puffy white scattered clouds. Bill had devotion this morning. He and his wife Marti are very dear friends of ours and we are so glad they are working with us here at Sumatanga. They have never been here before and are really impressed with the camp. Actually we are the only members of our team who have been to Sumatanga before. We love to spread the good word about Sumatanga. Bill’s devotion was on justice and equality and as usual had it’s funny moments but was thought provoking and resulted in some good discussion. It was then time to go to work. Bill had completed the plans for the lakeside bathroom last night and reviewed those and the materials list with Dennis and Max. Work was begun with a search of the shop for plumbing parts, then scraping of walls and some inside demolition, and cleaning of floors. Bill and Jim got lots done in one day. Richard and Patrick continued to work on the rebuilding of the new door opening and wall in Little Brown. Max, Richard and Pat hiked up the mountain to base camp where the tent platforms will be built and Richard and Pat unloaded the trailer. Of course, Max can still only supervise which he HATES. It was a big job to unload all the lumber because there were some really big boards. They were pretty tired after they hiked back down the mountain but then returned to work in Little Brown. Harriet, Marti and Anne, continued the work with candles, material and other worship props and completed that task. They then continued clean up in the Little Brown storage areas. They also completed an inventory of five large storage closets at the Retreat Center. Max worked with some of the Sumatanga guys on closing in some large double doors at the kitchen loading dock at pool camp kitchen. The maintenance guys here are great. They made sure Max didn’t over do it and lift anything over his weight limit. Max goes back to see the surgeon tomorrow so we are praying for a good report. It was a busy day but we accomplished a lot. Oh, and we had a wonderful lunch of made from scratch lasagna with garlic bread, salad and fresh chocolate chip cookies. Yep, got a feeling we are going to gain weight. Sorry we didn’t take many pictures of our work today – we were just too busy. Will try to do better tomorrow. However, don’t know how much work we will get done tomorrow. We have a horrible forecast with a Moderate risk of severe thunderstorms with possible long track tornadoes. A Moderate risk is the second highest risk level the Storm Prediction Center uses.

We will have the motorhome all secured and weather radio in hand by about 4:00am when the first line is suppose to arrive. It may be a long day. Everyone needs to be very careful and pay attention to the weather tomorrow. Praying for safety for everyone.