Spy Wednesday

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Patrick sharing devotionIt was another beautiful day today even if the forecast contained as small threat of rain. It was cloudy part of the day and at one time we had about 4 drops of rain but great working temperatures. Patrick shared a very educational devotion today by starting with the question “What is today?” After several serious and not so serious responses we found out the answer he was looking for was “Spy Wednesday”, the day of Holy Week that marks Judas Iscariot’s decision to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Patrick, a former Catholic priest, then led a discussion about the differences and similarities between then Protestant and Catholic religions. We also discussed the stations of the cross and the Via Dolorosa. He ended with the main point that as Judas betrayed Jesus centuries ago, we sometimes betray him now by our thoughts and actions.

Back on the hill we started by changing out the ridge beams on the first two tent platforms to the 20’ ones we learned about yesterday evening. Meanwhile, Harriet, Marti and Anne started demolishing some parts of the old ropes course so it could be loaded for a trip to the dumpster. They really enjoy being destructive. We also removed an old swing obstacle left over from the ropes course, since it would be an attractive hazard for some of the campers. Platform three was decked and the ridge beams installed just before lunch. Since today was the monthly full staff meeting for Sumatanga the team stayed around after lunch to put food away and wash dishes so the kitchen staff could attend.

After lunch we loaded the trailer with the scrap wood the Destruction Divas created. The ladies started to fasten down the 2×2 border around the edges of platform three, when a question arose as to where the entrance would be. Amanda and Dennis came up the hill to answer that and in the process determined that all the platforms would have to have steps built because of the sloping terrain. We also found out they wanted all of the ridge beams the same height because they ordered all the tarps the same size. We had just been making them as high as possible based on the height of the 6×6 poles that support them. More change orders. That happens at all our projects to some extent, so we always tell our teams to remember “Semper Gumby” – Always Flexible.  Anyway, we completed erecting the frame for the fourth and last platform and tomorrow we will see what Dennis has decided about raising the ridge beams.

Even with the changes and redo’s the team is maintaining a good attitude. Everyone is constantly cutting up and joking around with each other. Makes for a fun, if physically tiring project.

Another Productive Day

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We know you are getting tired of this but wow – another beautiful day. Wonderful day to be working outside.

Bill provided us another inspirational and thought provoking devotion this morning about excellence when doing God’s work. He mentioned an incident on another project where someone did a less than acceptable job on mudding some drywall and then left with the statement “That’s good enough for NOMADS.” Bill took exception to that. The central message of his devotion was that anytime we do something as “God’s hands” we should do it to the very best of our ability.

After devotion, we all went back to our duty stations from yesterday – Bill and Marti to Little Brown and the rest to the new base camp. By the end of the day we had completed (we thought) the two tent platforms that had already been started by another group and installed the frame and most of the decking on the third. Getting the posts set in the right place and plumb took the longest time. While the guys worked on that, Harriet and Anne completed the trim work on the first two platforms. Right at the end of the day, Dennis came up the hill and pointed out that we had used the wrong ridge boards so we will have to change those out when we go back. Bummer. Other than that it was a very productive day working outdoors in beautiful weather with a great group of servants.

After completing the installation of the new breaker box at Little Brown, Bill and Marti joined us on the hilltop and help with the decking. It was good to have the whole team in one place again. This is a fun team to work with. Always a lot of laughter.

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!!!