We had rain and storms with thunder and wind during the night last night. More rain is the last thing needed in this area. The farmers still do not have the crops planted. Corn should have been planted a month ago and it’s still too wet to get the equipment in the fields. The talk here is that corn prices are going up because there will be a small crop this year. That means gas will also be up. There are a lot of fields that are still under water from the flooding. Sad.
Today was a finish up, clean up day. All the scaffolding that we built was taken down. The front exterior was completed, over the loading dock. The metal arrived and took quite a while to get unloaded. Large heavy sheets of metal. It was decided that we would not start installing the metal roofing system since there would not be time for us to complete it this week. We completed the framing and will leave the rest for someone else.
Tonight we went to dinner at Sugar Creek UMC, next door to where we are working. They always invite the volunteers working at MMDC to their Wednesday night dinner. It was good pulled pork sandwiches with the trimmings and nice time visiting. It was a good day.
Today was another beautiful day. It was a little warmer and then we had a very light, short rain this afternoon. We were very busy working. The hole in the roof is now closed with the decking and the holes on the side are closed with the sheathing and the holes are all cut for the windows and fans. Decking and sheathing are now finished. All the wall braces are down and about half the soffit on the front is complete. It was a very productive day.
After work we headed to Scoop Du Jour for ice cream. It was our favorite place to go after work when we were working here in July in 2015 and 2016. It’s never too cold for ice cream so back we went today. It’s still just as good as we remembered.
Another great thing also occurred today. Last week in Baton Rouge at the dinner the church gave us, a lady asked if it would be okay for her to call the local TV station and get them to do a story on NOMADS. They have a local section called 2 Make A Difference and the church member wanted to tell them about NOMADS making a difference at Francis Asbury and the community. Of course we said sure, never thinking they would actually do the story. Late Tuesday afternoon just before we left for the Bible presentation on Norwich they came to “get the story.” Gary tried to throw us under the bus and get us to do the interview but we threw him under the bus since he was the leader. He did a great job with the interview and we were so disappointed that we never saw the interview air. Then this morning it showed up on the Channel 2 web site. So proud of Gary! Be sure to take a look before it falls off their website. (Click here)
Sunday was dreary, rainy, and cold all day. The temperature never got above 42. Time to pull out all the layers to stay warm.
We went to Chatham UMC with Dianne and Richard for worship. Sara, who was the pastor at Chatham UMC when we were here last, is no longer here. She became such a precious friend through Mary Alice’s illness so we really missed her. However, the new pastor, Miriam, was very good. After church we went out to lunch at Steak and Shake. Those shakes are so good. Then is was home to wrap up in a blanket on the sofa for a nap. That was about all we did yesterday.
Today we met Richard, Dianne and Rich at 8:00 to start working on the warehouse extension. The sun was shining brightly!! Still cool but no rain. Later two other volunteers also joined us. Last week they got all the walls up and started on the roof decking. Today we continued working on the decking. At the end of the day there were only eight more pieces of decking to install. Really good progress made. We also got to visit with Pat the former director of MMDC. It was great to see her. She retired a few months ago but is still doing some work for them. We also got to meet the new director, Chantel. Such a joy. She brings so much new energy to the agency while continuing the mission. Things seem to be going great at MMDC. It should be a good week.
Yesterday we set the alarm for 4:30 to check the weather. There were differences in the predicted time of arrival of the heavy rains. We reviewed the radar and decided we had to either hurry and get on the road immediately or we would need to wait until 11 am or noon to depart. Heavy rain was on the way. We decided to leave and jumped out of bed and started doing the last minute packing. Joe, Charley, Gary and Abby were real troopers and got up to give us hugs. We pulled out of Francis Asbury campground at 5:34. It was lightly raining at that time. We were very blessed with only light to occasional moderate rain and no storms for the long travel day. We headed out on I-12 and then turned north on I-55 after about 30 minutes. We remained on I-55 crossing into Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and finally into Missouri. After Jackson, MS, we left most of the rain behind and picked up the love bugs. We prefer the rain. We stopped about every two hours for walks in the rest areas and driver change. The interstate was the worst in the Memphis area.
Shortly after crossing into Missouri, we stopped at the Welcome Center in Hayti. This rest area has a short walking trail and lots of sidewalks to walk. When we went inside the Welcome Center they were celebrating tourist information week by giving visitors free hot dogs and cookies. Nice. Also nice, Missouri allows overnight parking in rest areas so we parked, walked, ate and called it a day. We had been listening to a hilarious audio book, Murder Makes Waves by Anne George for he whole trip and only had about an hour left on it when we arrived. So after our walk we finished listening instead of writing a blog entry. The book is part of a Southern Sisters series that is set in and around Birmingham, Alabama. This particular book was mostly about the Destin area. We laughed a lot on our drive yesterday.
We slept well and were on the road again about 7:00 this morning. We continued north on I-55 through St Louis. We noticed yesterday and again today the severe flooding of the MS river. We also learned that Zachary, a community a little north of Baton Rouge was evacuating some people from their homes due to the rain of yesterday. We passed the beautiful arch in St Louis and it was on to Pawnee, IL and Midwest Mission Distribution Center. We will be helping to complete an addition to the warehouse. It was pouring rain when we arrived so we haven’t toured the job site yet, but we did spend the afternoon visiting with our dear friends Richard and Dianne. Thankful for safe travel.
Today started cloudy and very humid. We tried to make sure we stayed hydrated. After lunch the storms came. Lots of rain. Serious flash flooding. Thankfully we all made it back to the RVs safely but it took considerably longer than usual. When we watched the videos on TV of cars floating down the streets, and water on Interstate 10, we were even more thankful.
Today’s devotion was done by Gary. He shared a devotion by Charles Stanley encouraging us to be available. God wants to use us and will use us if we will just make our selves available to Him.
We all headed back to our regular homes to begin our last day of work. The mobile home movers were at Norwich when we arrived, readying the mobile housing unit (FEMA trailer) for moving to the FEMA collection center. Our homeowner had to be out of the trailer by the end of April. She is now staying in a hotel until her house is complete. The power company came by earlier in the week to pull the power meter but since we were there working and needed the power, they say they would come back Friday. The guys doing the work today were really nice and let us keep using power until the FEMA office told them to cut it off shortly after lunch. Then in a few minutes they set up their generator and let us have power from that. About 2:00 the storms really came and when the truck came to get the trailer you could barely see to drive. They decided they were not pulling it today and left. The moving guys could have left then too, but hung around and let us continue to use their generator until we were done for the day. Really nice.
Today we placed the trim in the channels for all the transition strips. The transition from the ceramic tile to the wood laminate looks really good. Joe did a great job. Max, Anne and Charley worked on installing baseboard and caulking. Good progress was made. We have completed much of the needed work on the house. If our team had about one more week we could probably complete both houses. Unfortunately, there are no volunteers scheduled here for several weeks. Makes us sad to leave. We wish we could have done more.
Out at Groom Road good progress was also made. It was raining so hard and water was rising fast so we did not get to go to the Bible presentation at Groom but from the pictures, the kitchen looks very nice. Nice counter tops, Bob and Gary! Sharon and Virginia also completed the portion of the flooring they were hoping to do.
It’s been a great project from the beginning in February through to this week. NOMADS worked 10 weeks last year and 12 weeks this year helping the people of Baton Rouge rebuild their homes and lives. What an honor it has been.
This morning we had some sun but mostly gray skies. This afternoon and evening we have had some rain and areas just north of us, Baker and Zachary, have been under a tornado warning. One of the houses we are working on is in Baker. We have not heard of any damage and are praying everyone is safe.
This morning’s devotion was brought by Joe and he did a great job making us think about what it really looks like to be faithful. Thanks, Joe.
We then all headed back to the homes we have been working in all week. To start the day Max and Joe continued to work on transition strips. This has been a difficult process due to needing to drill into the concrete slab. We have been through several masonry bits. Max had to trim the laminate to fit the transitions because we didn’t know what type of transitions we would be using when we put down the laminate. By the end of the day all the transition strip brackets had been installed. Anne and Charlie began and finished the day installing base board. They also did some caulking today.
The folks at Groom almost completed the kitchen cabinets. They have just a little trim to install above the wall cabinets. There is just a little more flooring to install and then some baseboard. Wish we could have finished them both but that was not to be.
Tonight the Louisiana Conference treated the team to a crawfish boil. We also had the corn and potatoes to go with that and the team provided salads, dessert and bake beans. We had a feast! Best of all we had time to visit with Laraine, Darryl, Charles, and the case managers. Thanks, Laraine for arranging everything. It has been such a pleasure to get to know everyone and work with them. We hope God will bring us together again – but not due to another disaster.
Weather-wise today was the same as yesterday. Really nice day. We didn’t even see a gray cloud. The rest of the week is predicted to be a real wash out so maybe the predictions will be wrong.
Virginia had our devotion today and used Philippians 4:13 as the basis and then read us “The Quilt”. Virginia is a quilter so this reading was special to here. We all agreed it’s special. If you haven’t read it you should.
After devotion we all headed back to our regular assignments, Max, Anne, Joe and Charley to Norwich and Gary, Sharon, Bob and Virginia to Groom Drive. Progress was made in all locations. Charley and Joe were excited to finish the laminate flooring in the master bedroom. It looks very good. We also completed the door installation of all the swinging doors. We are waiting for the materials needed to hand the bi-folds. We also started on the floor transition strips. Since we were planning the Bible presentation tonight we also tried to clean and straighten up a bit. Over at Groom they installed the counter tops and finished the flooring in the large closet. Both houses are looking good.
This afternoon Gary did an interview with a reporter for Channel 2, Baton Rouge. One of the church members called them to tell them about the good work the NOMADS have been doing. We will see if it is on the 10:00 news tonight. Hope so. After the interview we went over to Norwich to meet our home owner and make our Bible presentation. We had a nice visit and the rest of the team got to see the house as well. It was another great day.