Sunday, June 25, 2006

It’s been quite the week. We’ve been very busy with teams out in the community, teams leaving, and new teams coming. But each day a little bit of progress is made or a little hope is given where hope seemed to be lost. I been working on getting teams to clean up people’s yards, move trees/branches, pick up trash, help some of the elderly get things organized in the yard, among other things. The teams have been great in doing whatever they are asked to do. Most of the jobs have been working out in the hot sun and humidity, but they go out an do their things each day. Its fun to talk to the teams at the end of the day when I am checking to see how things went, many of the teams have been blessed getting to talk to and serve the people in the community.

There was also a great team in from Florida who led a Vacation Bible School for the kids in the community this past week from Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral Fl. They had a pretty good turn out and were able to teach the kids great biblical truth. Friday night they also had a family program which drew people from the community who do not attend church regularly or at all.

The Lord remains faithful, and He continues to teach me and reveal new things each day. I am learning a lot about myself and daily I'm being taken way out of my comfort zone. But while there are times I am a bit awkward, I know that scripture promises that He will work all things out for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. I'm being stretched in ways that I never would have thought of before, but I remain grateful to my Creator who knows how much I can handle and gives me just that.

I am encouraged by Paul's encouragement to the Philippians when he says "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:4-7

Here are a few pictures of the things that went on around here this past week.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A little of last week's work

Here are just a few of the projects that were going on this past week and a little of the progress that is being made. More volunteers are coming in this week, many of them teens who will be working on cleaning up the yards of people in the comminty. Grace Baptist Church is also here to put on a Vacation Bible school for the kids in the community, I'm praying word has gotten around and many children will come to hear God's word taught.

These are only two of many places where teams are working.
This team had the cement poured on Tuesday and by Wednesday they had made great progress laying the cinder blocks.

This team was working on a woman's house

Saturday, June 17, 2006

At the end of the day

After a fairly relaxed morning (Some paper work and helping Ms. Bea put a few things in the distribution center), things picked up. A few teams came in today and after showing some where they'd be sleeping, answering questions, and eating dinner. I was ready to run and hide. I gained even more respect for what the Greg, JoEll, and Pastor Don do here, but this was only a very small part of what they do.
I will say though at the end of the day, I love to see and grateful for the way that God is bringing volunteers to Lakeshore Baptist to serve with brothers and sisters to bring the gospel and hope to this community.

Here are a few pictures of what the community looks like almost 10 months after the storm. The first one is of the rubble that remains from someone's home near the beach. The second is what a lot of trees look like (this one was taken near the beach, some trees a little further inland have a few leaves, but are still quite bare-it reminds me of winter in WI). The third is a historical church building that sits across the street from where it sat before the storm.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Jenny's Wedding

So I told some of you that I'd put some pictures up of my sister's wedding day. And I know I haven't be real quick about getting them up, but I discovered that's what happens once you are out of school and become busier than when you were in college (I didn't think that was possible after this past semester). The wedding was actually last Saturday June 10th. Jenny married Peter Pleva, who also was originally from Platteville

I must admit I got a bit choked up during the father/daughter dance, knowing how different that could have been if things had ended differently after my dad's heart attack one and a half weeks before the wedding. This is my dad and sister dancing the father/daughter dance.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

church site

Here are some of the pictures that I said I'd try to put up. Most of these are changes that have happened since Rolling Hills came in March. The church has also been able to move onto the propertries next to the church thanks to donations that allowed them to buy the lots.

The first one is of the new church office. Though it is not complete yet. Once it is finished it will serve as a bigger and better office than the camper that is used for the office currently, which is also where Pastor Don sleeps. It will also be the first permanent building on the church site.

The second is of the kitchen and the eating area. The area on the right was not here the last time the group from RHC was down, also if you look carefully (those of you who were here in march) you’ll see that there has been more added on to the screened in kitchen on the left. There is also a semi trailer that serves as storage and cooking room.

This is a picture of the expanded part of the kitchen from the inside.

This is a picture of the new shower/bathroom trailer. The trailer has a men’s side and a women’s side and also washer and dryers for the volunteers in the middle.

This is the room that I sleep in.

Second Day's work

Again I apologize for the lack of communication. I have been trying to figure out why my computer isn’t working correctly. Today I did get a couple more tasks. I worked in the food distribution center (the store) trying to get rid of a bunch of donated milk in little milk cartons. I bagged them up for most of the day and handed them out.

I also drove around with Greg London, the project coordinator, to see some of the sites that that church is working on. I got to see some of the great work that has been done on some of the houses. It is fun to see when people have hope that their lives will get back to some normalcy sometime (or at least get into their house). One of the places we stopped today, I forget the names of the people, Greg said their house was terrible after the storm and the family lost hope. But Greg and others went in to assess what could be done with it. And today when we were there one of the first things the woman said was I got pictures hung on the wall. The pictures on the wall had given her hope that this house was actually turning into their home. It was great just to see the smile that was one her face when she told us about the pictures.

There are so many great things happening down here and it is hard to put it all in to words. Prayers are being answered. Here’s just one example from today. We had run out of OSB board and went sure what we were going to do about it. But not much later, Greg got a call from someone who asked what our greatest need was right then, Greg told him OSB board, and the man said ok and to go get some.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm here

Well, I made it safely down here and in record time (having one person equals fewer pit stops along the way) After leaving at 4:40 am, making my way down the country (plus a little “detour” in other words a wrong turn-that set me back about 25 minutes oops!) I arrived around 9:30pm and found the room where I’ll be staying for the summer. They had it all set up for me with bed light and alarm clock and a few other little “homey” touches. There were also some other teams here this week. The people that I met right away were from a church in Alabama (actually they were from the church where Donald Macon (Felicia’s (my pastor’s wife) brother) goes. I have yet to see Donald though, but I reckon I see him in the morning.

Thank you to everyone who was praying for safe travel. My ride down went smoothly, my car didn’t break down, and I was able to stay awake and alert the whole time. Praise God for His faithfulness to answer prayer!

I’m glad to be here and excited about getting to work. However, the bugs are still much fun. Though I haven’t run into biting gnats just the mosquitoes…Must remember to wear the bug spray! I haven’t asked yet whether or not one can use the water from the sink to brush teeth…but I’ll use bottle water just to be sure.

Things around the church grounds have changed a lot since the team came down in March. Then I remember back to January when there was even less. Things have come a long way around here. I’ll try to get some pictures up of the site and new things. The kitchen has grown a lot (cooking area and eating area). There is a new shower house that has a couple of showers for the men and bathrooms as well - Same thing for the ladies. And in the trailer is two nice washer and dryers. So the showers and bathrooms keep multiplying trust me that’s a good thing.

Though I know I won’t post this until Tuesday I am going to stop writing…that way I’ll have more to write tomorrow…and so I can get myself to bed.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Depth of Mercy

There are many songs out there that I love the depth and doctrine behind it. This song I have only ever know the lyrics...I don't actually know how it goes, but it the song captured my attention with the depth of the lyrics.

Depth of Mercy: Charles Wesley

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

I have spilt His precious blood,
Trampled on the Son of God,
Filled with pangs unspeakable,
I, who yet am not in hell!

I my Master have denied,
I afresh have crucified,
And profaned His hallowed Name,
Put Him to an open shame.

Whence to me this waste of love?
Ask my Advocate above!
See the cause in Jesus’ face,
Now before the throne of grace.

Jesus, answer from above,
Is not all Thy nature love?
Wilt Thou not the wrong forget,
Permit me to kiss Thy feet?

If I rightly read Thy heart,
If Thou all compassion art,
Bow Thine ear, in mercy bow,
Pardon and accept me now.

Jesus speaks, and pleads His blood!
He disarms the wrath of God;
Now my Father’s mercies move,
Justice lingers into love.

Kindled His relentings are,
Me He now delights to spare,
Cries, “How shall I give thee up?”
Lets the lifted thunder drop.

Lo! I still walk on the ground:
Lo! an Advocate is found:
“Hasten not to cut Him down,
Let this barren soul alone.”

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.
God is love! I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps and loves me still.

Pity from Thine eye let fall,
By a look my soul recall;
Now the stone to flesh convert,
Cast a look, and break my heart.

Now incline me to repent,
Let me now my sins lament,
Now my foul revolt deplore,
Weep, believe, and sin no more.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Crazy times

I'm in Chippewa Falls, WI having a great time and great fellowship with my friends Katie and Jer. It's been a bit of a crazy week. My dad gave us a bit of a scare with a pretty serious heart attack on Tuesday But he's recovering now. It reminded me pretty quick of how fast things happen and how quickly life could come to an end. Reminding me to make the most of my time here on earth and making me consider how I am using my time. I know that I need to be more faithful in sharing the gospel with the people I know. I sure is convicting.

My time is winding down here in Wisconsin. I am ready to get on to MS. I've got only a little over a week left. I am sure next week will be a bit crazy with packing for the trip, bringing dad home from the hospital and my sister, Jenny's wedding plus some visiting I should do before I head south. It'll be a fun week!