We Got To Work & Came Home Happily Exhausted

war_50We woke at 5:45 am to get showers this morning. Some of us slept well, others not. Perhaps it is the freight trains a block away... At 6:45 am we gathered for breakfast. A devotional on the selflessness of serving that God might be glorified set just the right tone for the day. Breakfast was hot and hearty and then we received our assignments. We are working on a fourteen home Habitat build in Gautier. (The Creole pronunciation is Go-SHAY.) We started with the arrival of two large semi-trailers with prebuilt "homes in a box" from a Habitat affiliate in Ohio. There were supposed to be two in their own containers that could be unloaded and wait safely for international volunteers to build them next week. Instead they received THREE homes and no containers. It's not everyday you can say you carried three houses, but we did today – the whole morning. There are actually three church groups working on the site. One is building their own house in three weeks. We remaining two groups worked together in various combinations – they are a Baptist church from Maryland. In the afternoon one group finished unloading the final house in a box, while a few of us started roofing another home. Linda Isham and Becki Fuller did the starter shingles all the way around the lower edge of one home. Bob and Rachael snapped lines on the roof and began shingling. Laura and Joel reinstalled extremely important "hurricane proof" steel strapping across studs and window frames. Pastor Dave did some of each of these. The remainder of our group joined us in roofing to finish out the day.

We know you are all freezing in Suffield. Last night the "feels like" temperature got down to 25 degrees. However, today it was in the upper 60s. There are supposed to be thunderstorms tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, there is no work here because it is Mardi Gras and travel becomes impossible with roads completely shut down for parades and Creole festivals. Suffice it to say that Mardi Gras (French for Grace Tuesday) defines the culture here. It is celebrated for five days and is far more than the raucous stupor we see reported on TV. Mardi Gras is becoming a celebration of God's mercy lifting them out of despair. It is enabling them to recover. I believe an incredible spiritual and cultural revival is beginning on the Gulf Coast. We will see... Tomorrow some of us will volunteer at a soup kitchen in Gulfport, the next city to the West. The rest will head in to New Orleans. They will not be staying late as there is an 11 pm curfew at Habitat Village – they want everyone safe. There are also very strict rules of behavior that keep this volunteer community running smoothly. We feel exhausted and very happy – there is a peace about it. Please keep this region in prayer – there is so much need.