Thursday Reflection by Valerie Mercey

war_66[PHOTO AT LEFT: Valerie worked long after clean-up time, to make sure she pounded the last nail into the roof of someone's new home.]

We awoke to a glorious sunny day – a nice change after the rainy gloomy day yesterday. Those of us that 'stayed behind' yesterday were eger to hit the construdtion site today. After our group devotional time, and another great breakfast, we donned our sunscreen and headed out. Most of the group worked on one of the new homes laying out framing while Laura and I volunteered to work on a roofing crew - a rather daunting job considering the heat. For those on the ground the temperature was around 80 degrees and for Laura and me... a balmy 3,000! Ha ha!

As Linda commented yesterday, we are enjoying the community of working with everyone. Today Laura and I got to work with a church group from Mayrland. We worked with them previously. However, today, due to the close proximity of roofing and the heat, we felt like the greatest of friends by the end of the day. It's really unbelievable how fast relationships and feelings of camaraderie form when everyone's hearts and spirits are aligned to achieve a common goal. Even though most of us have yet to meet the homeowners we are building for, there is a feeling of love for those who have lost so much.

One of the construction supervisirs, Kim, whom we've worked with each day approached us at the end of the day about going to a great BBQ restaurant that was on our way back to the stadium. Pastor Dave, Joel, Scott, Bob and I quickly took her up on the offer (even without showers!). She promised it wouldn't disappoint and she was right! We all enjoyed some real down-home Mississippi BBQ with all the fixings. The atmosphere alone was worth every bit even if the food wasn't great, but it was AMAZING!

After enjoying dinner at picnic tables outside, Kim, took us sight seeing along US-90 gulf coast to areas we had yet to see. She described where massive casinos, apartment complexes, homes and businesses used to be – and were simply picked up and dropped elsewhere. At one point we parked by the roadside to walk through a damaged cemetery – it was very humbling and shocking. The power of Katrina is simply mind-boggling. We all felt incredibly blessed that she took the time to share her experiences since arriving last August with AmeriCorps (who partners with Habitat for Humanity). Truly we have all been blessed since arriving here.