Operation Emily

There is always a reverent sense of accomplishment that comes with every home dedication. To me this one seemed even more special since Floyd has been so sick. On more than one occasion he was heard to say that he doubted that he would see the house finished. Well, I am happy to say that the Lord had other plans. Since the last update the HVAC and wheelchair lift have been installed. This week we had a paint team consisting of Ken and Carol Weast, Barbara Ranges and June Patterson to spackle, caulk and paint doors and trim. Nelson Chandler and Phil Elyea spent a day troubleshooting the wiring to get everything workin g properly. Finally, Lee Fears and Craig Kirkpatrick built a handrail at the front door for Floyd.

The home was beautiful for the ceremony that began about 6:15 pm. We had our 18 member team along with Virginia and Floyd’s five daughters, friends, Emily, various other grandkids and at least one great grandkid. There was more food than any of us could eat. It was incredible to see such a large family and friends able to come together in a nice warm spacious home. What a contrast to the tiny FEMA trailer still sitting in the yard.

After a few opening remarks from KC Carter, Reverend Ed Murphy from Shoreline Park Baptist Church brought the message of building the home on the firm foundation that is Christ Jesus. The volunteers wrote passages of scripture on the studs of the house during construction so Virginia, Floyd and Emily are literally surrounded by God’s Word. Christ sent all the teams to rebuild their home. There is no other logical explanation for it. It is our prayer that everyone who worked on the home as well as those living in it will have a stronger more personal relationship with Christ as a result.

During the fellowship that followed Floyd broke out the guitar that been given to him and autographed by Randy Travis. If you haven’t heard that story get him to tell it to you sometime…in between the Beaudreaux jokes!

PROJECT DETAILS

October 14 - 20

TripThis was our first team to work on the house. Actually, we started out as two teams one from Forestville Baptist in Travelers Rest, SC and Mid-Atlantic Community Church in Crofton, MD. However, after the first night of dinner and devotions we were one team. It is amazing to see Christian individuals become the body of Christ to those less fortunate. Those we came to help thought we had known each other for years. Through this spirit of cooperation we were able to finish hanging insulation and sheetrock, do a significant amount of mudding and taping, roof work and major yard work. We filled a 40 cubic yard dumpster completely full!

This was our first team to work on the house. Actually, we started out as two teams one from Forestville Baptist in Travelers Rest, SC and Mid-Atlantic Community Church in Crofton, MD. However, after the first night of dinner and devotions we were one team. It is amazing to see Christian individuals become the body of Christ to those less fortunate. Those we came to help thought we had known each other for years.

Through this spirit of cooperation we were able to finish hanging insulation and sheetrock, do a significant amount of mudding and taping, roof work and major yard work. We filled a 40 cubic yard dumpster completely full!

November 11 - 17

Trip

We had another awesome week working to get Floyd, Virginia and Emily closer to being in their home by Christmas. Floyd had just gotten home from his latest stint (no pun intended) in the hospital. This time he had a defibrillator implanted. Please pray for his recovery and strength for Virginia.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get the sheetrock mudding, taping and finishing done by a contractor before the trip. Fortunately, God sent Ken Morris, Marvin Horton and Goudy Miller on the team to tackle that job. That slowed us down here but allowed us to spend more time on Operation Caleb. Mid week Ken pulled off the sheetrock finishing job and went to an even more frustrating one of setting and hanging kitchen cabinets. It seems that the original framing crew didn’t feel like the walls needed to be square or plumb and the person who did the cabinet layout didn’t think they needed to fit! However, with much persistence, muttering and capable assistance from Bill “Freight Train” Hagler, Ken got them in looking great. That is, after Marvin and Daryl Rishforth did some creative framing to move the pantry wall. The next challenge will be getting the counter tops to fit!

Also, fortunately, Ken brought Kathy Breeding with him from Virginia to brighten our spirits while she sanded, primed and painted. Joining her on the sanding and painting crew was Bill Parker from Cleveland, MS., Reverend Jerry Hill, Skipper “Mudder” Snipes and Doug Stanbaugh all from Buncombe Street UMC, Greenville, SC. Teddy Littlepage and John Tomlinson also from BSUMC spent most of their time at Operation Caleb.

The last couple of days Marvin along with Nelson Chandler from Etowah, NC trimmed all the windows.

Ms. Virginia is really starting to get excited as we turn the corner on getting the interior finished. Next month another crew from South Carolina will be laying ceramic tile and laminate flooring; hanging interior doors and trim; finishing electrical and plumbing; and, oh yea, those counter tops!

Our goal is to have the Fricke’s in by Christmas. If we don’t make it we sure will come close. Please pray that the week will go smoothly and that the Lord will provide all the resources we need to finish the job. Just maybe we will be able to add this to our “God is good miracle list”.

December 2 - 12

Trip

In the last update I made the following statement: “Our goal is to have the  Fricke’s in by Christmas. If we don’t make it we sure will come close. Please pray that the week will go smoothly and that the Lord will provide all the resources we need to finish the job. Just maybe we will be able to add this to our “God is good miracle list”.” Well, thanks to a few of His incredible servants we can add this to the list!

The team was made up primarily of members from the midlands of South Carolina. The team consisted of Team Leader, Billy Robinson, joined by Terry & Marilyn Rawls, Jerry Gooden, Darrel Briggs, Paul Turner and Wayne Goff.  In addition, Scott Owen and Cindy Natoli from Mid-Atlantic Community Church in Crofton, MD decided to join us for the fun. They were on the first Operation Emily team back in October and wanted to help get ‘er done!

I can honestly say that the team, except for “electricians” Scott and Darrel spent most of the week on their knees installing some 600 sq. ft. of ceramic tile over backer board and 1100 sq. ft. of laminate wood flooring. The Lord once again exhibited His just-in-time nature as the laminate, donated by Skipper Snipes, arrived Thursday morning instead of Tuesday as scheduled. Of course, if it had arrived on Tuesday it would have just been in the way. We need to offer a special thank you to Pastor Ed Murphy at Shoreline Park Baptist Church in Bay St. Louis, MS for arranging for Lowe’s to offload the laminate from the semi onto his flatbed trailer. He is also storing the additional laminate to be used on our next project. Pastor Ed and his wife Karen are God’s tireless servants hosting teams and rebuilding homes every day along the coast. Please add them to your prayer list.

I would really like to thank Paul Turner for his supervision of the tile laying process and his servant leadership of handling the nasty job of tile cutter. By the end of the week all the flooring was in place, the counter tops were set, most of the interior doors were hung and most of the finish electrical was done. We were so close to finishing we could taste it… Now the rest of the story…

The week before the trip I had met with Danny Thompson, Trinity UMC, Anderson, SC. He really wanted to be on the team but other obligations did not allow him to go. I indicated to him that we should get really close to finishing. It must have been the Holy Spirit that nudged him to “volunteer” to drive down the following Sunday if we still needed help. As the week progressed, it became obvious that we were not going to be able to finish so I gave Danny a call to see if he was serious about coming down. We then discussed who we might recruit to come with him. Terry Rawls overheard the conversation and in a true act of dedicated servanthood “volunteered” to stay until the following Wednesday. I must admit it was a strange feeling Saturday morning as Terry and I watched the team leave in both of our trucks! Fortunately, Floyd had agreed to let us use his truck for the weekend. Over the weekend we were able to finish hanging the doors and paint & install base moulding. We also prayed that Danny would come to our rescue; and, sure enough, he did. With his capable help we were able to complete the plumbing by setting the vanities, sinks, commodes, and hot water heater. Terry slaved away on a number of finish trim items including exterior door trim and flooring transitions. One of our last items was to hang the microwave which was another adventure in itself. The bottom line is after a couple of twelve hour days we had completed all we could do to get Virginia, Floyd and Emily in their house by Christmas. Praise God!

Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story. There are three action items required that are beyond our control. First, although we were able to get 85% of the electrical working there are some issues requiring a licensed electrician to complete the remaining 15%. Second, the heating and air contractor has to set the outside unit, charge and test the system. However, that cannot be done until the electrician does his thing. Third, the VA needs to install the wheelchair lift for Floyd. While we are praying that these items get done by Christmas it is unlikely that the final inspection will get done by then. The good news is that they can use the house for Christmas meals and family gatherings even though they will not be able to move in until after the first of the year.

It is truly amazing to get on the other side of these projects and to look back to see how God uses the skills of ordinary people as the body of Christ to work His miracles. Little Emily is so excited. She has asked me a dozen times, “When can we move in?” My answer is always the same, “Soon.” Please pray that this family will have a wonderful Christmas and that they get to move in soon.

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