Reverend Curt Moore, Lagniappe Presbyterian Church, and Reverend Jerry Hill, Buncombe Street United Methodist Church, led an emotional dedication service for Rhonda and Isaac. There were approximately thirty folks in attendance including Regina, Doug and Macayla Spiers from Operation Macayla. Also present were the teams from BSUMC and Carpenters For Christ who took a break from working on Macayla’s house. Helen Buckley, LPC, presented Rhonda with an engraved Family Bible and Rev. Hill presented her with a hand-made cross from MSN. The central message of the dedication was that her house has been filled with agape love by all those who have come to give of their time, talents and resources, expecting nothing in return. It is our sincere hope that this whole experience has given her a glimpse of the living Christ and that she will be able to pass that on to others who enter her door. Rhonda stated she figured there had been close to two hundred volunteers work on her house over the past year and that most of them signed the 2 x 4’s and other components of the house so they will always be with her. She is most appreciative.
May the foundation of this home be more that bricks and mortar, not set upon the sand, but resting firmly upon Christ and His Word, the only firm foundation on which to build.
May all who enter here know that those who helped to create this home were themselves created. To You alone be the glory oh Lord!
Off To A Great Start!
To begin this project there were two very pressing items that needed to be addressed. The first was there were some structural issues that had to be dealt with. Fortunately, Clint Raymes had recognized this during our preliminary scouting trip in October. For this trip he was able to borrow a couple of 20 ton bottle jacks which he used to jack up the house to level and to supplement the supports over the concrete piers to minimize future settling. This task was accomplished after a little frustration with trying to jack up sections of a house over sandy soil. The jack wanted to go down instead of the house going up. But, Clint and Stacey Negron were up to the task. Also, we strapped the triple beam supports to each pier to hold them in place in the event of another storm. The second pressing need was that of removing an 80 foot dead pine tree that was leaning over their FEMA trailer. Rhonda had already had a limb from the tree crash through the roof of the trailer onto her bed in the spot where Isaac sleeps. Fortunately, they were in another part of the trailer; however, the bed and all her clothes were soaked by the rain. Normally the removal of such a health hazard would be FEMA’s responsibility. Apparently, due to the fact that the tree was on another person’s property, they only repaired the roof of the trailer. Rhonda had repeatedly tried to get the property owner who lives in Florida to respond with no success. We determined that this was an imminent danger to the family so we contracted with a local tree service to remove the tree.
Finally, we were successful in coordinating the delivery of all the sheetrock needed for the house through local contacts. The donation was from The Church of Christ in Picayune, MS. We learned of them through a friend of Rhonda named “Tigger”. He put us in touch with Johnny Hays at the church. A group of us drove to Picayune and picked up 40 sheets of 4’ x 12’ on Wednesday afternoon and the balance was delivered on Thursday. Of course, we got plenty of exercise lifting it all up into the house.
Certainly, we learned that God supplies the needs of those who seek Him with Operation Stephen. It is apparent that in spite of Rhonda’s prolonged period of suffering her faith and spirit is stronger than ever. She is well on the way to getting her new home built. While she was in the hospital recovering from her hysterectomy a team from Virginia who had previously done the wiring and insulation came down and installed her HVAC system. The critical need now is for a plumber. If you know of someone with plumbing skills who would like to help out we will build a team around their schedule. If you don’t know any plumbers, please pray that one will be revealed to us.
Our next trip is scheduled for January 7 – 13, 2007. Come join us and see God at work.
Getting The Hang Of It!
We had a great team of 11 “mature” men who elected to give up a week of their creature comforts to travel to Diamondhead, MS and sleep on the floor of Diamondhead UMC – with the aid of an air mattress, of course. These were some hard working men and they proved that you don’t get to be their age by being a dummy. Well, four days of hanging 4’ x 12’ sheetrock may have made them rethink that statement! This trip was a bit unusual in that our night to eat out was Monday so we could watch those Gators whip up on the poor Buckeyes. That made for a late night and certainly didn’t make the sheetrock seem any lighter the next day. Recognizing the need to pace ourselves, we decided to do a driving tour of the devastated areas of Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis and Waveland Wednesday morning. This was my 14th trip and it is still hard to believe the scope of the devastation. However, we are beginning to see more homes being rebuilt where there were nothing but slabs a few months ago.
Fortunately, Bob Walters from Katy, TX was able to rejoin us for this trip. Unfortunately, he brought a stomach virus with him. He was really sick for a couple of days which prompted us to lay hands on him and pray for his recovery. Sure enough, the next day he was up and plumbing again. That’s not a play on words, he was our designated plumber. He and his sidekick Stacey Negron from Triune Church were able to finish the job by the end of the week. It’s amazing how many times you have to go to Lowe’s to do a plumbing job, huh Bob?
Bill Hagler was our chief “screw-man” on the sheetrock detail. Somehow he managed to wear out six bits and one finger for the week. Thank goodness Coleman Shouse had purchased a sheetrock lift for us so he was the lift operator and part time screw guy. Maurice Cox and Frank Webb were the main cut team after they finished framing and installing two windows on the road side of the house. Goudy Miller, Eddie Holder and Brax Cutchen rounded out the sheetrock crew.
Rev. Hill was our cook. He swears he had nothing to do with so may of us getting sick. He and I finished the week off by blowing 9” of cellulose insulation in the attic after the ceiling was in. That requires a different level of skill that only he and I possess!
It was a great week. Not only did we accomplish our work objectives, but we were able to spend some time with Rhonda and Isaac, have our devotional time and make some new friends at Diamondhead UMC.
We certainly demonstrated that with faith, prayer, perseverance and hard work a bunch of “mature” guys can overcome adversity and still get the job done.
Also, the future looks bright for this project. We have a team from NC coming in tomorrow, Saturday, to install siding, a team from TN also on Saturday to mud, tape and finish the sheetrock, a team from IL the middle of February to hang doors and do finish work, a team from Buncombe Street March 18 – 24 and a team from Aldersgate March 25 – 31 to finish the project. With God’s help Rhonda and Isaac should be in their house for Easter. How awesome is that?
"Go ahead and pray so we can get to work!" Lester Hamlin
That was the perfect segue at the end of our devotion time Monday morning. I am sure the Lord spoke to them and through them in the work they were here to do. And, work they did. This was a reunion for Don Wierenga and Denny Bauman. Don had served as a long term volunteer over in Pass Christian last year. One of the teams he had worked with there was Denny’s team from Nokomis, IL. In God’s own way He had put us together to work on Isaac’s house. We sincerely thank Don, Denny, Mike Hand, Joe Murphy, Russell Rhoades, Lester Hamlin and Butch Dooley for bringing their time, talents and resources to this project. Their accomplishments included putting down lauan over the sub floor, laying 800 sq. ft. of vinyl tile, setting and hanging the kitchen cabinets, installing the counter tops, kitchen sink, hanging interior doors and numerous other finishing activities. All of the materials were purchased through a Salvation Army grant obtained through Helen Buckley, Rhonda’s Case Manager, at Lagniappe Pres. Church in Bay St. Louis. It is truly amazing to see how God is working through His servants
Tuesday the 13th was Isaac’s fifth birthday so there was a brief pause in the action to celebrate by singing “Happy Birthday”. He really seemed to enjoy our gift, donated by Kos Carter, of a fire engine that moved under its own power while it made lots of noise. Shortly, the work crew was back to making lots of noise as well.
It won’t be long before Rhonda, Isaac and Joseph will be moving into their new house! There is a small team from Hilton Head, SC scheduled to work on the house the week of March 10 – 17. They should get it to the point that we will be able to dedicate the home and move Rhonda and Isaac in the week of March 18th, just in time for Joseph’s return home. What a blessing that will be!
From sea to shining sea!
Many thanks to the small but mighty St. Andrews By The Sea team from Hilton Head Island, SC for, among many other finishing tasks, building the decks. That enhanced the look of the house tremendously and will provide many years of enjoyment for Rhonda and her guests. They did an excellent job of interior trim, installing and de-installing the hot water heater, dealing with pesky shower leaks, hanging interior doors, trim painting, putting down vinyl in the front bath and plumbing finish work. And then they rested!
Details, Details...I sure wish I had a crimping tool!
How many people does it take to put up an outside light fixture? Three, an electrician and two helpers! As always, God sends the right people with the right skills to get the job done. We would like to offer a special thank you to Gene Claypool, Phillip Barnette and Keys Clamp from Zion UMC in Anderson, SC and Nelson Chandler form Etowa, NC for their three days of hard work finishing out the plumbing and electrical. We would also like to thank Goudy Miller, Fred Jones, Teddy Littlepage and Bill Hagler from Greenville, SC for their pretty underpinning work, a thankless job that earned them the nickname of “Underdogs!” They also were the shutter engineers. Each making a huge difference in the curb appeal of the house. Thanks to the great work by earlier teams we were able to have the house ready for the Dedication on the 21st.