Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wrap Up

Wrap up

We've been home two days now. Hopefully everyone's laundry is done. Air
mattress and sleeping bags are stored away. Pictures are popping up on
Facebook. Getting use to being home again and settling into the routine of
work or school. And missing everyone.

It has been an adventure in faith in so many ways. 11 individuals giving
there time and talents because of some call that is hard to express. A need
for community in a larger way than what we know. To give yet to get so much
more than we could have imagined.

What we did was to paint inside a gym, give a family a working toilet that
they could actually flush without having to use a bucket to flush, made it
easier to get in and out of a trailer without falling, fixed a spot for a
washer so that the hose was not blocking the walk way, cleaned up years of
undergrowth and briars which made walking around the trailers near
impossible, painted the roof of a trailer which would lessen the likely hood
of leaks, repaired an outside wall of a home which had started to rot, put
up fascia boards and soffits to keep the animals out and the heat in, took
time to play with children, to help them with there homework, to just be a
friend for a few moments, to sit and talk with people who were homeless to
let them know that someone really cared. We gave snacks and juice drinks to
children who had none, we took part in a worship service that some didn't
know anything about. If we did nothing else all week it was to answer the
call to show God's love through action. I believe we succeeded in that. Yet
while we were trying to minister to others we were definitely ministered to
as well.

There are so many that made this mission a success. First and foremost God
who blessed us so that we could share His blessings with others. To Brother
Marvin McCormick and his wife Kim for opening up there home to us for a
night along with being there and working along aside us and for providing
meals through out the week. To the people of Henryville UMC that opened up
their church and facilities to us in so many ways. They also opened up their
hearts to us and made us feel more welcomed than we sometimes feel in our
home churches. This church truly has the gift of hospitality. A special
thank you to Don Stroud who would come by daily to see if we needed
anything. To Jerry Mosley, service coordinator for CASA, who worked with us
and provided support for us on the jobsites and who gave us the T-shirts. To
the folks back home that wrote the notes to the team members as a way of
encouragement and caring. To the people that donated snacks and money for
the team. A special shout out to Regina Hux for the homemade bread and
candy! To those that kept the team in prayer. To Reverend Rich Meiser who
truly lives his faith by his example in all that he does. To the team
members who worked side by side doing things that we don't do on a regular
basis. It's true that you never really know someone until you go on a
mission with them. I truly have come to appreciate the spirit that lives
within the team that I was blessed to be a part of.

We are home again with our family and friends. Yet we will be forever
touched by those we met in Guntersville, AL. We will wonder how Kathy and
Bill are doing as well as Carla and Jackie. We will pray that the
"neighbors" that we met will find jobs and a place to live. That the
children at the afterschool program will be safe.

It feels odd not writing this late at night. Late at night when all is quiet
and I have time to reflect on the activities of the day. If what I wrote
made you laugh or shed a tear or pause for a second and give thanks or maybe
just maybe it may have stirred that call within you don't thank or blame me
for none of this is my doing but it comes from a higher source. So until the
next time that we feel the tug or hear the cries of the needy and we answer
that call that comes from within us may God's grace and peace be with you

In Christ,

Matthew 28:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus
had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some
doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and
on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

They're Back!

 The Mission Team on the Final Day!
 The House Crew
The Roofing Crew
The least of these.

Well it is our last night at Henryville UMC. What a week it has been. At
tonight's final team meeting we cried (a lot) and laughed about the week and
our experiences. Each had a chance to share their thoughts on a question I
asked earlier in the week. If someone were to ask you why did you go on the
Spring Break mission trip, what would you say? Everyone paused to reflect on
their thoughts. Some shared that they were blessed and wanted to return
those blessings to others. Some said they felt a call to help others while
others said they felt closest to God when they were serving. Others said
that the mission was a shelter from storms and trials in their life. We
talked about serving the least in this community. Rich's devotion was from
Matthew 25:31-46. We talked about how we are called to serve all in every
way that we can.

We are scheduled to pull out of here on Saturday morning around 5:30. So
this email blast will be short. My hope is to do a more detailed one to wrap
up the week once we have returned.

We finished up working at both houses. The attached pictures are of Kathy
and the roofing team and then Carla & Jackie and the house crew. It was a
beautiful day for working. The other picture is the entire team.

This evening we were served dinner by members of Henryville UMC. We ate and
talked and laughed and shared stories on each other for several hours. We
will truly miss the warmth and fellowship of this community of believers
when we have gone.

The week has gone by quickly. Last Saturday I said that an invitation had
been sent out to all on this mission and all that are here answered that
call. While this mission ends our journey into a deeper faith life is just
beginning. Thank you all for coming along with us on this part of our
journey. Good night and may God bless!

See you soon,

Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's already Thursday?

It's picking up speed to the end of the mission. After months of planning,
multiple emails, phone calls, dreaming of the drive down, working on setting
up possible job sites, team meetings (oh the team meetings), organizing and
reorganizing it's coming down to the final day.

Rolling over and looking at the alarm clock, 4:00 AM. Oh good two more hours
until the alarm goes off. Buzz, buzz, buzz where is that darn snooze. Oh why
does my shoulder hurt, knees are a bit tighter than yesterday. Snoring comes
from a couple of spots in the room. Rolling over to find my shoes, heading
over to get the coffee started. Learning to make the coffee stronger as the
week goes on. It's taking longer for the team to come over for breakfast
now. Slowly they shuffle in. Partially ready for the day and partially ready
to go back to bed. The talk shifts back to last night and the time with the
"neighbors" from the Room in the Inn. It's obvious that it made an impact
with the team.

The plan for the day is to work on Carla's house until the rain comes. We
load up our lunches incase the rain holds off and we can work all day. We
gather for our prayer and head out. Arriving at Carla's we quickly unload
and start to work. It's supposed to be around 50 today but the thermometer
on the truck says 40. We get moving to try to get warm. The threat of rain
is off in the distance yet it feels like it could snow. So we make the
decision to take off the worst of the outer walls and replace them. We set
up a cutting area and start tearing off the walls. The team starts breaking
up the walls while trying to leave the plywood below. Easier said than done
at times. Once we get the walls off we take the measurements and get
cutting. Rich works with several of the team members to show them how to use
a skill saw. Everybody walked away with all fingers and toes attached. Some
tense moments were had when the team lead mistakenly thought the patio we
were on was farther out than it was. The main thing hurt was his pride even
though he did receive a nice strawberry on his knee. Carla came out several
times to watch the work. She seemed very please with the progress. While
putting up the walls it was discovered that as usual the wall studs were not
always 16". Some were 15 and others were 17. So it made for a game of hide
and seek for awhile. Eventually we got the walls up. It was now noon and the
rain was suppose to start around 1. We decided since we were at a good spot
we would call it a day. We quickly cleaned up and said our good byes to
Carla and Jackie and said we would see them in the morning.

We made it back to the family life center after a quick stop at Wal-Mart to
pick up some more Clementines. These seem to be the snack of choice this
week. We've already gone though 5 bags. Once back some head for showers and
some go for lunch. There is vegetable stew left over from last night which
tastes just as good as before.

The rain has begun by now. A cold dreary rain. The team takes advantage of
the down time to grab needed naps. A few work on Facebook post and some
write in their prayer journals. God knows when it is time to rest if we only
listen to Him.

We have our devotional time before dinner tonight. Amy and Megan are in
charge. Their devotional is based on Mark 4: 1-20 the parable of the sower.
They then tell a story of a soldier that is in a foreign land that doesn't
allow religious books. So he uses a deck of cards to minister to his
sergeant. They compare these stories to what we are doing now. We are sowing
seeds by our actions. By using what we have at hand to show God's love for
us and His people. Whether it be a hammer, drill, a paint brush, a kind word
or whatever we have it is a way to sow the seeds for the Kingdom. Afterwards
we each got a pack of cards with the story of the soldier on the outside of
the pack. It was a very powerful message.

Pastor Marvin and his wife Kim had invited us over to their house for a
cookout. After devotions we headed to their house. We were welcomed into
their home as if we were family. And in some ways we are. Hamburgers and
hotdogs were grilling. A feast was laid out before us. After a quick
blessing of giving thanks all ate heartily. There were a lot of
conversations through out the house. After dinner Kim served us dessert. Now
this was skillet cake, chocolate and peanut butter. I had never had it
before but it was excellent. Kim was explaining how to make this to Rich but
I missed the directions. It's probably a good thing. We all sat around and
shared stories and there was much laughter and fellowship. We soon said our
good byes and thank you hugs were given.

The team meeting we discussed the days events. Even though we didn't work
very long at the site time was spent by the team with Carla and Jackie. They
also visited with Raymond, I believe a son, who is bed ridden with cancer.
The mission is not only the physical construction but also the construction
of the Kingdom by our time and attention to the relationships that are
formed and presented.

All are in our prayers as we pray for all. Friday is upon us. One more day
here. All have said they can't believe it has gone so fast and I agree.
Anyone who has gone before can relate and anyone who wants to experience
Here are some pictures from today!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Amazing Grace!

Amazing Grace strikes again!

Wednesdays can be tricky. It's normally the day that the mission team takes
a half day off and does sight seeing or just hangs out. At Henryville UMC
Wednesday takes on a mission of there own. More on that in a bit.

The team slept in a little later today for some reason. I guess working
outside cutting and hauling brush along with some major plumbing issues can
take a toll on someone who doesn't do that often. The air mattress is still
an air mattress though. Around 7:30 most were out of bed and getting
something to eat. There was some breakfast casserole left but not for long.

After eating we headed out back to Bill and Kathy's. Today's task were to
set the block steps and to put a cold seal paint on the trailer roof. The
air temperature was around 45 this morning so the painting of the trailer
was not going to happen. It was decided that Rich would keep a crew of 3 to
start work on fixing a better landing and steps for Bill & Kathy to use as
their front porch and steps. The rest of us loaded back up and returned to
the church to meet Jerry (who works with CASA) to load the lumber to be
taken to the next job.


Once Jerry arrived we quickly loaded the lumber and some supplies and headed
for the job. Now this site is in Albertville, AL which is about 10 miles
south of Guntersville. We follow Jerry and pull into a nice looking
neighborhood. We meet Carla (the home owner) and she begins talking with us
while calling her dogs. The dogs we had been warned about liked to bark and
are not very friendly. Fortunately for us one of our team members, Cindy,
seems to have a very calming affect on them. After a short chat we were able
to get the lumber unloaded and covered up. We then took a tour around the
property. We quickly saw rotting boards on the back of the house as well as
where there was no fascia or soffit boards to keep animals out and the heat
in. After talking some more with Carla and meeting her husband Jack we
formed a circle offering a prayer for the family, the team and dry weather.
We said our good-bys and headed back to church.

The lumber team got back to church first. Some grab showers while others
eat. It has gotten warm now (around 60 degrees) and most of us make our
sandwiches and head out to a picnic area behind the church. The block crew
rolls in shortly and starts the same process. They though are not quite
finished so some of them eat and then head back to Bill & Kathy to level the

Now on Wednesdays Henryville UMC has an after school program. This is open
to neighborhood kids and church member kids. The first to arrive are the
middle schoolers, mostly boys. Then the grade school kids. All get a snack
then some play time before homework. The kids had been told that there were
going to be some college kids here this time. We were told that some of
these kids even remembered us from before. The team members quickly got into
the swing of things (literally) with all of the kids. Some played
basketball, some knocked around a volleyball or Frisbee, some went outside
and climbed on the monkey bars while others got on the swings. Lots of fun
and laughter was being had by all. Shortly it was homework time. Now one of
the team members (Morgan) was quickly adopted by a little girl who I was
told has Autism. That little girl was Morgan's buddy almost all night. She
even shared that some of the kids at school were not nice to her. Morgan
(along with all of the team members) did a great job with the kids. They
showed them attention, affection and patience with everything they did.

Normally on Wednesdays they have a meal then they break up into small groups
or youth group meetings. But tonight being Ash Wednesday there was a church
service. Several team members had been asked to participate in the service.
Rich, Marisa, Ford, Marissa, Cindy and I had a part to play. Rich was asked
to bless the communion, Marissa and Cindy would put on the mark of the cross
using ashes while Marisa and Ford would be serving communion. I was asked to
lead the Lenten confession. The Lenten Homily was based on Romans 12:1.
Pastor Marvin started off on a story about a farmer who had given a
percentage of his corn crop to the land owner and had very little left. On
his way home he encounter the King of the land who asked for all that he
had. The farmer ending up giving the king a little in turn the king gave the
farmer a large gold nugget. When the king had left the farmer wondered what
would have happened had he given it all to the king like the king had asked.
In Romans 12:1 it states that we are told to give ourselves to God as a
living sacrifice as this is truly the way to worship Him. Pastor Marvin
pointed out that in this season of Lent what will we give to God and what
will be our reward? Will we give a little or will we give it all? Very
powerful words to hear for myself. It was a moving experience to receive the
sign of the cross from a fellow team member and then to be served the bread
and cup from another. I have to be honest that I had tears in my eyes as I
approached them. Afterwards the team mingled with the congregation. Once
again we were told how wonderful it was that we were here and how grateful
everyone was for the work that we were doing.

Another mission of this church is that it partnerships with other churches
in a ministry called "Room in the Inn". It is a homeless ministry where
homeless individuals stay the night then are taken back downtown to their
jobs or where ever the next day. They alternate staying at different
churches and tonight just happened to be the night for here. Before the
service some of us sat and ate with several of the individuals. There were
men, women and children. After the service the team and the residents began
talking and we offered to share our snacks with them. We also shared with
them a dessert that someone here had made for tonight. It was good
fellowship. One of the team members shared with me that she hadn't had a
heart for homeless ministry but she is beginning to feel a pull toward that

Someone told me that when we leave here and go home we can hold our heads
high for the work we have done and the way that the team has carried itself
and it's message of serving the least of these. We are tired and sore but we
are grateful for all that we have. We have been blessed by so many. We have
two days left here. To the parents of the students that are on this team you
should be very proud of your child. I know that I am.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pick'em up and putting them down- Alabama Tuesday

Pick'em up and putting them down.

Tuesdays are when things start happening and today was no exception. The air
mattress is getting a little easier to live with but it's still an air
mattress. A little more stiffness in the neck and shoulders than I remember
yesterday morning. We were blessed at breakfast by an egg, sausage, and
cheese casserole that someone from Henryville UMC left us last night. God
bless you! Most of it was devoured rapidly.

It was cooler today than expected. Everyone was pretty well bundled up but
the coldness still got to some later on. We got out to the job site around
8:45. Billy and Kathy's trailer. Now they have several trailers but live in
the second one off the road. The others are used mainly for storage of old
computers that Billy like to tinker with. The outside crew main task was to
remove the thorn bushes that have grown up around and into the trailers.
Yes, into the walls of the trailers. This task required one person to cut
the bush while the other held it and dragged it to a tarp to be hauled to
the brush pile. There were also several trees that were growing beside the
trailers. Now to make it a little more interesting there were wires and
cables all over the ground. These wires were for the power, the phone and
the satellite dish. We weren't real sure which ones were active and which
ones weren't. The outside crew had on several layers to help keep the briars
away as well as leather gloves. It was 8 of us outside. 3 team members got a
quick lesson in how to operate a chain saw safely and did some cutting up of
several trees and stumps. All got to wear the chaps and hearing protectors.
We lost count of how many tarps we dragged to the pile. By the end of the
day all were glad to see that there were no more briars around or in the
trailers. Of course there were several in our hands.

The inside crew had the more complex task of hooking up a portable washing
machine as well as working with the plumbing in a sink and toilet. Many
trips were taken between the trailer and the water cut off valve near the
road. While we were cleaning brush in between the trailers we heard a
whooshing sound followed by some screams then a cascade of water flowing
from under the trailer and near the outer wall. A fitting that had been
glued had come loose. Needless to say there were some anxious moments
inside. Fortunately Marisa Hume had just moved from the spot that the water
flowed out of. After a bit of re-gluing and adjustments all seems to be
running well.

Tonight the team decided to do a pancake supper since we wouldn't be in
Farmville to celebrate Shrove Tuesday with Farmville UMC. Unfortunately the
weather caused Farmville UMC to cancel their pancake supper but ours went
off without a hitch. Rich and I cooked pancakes, apples and linked sausage.
Pastor Marvin and his wife Kim were able to join us. It was great fun and
fellowship by all.

After dinner we needed to get a few supplies plus the team members wanted to
get some items from Wal-Mart to help get them through the week. So we loaded
up the team in one of Henryville UMC's 15 passenger vans and headed into
town. Now if you think Farmville's Wal-Mart has a lot of Virginia Tech stuff
you haven't experienced fan craziness until you see all of the Crimson Tide
stuff at a Wal-Mart down here. Of course everybody got a little something to
bring back with them. We even had time to stop off at a Hibbett's sporting
goods to check out their sales. A few more dollars were added to the local

Once we returned it was time for our nightly devotion and team meeting.
Marissa Stewart had tonight's devotion. She read from Colossians 3:15-17.
She then talked about the needs in our land, hunger, racial strife,
homelessness, poverty, etc. and how we can make a change in those areas. In
the team meeting part I asked all a question that I wanted them to think
about but not give me an answer just yet. I would ask the same question on
Friday as we wrap up. I'll let you know what the question is then and what
their answers are.

We also discussed Wednesday's schedule. Now Wednesdays are usually your easy
day. Maybe a half day work and then relaxing. Well down here they do an
after school program with the local kids. The school buses drop the kids off
or they are picked up and then they are helped with their homework and or
have play time. Afterwards it's a time of fellowship and a meal followed by
an evening activity. Well tomorrow night is Ash Wednesday. So we have been
invited to participate in the Ash Wednesday worship service. Not only does
Pastor Marvin to the imposition of ashes but he also has communion. Rich
will be assisting Pastor Marvin and 4 students (Marisa Hume, Ford Behne,
Parker Kelly and Marissa Stewart) will also be assisting. We are looking
forward to this worship experience.

It must have been a rougher day today because all have gone to bed earlier.
Usually some will be talking as I wrap this up but not tonight. I must admit
I'm a bit more tired as well. I hope to have more time tomorrow night to go
into more detail about the homeowners and the worship service experience. As
always we are praying for our loved ones back home. You are never out of our
thoughts. Thanks to all for the continued prayers. Good night and may God

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mosey Monday

Mosey Monday.

Looking out the window at 6:00 AM and the skies are gray and a cold rain is
falling. It would be so easy to just pull the covers back up over my head
and drift back to sleep. But this week that is not what it's about. It's
about a call that you can't really explain. It's about a feeling that you
are some where that you are suppose to be but you're not always sure why.

Struggling off the air mattress. Feeling for your shoes in the dark. Trying
not to wake the others in the room as you get dressed. Heading out of your
warm building into cold drizzling rain to the next building to start the
day. The sound and smell of the coffee brewing (refer to yesterday's email
to know my feeling here) as you get the stuff in the kitchen ready for the
team. Soon others are following you. Some dressed for the day while others
are still in their sweats and one is even in a pink fluffy robe. Everyone
gets their breakfast items. Some have oatmeal most have cold cereal. Some go
for the leftover pizza, always a good choice. The work day has begun.

After breakfast, clean up and back to the rooms to change we all gather for
the day. We break up into our two teams. Rich, Marissa, Molly and Parker will be going to the trailer to start there. The rest of us, Marisa, Megan, Amy, Cindy, Ford, Morgan and I will be doing the painting. After a quick prayer and rousing send off by Molly the teams go their way.

Our task is to paint primer on the boards for use at a job later in the week
and also to paint the walls in the Family Life Center at Henryville.
Basically it's the walls around the gym. Soon 3 other members of Henryville UMC show up to work with us. One member, Don Stroud, we remembered from our previous missions here. They spent most of the day working on fixing a water fountain in the gym that had been leaking. After that they helped us paint
the walls. Some of the pictures that are attached are of the paint team and
their handy work. Some members of my team had never painted before or used
rollers. It's always fun watch someone try new things. At first they are
very tentative then as time goes on their confidence grows and you can
really see them taking ownership of what they are doing.

The other team had gone to Billy and Kathy's trailer. Their jobs were to
work on installing a sink, relocating a portable clothes washer and to fix a
counter top. Marissa spent much of her time talking and sharing with Kathy.
The some of the attached pictures are of Rich's team and the areas that they
were working in.

The teams met back at Henryville UMC for lunch. It was good to sit back and listen to the team talk about what was going on at their respective sites. Lunch was surprising short since everyone was anxious to get back to work.

Back into the painting we returned. When all was said and done we had
painted 24 fascia boards (all sides), 20 full size sheets of plywood and all
of the major walls of the gym. We wrapped up our painting around 3 but the
clean up (wash brushes, pulling off the blue tape, getting up drop cloths
and getting up spots) took about 30 more minutes. It was obvious that we
were tired of painting. Fortunately being in the building where we are
staying it was a short walk back to the rooms for a quick power nap for

Rich's team rolled back into the church around 4. They too had wrapped up
what they could but needed some more plumbing supplies so they took a trip
to Lowes for them.

Those that were awake got their showers. A few of us sat around discussing
the day's activities while waiting for our showers.

Dinner tonight was being provided by some members of Henryville UMC. It was
homemade chicken noodle soup and a delicious homemade lemon cake. To go
along with this we sliced up some of Regina Hux's bread that she had made
for us and toasted that with cheese on it. Once again no one went hungry.

Our devotions tonight were lead by Parker and Ford. It was from Mark 2:3-5.
The story of the friends bringing a man to Jesus and having to work together
to get him there. Their theme was teamwork and how that was going to play
out for us this week. How we as a team were going to need to work together
to get what needed to be done accomplished. Ford and Parker then had us go
out into the gym and work together to move the team from one point to
another by only using so many body parts. It took a little while of us
discussing various steps to take. One of those was for Rich to carry two
members across on his shoulders. Needless to say some of the girls' faith
was tested this evening. We eventual got across the gym floor. After some
good laughs we discussed that it took us working as a team to accomplish our

During the team meeting I asked how all thought things went on day one. All
had good things to say and were positive. Ford said that he was glad we were
able to do the painting at the church as a way to give back to them who have
given so much to us. We all agreed. Marissa spoke up about spending time in
fellowship with Kathy and encouraged all to talk with her and Billy
tomorrow. One of the things that is stressed in the UMVIM training is that
it's the relationships with the people are far more important that any other
work you will do on a mission. It is apparent that relationships are being
built already. The Holy Spirit is truly moving in our midst.

Tomorrow the whole team is going out to Billy and Kathy's. There is still
some work to be done inside but a lot more to be done outside. We are hoping
for some warmer weather. It only got to 32 here today. While yes it was
colder back home 32 is cold for Alabama this time of year. I am looking
forward to meeting Billy and Kathy and spending some time with them.

We are praying for all back home and hope that all are safe and warm with
the recent snow. We thank you for your prayers and support while we are
away. Please continue to be in prayer for the mission team, the people that
we will be serving as well as the people that are serving us.

Goodnight and may God bless!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Let you light shine into this world!

Let your light shine into this world!

Coffee! One of if not the greatest drink invention ever to benefit mankind.
Surprisingly enough someone had already brewed 3 pots of this warm elixir of
morning life by the time we got over to the kitchen at 7AM. We never
could find out who this angel was but God bless them!

After everyone finally got up, some had slept for 10 hrs, we gathered for a
quick breakfast. Henryville UMC has an 8:55 service. This is followed by a 9:45 Sunday school and then the 11AM service. At their coffee fellowship
before Sunday school school we started seeing more faces that we remembered and
that remembered us. It felt good to see so many people that touched us 2
years ago. It was nice to see Mildred again. This was an elderly lady who
brought us snacks last time and wrote us a very moving note. The team split
up and went to various Sunday school groups. Some of the ladies went to the
young kids' class (grade 1-6) while others went with the Senior high kids.
Rich, Parker, Ford and I stayed out in the fellowship room with Pastor
Marvin and his wife Kim and just talked. Mainly about the works of today's
church. It was a good prelude to his sermon. The worship service, like in
the past, was spirit filled and at times emotional. The message was on
Matthew 17:1-9. Pastor Marvin basically challenged us all to bridge the gap
between the church and the world. He stated that the world will base the
message of the church by our actions. One of the lines that really caught my
attention was when he said that instead of preaching believe in Jesus or
you'll go to Hell we should teach believe in Jesus and experience Heaven on
Earth. At the end of the service Pastor Marvin called the team to the front.
Then he called the entire congregation up to surround us and lay hands on
us. He said the benediction and we hugged and shook hands with most of the
folks there. While we were up front talking we learned that most of our
evening meals were going to be provided for by members of the church. We
were also asked to take part in the Wednesday night Ash Wednesday service.
As we would hear later in our nightly team meeting several of our team
members were moved by the sermon and the congregation and how they felt the
Holy Spirit moving today.

We left church about 12:30 and headed for Bruce's. Now Bruce's is a local
diner that we have visited the last two times we have been here. It is all
you can eat good old down south home cooking. All that topped off with
homemade banana or peanut butter pudding. We discussed about walking back to
church after this.

When we finally got back we split the team up. One group went with Rich and
Pastor Marvin to check out the job sites. 4 of the students and I went to
get some supplies for the week. Through the generosity of all back home we
didn't need to buy a lot of items. We headed out for our Wal-Mart run
(what's a mission trip without a Wal-Mart). We got our items (a long with a
few souvenirs) and headed back. The plan was that once the team was back we
would head out to a local park and enjoy the warm temperatures. It got up to
72 today!

Once back at the church we unloaded then got into one of the church's 15
passenger vans that they have loaned us and headed for the park. Now
Guntersville has this giant lake that goes through the town. The park we
went to looks out across the lake. One of the pictures attached shows the
sunset at the lake. The other picture is of the team hanging out on some of
the playground equipment. It was taken by a man who was there with his two
kids. When he asked us who we were and why we were there he was very moved
and kept saying "God Bless us" for the work we were doing.

After we left the park we headed to get pizza. While we were waiting for our
pizza to bring back to the church we decided to play a game. Now on the way
down the ladies in my vehicle played this game called ABC. Basically what
you did was to have a category and the say a word that started with a
letter. Then the next person would say the word you just said and their word
would be with the next letter. This would go on and on until all letters
were used. We this time our world had to be a biblical word. It was fun to
see how well you could remember what was said and to see how creative you
could be. This took almost the entire time for our pizzas.

We got our pizzas and headed back to church. After eating our fill and
laughing at the way some peeled their oranges (by picking all of the white
stuff off before eating) we headed off for our nightly devotions and team
meeting. Marisa and Molly had tonight's devotion. It was based on 1
Corinthians 12:12-31 the body of Christ. After reading the scripture they
had each member say what they saw in the other members. It got to be a very
emotional time of sharing about the strengths of each member and how that
member has helped other members of the team. It was a powerful statement of
how we with our many talents and gifts come together to form the body of
Christ. After this I asked each member to share a little about what they
have experienced so far. Here is what each shared. Rich>the worship and the
welcoming by Henryville UMC.  Amy>the welcoming and worship and the trusting
of the church. Ford>the hospitality and Pastor Marvin. Megan>overwhelmed by
how welcoming the church is. Marisa>Loves the people here and Pastor Marvin
makes the Gospel real. Molly>just as good the second time around. Looking
forward to the opportunity to bring the light out. Marissa>working with the
young girls in Sunday School and how welcoming everyone is. Cindy> the
choice to go to any of the Sunday Schools and help along with the worship
service. Parker>excited for the week ahead. Morgan>the chance in Sunday
School to talk with the Senior High kids about college and the worship and
to see the jobsite. Jeff> excited and blessed to be here with all of the
team members.  I gave out to the team members cards that folks at Farmville
UMC wrote as notes of encouragement to each team member. Thank you for all
that gave of your time for this ministry.

We then got into our jobs. On Monday they are calling for rain here at least
through the morning. So we are dividing the team up. Rich will be taking 3
with him to work on the inside of a trailer. They are hoping to work on
relocating a washing machine, working on a sink and cabinet along with
replacing a counter top. The rest of us will be at the church painting some
boards that will be used as fascia boards and soffits on a house later in
the week. If the weather breaks in the afternoon the whole team may be going
to the trailer to do some major brush removal before we can do the outside
work. We will report on these and on the homeowners tomorrow.

The Holy Spirit is truly moving through the team. The hospitality and warmth
of the Guntersville and Henryville UMC is awe inspiring. Several members of
the team expressed sentiments that past teams have shared about here. That
is the people here are so welcoming and thankful that we are here and we
haven't done anything yet.

All have gone to bed. It is 11:25 as I wrap this up. Tomorrow starts a
new day and another day to see what God has in store for us. We are keeping
all at home in our prayers. We thank you for your continued prayers. I am
looking forward to sharing more Tomorrow night. Good night and may God

Sunday, March 2, 2014

We're Here!

Molly's view as they travel to Alabama!

We are here!
 Pictured are Morgan, Amy & Marissa in Alabama! (stolen from Amy's FB page)

We drove into the parking lot at Henryville UMC at 4:00 PM Central Time. Pastor Marvin McCormick and his wife Kim were there to greet us with welcoming smiles and big hugs! In some ways it felt as if we were home again.

The day started out with everyone arriving at Farmville UMC parking lot at 6:00 AM. After greeting all and getting packed up and our first full team picture we loaded up and headed out at 6:30 AM. In preparing for this mission I had driven this trip many times in my head. It was a fun filled and uneventful trip. Except for one person missing the turn for the rest stop. Which was OK since the other vehicle went and met them down the road. Much laughter, music and stories were shared by all. Molly and Marissa kept up some chatter on the walkie talkies with their trivia and fun facts about Tennessee. Our stops were at the Shell station near Daleville, the welcome center at the Tennessee line and the truck stop at exit 369 in Farragut, TN. One of the highlights of the trip down was to watch the cell phone time change when we crossed into the Central time zone!

Once we got to Henryville UMC we unloaded then started the arduous decision of where to eat dinner.  After much debate and riding around Guntersville we located a Cracker Barrel. Most folks got breakfast. I guess they are planning on sleeping though breakfast tomorrow so they would eat it now. 

I lead the devotion tonight. It was based on John 13 where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. I explained that I learned about this growing up in the Church of the Brethren. I shared that we are all servants. We are here to serve the people of Guntersville and Marshall County as well as each other. It was a moving time to see each team member kneel down to wash each others feet.

We are all pretty tired yet very excited about this week and what God holds in store for us. We are praying for all back home and we thank you for your prayers for us. We thank all that wrote us notes and have provided us with an abundance of snacks. We miss you all!

I hope to write more tomorrow after we have visited the homes we are to work on. Good night and may God bless!

Insert from Jenn Kinne:  I saw this post on Facebook Yesterday and thought it was the cutest!  "Well, it's now 2:40 for the second time today! Central time zone. We're quite amused. We're almost in Alabama!" ~Amy Moore

In Christ,

PS: Richard, we will try and save you some GORP!