Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gulf Coast Mission Team Report #2

Gulf Coast Mission Trip Update – April 10, 2006

Our first day of work began early this morning. After eating breakfast and preparing our lunches, the vehicles were loaded and we headed to Lakeview at 8:30. Unfortunately, the mini-bus acquired a flat tire, so we were down to two vehicles for the day.

One group went to the home of LuAnn, a two story brick house that had flooded up to 18 inches in the second story. LuAnn’s house had not been touched since August, and it looked like everything would have to go. The first piece of furniture removed was an old piano, followed by tables, chairs, sofas and a refrigerator. Not only was there furniture to remove, but all of LuAnn’s belongings had been scattered around her house in the flood. Almost nothing could be salvaged after sitting in the flood waters. The workers were suited up in Tyvek suits with gloves,safety goggles, masks and boots. It was difficult to recognize individuals, they were so covered up. Many of the youth renamed each other and wrote their new names on the back of their overalls. Spirits are high today.

The second house belonged to Mike’s mother. Work had been started on this house, so most of what was done involved removing countertops, walls, and fixtures. The ceiling was torn out after lunch. Debris was piled in the front yard where trucks come by almost daily to remove debris, appliances and furniture. Some trees were trimmed back as well.

The day was warm and the sun bright, but the team worked hard despite the heat, the odor and the dust. They seem to be quickly recovering from the “gross” factor. We have taken over 500 pictures combined so far of all the damage around the city, as well as memories of the fun times we are having in the midst of the work.

After a long day of work, the team returned to the church at 4:30 to shower and rest. We made it through the first day with only minor injuries (one bruised thumb from an
overenthusiastic hammer and a little bit of sunburn). While waiting for showers, the youth made good use of the playground, entertaining themselves grandly.

We ate dinner together (the “healthy group” made chicken, green beans and homemade mashed potatoes) and then spent about an hour just hanging out. A trip to TCBY for
frozen yogurt was a major expedition with 22 people, but it was fun. Evening devotions rounded out the evening, and we were in bed by 10:30. The youth have been spending a lot of time talking among themselves and processing their experiences. It has been emotional and exhausting, but they have also had a good time working together. This group has bonded very quickly and works very well together. (We have
15 youth from 6 different churches).

Tomorrow morning we will get up and do it all over again! (Though we do get a little reprieve – we are headed to the French Quarter after work for some sight-seeing and dinner.)

Grace and peace,
Marianne Turner
Associate Pastor for Education and Youth
Bon Air Presbyterian Church
www.bonairpc.org
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