Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Ripple Effect continues

The work on the house continues.....Easter weekend saw volunteers install the trusses and the following weekend, the Home Builders Association helped out. I continue to hear from the folks in Kilmarnock about the good that has come from our visit. It has energized people!

The following was printed in the Kilmarnock paper this week, highlighting more involvement from the local community!

God is at work here!

Home Builders Association partners with Habitat

Members of the Home Builders Association of the Rappahannock volunteered their time and efforts to assist in building Lancaster/Northumberland Habitat for Humanity’s 10th house Saturday, March 29.

“It is our turn to share our success with the community,” said Ron Herring, builders association member and owner of Home Crafters.The nine members from the association included eight builders and one electrician. The members sheathed and papered the roof and gable ends, built and installed the gable end overhangs, and installed rake boards. Inside the house, they nailed on hurricane straps and installed wood to recieve dry wall.Lamberth Building Supply in White Stone donated 4’ by 8’ sheets of OSB board and also donated the use of a boom truck to lift the boards to the roof. All of the work was finished in four hours.The association has volunteered further to partnership with Habitat by helping to find materials, and by donating their expertise, knowledge and time in building the next house.“The Home Builders are looking forward to their next experience with Habitat,” said association president John Hendrickson.

Lancaster/Northumberland Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers for committees and construction. To join, visit, or call 435-3461. House construction takes place each Tuesday and Saturday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Canadians arrive to help build local Habitat House

This is the article that was in the Rappahannock Record on March 20, 2008

Canadians arrive to helpbuild local Habitat house
Lancaster-Northumberland Habitat for Humanity hosted a missions group from Canada March 9-14.

The group of 17 people traveled hundreds of miles from Kanata United Church outside of Ottawa in the town of Kanata, Ontario, Canada, and arrived in Kilmarnock to assist Habitat with building its 10th house.

Seven teenagers and 10 adults came in hopes of building a bridge between the two communities and having their efforts leave a lasting and meaningful impression, said trip organizer Susan Maslin.

Eileen Hepplewhite was the minister traveling with the group. The participants represented a diverse group which included a veterinarian, politician, stay-at-home mom and remodeling contractor.

The group has an annual mission trip through their church and chose to come to Kilmarnock. This was the church’s third mission trip, but the first to Virginia. Previously, they have been to Tennessee. Their mission search began with the desire for a warm climate. While the group was in Kilmarnock, Kanata was experiencing a near record-breaking year of snowfall. They contacted several small affiliates of Habitat by e-mail and Lancaster-Northumberland Habitat responded with a welcome invitation.

Habitat for Humanity building supervisor Herb Fowler prepared for the group in advance by having tools and materials organized and ready each day. “I’ve never had to find work for 18 people before, but I could not have asked for a better group to work with.” said Fowler.

The guests put on joists for the first floor, subfloor and framed the inside and outside walls of the house. By the fourth day, the group had completed enough work on the house that it was time for the roof trusses. However, the trusses had not arrived yet. So they began working on the front porch, back deck and shed. Each of the missionaries signed their name to an outside wall of the house.

The Northern Neck community supported the group by providing dinners and lunches including the Lancaster-Northumberland Habitat for Humanity board, Irvington Baptist Church and White Stone Baptist Church. Several businesses also donated food for the group including White Stone Wine and Cheese, River Market, Subway, Tri-Star and Pizza Hut. Habitat for Humanity board member Mary Summers coordinated all of the meals. While visiting, the Canadians took a day off to visit Jamestown and Williamsburg. They stayed at the Kilmarnock Holiday Inn.

On the final evening of their stay, the group presented Lavonda King, the future homeowner, with a quilt for her new house. The quilt was made by ladies of Kanata United Church. King expressed her gratitude for not only the beautiful quilt, but also for the willing efforts of helping her dream of home ownership come closer to reality.Habitat for Humanity is greatful for the time, work and commraderie of the group, said Summers.

The current house under construction is on Pond Park Road near Lancaster Primary School. Habitat is looking for volunteers for construction. Volunteers do not need to know anything about construction to help.Volunteers also are needed for various committees and activities. To volunteer, visit, or call 435-3461.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Back...Safe and sound

Got off to an early start Saturday morning. The sun continued to shine most of the way but we did hit some light showers and fog on our way north. Snow didn't really start to show up until we were north of Syracuse. We all commented on the size of the snowbanks as we drove into Kanata and couldn't see down March Road since the large snowbank was in our way.

Folks were waiting for us when we pulled into the church parking lot. The vans hardly stopped before the young people were out telling their parents about the weeks activities. Everyone grabbed their stuff and with hugs to all, we all made our separate ways.

It is now our responsibility to carry on the mission of Habitat by sharing our stories and also encouraging others to get involved.

This is not the end of our blog. I will continue to add pictures and progress of the house as the construction continues. Kanata United Church will always be a part of this house. We thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ends bring new beginnings

It's hard to believe that this was our last day on the jobsite. There were three main tasks on our to do list today: finish the front deck, the rear deck and the youth were going to finish getting the roof sheeting on the shed they had built. Together, as teams, we worked and completed these tasks. How satisfying it is to look at what we had accomplished throughout the three & a half days that we were on the site.

Before leaving, we gathered with John & Herb and prayed in a popcorn circle sharing the many blessings of our time in Virginia. Goodbye's were said as we sent Robert & Elise south to visit with family and friends in North Carolina, and to Peggy who was continuing on to Florida. How strange it is to see that in a blink of an eye, the community that you have built and lived in for the past 7 days all of a sudden gets back to "real-life". Everyone goes their own way and all you can do is hope that they will carry on the impact of the week as they return to friends and family, their co-workers and their community. We have all changed lives this week. Not only Lavonda & her son Jerome, but also the community of Kilmarnock and the Lancaster HFH Affiliate. John has been energized with our weeks work and hopes that when the newpaper runs a story on our trip that the local community at large will be motivated by our trip and want to get involved in their own backyards....the possibilities are endless.

We have bunked down in Harrisburg, PA tonight and will journey the rest of the way tomorrow. The weather has started to change, a little cooler and the rain is falling. The reality of the snow is becoming that much harder to put to the back of our minds. Thank you Bob for your wonderful letter and to Lisa...I hope it was okay to share your words with everyone.

We too are looking forward to being able to share our journey with our family at Kanata United when we get home.

This trip wasn't just about building a house! It was about helping others, sharing our faith and making a difference in our world.....I think we have done all of that and more! This is just a begininng for us. Everyone is wondering where we are going next year....God will guide us. Let us put our trust in him.

"Go Make a Difference in YOUR world!"

I am too tired to transfer the pics from the camera so I will put up some more once we return home.

Sheds & Decks

Today was another beautiful day, the sun shining, the birds singing and the work continued. The youth started with the shed by digging the holes for the cinder block corners. There was endless removing of blocks, leveling them and then realizing that they missed the measure therefore needing to remove and dig some more. The floor was built, the walls erected and the roof trusses were made. Tomorrow the youth will put the trusses up and put the black sheeting on the roof.

The adults spent the day getting the front & rear decks attached to the house, post holes dug which are now waiting for cement to be poured. Tom & Peggy spent the day reinforcing the interior walls where there will be cupboards hanging on the wall. Elise & Eileen moved the leftover wood to the adjacent site where they will be building the next house... starting next March.

Once again, we were hosted by the affiliate for a wonderful pork dinner. Lavonda, the homeowner, joined us for dinner and we had another chance to talk to her and find out more about she and her son Jerome. We presented her with the quilt and she was overwhelmed. Lavonda expressed her sincere thanks for us coming to help build her house. She has asked us to keep in touch with her and contact her to see pictures of the house once it's finished. Truly blessed!

As we expressed our thanks to the host affiliate, we presented Herb & John with some tools that they had put on a wish list. They too were overwhelmed as the youth approached them to give them the various tools: screwdrivers, stud finders, level, measuring tapes and a Pasalode Nail Gun with a box of nails and the propane cylinders that make it work. Our outreach continues as these are tools that will be used by many volunteers that will follow in our footsteps.

Words used to describe today include: shed, gratifying, giving, inspirational, 72 x 93 (the number of 2x4's that Elise & Eileen moved), sunshine, learning, proud. There were many more but I have forgotten my book in the room and I don't want to disturb Ruth.

We have been truly blessed to have been called to this build. The youth have been amazing, working and learning so many new skills. They would make you proud! They have certainly made me proud to be working with them.

We prepare for our last day and find it hard to believe that our week is coming to an end. Many are looking foward to coming home to family but we are certainly not looking forward to the white stuff.

Thank you to all of you who have sent comments and have kept us in your prayers

God Bless.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Missed some....

Just as I posted the blog, I realized I forgot to include the words used to describe today. These, blue skies, shopping, history, educational, home-made blueberry muffins, yummy crab cakes, community, sunshine, new shoes, eagle's wings...Thank you for your letter Kathi.

The letters I keep refering to have been written by members of our congregation and one is ready each evening as part of our nightly community time. They are letters of encouragement that help us remember that we are not in Virginia alone but that we are also here serving God for each an every one of you. Although you are not here in the physical sense, we know you are praying for us, and we are thinking of all of you in our prayers and in our daily actions.

Thank you for your support.
God Bless

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A day of rest and history...for some

Today marks the midway of the "building portion" of our trip. This was Tourist Day for some while some eager beavers decided they would head back to the worksite instead.

The 3 Amigos that went to the build site were able to finish putting up the interior walls, capped the walls and now the house is ready for the trusses. Herb is really upset that he delayed the delivery of the trusses since it would have been a great task for such a large group. Oh well, not much we can do about that. 2 decks and a garden shed will be on the building schedule tomorrow. Peggy, Tom, Robert were treated to a lunch of Oyster burgers and hush puppies with Herb & John.

Elise decided she was going to spend the day exlporing the village of Kilmarnock. Travelling up and down side roads, she did some shopping and some investigating.

The rest of the group hopped in the two vans and headed into Williamsburg to shop and exlpore the historical area. We started with a 2 hour power shopping spree at a 90 store outlet mall. Everyone seemed pleased with their purchases and I don't think anyone spent too much...there were some pretty good deals to be had! The youth have been very good with their shopping. You will have to ask them about their 7 minute power Walmart shopping trip.

After lunching at IHOP, we headed to the Jamestown Settlement where we explored the history of the area, boarded the ships in the bay and watched 2 Bald Eagles and 3 Osprey circle overhead. The adults enjoyed our visit...I think the youth would have rather been shopping. Oh well it is all about compromises. We finished our Tourist Day with a wonderful meal at a local seafood place where many of us enjoyed crab cakes and seafood pasta. The young people when to Pizza Hut.

It will be a busy day tomorrow. Hard to believe we are getting to the end of our journey. There have been some wonderful memories made, plenty of pictures taken and bonds that will last a lifetime. Our youth have been amazing and would make you all proud.

Here are some pictures of our day at the Jamestown Settlement and some other random photos from the worksite.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's beginning to look like a house

The Youth Blog!

For some of us, this is the third Habitat Trip with the church. For others, it’s a whole new experience. The early mornings, the late nights and the hard work certainly tire us out. But we keep working! This year was an interesting twist as instead of going to Tennessee we went east to Virginia. For all of us, it was a great surprise when there was in fact no snow, and t-shirt weather. Maybe now it’s more of a vacation. We started off with just a solid foundation, now two days in we have four walls up and some actual rooms starting to take shape. I think we all agreed that it was quite the accomplishment and we sure are all proud of this.

For a lot of us we are leaving friends and family behind. Lots of people have come up to ask me, “Why are you building a house instead of having a March Break?” I always answer with a solid, “Because there’s no better feeling in the world then knowing that through your own actions, you’ve changed some ones life for the better. Oh and there’s no snow.” This usually stops the questions. Hopefully because they’re proud, but it could be the no snow thing though. Along with leaving friends behind, we have all made new friends. Spending a good 15 hours in a car together can certainly speed up the bonding. We manage to entertain ourselves though, through sleep, teasing and other forms of entertainment.

Its only been three days so far, but already we have seen big accomplishments, new friendships and an awesome time. We hope everyone at the church and throughout Kanata is well! Best wishes from the youth!


Today we had another wonderful, sunny day. God has been very good to us, providing us with beautiful weather and the vast quantity of good food. Did we tell you that yesterday’s lunch was southern fried chicken? Tonight we feasted on southern BBQ which was a tasty treat.

Team work was everywhere today! As you can see in the pictures we are really coming along. Exterior and some of the interior walls are standing now. If the roof trusses were ready, we would have been installing them but alas they won’t be here until next week. Herb, the site foreman, had cancelled their delivery not realizing how much we would get done. Now he is kicking himself but he will keep us busy with the building of a small shed, and a front and rear deck..

Some of the words used to describe today: walls!, red tape of the good kind, learning, beautiful sunshine, heat, working in short sleeves, yummy homemade meals. Today we had some wildlife onsite; a bald eagle landed in the neighbour’s tree and then the women found a mouse family that was taking up residence in the insulation that they were going to use. Thank you for your letter Sally.

Tomorrow we are off to Williamsburg and Jamestown for a little bit of history and some shopping. Some folks are going to work but just a shortened day. I think we have been tiring Herb out! He is a paid staff member who usually works about 10 hours a week on the Habitat jobsite……this week he already has 16 in and has had many volunteers to deal with. Herb & John have been wonderful. They are gracious for our help and are always willing to “teach” the skills that are required.

We are following the news on your snowfall at home and have been showing the folks down here pictures from the various news websites. Do you think it will be all gone before we get home? I am sure our new skills would help in the construction of an ark.

God Bless, Keep Safe...Happy Shoveling

Some pictures of Day one

I was having some trouble last night trying to get the pictures up so here are some progress shots and the end of day one success

Monday, March 10, 2008

WOW! What a day

Early wake up call this morning. We were met at the hotel at 7:45am to be escorted to the build site for an 8:00am start.

Clad in our steel toed boots, our hard hats, tool belts and safety goggles we started to work after a quick safety talk with Herb & John, our two site foremen. The house was just a cement block foundation when we arrived. The group worked diligently together, everyone with their tasks: cutting wood to length, laying vapour barrier and insulating the crawl space, building the cross beam, putting in the floor joists…that was all before lunch. The afternoon was spent putting on the sub floor. By the end of the day we had a wonderful looking dance floor!

The new homeowner dropped by in the late afternoon and was flabbergasted at how far we had come during the day. The smile on her face as she walked up to the build site from her car was incredible. She was beaming! Eileen pointed out the various things we had done on the underside just as the last bits of the sub floor was being installed. We put in a great day’s work leaving the work site at 4pm.

This evening we were hosted by the Lancaster HFH Board for a potluck dinner at a community centre adjacent to the local golf course which was open for business. We also passed the local baseball diamond which was full of people refining their skills. Through the cool night air, the sweet sounds of the Spring peepers. We are surrounded by sure signs of spring.

Some words to describe today: Team work, inspiring, educational, satisfaction, productive, hammers, glue all over, wonder, ouch. I think some of us will find that we have muscles we didn’t know we had. Thank you for your letter Nadine.

Exhausted and well worked. It was a wonderful first build day.

Everything is coming up...daffodils

This morning we woke up to glorious blue skies. Jim opened his curtains to be greeted by a blossoming tree, and in front of the hotel was a beautiful garden full of daffodils…In Bloom. God is truly wonderful. We understand that you are all up to your thighs in snow….we are thinking of you and thanking God that we are here!

We attended church at White Stone Baptist Church in the town of White Stone, about 4 miles south of Kilmarnock. The small town church welcomed us and we shared a meal with them after the service.

In the afternoon, we went to the BEACH!...water as far as we could see. It’s where the Rappahonnock River and Chesapeake Bay come together Although a little windy (which still had a chill to it) some did take a walk along the public shoreline and I even dipped my feet in the water. The young people were also able to spend a couple of hours touring the Wal-Mart Superstore which is across the street from the hotel.

Our evening was dinner and a movie at Irvington Baptist Church where we shared a wonderful chili supper (the cilantro on top was a wonderful addition) and then watched Amazing Grace, a movie about Wilberforce and his crusade to abolish slavery. The southern hospitality was very generous.

We returned to hotel to gather for our community time which included getting out the hardhats and preparing them for work on the build site tomorrow. Thank your for your letter Ann & Murray Gordon.

Some of the words used to describe today: relaxing, adventurous, generous hospitality, signs of spring, Amazing Grace.

We talked about our construction goal of the week….we know that all there is on site is the cinderblock foundation which has been capped. We would love to be able to frame the walls, put up the trusses and maybe even get to putting on the roof. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

God is with us…we have been blessed.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Gang with all the Wonderful snow! Off to greener pastures.

We Have Arrived!

Although Mother Nature tried to throw a wrench in our travel plans, we were able to take advantage of a small window of no snow and left at our planned time of 7am.and headed south.

Slow and steady, we made our way to the border. Hwy 401 was strewn with “car”nage of the previous night’s weather with overturned cars and a couple of Semi’s in the ditch. Once the snow stopped, around Syracuse, we were met with rain (heavy at times), dense fog, dark clouds and even some sunshine! A little bit of everything really. The sunset was beautiful..filled with the bright promise of tomorrow.

We arrived in Kilmarnock at 10:45pm and met up with the others. We got into our rooms and then got together for our nightly gathering. Thanks for your letter Ryan

Looks like there will be plenty to explore tomorrow ….

“..Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” 1 Timothy 6

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

10 Days and Counting....

Welcome to our 2008 Mission Trip Blog.

Keep an eye on this page as we recount our daily events and share this incredible journey with those at home and around the globe.

I will start with a thank you to all those who have made this trip possible! Our friends and family who have supported us financially and spiritually. We are grateful.