Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Pictoral Reflection

Home Sweet Home

Our last day was full of peace and quiet! Well okay, maybe not total peace and quiet....And who said travelling with teenagers was a problem? Within 15 minutes of leaving the hotel parking lot on Saturday morning, this was the view from my rear view mirror. 5 of 6 passengers "out like a light!" Maybe I could refer to them as "Sue's pooped peeps"

It was a wonderful drive home with the exception of the temperature gauge that records the outside air temperature. I watched throughout the day as it slowly crept lower and lower as we got closer and closer to home.

We did manage to get a quick hour of shopping in at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse where we stopped for a late lunch and then headed to the border. The Border agent seemed rather miffed that we had less than $150 worth of goods - "You could have $5000 worth of stuff with you!" he exclaims.

We arrived back at the church parking lot to waiting parents at about 7:30pm. No-one wanted to be the first to leave but by 8:00pm everyone was gone and I was on my way home in a very quiet van.

At church today, we were welcomed back with many questions and encouragement for what we had accomplished during our journey.

We look forward to sharing more of our stories with you on April 11th when we will present our trip to the congregation. We also have a special treat to share during Coffee Time.

Thanks to all of you who followed us on the blog, sent emails and prayed for us while we were gone. The congregation was never very far from our thoughts, for without your constant love and support, these trips would not be possible.

Until next time....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Time to say Goodbye

The last day is always bittersweet. It is a day where folks are anxious to get some last minute projects done and many are dreading the goodbyes that come.

Many went straight to the roof to continue rolling out the papers and then putting the flashing along the edges. Some continued to run electrical wires inside the house and some walked the site to clean it up and make sure that all the tools made it home with the right folks.

Stephanie, Lance and their dog brought lunch which included this wonderful Orzo salad...we all want the recipie to that one!

After our wonderful lunch, we shared communion inside the house while giving thanks for all the blessings of the week. We shared hugs and goodbyes ahd were on the road by 2:00pm, heading north.

We decided to push through the traffic in Washington (yeah for HOV lanes) which allowed us to arrive in New Cumberland, PA just as the sun was setting. The youth were able to have some pool time before we met for our final community time.

We will be on the road in the morning, hoping to get home in the early evening - will depend on the border crossing back log.

Hard to believe it is over for another year! We look forward to sharing our stories with you in person on April 11, 2010 as part of the services at KUC.

Thank you to Peggy and Tom for your heartfelt letter. We also shared emails from Kate & Richard, Glenda and Naomi.

See you at church on Sunday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Last Full build day

And what a day it was! There was lots to do and the work site was busy. Many conquered fears and others learned new skills. Much of today's work was on the roof. The day started with the sheathing of the whole roof and then the papering of the back side was completed before quitting for the day.

Folks got familiar with tape! All the joins, staples and around the windows and door covering had to be covered with tape so that there were no holes in the plastic covering of the walls. This was a tedious job but one that had to be done.

Inside, electrical outlet boxes were mounted on the walls and Joanne had the pleasure of using the drill the holes through the studs for the electrical wires.

All the braces were removed - inside and out, the basement rooms were framed, and Robert and Herb started installing the supports for the porch roof. Sue and Ruth prepared the gable end with the sheathing.

A tradition that we have developed over the years is that we write a bible passage on the house walls. This year no different and Ruth was kind enough to write an Iona Prayer that was part of our evening letter tonight. Tomorrow, we will each write out name on the house walls also to be there for posterity.

Today's work effort was incredible and the youth were fantastic. They have truly blossomed in skill and in much so that I have already caught them at two practical jokes. Well actually the same joke twice.

We are blessed at Kanata United to have such a wonderful group of young people who are so giving of their time and talents. They have done us all proud here in Kilmarnock. People continue to thank us for what we are doing - even had a gentleman pop into one of our gatherings and thank us for not just thinking about helping out but actually DOING it. We also received a lovely card from the Willis family, thanking us for our work on their house. They also brought us a gift of Northern Neck Gingerale some of which we are bringing home with us to share with all of you.
It was also the start of the goodbye's today. Leonard won't be on the jobsite tomorrow as he has to head back down to North Carolina for the weekend. He has been great to have around. Sharp witted, helpful and a real teacher, truly a gift from God on our build site.

There have been some great emails of support adn we appreciate them. It is great to know that folks are following with us on this journey.

Thanks for the wonderful letter Ann & Murray Gordon.

A day in pictures

I didn't get a chance to upload some photos from yesterday so I thought I would put some up for you this morning....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top of the Mornin'

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It was a busy day on the build site today with all interior walls being installed (they were built yesterday), some insulation in the basement, some caulking and the final stapling of the building wrap.

After lunch there a large piece of machinery arrived to help with the installation of the roofing trusses. With this specific building site, it would have been very difficult (pretty much impossible) to put the trusses up by hand. A small group continued working on this installation while another group of folks went to the local Boys & Girls Club to help out with a project there. Some of us left the build site early (not enough work and too many spectators) and headed to the shores of Chesapeake Bay to enjoy the bright sunshine and sand between our toes.

Our evening meal was prepared by the folks at the Presbyterian church tonight - a seafood / grits caserole or pulled pork.

With alot of tired folks, we decided we would try to head to bed early.....or at least we are hopeful! Some are playing cards, others watching a movie....some already snoring away in their bed.

Tomorrow is sure to be another busy day with putting the sheathing on the roof and prepping it for shingles, drilling holes to run electrical wires and the installation of outlet boxes and I am sure there are some things to work on in the basement an outside wall.

It's hard to believe that we only have 1.5 days left on the build site. God has been good to us, and blessed us with a wonderful opportunity and experience for this week.

Thank you Maureen Purnell for a wonderful letter.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God is Great!

Today was a glorious day to build a house! It started out a little grey but as the day wore on the sun burst forth and by the end of the day folks were working in t-shirts.

The build site was buzzing...or maybe I should say banging with lots of work being done!

A picture is worth 1000 here are a few.

We headed out to the edge of the Rappohannock River for dinner tonight with the Willis family. On our way out there, we had to drive through a very small place, but we felt right at home and felt moved to take a photo to share...

We presented them with the beautiful quilt the KUC quilting group crafted for them and made them promise to use it and not to hang it on the wall. We also celebrated a "Big" birthday with Elise.
Tomorrow we hope to be able to get all the interior walls in place and then on to the roof trusses. Since there is a walkout basement, puttin the trusses up will require the use of a crane - that will be a first for us.

Thank you for your kind words Shelley Rose.

What wonderful things to look forward to!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It was a dark and stormy day....

Not the best way to start a build! We should really count our blessings...this is our first day in 5 years that we have been rained out. We arrived on the job site at 8:50 but decided that with the weather it would be in everyone's best interest to not work on the job site - for both safety reasons and not wanting to get soaked to the skin and cold before we even got to lunch. So instead, we returned to the hotel played a huge game of paper telephone and some ventured to Christ Church circa 1735.

The church providing lunch graciously brought it to the hotel.

After lunch, we headed out the brand new Kilmarnock Entertainment Centre and went BOWLING! Everyone had a great time. Herb joined us (he had his own bowling shoes in his truck) as did Vashti and her husband John. It was 10 pin, so there were a few balls that strayed down the wrong lane, and a few that were released too early and went backwards, but for the most part they went down the lanes and in some cases, into the gutter.

This evening we were treated to lasagna dinner at St. Mary's White Chapel, a church whose roots go back to the 1600's. Eileen and Debbie were priviliged enough to hold a chalice that has been used in communion services with the congregation since 1635 - solid silver and very large. I am sure it would probably hold a whole bottle of wine! It was truly beautiful.

We look forward to a nicer day tomorrow as we are all anxious to get started! Everyone wants to get a little more than we did the year before....which at this point might be a little challenging since plans were changed today. Only God knows what will get completed. There is no need for a shed this year as they already have one that has been donated which means there will be more hands on deck for the roof trusses.

Thanks Steve & Wilma Free for their wonderful words of encouragement.

This is what awaits us in the morning.....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What a Glorious Day

Today started bright, sunny and warm. 16 degrees to be 10am. It was a glorious day. John met us at the hotel with his buddy Leonard - they have known each other for 66 years. What an incredible friendship they have shared!

We headed to White Stone Church of Nazarene for worship this morning. We were openly welcomed and shared our stories. Thier new building was really quite interesting. They had a two story indoor jungle gym, a permanent puppet ministry, a youth ministry area that included fuse ball tables, ping pong, pool table and diner bench seats.

In the afternoon, the skies darkened and torrential rains fell for a few short minute. At 4pm we headed out to Donna Yerby's house (the house we helped build last year) for its dedication. Just before we arrived it had been hailing so the yard was covered with ice pllets It was amazing to drive up Pond Park Road and see the house completed. During the service we were invited to share and Lauren stepped forward to share her gratitude for the opportunity to share in the building experience. Eileen finished the dedication with the benediction and blessing on the food.
In the evening, some of the youth returned to the Nazarene church for their youth programing while the rest of us played a variety of games at the hotel. We had a pizza dinner in the hotel and invited Herb to join us. There were plenty of laughs and the obvious blossoming of friendships. Our youth are really quite amazing and it is a blessing to be able to spend time with them.

I hope they are all tucked into their beds as I write...who am I kidding! I know they are all looking forward to getting on the jobsite tomorrow and see what they can accomplish. We will start building the walls as soon as we arrive as Herb has already been able to get the subfloor on. God willing, we could have all 4 exterior walls in place before the end of the day tomorrow.

Thanks to Kathy & Neil Thompson for their kind words - hopefully next year you will be able to join us!

Your continued prayers are appreciated.

We Made it!

With only a few short detours, we have succssfully made it to the hotel here in Kilmarnock. One would think that driving 16 hours with 6 teenagers might be their idea of hell. I have to say, it was one of the most fun drives I have had in a long time! We played lots of "car games", multiple rounds of "would you rather" and spent the better part of two hours singing at the top of our lungs to anyone who would listen - even getting the trucker beside us to pull the horn!

The last stretch into Kilmarnock offered some fantastic lightening and some very heavy rains. That cleared as we approached the hotel and were able to unload without getting soaked. Most have hit the pillows as we have a long day planned for tomorrow and of course we lose an hour of sleep as the clocks spring forward tonight.

Thank you for your letter Tricia & Andy.

Tomorrow is a day full of promise and we look forward to re-connecting with old friends as we celebrate new beginnings. Let's see what God has in store for us!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Things seem to be coming together fast and furious. The paperwork is almost done, the shirts and safety gear have arrived and tomorrow we will have to pick up the vans and try and pack them with all the gear....that may require some fancy packing! I have encouraged everyone to pack light but you know it really isn't that easy to pack work boots in a suitcase. Ah well, we'll make it work with God's guidance!

This year we are going for a Christmas look on the build site! With our forest green shirts and our bright red hard hats, we shouldn't be hard to miss.

The journey begins....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mission Trip 2010

It's hard to believe...that in 4 more sleeps we will be on the road again to help build another house, our fifth in as many years. The 21 individuals that are participating this year include many new recruits and a number of folks who have participated before.

We welcome you to join us on our journey as we report back each day and share our stories from the build site.

This year we are helping a family of 7 which means that the house we are working on will have a basement which we have never worked with before - something new to learn about!

We are hoping that the weather will hold out for us. Here in Canada we have had less snow than usual while Kilmarnock has probably had more than their fair share. We hope we will be able to enjoy some early spring weather, God willing.

An exciting journey awaits all of us. Can't wait to see what God has in store for us this year.