Adult Mission Trip to Houston

February 18 – 24, 2018
(The following was provided by Sarah Douglas while participating on the Houston Mission Trip)
    JMPC Houston Mission Trip Crew
 
Day 6 & 7
 
We are now facing the reality that we will not finish. We have moved both houses forward and know that the owners will be able to move back in shortly. House #1 — Eddie and his family will be in probably the first full week of March. There are still the finishing things to do and a walk through. Several of the sockets don’t connect to a power source. The electrical team worked long and hard on this but there just are wires with unknown ends. I guess this is like life. Some of us stick out of the wall not knowing where we are going, and follow the path God connects us to.
 
House #2 has been painted now the floor can go in and everything else will fall into place. Wonderful ground work has been done and now other teams to completed the rest.
 
We went out to dinner at Rudy a place recommended by Matt. You got in line and ordered beef brisket (dry or moist) and sides of creamed corn – homemade, coleslaw, potato salad or what every you wanted. It was weighed and put on paper Pirmanti style, then place in a create that you took it to a picnic table. Most of us had 1/2 lb of Brisket (that is a lot of meat) Matt was hungry so he order 1 pound. At one point the conversation got around to second hand smoke, to which Chelsea chime in with, “I’m down wind of second had meat!’
 
Came home to footie pajama night. Cheryl, Nancy and Dottie, look so cute all bundled up in their PJs. And off to the shipping container we went. It was a short night the 30 high schoolers were heading back home to Boston on and early plane and were up at 4:30AM. Some one finally yelled for them to cut the noise, and they did.
 
Next morning, Sat, we were up and taking turns packing. There was no room for opening more than 3-4 suitcase and packing them. As one one finished it went out the door with its owner and a new person came in. The group was going to see downtown Houston. First we dropped off Nancy and Fred as they were on another flight and Sarah who’s knee was not capable of the walking.
 
God thank you for sending us. Thank you for the camaraderie and laughter. Thank you for the love we shared. Watch over Eddie and his family and the 80 year old piano player. Please don’t ever let it rain in Houston like that again. Although it did not rain for 40 days and 40 nights lives were ruined and homes were rebuilt all in your name.
Day 5
 
House #2 is owned by an 80 year old woman who plays the piano. Somehow it survived the floor. Our gang applied the first coat of paint. For some reason in both houses the interior walls have stucco applied which soaks up the paint as soon as it is put on. This made the painting really hard to roll. Fred, Nancy, Cheryl Chelsea and Dottie fought the paint but the paint won this round. It took 10 gallons of to finally get it covered. But not does it look good.
 
In house #1 – a shout out for the electric team Dave, Dan and Gary who got the kitchen living room and the main bathroom lights on.
 
Matt and Jim placed the kitchen window. No easy feat as the wall bows and leans. Actually it is a double window that to within 2 feet of the floor. Sarah worked with Brian, foreman, on finishing and trim work around the window. They made a window seat
 
We wrapped up and cleaned up early at 2:30 as Eddie’s house was being dedicated today. About 60 people attended. The house was blessed room by room using beautiful bible passages. Wish I had had my house blessed. We got to meet Eddie’s family. I think Rachel was over whelmed. The Fuller organization gave her a homemade quilt. They also had a quilt for Valerie, Rachel and Eddie’s daughter, and another quilt for Natalie… Eddie with tears in his eyes accepted the keys for his house. God blessed this house with love. Please God keep them safe.
 
As soon as the house blessing was over we ducked out the back door, so we could beat the kids back and have warm showers. Another blessing. I will never take my hot water tank for granted again.
 
Giggles prayers and sleep.

 

 

Day 4
 

Today we awoke to thunder and lightning.  We were told to expect 5 inches of rain, it didn’t happen -Thank you God. 

 

We will only work 1/2 of today and then go visit the Johnson space center. The guys were fascinated, while the gals not so much. 

Then off to dinner and laughter. The food was wonderful – real Mexican food. Real flavors, not chain restaurant interpretation.

Back to the Center – most of the time the showers were cold but the hearts are warm. Besides us there is an ecumenical group of high schoolers from Boston. The include Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Mennonite denominations. They are sponsored by an UCC church. Nice group.

We are staying at Gloria Dei Lutheran church. They have a membership of several thousand and 3-4 large buildings. Matt assured us that we would not feel lost here, since the church acts as 8 small churches.  I’m (Sarah) glad to have a home at JMPC. 

Each of us is dealing with the lack of private space differently. I have found a private space in which to write. Others go for long walks and still others read books.

Good night John boy.

 

 
NASA Space Center
 
Day 3
 

We are still working on 2 houses. We moved some of us over to the second house. A two-person team stayed at house 1. The electrical team of Dave, Dan and Gary are trying to sort out wires that come out of the walls, but who knows which switch location turns them on. This takes Patience, Diligence and Faith that they go somewhere and they can find them. The other team is the widow guys of Jim and Matt.  Chelsea is great a swinging a pry bar and breaking the glass out. Sarah revisited her former life using electric table saws and radial arm saw to make kitchen counters. 

In the second house Fred, Nancy, Dottie, Chelsea Cheryl continued painting ceilings. This is back breaking work. Then we painted walls and trim. Walls here are textured to look like stucco and soak up paint. The walls need at least 2 coats of paint. 

We are here working for Fuller Center disaster ReBuilders. ReBuilders was part of Habitat for Humanity but separated to help concentrate with disasters only. This is a world-wide organization. Our foreman is Brian and he supervises us on both houses. 

From a personal (Sarah) view point, such sadness heartache and loss has ended in hope and love. Although the past has been washed away, the end result will be a new home built with love from so many people. I wonder if Eddie will now have joy.  Brian has just hired him, so he now has a job. 

Tonight we are tired. Instead of giggles, the peas in the shipping container pod, climbed into bed, put in ear buds or ear plugs and settled in for bed. A quiet time for personal relaxation. Nice. 

 
Electrical Crew
 
Window Crew
 
Chelsea w/ Power Tools
House #2
Eddie & Natalia
The Van
Day 2
 

God – Thank you for new friends and old. Thank you for Sun and breezes…and for giggles before bed.

Today we were split into two groups; each group went to a home damaged by flood. As we drove down the street there was devastation everywhere. Homes had lots of trash in front and high water marks.  When owners returned they stripped wallboard and many still live in these homes with only stud walls. 

One house was owned by Eddie, his wife Rachel, son Erik and daughter and granddaughter Natalia. When hurricane Harvey invaded their home at 4:30am, they escaped with little more than what they were wearing.  They left by boat leaving home and cars, not knowing what they would find upon return. Eddie’s family went to a civic center. This began a life of unknowns: food, shelter, diapers, blankets, and friends. For 6 months they all slept in a one room hotel. Eddie is a gentle man who is proud that he took care of his family. Now, he is accepting charity, not an easy thing for him. 

We painted (trim thank you Nancy, Fred, & Sarah) ceilings (Dottie had a stiff neck); installed toilets (thank you Cheryl and Dottie); installed kitchen cabinets (Chelsea attached kitchen cabinet doors only to have to do it again as they were misaligned); and Dave headed a crew of Dan and Gary to figure out and work on finishing the wiring; Jim and Matt move all the furniture into the garage, then installed new window. Ask Matt about the broken window.

It is hard work but rewarding. Eddie and family will be back home into 2 weeks. 

Our sleeping arrangements are interesting. We have 1\3 of a shipping container which is 8 feet 5 inches wide. There are 11 of us in double bunks. The evening ended in a giggle fest.  Dottie couldn’t get into her upper bunk so Jim brought over the stool and things got silly. Tears of laughter flowed. We are wonderful peas in a pod. 

Hurricane Harvey – Flooded Streets
Eddie’s family in boat
Homeowner Eddie (on right) with Brian
JMPC Crew in shipping container
Day 1

Houston: God’s 2nd adventure for the 11 Peas in a Pod.

Arrived at Pittsburgh International Airport 45 minutes early and Cheryl, Dottie and Sarah went on the lam through TSA and headed for Mickie D’s. Rebellion in the ranks–we were supposed to meet prior to security. “But we sent u a text.”

We boarded the plane settled in and the pilot announced there would be short delay as the plane had a flat tire. The mechanic would come out put some air in it and we would be on our way. About 30 minutes later the pilot came back on and said the flat was so bad the would have to remove both tires and replace them. We got off the plane, enjoyed the scenic signs of the airport and got to know each other better. The flats were fixed, we reboarded the plane and two and a half hours later we were on our way.

Arrived in Houston Matt went to get the van. We waited in the pick/drop off area and waited and waited. Matt called. Can’t use the church credit card – has it has Jeff name on it. Sarah went to the car rental. She can’t drive the van. Good thing Dave came along for the ride. He can do both! Super. Dave to the rescue!!! Got through to the rest of the team and they joined us. Then, we waited for the van to be cleaned. Loaded the luggage to the ceiling and went to orientation and dinner. We headed to our sleeping quarters. A super shipping container! Like a litter of puppies, we are in bunks expecting a cacophony of snores. But, it was just a gentle night.