(Point of clarification: The days 1-4 in my blog titles refer to the actual work days on the trip. The length of the mission trip is actually eight days, going from Friday, July 30th to August 6th.)
As I wake up on Thursday morning, I am excited to return to the Habitat work sites for one more productive day. But I am also sad because I know this will be our last day working with Ryan, Chris, Tom, Steve, and Katie from the Habitat crew on the four houses we have been focusing on this week. Habitat for Humanity has such an amazing mission and ministry to communities across the globe (they are actually called Habitat International) and it has been an honor working with them in support of those affected by the Katrina disaster.
I have to admit that it was a bit harder to get out of bed this morning. I am definitely beginning to feel the effects of the extreme heat and humidity. When you have to work and live in it for 10 hours each day, it can just drain your energy level because of how hard the body works to keep itself cool.
Today, we worked with Chris to continue building a porch for the side of one the houses. We completed the foundation for the porch, dug out the footings, laid down the support beams. and poured in the concrete to set. Then we finally put up the permanent railings for the porch. Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to build the stairs leading down from the porch -- that will be the job of another crew.
We also put up all the railings for the large front porch of that same house - they place where were have been eating lunch all week. After three coats of white paint, they look marvelous! We also did touch-up painting on the exterior of the house were a previous crew had missed spots.
We also had teams working on two other houses today. In one house, we put up window frames on almost all the windows of the house. In the second, we did all the work to hang doors in all the rooms of the house.
Let me say right now, that our Van Group was the best! In fact, both Van Groups at Habitat were just awesome and it was a real pleasure getting to know them and working alongside each of them. I especially want to recognize my Van Group: Andrew, Gina, Russ, Ellen, Matt. and Shelley. We were a great team and we really enjoyed one another's company on this trip. I could not have asked for a more awesome team!
Our workday ended at 3pm. And while we were sad that we couldn't come back for one more day, we were all very pleased with what we were able to accomplish in these four days. We were working in the same neighborhood as our mission trip here in 2010, and were so satisfied to see that the three houses we worked on during that trip are complete and occupied by families! How awesome is that!!?
We ended Thursday with a trip to Sonic for Sonic Blasts, chocolate malts, and similar yummy things. After which, we all went to the Beach in Lakeshore for some well deserved play time! It was kind of different to swim in a lake that felt like bath water (it was really warm water).
Dinner was next on the agenda, followed by a final worship gathering where we got to listen to the pastor of the Lakeshore Baptist Church speak to us about how Katrina affected the lives of those living in Lakeshore (no one's homes survived) and to the church itself (nothing but its steeple survived).
He shared with us how our presence, service, and ministry is a consistent source of comfort and hope for everyone who lives in this area. Even six years after Katrina hit, there is so much yet to do to rebuild communities and lives. And how awesome it is to see God's providence realized in the actions of Christians from all over the world who take the time to come to Mississippi and New Orleans to offer help and support.