I don't want to take too much time but I did want to get to the "work" part of our trip to Louisiana. Our group was split up into three work teams, each going to a different house in Lake Charles. These houses were all working with UMCOR to get their homes fixed because they fell through the cracks elsewhere. Two of the homes had recently had their roofs repaired/replaced so we were working on the inside of the homes. The third house, nicknamed "the bad house" had major work to be done, inside and outside, starting with the roof joists. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of that one yet.
We went out to work at 8 am Monday-Thursday and got done around 4:30 or so, went back to the church and took turns taking showers and changing into comfy, hangin' out clothes. Fortunately, unlike the last time I was in LA for a mission trip, there was more than one shower, which made things much more efficitent. We had this nifty trailer, with NEVER ENDING hot water!! It was awesome.
The house I worked on had been worked by another team the week before we were there (actually probably severl teams over the course of several weeks), so we kind of came into the middle of things. There was a lot of taping and mudding of drywall, and eventually painting, in several rooms of the house (with the resident's belongings in piles in the middle of the floor covered with tarps since she had nowhere else to store it). I spent most of my time in one small bedroom where nothing had been done when we arrived. Monday we pried off the paneling and two layers of sheetrock on the walls (and insulation on the outer wall. Tuesday the ceiling came down, along with A LOT of blown insulation that got everywhere, and we began putting in new insulation in the ceiling and walls. Wednesday we finished the insulation and began hanging the sheetrock (pictured below). Thursday was finishing the dry wall and the beginning of taping and mudding. All in all, the room made a lot of progress and I have to say that I was a little impressed with myself when I managed to cut and hang a panel of drywall all on my own. Now if Trouble and I ever get around to buying our own house, I'm ready to fix it up!!
A few of the bigger insights for me on this trip:
- It's a small world in the UMC (people on our team knew Trouble's parents from when they lived here orwere related to some of our coworkers)
- There is still an overwhelming amount of work to be done - even after more than a year and a half has gone by. UMCOR figures it will be another 3-5 YEARS of work teams coming through to get it all done. Anyone up for a mission trip??
- If I was the position that some of these people are in, I can only hope that I would be so gracious and hospitable. I know that one of my issues is asking for help (I can't even admit I need it, let alone ask for it), but these people had us in their homes everyday. It wouldn't take much for me to be in a similar situation to these people (a small tornado?) and I know that I would have a hard time watching random people from across the country come and fix my house while I had to go to work and couldn't even oversee the work that was being done. God, grant me the patience, graciousness and hospitality I witnessed last week, with all who cross my path.