Monday, November 15, 2010

Homeward Bound

Responding to people in need is a very natural way of showing Christian love. 

Volunteers with many talents and abilities provide valuable assistance to a community affected by disaster.

The work of Volunteers - putting their faith & love into action - helps turn the chaos of disaster into an image of hope.
This is the mind set that we have used to build our Domestic Program.  We feel that we need to help where ever we are called, even in our own backyard.

Our domestic trips are all a little different depending on the project, the team members, location and the people we serve.

Our latest trip was the weekend of Sept. 12, 2010. This was an important date because it was the second year anniversary of Hurricane Ike. Our project was in LaMarque, Texas just outside of Galveston. We had a team of 16. We all met up at 6:30 Friday morning loaded our vans and hit the road.
We were advised by our partner UMCOR that we needed to lay a portion of sub flooring, lay Pergo laminated flooring in the kitchen, dinning room, living room and hallway, repair the sheet rock in the living room and cover it with paneling, remove two walls of vinyl siding and replaced it with new 4 x 8 sheets of siding - getting tired yet?  Install vinyl flooring in the bathroom (which meant pulling the toilet and re-installing), replace a small cabinet in the kitchen, install all the base boards, caulk and paint them, and also tar the roof above the sunroom if we had time…WOW! Oh, and by the way the client is living in the house, so we have to move all the furniture around and try to stay out of their way. 

After taking a breath, the team dived in and it didn’t take long before we all where working in different parts of the house and getting to know each other and our new friends The Tagles, who live in the house. We worked late Friday just to make a dent in the project.  We left very dirty and very tired, but thankful for a full day of work and we headed back to the church we were staying at and picked up some BBQ for dinner. We enjoyed our showers with the mosquitoes in the shower trailers, a short devotional, some fun late night conversation and then off to bed.

The next morning we had breakfast casserole that was prepared by the team members, we made a sack lunch and headed back to work. The second day was much smoother, everyone knew exactly what to do and just jumped right in. We had lunch while sharing a devotional.  Afterwards, we procured the new bolt for the toilet to replace the one we lost earlier down the drain pipe, cleaned up the house and actually ended our day early.  It was amazing what had been completed.   After two years,  The Tagles - parents of 7 children & 13 grandchildren - had their home restored and refreshed and looking forward to hosting their family for Thanksgiving in their new home after 2 long years of living in disarray & chaos.

After many hugs and joyful tears we left our new friends and headed home.  When we returned home other members of drops of grace where very busy too. When I said we work even in our own backyards, I mean literally in our own backyards.  Thursday before we left for LaMarque Tropical storm Hermine hit Williamson County.  According to the Williamson County Emergency Management there were 660 Homes damaged by flood waters. Two hundred of those homes had major damage or had been completely destroyed.  Additionally, 30 businesses had been damaged, 5 of which were completely destroyed causing approximately 40 people to loose their jobs. Most of the homesowners did not have insurance, or they had a limited amount.

Many volunteers have already answered the call and helped family, friends and neighbors over the last few weeks.  There has been a lot of work done. But, like the damage from Hurricane Ike there is a lot of work yet be done.

drops of grace will be partnering with local agencies like The Red Cross, Round Rock Serving Center, VOAD, Williamson County Emergency Management and the Austin Disaster Relief Network to directly help with the long term recovery.  

Please consider gathering a volunteer work team to help families rebuild & restore their homes, or do other disaster recovery work. 

drop us a note, we will love to hear from you. 

If nothing else you now understand why our Domestic program is not just about brick and mortar or hammers and nails.  Much of what we do is about teaching others and learning from others. You don’t need to know anything about lying flooring.  Just come with an open mind and a willing heart.  You may never pick up a tool at all, you may just sit on the couch and listen to a sweet lady tell you about raising 7 kids in the only house they have ever known, or hold someone’s hand as they sort through water soaked irreplaceable belongings trying to decide to throw them away or keep them just because.  You may find yourself standing in the middle of an empty home with no carpet, no pictures on the wall, no furniture without even sheet rock just hugging a woman that you just met and letting her cry on your shoulder.

This is what we do … This is what missionaries do….. Come join us!
God Bless, Dan Rybaski

Mrs. Tagle & dogs in newly restored living room.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Story of Recovery - 2 Years After the Storm...

On September 12th 2008 Hurricane Ike began crashing ashore on Galveston Island with a vengeance. The massive storm began affecting the coastline more than 24 hours before landfall.

Two years later, the City of Galveston and the Texas gulf coast appear to be back in business and recovered. The beaches are open and full, businesses along the seawall are thriving, it’s busy along the Strand, and ships are moving in and out through the channel.

But when you get off the beaten path and look a little closer, you find thousands of families on the island and all along the East Texas Coast in need and looking for help. There are millions of dollars tied up in the bureaucracy and many of these families are still waiting for federal disaster recovery grant funds.

On the second anniversary of this devastating storm, the people of Galveston and the surrounding counties are not forgotten. drops of grace is putting hands and hearts to work and partnering with UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). UMCOR has been working in the area from the very first week after the storm and they continue to help those who may have fallen through the cracks.

On September 10, 2010 drops of grace will take a team to help some of the families in need. That team is full but if you would like to be part of future trips like this one, please contact us at

Dates and locations for future trips will be posted soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Launching domestically...

With the help of our partner organization UMCOR (United Methodist – Committee on Relief), in November 2009 we were privileged to lend a hand to restore the home of our new friend, who survived the devastation of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Where are we now?
We have been busy getting the domestic program in high gear and finalizing details to put together a program that will be ready to respond to the needs of those who, through no fault of their own, experienced loss as a result of a natural disaster here in the United States and need some drops of grace.

What does a drops of grace trip look like?
You have a heart for helping others; and we want to give you the opportunity to expand your service to those in need of help and hope. Whether this is your first mission trip or you are a veteran, the project will be planned around your team’s skill set.
We will be working alongside partner organizations that are established in the community as well as working with local home owners and community members. The work can consist of clean-up activities with basic home repairs, to complex and complete house rebuilding.
Short Term Experiences:
We are currently offering 2 to 4 day mission trips: drops of grace will handle the details of your trip from the time you arrive to the time you leave for home. You will not need to worry about construction materials or your next meal, drops of grace will provide the leadership allowing you to spend time with your team and the family you are serving.

Custom Experiences:
We can customize a domestic trip for you to any location we are working in. A drops of grace custom mission trip can be designed specifically for your group within the parameters of our philosophy towards our commitment to the communities we serve.
  • Groups of many sizes are welcome 
  • Length of trip depends on the location & the project.
  • drops of grace domestic coordinator to assist planning your trip.
What is included?
  • Pre-trip training
  • Meals & Housing
  • T-shirts
  • Materials & Tools
  • Evening Devotions (if requested)
Pricing: Costs vary, but most 2-3 day trips will be under $100 per person. This cost covers housing and meal and may vary depending on the project, the length of the trip, location and the size of the team.

What’s next?
Dates for our 2010 & 2011 trips are coming soon. Keep checking back here for more information. We are working hard on having everything in place so that these trips will be a great experience for you.

How you can help:

Current Needs:
  • Dual axle 6’x 12’ covered trailer.
  • Various construction tools to equip our trailer.
  • Monetary donations for materials and supplies.
If you have a trailer or tools to donate or fund you can contact: Dan Rybaski at