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.

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