We've been back almost a week now and I thought I better send out the last reports about the trip. First, though, a mighty big Thank you!!!! to everyone that was praying for us and supporting us financially and socially and everything. You are a huge part of the story and we wouldn't do it without you.
In the last email, I said that Bob wanted to do a debriefing, and that I would talk about that in this email. Sometimes things don't go the way we want them to. When you put your guts out on social media or the internet for all to see, it's easier to sugar coat everything and try to avoid offending people or making them feel uncomfortable. But it isn't the truth and I think it's worth it to be transparent.
Our team is mostly from the Upper Midwest, where things are done a certain way. We dig basements. We put ice guard on our roofs. etc. The agency we worked for asked us to do something that some people on our team felt would be ineffective and not achieve the best results. Which led to some fundamental questions about what we do and how and why.
A few years ago, we worked on a house in New Orleans that I had a hard time reconciling the "why" question. This house was half of a duplex that the owner was living in the other half. So this was going to be rental property. And the guy was a plumber. He knew how to do things. Seemed like a bad use of our time. I reconciled it in my mind by remembering that we volunteered to serve the agency we were working through. And if they thought that was needed, then I had to trust those whose authority I was under. And the same applies here.
Yes, it's done differently here. We are not in the Upper Midwest. We are in the Mid Atlantic. We voiced our concerns, offered suggestions, and they were heard and rejected. We are not the ones who live here and it would be arrogant and disrespectful to tell them they are doing it wrong. They are doing it differently than we would. Again, we are under their authority. We are in their sandbox, we'll play by their rules. I think we struggle with this because we put so much of ourselves into it. Our way was rejected, so we were rejected. After the last round of emails from Marquette, I was talking with a friend who doesn't live in the US anymore and he said, "I remember everything in the States was about being accepted… (is it still?) and if one gives any kind of criticism, then that is seen as rejection. It's actually quite shallow. "
And since then, I have tried to cognitively separate criticism from rejection. I'm seldom successful, but at least I know. So I guess the roundabout point here is that rejection of someone's idea is not rejection of that person.
And finally, we talked about the whole thing not really making sense. If you want to have the best return on your money, then maybe we should take up a collection and send it to the areas where disaster hits. Let the professional builders make some money and put it into the local economy that way. But I think that God's economy is not our economy. And what we do isn't just about rebuilding a home. It's about sharing hope. And community. And faith. And Love. It's becoming friends and sharing connections with the people in the van on the way out. It's demonstrating God's outrageous love for us by driving halfway across the country (paying over $200 in tolls alone) to dig out oyster shells and pour cement. Financially, what we do doesn't make sense. But maybe it doesn't have to.
I don't know if what we did to the house helped it in the long run. The floor feels better when you walk on it. And maybe the insulation we put up around the foundation will help keep wind and water out. And maybe the reason we went to Crisfield was bigger than that.
The drive back was pretty uneventful. It did snow while we were in the Allegany Mountains. But nothing that made driving unsafe. We were very well taken care of in Maumee, Ohio again. The people that hosted us came in gave us breakfast. We got home on Sunday night around 6:15pm.Central Time.
I didn't finish my paper, but I turned in what I had. The next installment is due next weekend. (It's a cumulative project)
Next trip that is currently scheduled is New Orleans on April 23-May 1st, 2016. If you want to come, we'd love to have you. There are five people signed up already and three or four more assumed going. That's a big start! For more info, See our event on our Facebook page: (click here for info about the next trip)
Or you can call Rod or email.
If you would like a photo book from this trip, or one of those awesome green team t-shirts, let me know and I'll tell you how much they cost.
Thanks for joining this story. Hope to see you in New Orleans!
Are you a tool?
Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
(St. Teresa of Avila)