Biloxi 4 epilogue

You know how certain smells or tastes take you back?  I just took a swig of water from a bottle of Sam's Club (yes, leftover) while sitting at my desk at work, and all of a sudden I was back in Mississippi getting ready to put on more vinyl fascia. 
 
While we were on the way back, I asked everyone in the van to think about a couple things for the "show an tell" program we would have when we got back.  What have you learned and how have you grown?  I'll come back to that in a minute. 
 
We did have our show and tell program at Salem  last weekend.  Barb L. made a beans and rice and sausage dish.  We had to set a table and more chairs to accomodate everyone that came.  Then we did slides and everyone talked about the meaningful parts of the trip.  After that, we had rootbeer floats.  Good times by one and all.
 
What we accomplished:
Emma W's house- 
fixed code issues in electrical and air conditioning
installed closet hardware
repainted some rough spots and fixed holes we put in looking for electrical lines
replaced wrong color outlets
installed dryer vent-  created a place for the dryer to be vented
Emma can move back into her home!
 
Thomas P.'s house–
Installed doors and trim
Installed basboard trim
installed doorknobs and lock sets
installed vinyl soffit and fascia around the outside
some trim work on the front deck
painted the interior of the house-  most rooms
started putting a roof on the back porch. 
 
I'm sure the team will let me know if I've forgotten anything.
 
Outside of home repair:
Had a rootbeer float party that was pretty much rained out
Ate alligator sausage –  connected with people at a restaraunt in Long Beach
Surveyed damaged areas restored and not restored
Got to know each other better and learn about how God is working in our lives
 
There is something about being in a van with people for 12 hours at a time that you just can't replicate anywhere else.  I listened to Barbara and Bob talk politics and Rod St. and Ginger share about their past churches.  I learned that Rod St. is one of the best team players I've ever worked wtih.  I learned that duct tape makes a very funny noise when it's first coming loose at 70 mph., but get's downright scary when it's almost off.  I was very amused by Pastor Carolyn and Erin sharing a brain.  Who knew they would be so much alike?  For me, one of the most rewarding parts of the trip is the team building that happens in the van. 
 
Some people say that two years after the storm, things should be getting back to normal.  And at our show and tell presentation, Pastor Rod (aka:  That Rod-  I was "This Rod.") talked about how much rebuilding is not done.  I understand his sentiment, but having been there 6 months after the storm, it is amazing how much the HAVE gotten done, and yet more amazing, the amount still to do.  If there is any concern I have for that region, it is that people will stop helping.  At a conference I was at in New Orleans in September, the United Methodist Church estimated that there are still 31,000 people still in FEMA trailers.  These people are not in the trailers because they want to be.  They lack the resources to get out.  I think new Orleans is even worse off.  For whatever reason. 
 
A few people asked why we were going back to Mississippi instead of helping out in the flood damaged areas of Southeastern Minnesota.  The simple answer is that I believe God asked me to go to Mississippi.  We promised the people in Mississippi we would be there.  There are a lot of people in Minnesota that will help in Southeastern Minnesota.  I'm going to keep going to Gulf until God says not to. 
 
Which brings me to one last thing.  For those of you that got the emails I sent out each day, my last one or second to last or so said I didn't know if I was going to keep going on these trips.  What I learned (again) is that it's not about me.  If God says to go, I probably better do it.  He chose me for a reason, and even when there is an aspect of the trip that I don't like, it's not about me.  There are bigger reasons and God sees the whole picture.  I don't.  I have things to learn and ways to grow, in character, in skills, in faith.  I love going.  I love being with a committed team working together.  I love involving as many people as I can, and encouraging people to use their gifts for God.  I gotta quit getting freaked out by things that don't matter that much.  And I have to trust that God can use all things for good for those that love Him.  That's what I learned and how I grew.  Let's pray that it sticks.
 
Pictures from our trip can be seen if you go to http://picasaweb.google.com/rodscofield/biloxi4pics (Don't put "www")
 
So who's in?  April 19th-27th.  NOLA1 (New Orleans, LA)- 
 
 Until then….
 
Rod
 
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