Crisfield1 Epilogue

First-  let me say to the people whose emails addresses, welcome!  I added you because you donated to our crowdfunding campaign.  It's pretty easy to not get these emails if you want off, just ask and I'll take you off the distribution list.  And a quick update, this is the last email from the Crisfield trip you donated to.  If you want to read the rest of them, you can go back and look at the blog.  All the emails are sent there, too.  The link will be towards the bottom of this email.  Welcome to the show.  You've been a part of the team.  Now you'll get the club newsletter so to speak.  It only happens a little when there isn't a trip going on, and when there is a trip, it's about once a day.  

Ok-  Now-  a few more housekeeping things:  To the people that donated to our crowdfunding campaign, I realized that a lot of people didn't pay any attention to the rewards for donating at different levels.  Well, we take it seriously so your reward is on it's way.  Kind of.  If you donated at least $20, we said we would write your name on a piece of building material going into the house.  But we didn't work on rebuilding a house….  We tore one down…  Which left us with a conundrum.  Do we write your name on a piece of landfill and call it a day?  Nope.  Not us.  Dale from Louisiana took a few pieces of lumber from the house and knows someone that is going to make it into something nice for the house, like an address sign.  We will put your names on the back of that.  For people that donated over $50, we tried to call.  In some cases, I didn't have your phone number.  In some cases, we only got voicemail or talked to a confused spouse.  If that was you, shoot me an email with your phone number, I'll call you and talk to you about the trip.  We did get most of the people and it was really fun to do!  For those who donated over $100, your t-shirts are just waiting to jump into the envelopes I bought at Target today.  UNLESS, you donated over $200 to the crowd funding, and then we have to wait until we get the picture book printed up also.  Mostly, THANK YOU for being a part of this team and joining us to help get someone closer to getting back in her home.  
Also-  I want to give a big THANK YOU to the Philos Sunday School Class and the Tuesday night small group at St. Mark's UMC in Findlay, OH.  The pulled food and sloppy joes and salads and desserts, and breakfast bakes and fruit salads and muffins were wonderful!  You really made our trip easier by not having to worry about those meals at the end of long driving days, and started us out right by not having to worry about stopping for breakfast right away.  
We got back into MN around 6:30pm on Sunday night.  It was a long and very good trip.  
The feedback I got from the team so far has been mostly good, but a little mixed.    One team member wondered why, when the equipment exists, did we spend a week tearing down a house by hand (and truck), when it could have been done a lot faster and more efficiently with heavy machinery.  I asked how much money we saved the long term recovery agency by tearing it down by hand and they said it was about $6000.  Would it have been better to have another couple bake sales and just sent down the money?  I guess I don't think so because it's not just about the end product.  
As a team, we do struggle with a balance of a few different things revolving around productivity.  Productivity vs. taking time to see the area we are working in.  Productivity vs. relationships with people.  Productivity vs. what the home owner or agency asks for.  Boiled down, I guess it's productivity vs. community.  
As a team, if we believe we are called by God to participate in this trip, then do we trust God to make sure we have the right work assignments?  Do we trust God that we are working with the right agency?  Do we trust God that we are working for the right home owner?  Earlier in the week, I talked about the struggle with being asked to do something we thought was a bad idea vs. just answering the call.  Which do we trust?  The common sense and reasoning skills God gave us, or the authority we have placed ourselves under when we work for another agency.  
So if we trust that God has called us.  And we trust that God has our best interest in mind, is it possible that God's design for our trips isn't completely about the work we do there?  I tend to think that God uses our willing hearts and hands, and that willingness yields results we will never see.  
So when I was talking to my Aunt (the same one that pointed out that the pictures link was not a good one) about crowd funding, and the frustrations that went along with that, she suggested that maybe crowdfunding isnt' just about raising money, it's raising awareness and being able to tell your story more widely.  So in the same way, maybe working on a house isn't just about getting someone closer to moving into their home.  I think it's about building community.  The community we create when 22 volunteers travel from several different states to come join people they have never met and live in cramped quarters near people who snore and have different expectations and different backgrounds and different abilities, but come together in the name of Jesus to do (hard) work for someone they have never met and may never see again.  Really, the whole thing doesn't make sense.  So would it be easier to send more money?  Maybe.  Would it be better for the economy of the area to send money to create more jobs?  Maybe.  But would it create the community?  Not the same way.  
We don't always get to see what God does with the time we are in Crisfield or New Orleans or Minot.  Working on a house is just a part of it.  Giving hope, sharing stories, and being the evidence of a loving God are a few of the likely myriad of facets involved.  I don't think we see all of them.  And I don't think we are supposed to.  We just trust God, when we answer the call, that His plan means something, and that we are honored to be a part of that plan.  I think about how some helped by donating.  Some through encouragement.  Some through supplying meals, some by praying for us, and some by thinking more about service and what it means to help others.  Everyone played an important part in this community.  
So whether it's tearing down a house so another can be built in it's space, or putting the last touches on a house before someone moves in, we will continue to answer the call.  And we are grateful and joyful about your part and presence on this team, and the call that you answer by reading this, and supporting us through words, deeds, or gifts.  
Pictures-  I put more pictures on the Picasa website.  And I added captions to a bunch that were there.  And I tried to put them in mostly chronological order.  The link to that is:  click here for the photo album on a Picasa website.  If it doesn't work, (we struggled with it earlier in the week), some people sent me requests to view the album and that worked, but I think it should all be public now.  
And finally-  Facebook-  search for River Bend Mission Team or,  I think if you click here, it will take you to our FB page.
You prayed for us for several things.  Please keep praying for these things:
Continued thanks for the opportunity we have serve Him in this awesome way
Lewis's leg-  that the docs figure out what's wrong and are able to treat it.  
Gary's dad-  health issues
The next trip
Ok-  next trip is April 26th- May 4th.  Going to New Orleans (Slidell), LA.  If you want to be a part of the team that goes to the Gulf, the sooner you let me know the better.  It is already shaping up to be a team with a lot of new faces.  Pray about being one of them.  
Get on the bus!

True faith is never found alone; it is accompanied by expectation.  –C.S. Lewis.

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