NOLA 7 Days 3 and 4

Lots to cover!  
In this issue:  
1-  Meet our new home owners and read what their house is like and what we're doing to it.
2-  Howard falls through a rotted floor and gets a big gash on his arm
3-  What was accomplished at Ash Street
4-  What was accomplished at Bob's site, which is a homeless shelter, food shelf, clothes closet, and why Erin Clayton will never touch another tile again.  
5-  Why Louie took a team to start a new house today and what they got done. 
6-  What is left to do.
(maybe not all in that order)

Over the past couple days, we have accomplished much.  

On Wed, Louie's team and Howard's team combined and went to work at a new house on Ash Street.  I will call it Dennis and Josie's house (not their real names)  Dennis and Josie are living in a house that Josie inherited from her mom, but it is in very bad shape.  It was devastated by Katrina, and then again by Isaac.  The house has no electricity, no plumbing, no interior walls (just studs- and those of dubious value)  The exterior walls are –  well, something we worked on-  Their hot water tank and well water storage tank were stolen (they keep those on the outside down here.)  I haven't looked up the word for squalor, but I may have seen it.  By whatever reasons, whether victims of circumstance or victims of the consequences of their own choices, they have a pretty hard living condition.  They have a four year old daughter that has been taken out of the home because of the condition of the house.    Once the house is deemed "habitable," they can try to get her back.  "Habitable means a functional bathroom, a kitchen sink with running water, and electricity.  I assume there is something there about a roof, etc., but I can't remember.  
The house is in seriously bad shape.  It would be better to knock it down and start over.  But to do that would cost two to three times the amount to replace/rebuild piece by piece.  To knock it down would require the new structure to meet all the newer codes, which include that it must be raised off the ground a number of feet.  (sorry, can't remember how many-  maybe 8?), different/more permits, etc.   Our job was to pull out the exterior walls on two sides of the house, and replace the framing and new external siding.  Later, they will replace the roof and floor.  Some of the exterior walls had been replaced by previous teams.  We also had to caulk the seams, a few minor things, and put a coat of primer on the house.  
We tore off the back wall and replaced it with wooden siding.  We leveled a corner of the house and replaced a floor off the back porch.  While working on that floor, Howard fell through the rotted floor and got a good gash on his arm.  Mal is one of our "nurses" and ran to the first aid kit, and got Howard all patched up.   (Howard thanked Mal later by bonking her on the head with the handle of a sledge hammer.)
Part of replacing the back wall was framing out the new wall.  Dale Kimball, who is the director of the agency we are working for (The Epworth Project)  showed Mal and Mel how to frame up the walls and then put the new siding on.  Mal was ready to lead that part of the project.  
Part of blogging, or reporting, I think, is being honest about the rough times, and showing your warts, as it were.  We learned the hard way why too many people is just as bad if not worse than not enough.  We have a lot of very talented people on our team with ideas about how things are supposed to go.  Mal got Bogarted out of her position of leading the framing project by people that wanted to take over.  She got Bogarted out of her position of leading the lifting of the siding by people that had opinions about how it was supposed to go.  There were several people on the team that worked on the Ash house on Wed that left the site at the end of the day with a lot of frustration about how the site went.  The "too many cooks in the kitchen" sentiment applied.  There was power struggle.  There were harsh words, there were hurt feelings and frustrated missionaries.  I knew that another day with that many people on that site would be counter productive.  When we got back to the headquarters, I asked if there might be another site we could send part of our team to.  
And so it was that today, Louie led a team of Ginger, Annie, Diane, Mal, Mel, and Leanne on a new  site for a house that needed drywall.  We called them, "Louie's Ladies and at the end of the day, they reported that they accomplished a lot and had a very satisfying service experience.  
We also were more deliberate about praying for unity for our teams.  We also pulled a name out of a hat and anytime we felt like grumbling, or any time we noticed we were sweating or got hungry or thirsty or just plain thought about it, we would pray for that person whose name we drew.  It helped us get past ourselves and think about someone else, and to pray for that person.  
Today at Howard's site, Pastor Paul, Rod (me), Lewis, The Colonel (Carolynn), Krissy, Rob, and Ron worked on finishing the siding, some insulation work, some taking down some framing inside the house, some insulation to cover the holes, and started painting.  All we have left to do is the coat of primer to put on the house.  
Today at Bob's site, they team worked to do more tiling and grouting.  Word on the street is that they didn't have any drama.  🙂  This team has accomplished an amazing amount of work.  The floor is almost done.  They will not finish it completely this week, but they got done more than was expected.  They were late for dinner each night, but the people at the center they were at sure are grateful.  Erin has wiped off more grout and cleaned off more tiles than she ever cares to do again.  Her house, when she owns one, will probably have carpet.  
Today went much better than yesterday.  Thank you to all who prayed for us and sent encouraging words.  I love what we are doing.  
Tomorrow we are only working a partial day.  The Epworth Project asks us to cut out early on Friday because they want their tools back.  We will take a half day to go into New Orleans and walk around.  
I probably won't get a chance to write again until we get back.  Please keep us in your prayers especially on Saturday and Sunday as we drive back to MN.  I will put more pictures on the picasa site:
And you can look at our blog at  I think I will try to put this email in there, but add pictures specific to the sites.  But honestly, it's late at night and I need to go to bed pretty quick.  I may not get to it until we get back to MN.  –  
Again, thanks!

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

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