And then …….. it snowed. After we had seen the daffodils in bloom and the magnolias in full colour, we got a few inches of snow and life in this area of North Carolina came to a standstill. However, the pristine whiteness of the snow was only to be enjoyed for half a day for once the sun came out, all the snow melted away.
This past Sunday our group went to the Christian Reformed Church in Terra Ceia. A small congregation but with a service so very familiar to us. We were invited to stay for lunch and what a feast it was. It was so good to connect with people over a meal and to hear their stories of how they started many years ago in this area of North Carolina. Mostly these people were dairy and crop farmers but now some of them are using their lands for solar panels. And of course in our conversations there was the favourite “Dutch Bingo”. I’m sure you know that kind of Bingo – “so you are from Ontario, do you know…..?” Yes, it was great fun and when we left we felt we had made some new friends.
This week we are again working at Lawrence’s double trailer trying the get the waterlines hooked up and John was under that trailer a lot to connect everything. In order for the inspection to take place we have to have the waterlines all connected — no leaks. We also need to have one toilet working, one faucet and sink working, one stove hooked up, and steps out the front and back of the trailer installed. When that is all done we can call the inspector and once passed inspection we can finish the rest of the trailer – install kitchen, bathrooms etc. At Mike’s place, the team is almost done and ready to move to the next house. At Ms. Jones’ trailer we have the drywall installed and now the team is mudding the drywall, a lot of mudding.
While working on all these sites we realize how many “ordinary” everyday things we take for granted. For example we find it very normal to have a toilet close-by but often at our job sites there is no toilet and our teams have to go to a close by gas station or corner store. The team working at Ms. Jones’ trailer came home yesterday overjoyed – they had received a Porta-Potty on their property. Ah, yes, “the things that make us happy”!
John and I continue to do a lot of running around to Lowe’s and other hardware stores to pick up supplies for the teams. We are starting to get to know some of the people that work there. In general, local people are beginning to recognize us as the “green shirts”. They often stop us and want to talk to us about our work or ask us how they themselves can be on our list for assistance.
It is our prayer that besides seeing our “green shirts”, people will also see in us the love of God that motivates us to come here. We are God’s hands and feet and it is remarkable how God uses us to help a few people at a time get back in their homes.
Please continue to pray for our volunteers and for the homeowners. Pray for John and me as tiredness is starting to set in, that we may have the strength and endurance to finish these last weeks well.
Next week we’ll have one last story – will you come along?
John and Marguerite Ridder