I’ve been meaning to get back to this and write some more about the Disaster Relief Mission I just returned from with my students in Bay St. Louis, MS. It was such an incredible time to meet new residents and work on their homes. God provided us some beautiful weather to work in during our time there.
The first home we worked on was for a sweet elderly lady who was waiting for her new home to be built. She and some of her pets survived the storm, but her home didn’t and she was starting over. We were the team that was prepping the foundation for a stilt style home – so that meant digging 2′ square holes 3′ deep… and we had to do 12 of them.
Not bad work with an auger, but a little tougher with just posthole diggers and shovels. Much harder work after you hit the water table after only about a foot. Digging mud isn’t fun. Apparently one of my leaders likes to take pictures of my backside. She’ll remain nameless.
Sheet rocking was next as we had the opportunity to work on a home that would be occupied by a single mom with one child and one on the way. It was a tiny home, which made maneuvering with 12′ sheets pretty tough. Unbelievably we were able to get 80% of the home done in 2 days. It took alot of prep work by removing the old paneling, nails, a gazillion staples and then hanging some new insulation. Some of our team even worked outside our assigned job and started cleaning up the yard and landscaping.
Our final project was a roofing job. We were on a 2-story roof with the task of removing the blue roof (you see alot of blue roofs still down there) and the stripping shingles and nails and laying new paper. Fortunately, even though it was high, we had a good pitch to work from. It wasn’t quite the view and weather I had roofing on a mission trip in Seattle overlooking Puget Sound a few years ago, but again, God gave us some great weather. Being on a roof pulling nails does something to you when you don’t have music to listen to… so to pass the time we sang every song we could come up with, but inserted the word “roof” or any other roofing term. Needless to say, we were definitely “bringing roofing back.”
Loads of hard work, but I didn’t really think about it. Well, at least not when I was working. I was thinking about it more at night in the bunkhouse with a truckload of snoring old men that sounded like jackhammers working a street somewhere. At 2:30 in the morning when you can’t sleep due to the loudness you tend to notice how sore you are, how the mattress you are sleeping on feels like a 2×4 and how much you wish you weren’t a light sleeper.
I walk away from these trips really struggling with the concept of ministering to the least of these. It’s easy to go somewhere and help for a period of time, but does my daily life match my life “on mission.” I just pray more and more that I would be able to see people through the eyes of Christ. And I want to invest in things that will last… things that a storm can’t take away. To know God’s Word and to give it to others is investing in eternity… that’s where I want my investments to end up!