01.14.2019 | by Christina Robarge, Texas Missions Trip Volunteer
The first night was mixed reviews on how everyone slept (there may have been snoring that kept some up). Breakfast, however was fabulous; it consisted of homemade scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, along with all the other breakfast choices you can imagine. No one will be going hungry here this week. A wonderful family from the church here brought breakfast. They’ve been doing that each week since Harvey hit Texas and they’ve continued to be faithful throughout the year and four months that have passed since.
Welcome to the “green shirts”
After breakfast we met the rest of the staff here. Including all the site managers and Trinell, who taught us our morning devotion as well as how to go on prayer walks. She shared with us that those who continue to rebuild here are still learning their new normal. Some have lost everything, some lost only a small portion of their home but due to new regulations changing the building codes, they have had to tear down their homes and start over. Many are still dealing with the trauma of being here when the storm came. Additionally, there have been many people coming down to the area and taking advantage of homeowners. There are also many organizations that come down immediately following the storm, begin projects, but don’t stay to finish them… something we experienced first hand when we arrived at our job site.
Trinell told us that people in the area are skeptical of outsiders coming in. Thankfully, ReachGlobal has been here for over a year now and our “green shirts” are trusted here. The great thing about this organization is that they stay until the work is done – everything is done right and to completion. The organization still has a presence in New Orleans 11 years after hurricane Katrina devastated that area. Trinell also explained how we needed to keep our focus on the spiritual health of the people we meet and not how much work we complete.
Staying safe on site and from the Texas wildlife
Next up was safety training, which included all kinds of dos and don’ts when using tools, ladders, etc. The only part I really remember from this training is that we’re in Southeast Texas and they have critters. We were warned about snakes, spiders, and yes, alligators. Fun fact – I only saw one of those things today but I also saw a mouse, a lizard, and some cockroaches!
After safety training we made lunch and made our way to our home sites. Harlan decided to go work with one of the teams from Lindstrom. We’re choosing to believe he likes to meet new people and we’re not taking it personally. We have two teams in Aransas Pass and two in Rockport, which are about 30 and 45 minutes from Corpus Christi. It’s also closer to where the worst of the storm hit. Fun fact number two – gas is $1.89 here.
Meeting Dean and the Family
We arrived at our home site and met Dean, the homeowner’s son. His mom Shirley is 89 and designed the home. They hired someone to come in to lay the blocks, but Dean and his dad built all of the wooden sections. While we waited for our site manager to arrive, Dean gave us a tour of the home.
He showed us the upstairs and explained how another organization came in after the storm and tore everything apart but did not finish the work or put it back together. I could see that he was deeply affected by this, but I could also see his trust in ReachGlobal when he spoke of how different they are.
The team completed a lot today but also took time to get to know the family. Patti spent the entire day with Dean’s girlfriend Rhonda helping her with some challenging administrative issues she’s dealing with. Patti’s dealt with a similar situation before and it was clearly Divine appointment that she was sent to this home today.
Hitting the nail on the head… and shooting one through a wall
We arrived back to the church to hear that the other ROL team had spent the day working on a rental property on their homeowners land. They were flooring, painting, and siding a 300-400 square foot rental cabin. The homeowners main home had little damage and was thankfully repaired fairly quickly. Her rental property is a source of income for her, so it’s vital it gets restored so she can have renters again. Fun fact number three: Doug shot a nail with the nail gun straight through a wall (no one was injured).
Dinner, worship, and exhaustion
We had an AMAZING meal of turkey soup, prepared by Laura, Tami, and our volunteer coordinator Christina. Laura and Tami spent the day at the church helping Christina. After dinner we had a worship service (we had all missed Sunday due to traveling).During the service we went through the acronym ACTS; Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Writing through the alphabet of God’s qualities and names was a highlight. We concluded by praying for one another in small groups. Finally evening chores were completed and everyone headed to bed exhausted.
Please pray that we will keep today’s energy for the entire week!