Friday, July 19, 2013

Photos from Day 5 (Friday)

You know it's been a tough week when this is what the team looks like in the morning before the work starts (Dan, Bob, Pete, Kelly, and Jack)

Question: How do you get this....
(Pete and a member of the New Jersey team) look like this?

Answer: by cutting down and removing all this (Riley "The Beast" from the New Jersey group, Dan and Bob).

A teenager may get wounded along the way, but the adults don't even notice (Matt, Jack, Peter, and members of the New Jersey team).  Seriously, and to calm any anxiety for Matt's parents, it was "only a small cut," as Matt put it, but he had to put on a performance for the camera.

Meanwhile, other team members removed a basement floor (Jeff, Rick, Dan).

Day 5-but not the end!

This is Friday, the fifth and final day of our Mission trip here to Jamaica, NY.  This week-we have assisted people whose lives have been and still are affected from Hurricane Sandy.  Hurricanes cut and tear down.  Whole rooftops sail, cars are toppled, tossed, and torn.  The waves obliberate the shore line and inudates streets and houses with sand.  For some, only the solid foundation remains.  BUT in the aftermath of the storm-foundations can be used for rebuilding. 

In chatting with people this week throughout the area, many have told us stories of where they were and the fear they had, we were told of unsung heros and everyday people.  This rebuilding of NYC and its surrounding communities and suburbs are still in the aftermath of this storm.  Some still have tears in their eyes as they retell these stories.  Rebuilding these communities will continue for several years as people have been forced to move elsewhere until their homes are rebuilt.  New foundations to be built and formed. 

This week-we have torn down walls, removed mold, and removed debris to help rebuild a structure that (hopefully) soon will be rebuilt and be home to people, people who have been displaced and discouraged, but not hopeless.  We assisted a lady today who had some mold problems at her house.  There was some flooring and trimming needed around her house as well.  Bushes had grown against her back fence-the neighbor behind who shared this area also needed some assistance with removal of overgrowth and some fencing problems as well.  That is what we are here for-to help those who may be displaced by circumstances beyond their control.  We have been here to assist as and where we can.  These folks sometimes just need an ear to listen.  (Can anyone say, "anyone who has ears, let them hear")?   There is a strong sense of this hurricane has beat these folks down, but life will go on.  Things will get better.  Some agencies have been formed to help those in need.  Some have turned their lives to Christ, some even being "reborn" again.  This event will make New Yorkers stronger.  Missions will continue here in the rebuilding efforts here.  The people here at First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica have taken great careof us volunteers.  People have thanked us many times over.  One of the ladies we assisted wants her daughter to go on a mission trip similar to this one.  What can we say?  We (hopefully) have enlightened folks to knowing we are Christians by our love.  We again, have hopefully improved and brightened the lives of those whom we have come in contact with.  I am sure the people we have been in contact with-they have made an indellible impretion upon us all.  Anything we have accomplished-all the glory, honor, and praise goes to Him. 

After a long day-at the office so to speak, more like what we have been doing all week in the affected areas here locally-after showers and supper, we have had devotions each day to discuss what has been going on, if there are questions, if there are disheartening feelings, what our thoughts and concerns are.  Using biblical scripture and sometimes singing along with guitar, we have all given thanks to our Creator for Him giving us all the ability to do what He has envisioned us to do. 

As we draw to a close here, please keep us in prayer for travelling back to the 'burgh.  Also remember to pray for missionaries no matter where they serve, whether it be here in the local community, throughtout the US, or around the globe.  WE give thanks to those who have supported us in any way.  We have been and continue to be blessed here.  Again, the congregations that have supported this mission in anyway, a big THANK YOU for all that you have done and prayed for us all. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day Four:

Thank you!  Thank you, Lord for all the blessings you have provided to us on this mission this week.  You have sent us great people to work along side and with this week.  The weather has been hot and humid, yet, you have provided us refreshmentsthroughout the days and a cooling off time in the evenings.  The food provided to us has been excellent, filling, and nourishing to our bodies.  It is almost time for this mission to end.  Tomorrow (day 5/Friday) will be filled with both joy and sorrow.  We will be glad to be reunited with our families and loved ones.  We will miss the camraderie of this week, the friendships that were renewed-and new ones made.  We will miss hearing the stories of the "locals" here.  In speaking with at least one individual, New Yorkers do indeed get a bad rap sometimes.  The people we have met here have been great.  Some might even say the catastrophe provided by Hurricane Sandy has pulled these New Yorkers closer than even before-working together and assisting one another.  The people we have worked for are so appreciative and even consider themselves blessed. 

We spoke to one gentleman who has become reborn a couple of years ago-even defeating a demon with God's help.  He is a recovering alcholic who is beating his addition-even referring to it as the dark side of his life.  He has now turned his life over to Jesus, and is studying the Bible on a daily basis.  Praise be to God-from whom all blessings flow!  He thanked us for all we have been doing.  Many passer-byers see us taking well needed hydration breaks do the same-thanking us for what we are doing.  We are not doing this for the kudos-but is still appreciated.  One lady remarked about her lack of understanding why we do this for free-leaving our families and loved ones at home-while we are assisting others.  She again thanked us for what we are doing.  Again, we are doing God's work-in His time, and in His way.

We have finished the work that we could do on our intial house-today was a continuation of cleaning up debris from the work that has been accomplished this week.  Tomorrow will be filled with surprise and only He knows what our assignment will be.  Doing God's work.  That's what we do on mission work.  I know there are sore muscles that will need some healing time-plenty of time for that next week.  The teenagers that have joined us on this trip are to be commended for their outstanding work.  Their parents need to be commended for bringing up their children-all have been very respectable and a joy to work with and listen to.  Their respective congregations should also be commended for their efforts in teaching these young people the Bible and its life lessons.

It is supposed to be hot and muggy again tomorrow.  I'd almost say same thing, different day, but it's the Lord's day-let us be glad and rejoice in whatever challenges He asks-and provides for us. 

Continue to pray for His blessings upon us all, for safe travels for us and for the group from New Jersey.  They have been a great blessing to us as well as to the people we have been doing the work for thus far this week.  Thank you!  And thank you, Lord-again, for your continued blessings.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Photos from Day Three (Wednesday)

Continued work on gutting the house we're working on (Hunter)

After ending work a few hours early, we took the subway to Manhattan...
(Peter, Wayne, Matt, Pete, Hunter, Dan)

for a bus tour of the sites (back of Jack, Wayne, Matt, and Myrna's heads)

Day Three-Hard work, then some relaxation.  Today work has progressed steadily.  We continue to take down drywall, and remove alot of debris from the house we have been working on.  Aches and pains, oh yeah.  We all have them now.  But we march on with a positive  a "get 'er done" attitude and continue on making sure we are all hydrated.  The suits you see in the picture-again-are VERY hot and even a little uncomfortable, especially with the heat, humidity, and the goggles constantly fogging up on us.  (I think we need that anit-fogging stuff they make for windshields).  The hardest part thus far (besides the phsyical limitations and hot, sweaty conditions-has been the waiting on the dumpster.  The driver picked up one yesterday and delivered another one.  That one is full (again) and we are awaiting another dumpster-which I am sure will be filled almost as soon as it is delivered.  With all of us pitching in and ongoing efforst continuing, the owner has requested two dumpsters-which will undoubtably be filled rather quickly-Back to the grind we go-as singing like the seven dwarfs (no, make that 14 of us) sing-Hi Ho, HI Ho, it's off to work we go...This has definitely been a mission filled with doing what we need to be doing to all of our brothers and sisters.  Showing them the love and the compassion that God has shown taught (AND commanded) for us to do.  Please continue to pray for us all as we continue on this endeavor.  And pray for the folks who have been devastated and displaced by Hurricane Sandy and for the victims and the fire and rescue persons who gave their all as well!  What a blessing this has been for all of us in participating in this Mission.

On the relaxation for end of the day notes-we took a trip via subway to the city, took a two hour double decker bus tour of the city.  For some this was a first time-both for subway rides and also for seeing and the tour of NYC.  A fun time was enjoyed by all.  We saw many sights, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, Macys Dept Store, Trump Towers, the UN building-just to name a few-many other sites were seen. Some of us have admitted being out of our comfort zones-one or two saying-country bumpkins we are and a little gun shy when going to the Big Apple.  Even though we have been tired, a great time has been enjoyed by these folks who (again) continue to deal with heat, humidity, and the uncomfortableness of these suits and goggles! 

For any successes we have, we give all the honor, glory, and praise to Christ.  Thanks be to God for giving us this time to work, be comerades in arms, and pray for each other here this week!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pictures from Tuesday (Day 2)

Mold growing (on the second floor!) from the flooding that Sandy brought.  Sorry the picture's sideways....

Tearing the walls down to the studs, which will be treated to kill the mold before rebuilding.

Piles of debris to be removed from our work.  Again, sorry for the sideways picture.

Day 2

Day 2:  July 16, 2013.  Sweat Equity:  Today the Good Lord provided us plenty of sunshine and really hot temperatures to boot.  Working in those white suits (and goggles) adds an additional layer of heat and perspiration (I think about ten degrees, and the goggles steam up to boot)!  Lots of extra water breaks were needed today to keep us all hydrated.  Progressive work has been done nonetheless.  Everyone here has been pitching in to get whatever work needs to get done-gets done!  We have gone thru two dumpesters full of materials that have had to be discarded.

Today-Stories of parents lifting babies above rooftops, people trying to assist one another in the past of the storm using whatever means they could do to help each other out-including using literal clothelines to go from rooftop to rooftop to reach higher ground.  Fires that firemen could not put out because of this massive storm and the flooding that followed as well as sand that is still in some of these structures.  Many stories to be told by those who remained behind-choosing to remain in their homes.  Some people died in their homes-including a mother who had gone to her basement to retrieve Christmas presents while the father of the house and children remained in the upper floors of the home.  This is just part of the human part of this mission.  People taking care of people.  Christians helping those in need and lending a listening ear when needed.  One can still feel the emotion felt when these people open up to us.

We are fed very well.  Last night, chicken with mashed potatoes, veggies, and salad.  Tonight we had tacos with all the trimmings.  These meals have really helped to replenish our bodies after a long day, working in heated conditions, and without electricity.  Showers are also very welcome at the end of the day as well.

Tonight we attended a prayer service at First Presbyterian Church here in Jamaica.    We just got back from the church service.  It really reminded me that we need to let us serve the Lord as he served us.  Serve the Lord with all your might!  Use me, Lord and show US your way-the way you have us do them..  Those with ears, listen and hear what He says.  Those with eyes-open our eyes to see what He would have us do-and then like the Nike commercial says, Do it!   And to open our hearts, with a willingness to serve.

Mark 3:(35):  "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother"

Monday, July 15, 2013

This is how you dress when working around mold in a hurricane-flooded house.
(Pete, Rick, Peter, Hunter)

Progress being made in gutting a room before mold removal.

Day One

Yesterday a long journey day began for the fourteen people making this trip.  The Rev Peter deVries began his sermon yesterday entitled "To see the Face of God".  We give thanks to God for all of  His blessings.  What started off was a seven hour drive from Mars to Jamaica, NY.  With construction, traffic delays and making necessary pit stops, we did not arrive here til very late last evening.  The trek was very long, but a part of His plan, not ours for sure. 
There is another group here 22 folks from a Presbyterian church located in Washington, NJ.  They are assisiting efforts in the house next to ours.  We have been sharing tools, praise, and encouragement from each other in this endeavor.  All ambassadors of Christ sharing in His efforts, and in His plans and in His time.
We went to our site this AM to begin our journey, from Mars to Paris to Jamaica.  NY, that is.  This area was devasated by Hurricane Sandy.  We are in the process of clearing a home of debris and mold.  Because of this destruction caused by this massive storm, many people in the NY/NJ area have been displaced and some are still awaiting a place to live.  This house that we are working on is one of those affected.  Today (Day 1 of this mission) most of the day was spent cleaning up debris, removing carpets and furniture, and tearing down drywall. All efforts have been productive to say the least.  I am sure that some people are sore from using muscles that they have not used for a while.  The youth here have been fantastic workers, keeping the veterans in check!  We have alot more work to do.
For some people here, this is a first mission trip.  For others, this is a second, third or forth mission trip.  Each Mission trip is unique in and of itself.  All the honor, praise, and glory belong to God.

We've Arrived!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why We're Going

Watch this video to learn more about why we're going on the trip, and what we'll be doing.
Jamaica Village Video
Thanks for all your prayers to support this trip!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From Mars to Jamaica

On July 14-20, a team of 14 people from 6 churches will travel from Mars (Pennsylvania) to Jamaica (New York) to help with the rebuilding work after Superstorm Sandy.  Under the auspices of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and with generous grant support from the PC(USA) Synod of the Trinity and Beaver-Butler Presbytery, we will be hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica, and will coordinate our work with World Cares.

Trip participants include:
Daniel Cashdollar, Old Union Presbyterian Church (Mars)
Peter de Vries, Old Union Presbyterian Church (Mars)
Bob Goossen, Crestview Presbyterian Church (Callery)
Matt Hornfeck, Old Union Presbyterian Church (Mars)
Jean Lindberg, Baldwin Presbyterian Church
Hunter McDonald, Old Union Presbyterian Church (Mars)
Pete McMaster, Old Union Presbyterian Church (Mars)
Wayne Roccia, Crestview Presbyterian Church (Callery)
Donna  Rosenbauer, Calvin Presbyterian Church (Zelienople)
Jack Shaw, Paris Presbyterian Church (Burgettstown)
Ricardo Stiefel, Old Union Presbyterian Church (Mars)
Myrna Trautvetter, Baldwin Presbyterian Church
Jeff Trump, Paris Presbyterian Church (Burgettstown)
Kelly Ward, Paris Presbyterian Church (Burgettstown)

Watch this blog for updates and daily reports of our work.

We greatly appreciate your prayers for this to be a successful trip that brings honor to God and blessing to those who are sent, those who receive, and those who send.