Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Yesterday Mrs. Pansy Brown called WLOX tv 13 in Biloxi and invited them to come and see the work that Trinity Presbyterian from Orangeburg, SC was doing on her home. The TV station came and aired the story at 10 p.m. last night- picutued above are Kenley Leslie (green shirt) who was the project manager for all 4 homes being built this week and the real heart and hands behind the work. Pansy is in the yellow shirt and the team from Orangeburg is on the top photo! It is remarkable to imagine but 4 homes will have been built to the 'dry' by the end of this week! SIDE NOTE: Pansy moved to the Bay 3 months before Katrina and lost everything. On this past Sunday there was nothing done on the home except the foundation piers set, the top photo is the stage at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
Covenant Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee worked in Mid-June in Bay St. Louis and then presented LPC with a little 'lagniappe' of their own. They brought over $1,100 dollars with them and made a shopping trip to Home Depot in Slidell, LA. When they returned they filled the tool crib with everything you see in this picture. Thanks to everyone at Covenant PCA for their generosity and kind gift. Below is a list of needs that are current at Lagniappe. If you would like to add a little of your own Lagniappe give us a call and we'd love to let you participate in the restoration in this VERY needed and tangibile way! Current outstanding needs:
- Vent-A-Hood for Kitchen
- Ice Maker
- Microwave Ovens
- (4) $1,000.00
- Janitorial (mops and buckets etc)
- LCD projectors
- Motorized Dropdown Screens
- Flat Panel Monitors
- Sound System for sancuary
- Outdoor Lighting
- Chain-Link Fencing and Gate
- 9000 sq feet of VCT floor
- HVAC for office space (including installation)
- Flooring for batchroom
- outdoor basketball goals
- Picnic tables & outdoor furniture
- Misc Kitchen Equipment
- Kitchen Refrigeration Repair
- Insulate and Panel Walls in Building
- Plywood and Panelling for offices etc
- Roof Installation
- Copy Machine Lease
- $700.00 each (15 needed)
- Computer Installation
- Phone System Installation
- Outdoor Signage
- Server for computer system
- Fuel Costs (Shell and Chevron fuel cards)
- Building Maintenance Equipment (mowers etc)
- Office Depot Gift Cards for office supplies
- Domino's pizza Gift Cards
- Delta or Northwest Airline Miles (intern trips home, and travel)
- A/C for Jetta
- Windows for Jetta
- Compressor for Astro Van A/C
- Sams Wholesale gift cards
- Temorary Office Building
- Carpet in New Office
- Handicapped Bathroom finshing
- Finishing out Offices (pastors study) / Bookshelves etc
- Laser Level
- Lighting & Fixtures for offices
- Parking Lot improvements
- Postage Meter
- Printing Supplies and costs
- Outdoor Garbage Cans
- fire extinquishers
- travel trailers
Sunday, June 25, 2006
It is Sunday afternoon in Bay St. Louis. We had worship this morning with the teams staying at Lagniappe and then enjoyed fried catfish, hushpuppies and slaw. Several Bay St. Louis residents joined us this morning including the Bradford family who has one wall up on their new construction- unreal. It is amazing to see the visible answer to prayer. We were able to tell the EPC general assembly on Friday that their funding was being used to complete the foundation of the Bradford home. What an encouragement to be sitting and reporting to brothers and sisters in a sister denomination that their funding was being used to complete a foundation on a home with labor from OPC churches working on the Coast. Cristendom could learn alot from the coast- the Kingdom is bigger than one church or one denomination. Narnia is indeed thawing.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Jean and I are dead on our feet. I know the BSL folks would argue, but standing up all day shaking hands and telling people the story of Lagniappe has worn me out. I have never been this tired from a "trade show" but the PCA and the thousand people I've talked to has been both refreshing and tiring. It's great to see old "brothers and fathers" like Palmertree, Habig, Sessions, Duncan, Jordan, Downing and soo many more...and I even shook Tim Kellors hand in an elevator. The kingdom is so big. We are trying to raise 1 Million dollars this week for the ongoing work at Lagniappe. Tomorrow (in 13 minutes it will be tomorrow...) we are going to the EPC GA and will meet many people there. We are at the HO-JO motel in Rome Ga, and will be waking up in 6 hours. The desk clerk said "6 AM is too early, you should sleep till 7..." If he only knew, I'd love to sleep till 11. The Kingdom is so much bigger than I ever imagined. I don't know why it suprises me, but somehow it has been made more clear in my mind than ever. Jean fell asleep watching fox news, I had to blog, you guys need to know what is going on. Talking to Conrad on the phone today, it sounds like things in the bay are going really well. No panic stricken phone calls all week. Miss you guys. We'll be home soon. Pray that we'll be functional tomorrow. I know we'll still be tired, we are picking up JLF IV in Birmingham tomorrow night or Saturday and we'll be headed home ASAP. Hope ya'll have a good night.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The day picture is the view out of my office at 2 O'clock this afternoon. If you will notice the bunkhouse in the background, trusses are still being put up. Another picture is of the folks staying in this bunkhouse tonight. We are at capacity with the six bunkhouses that we now have available, one of which was finished at 10 o'clock tonight. Teams worked on this all day long. We had two teams framing up the bunkhouse, another team that came in and put hurricane straps, insulation, and Tyvek up and finally the team that needed to stay in the bunkhouse tonight came in and pushed through to finish this project so they could sleep. Welcome to Lagniappe, could you go work 8 hours to finish your bunkhouse so you have a place to stay. That doesn't even cover our electrical team that stayed up until midnight last night to finish wiring the place so they would be out of our way and make all of this work possible today. All the teams have been incredible and more than excited to help us accomplish our needs. Dave and Eric, two of our interns, along with James, a high schooler back to help us from and earlier trip, took alot of the responsibility and coordinated and made this happen while I was able to shoot out to Gulfport to get some shoes that were needed ever since unloading a truck full of rotten chicken. Work went on until 10 o'clock tonight to make this happen. This is just the beginning of what has happened today. We have 3 teams totaling about 40 people working on foundations for 3 homes we are hoping to build next week. They have been digging and working hard out in the hot sun with now shade for this whole week to get to the point where the next step is concrete. Unfortunately, we could not get concrete until Monday. Conrad and myself went over to the plant and Conrad laid it out that we needed help to accomplish our goal. We had to get concrete set so our team next week from Orangeburg could frame up these three houses and we could get moving on these families homes. While talking to the dispatchers at the concrete plant things didn't look good seeing everyone is so booked for work down here. As we were there their headquarters called and they handed Conrad the phone instructing, convince this guy and you can make it happen. Conrad told who we were, what we needed and about these families we were helping. We got concrete, this means our teams slaving all week in the sun are able to see their projects to fruition, we meet our deadline enabling our Orangeburg team to frame these houses, and my worst fear of teams not having work for the day was averted. As Jean says God is only as good as His last home run to us. God continues to provide over and over for us and we get in a tough spot and we still worry. God provided more than ever and this may have been one of the greatest days I have had at Lagniappe. It was day of many first that I was blessed and excited to be a part of but just a few more stories in a long list of blessing and provisions that He has provided for in our short existance. I can't help but weep and smile while writing about this. And still on top of all of this I had a team take our problem of not having enough mattresses for our volunteers tonight, go out and find what we needed and provide what we needed for our remaining beds. A volunteer also spoiled me and took care of my dire need for new shoes. And again still on top of this we had a gutting crew, electrical work, shed teams, 9 more shed teams dropped off, visiting with residents in the community, and on and on go on. As Curt believes, God is not providing all of this and filling all of our physical needs to not see spiritual needs met and see His kingdom advance in Bay Saint Louis. Please keep praying for the people of Bay Saint Louis to know this God that provides for us folks who are not OK and advances His kingdom inspite of us. This blog is long and full of many run on sentences I'm sure but moral of the story is God is good, God is sooo good.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Jean, Curt and I are in Atlanta at General Assembly. I've never been to GA before, but it was pretty interesting. I know many of you wonder what exactly we are doing down at Lagniappe. I'll give you a bit of a blow-by-blow of today. Scheduled Departure time: 5:00 AM. Wake up 4:30 AM. Packing and last minute preperation (so I thought) 4:45 AM Text Jean and see when he's coming 5:00 AM Call Jeans phone to see where he is. 5:15 AM call Kim's phone to find out where Jean is. 5:16 AM Jean calls back to say that he's over slept. 5:50 AM Jean calls to say that he had to run by the church...seems he misplaced some important things up there 6:15 AM Jean arrives to pick me up. 6:45 AM Realize we've forgotten some of the carpenters pencils that we were bringing to give away. 7:45 AM Missing items found. FedExing planned 8:45 AM A/C isn't cooling well. Stop at Hardees in Mobile. 9:00 AM Missed turn for I-65, noticed a A/C place for cars. 9:35 AM finish A/C charge, get back on the road. Thanksgiving for providence 10:00 AM Jean makes phone calls, and more phone calls, and oh, more phone calls 11:35 Pit stop. Lunch 3:00 PM Atlanta arrival 3:15 PM Try and find Hyatt 3:45 PM Try and find Hyatt 4:00 PM Arrive (finally) Ok, you get the picture, but our day included stops at Office Depot, Office Max, Best Buy and getting to see some old friends. We also managed a couple of moments out by the deck overlooking the pool with some friendly pigeons. I photographed a couple of them just for fun. Pray for us, long week ahead, families back home missing us. Not to mention Jordy and the LPC team back in the Bay. Pray for the week ahead, we need to raise a substantial amount of money for long-term support. We set up a booth and have a lot to do tomorrow starting with a breakfast meeting with the Oversite Commission. I'm going to bed.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Much has happened in the past three to four weeks, much more than ever happened before and yet the blog postings have dwindled. We finally have our own facility up and running and most importantly we have plenty of teams working out in the community. We have had ridiculous stories such as spoiled chicken trucks and new freezers, jail and hospital visits, answered prayers and many things to pray about its just that it is so busy and now we have teams which we have contact with every night it is harder to blog, but back to the many teams running in the community. We have close to 200 people here to staying, working, and eating at Lagniappe. This is our biggest weak as far as numbers go but it is also a very big week as far as sustainability goes. Jean, Andy, and Curt all have to go to general assembly in Atlanta for the Presbyterian denomination. This is a chance for us at Lagniappe to raise support, recruit teams, and find prayer from the entire denomination. Of course this has to be the week that we are running over capacity and have our biggest work crew ever. I haven't had a complete day off for over a month, yesterday was the closest with an afternoon spent on a shrimp boat out in the Bay swimming, I am running on fumes. The only time that I am able to be excited about this week and not completely overwhelmed is either if someone is praying for the week or we are singing Amazing Grace. Of course, with either prayer or song I am barely able to keep from weeping due to the emotional drain that all of this is taking and knowing how much I need to be held and rely on the Lord through all of this. Moral of the story is, please pray, pray, pray for all that is going on here. Please pray that our teams will have work, please pray for Jean, Curt, and Andy at general assembly. Pray that we all stay healthy with the lack of sleep and long hours and sickness that is already getting to a few of us. Most of all, pray that the kingdom will advance this week inspite of all of us broken vessels and pray that we will trust that all that goes on this week, probably one of the biggest weeks in the short but not intense history of Lagniappe is in the Lord's hands and that He is working all of this out for His purposes.
Late Tuesday night around 11 P.M. in pulls a truck with two very large freezers. We at Lagniappe were blessed with two gifts from Masterbilt of freezers. I was just out of the shower and on my way to bed but yet I don't know if I have ever been so excited to jump back to work that late at night. It may have been the fact that earlier that day some of the staff here at Lagniappe, including myself had to unload a full trailer load of rotten food which most of it was chicken. This was due to the freezer trailer we had not being very reliable, but that's a whole other blog. It was also another answered prayer. God continue to provide for us and we are extremely grateful for the folks at Masterbilt's generous gift. We could not make it happen without the help and donations. Thank you again Masterbilt.
So we haven't kept the blog up as much as we should have this past week. This photo tells the story of the energy level on Thursday afternoon at 4 pm. Last week was tough, many staff had a tiring week. As you can tell in this photo the interns have been exhausted with work. The struggles each day are different, but the heat stays the same. Walking 20 feet to your car from an air conditioned house, will drench one in perspiration. Don't get me wrong, things are going well here, but life is hard some times for all involved. But no one here is backing down, no one came to Lagniappe to stay or work in a 5 diamond resort. We all knew it was going to be ugly, dirty, grimy and broken...just like my heart. We haven't been disappointed. We've just had confirmed that what we are doing is real, it's heartbreaking. It's breathtaking, it's fun, it's very, very tiring. Ultimately at the end of the day, what we see is none other than seeing the very hands of God at work, restoring hearts, homes, lives and so much more. Jean preached this morning about the "chickin' truck of my heart". I think it has been one of the most profound sermons that I've heard in a while. Most of us have heard the "try harder" gospel of self. Jean's illustration of the broken refrig truck that failed and spoiled in the BSL sun, as a metaphor for our hearts was so telling. We need a mp3 recorder to be able to publish those sermons on the web. I think you'd enjoy them. Many of you have been praying also for our housing situation. Praise Jesus, I'm sitting in the A/C of my own home, with Cammie and Kate and we have moved in and things are great (other than a quick visit from RotoRooter). Jean, Curt and I leave for General Assembly this week. I've never been, to GA or Disney Land. I guess there is a first time for everything. I'd rather go to RYM. I think next year we need to have a booth at RYM recruiting teams and churches to partner with us. I'll have to talk to JFL III about that.
Cammie and I cooked for the Interns last night. As you can see some of them needed a little R & R and some time off. Austin's suprised look when I told her the chicken she ate came from the truck that was on the property. (just kidding Austin). Emily and Christy exchange a backrub. Dave has that look again... wonder what he'll be planting next. BACK OFF!!! If a look ever meant anything, I think this one speaks for itself.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
"There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan” C.S. Lewis We are confronted almost daily by clear evidence of God's hand of providence and yes there is clear evidence of a counter claim upon everything we are doing. Please pray with and for the people of Bay St. Louis/Waveland, and yes for us.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Genesis 1: chaos to orderLast night as Jean was nailing up the map of Bay Saint Louis to the wall, he looked around and noted, "today is our Genesis 1 day: from chaos to order". On Sunday our main building was in a state of disarray. But by dinner on Monday the building had been transformed into an awesomely organized space. Now we not only have a well planned out eating area, but also a green intern office and a living room (complete with coffee tables, candles, and a van seat plywood footstool!) Ryn worked with Jean, a team 'o volunteers, and a few 'terns, to organize our mass of chaos. It was an all day job. As we were moving all the kitchen appliances, food, and tables from one end of the building to the other, it was easy to get overwhelmed with the details of how the space was going to be used and where everything was going to go. Ryn finally took a step back from the kitchen area and looked at what we had done. She said to me "Ya know, when you take a step back, it looks pretty good!" I stepped back to where Ryn was standing and everything seemed to be in its place. It made sense. It looked good. I think it's easy to slip into the mindset of being overwhelmed with the details in our own lives. When we step back and think that the creator of the universe is in charge of the chaos of our lives, it makes sense that things come together like they did yesterday. We underestimate what God can do, so we're suprised when He does something big among us. We really shouldn't be suprised. God is capable and willing to do more than we can imagine, and He has great plans for our lives and for Lagniappe Church. "No one is good enough to save himself. Awake my soul tonight to boast nothing else"-D.Webb
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Thursday night at Lagniappe. The chapel/dining hall/ command central after a great dinner and fellowship. Groups come back from visiting with families, building sheds, installing drywall, building dorms for more workers. What is on the mouth of each person, other than the expressed desire for a shwer, is how they were able to provide comfort to the families they served. Yes, there is the sense of meeting a challenge, learning a skill, laughing and sweating next to your friend but what is overwhelming is the knowledge that the Sovereign God of Heaven brought them here to meet the need of this particular person.
From my home state of Florida, The Sunshine State. Led by Bob Alder a team of 14 arrived on the GulfCoast Saturday afternoon and have not stopped since. They split into two teams; one drywalling and the other shed building. They have created quite a production line and become more proficient with each day of work. More importantly they are having stellar interaction with the families they serve. Ashley Lane commented that after making a sandwich for one of the families, the man broke into tears. Prior to that interaction he had been rather standoffish, perhaps experiencing whatever pride he had left, having lost everything. It's amazing how the human heart wraps around whatever will provide comfort. Grief gets stored and repressed until something as insignificant as a sandwich draws it out. We can't emphasize enough that what teams are doing is not building sheds but bringing hope. Teams are not driving nails they are planting a church-one person at a time, one sandwich at a time.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
When I started working with Lagniappe, I never knew that I'd get to drive heavy machinery and even last week, I helped Conrad by driving a large excavator. Wow this is a lot of fun. Cammie and I are moved here, but living in Jeans house, they are supposed to be finished with our house today. I'm going to run by after lunch and see what they lack, shouldn't be much. Cammie and Kate have been great about the transition into chaos and brokenness. Kate has had a few new baby sitters and things are going well with her except for a runny nose. Last night Jordan, led the teams in a time of sharing and talking to them about the fact that God wasn't absent on the day that Katrina hit. He's pretty good at using some of Jean's buzz-words like "muck and the mire." He did a great job leading the short time we had in the evening. I wonder if Jean is out there in a boat somewhere on a wireless internet card, reading the blog and checking in on us... It is amazing thing to see teams sitting where a month ago debris and rubble were standing. I have to tell them, when they come in our small office with air, to really enjoy that air, because it only got hooked up that morning. They had no idea.Things get better here every day. With each day - new leaves come on the trees, new groups go out and forage relationships, and restoration comes, bit by bit, piece by piece here on the Gulf Coast. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, we need stamina and endurance. I stopped after a 12 hour day yesterday and went home to see my family. I felt like I was leaving early, after all 7 am to 7 pm are normal hours here. Jordan and others work far more than that, please keep them in your prayers. I’ve got some great photo’s that I want to get posted, I just have to get them on the computer here. Here is one from last week that I was pretty proud of.
Monday, June 05, 2006
What an exciting week my wife and I had at the emerging campus of Lagniappe! It was great to see the Lord working through so many eager people. The campus made big steps forward so 150-200 volunteers can be housed there. In the shadow of the large storm damaged metal shed some of the interns (Tom, Kim, Ryn, and Emily) constructed a demonstration "Shed of Hope". Many more sheds will be built before the summer is over! The teams building them will have a great opportunity to meet and share the Lagniappe of Jesus with the families. Pray for this work.