Sunday, February 08, 2009

Update first week of Februaru

Hi all,

We left our friends in Moss Point and visited friends and previous co-workers in Houston and got caught up on things we have missed over the last three years.

We visited our three homes we had in and around Houston and were amazed in the growth of the area!

We arrived for our assignment on Tuesday, February 3 on Galveston Island at lunch time. As soon as we got settled at our campsite at the University Baptist Church, complete with 30A power, water and sewer connection, we met with Pastor Billy Graff. There is one other RV trailer next to us.

(above pictures is some of the devastation - the middle picture is where buildings were)

Pastor Billy Graff is a young pastor and has been here about 5 years. Our first afternoon took us to his house where we meet his wife, Dawn. Their house had about 2 feet of water with the storm surge. All the walls have been gutted, sheetrock work is now complete and the floors are the next project. Cleanup was the next item on the agenda. The kitchen/dining room floor had to be prepared for installation of ceramic tile. After we finished that we put together a cabinet for the bathroom.

This church will host over 100 volunteers during spring break season, while the Island will have a total of 1800 people to help out with relief efforts. This church has converted their education building to dormitories; they have a common kitchen and dining area. The Southern Baptist Conference has installed a trailer outside the church that has 6 showers for use by volunteers.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Ken was assigned to work with Jesse (a stone mason), laying tile on the floor of the Pastor’s house. Ken mainly cut tile on the tile saw while Jesse and Billy (the pastor) laid the tile.

(Ken cutting tile)

I am using my skills from the Katrina relief effort, working in the church office attempting to coordinate the arrival of the many volunteers during March, working with Nehemiah’s Vision group and the Galveston Island officials. I even got a job offer! Note to Judi F: I did not take it – I’m coming back.

On Friday, February 6th, we were joined by 20 volunteers from the Athens, TX Baptist Church. Ken had several women grouting the tile work, picking up trash and carrying it out to street. Another group of men worked with Ken putting cement board around a bath tub and started to lay ceramic tile for the tub surround.

(Ken demonstrating how to measure and cut tile)

On Friday evening, the Athens group sponsored a free fish fry targeted at the low income Hispanic people in town. Even the fire department sent 10 men out. Although we did not get as many as hoped for, it was a great time of socialization with the community.

And as many of you know, ONE of my favorite songs is Alabare a mi Senior. Note to Margo: They sang it soooooooooooo slow! It was even slower than the song “Amazing Grace”. Of course, I sang to my own tune (much faster). Not surprising?

On Sat. we worked ½ day with the volunteers and finished laying ceramic tile for the pastor’s tub surround. The volunteers left to return to Athens, and another group from the same church will come back next Friday. Tomorrow a couple will be coming in from Colorado and plan to stay here for 2 months.

(pictures of some of the bathroom and dining room tile work)

Today (Sunday) we had lunch and visited with one of my very good friends I met when I worked at Texas Children’s Hospital. We have been friends for over thirteen years. I was very protective of her while she was pregnant with her daughter, Heather. It was so good to see her family…we will be seeing each other before we leave here.

My friend Sally on left, her daughter, Heather (13 years old) and Donny. The restaurant we ate at was called "The Spot", overlooking the Seawall into the Gulf.

That is it for this update - will be back on the air in a week or so.
julie & ken


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