Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The missions trip that changed my life...

Two 32 foot RVs. Yes, I co-drove one of them!

We left the Church at 6:30 am on Saturday July 17. Drove through Kentucky, then Tennessee, then Alabama and crossed the border into Mississippi for our first night stay at a KOA...

This rocket was a Huge statue at the rest stop in Alabama..

Our 2nd day was spent driving through Mississippi and into Louisiana. That night we stayed at a KOA in Baton Rouge, LA. Some of the kids were concerned that they wouldn't get a "good" meal the rest of the trip, so a few of us headed to Longhorns for steaks. Somehow I got the honor of driving them. Even though I didn't get a steak out of it.

This is the girls (minus DeAnna) while waiting for the food at the steakhouse. Fun Times!!

On Day three of our journey, we drove from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles Louisiana. We were warned of this bridge, although because it wasn't too high, and was mostly over swamps, it wasn't as bad as was expected. However, it WAS a 20 mile bridge, Over Water!!

We finally arrived at the ship we were to be staying on in Lake Charles. Yes, I said Staying On the ship! We lived here for four days! Yes, for those of you who know me, this was pretty scary for me, due to my immense fear of water, and bridges with water under them (of which there were two to pass over just to get on the ship)

The Spirit!...

The Mess Hall where we had our meals in the Spirit Ship!

Day one on the ship, get our information about what the organization "Friendships" is about, what they do and how Amazing they are. We talked to some of the "SeaHawks" and then Erica and Kyle decided that they needed me to go out on the deck. Yes that's right, looking over the water. Ummmmm......

You see I wouldn't get close to the edge!

Our nights consisted of worshiping at the Lake Charles Church of the Nazarene. We sang lots of awesome songs, and had someone different speak every night!

Murray and four of the SeaHawks shared the first night about what they do, and what God is doing for and through them ...

(from left.. Shayla, Courtney, Amanda (you can't see her, she's behind Murray), and Oscar)

Oscar and Me! He's awesome! You all need to meet him, his joy and love for Jesus are totally contagious!

Day one of working, we all got jobs. There was a pool to work on, flowers (hundred of plants, literally) to move, a 324ft ship to clean (which they do everyday), and two huge coast guard warehouses to empty of desks, chairs, and mostly doors and windows. There were tons of mud wasps, and hundreds of doors and windows and mirrors that needed moved. I went to this jobsite, because it gave me the free reign to leave as needed to fetch water for the thirsty, and to take lots of pictures and videos of everyone working!

We filled a 54 foot semi with doors and windows...

... and lined walls of two warehouses.

And yes, I got dirty with everyone else. I actually really enjoyed getting in and doing my part! And what an accomplishment the last day we worked to have finished the job and even start on other things. Wow!

This is me at lunch on day one of work. I was dirty and sweaty, but loved workin for Jesus and his people!

After our first day of work was done, some of the kids got to jump off the side of the ship with the SeaHawks. This was kind of therapeutic for me. I was able to take pictures and videos of it without having a panic attack!

This is DeAnna, I was so proud of her!!

At dinner that evening, Shayla brought up this lizard, it had just hatched in her bedroom. He was so cute!!

For a couple days this alligator would come between the ship and the shore. He would swim around and some people would throw food in for him.

Then Pat and Courtney decided they wanted to catch it, at 10:30 at night. Courtney is a true cowgirl... she got a rope and literally lassoed the little guy! It was really exciting.

One of the nights at church, we took a love offering for to purchase a pump and filtration system for the makeshift pool on the Friendships property. We weren't sure how much we would get, but they raised over $830 for this. It was really incredible to see these kids give!

So, then the "pool" had to be cleaned and filled with water. Here are some of the kids trying to clean out the dirt, and tree pieces, and just random stuff from the bottom. This pool is actually a cut off tank that was donated to Friendships and then converted into a pool.

Kalene and DeAnna moving plants!!...

Jeralyn and me, we all had a "handshake" buddy. We had to make up a handshake on the first night of church and every time we saw each other we did it. All week. It was fun!

My new friend...
One of the SeaHawk guys put him on me while we were waiting for the truck to load with doors. He crawled all over me. How cute!!!

Logan, one of the kids working with us, took him off my shoulder, thus scaring him, and when he put him back on me, the poor little guy broke off his tail, I'm told he did that because he was nervous. Kinda icky, but he was okay, apparently they grow back!

The senior pastor at Lake Charles Naz is actually a Buckeye fan! Fancy that!!!

Thursday night we went to a nationally renowned chefs house (whose kids we worked with all week) for an authentic Cajun feast! I don't eat seafood, but the rest of it was simply amazing! My favorite was the gumbo, that I will learn to make someday!!!

Enjoying friends company at the feast...

Oscar, Lindsay and Landon

RJ (the youth pastor from Shreveport Nazarene) and Me..

DeAnna and Randy..

While there we worked with Shreveport Nazarene and Lake Charles Nazarene youth groups! This is the whole group, with a few of the friendships folks who joined us for church the last night!

Kyle and Lisa!!! We LOVE Lisa!!!

The Friendships Crew.

Many of them are like family now!

Right before we left for home. Go Shep Naz! I'm so proud of these kids and adults! What a blessing they all were on this trip and still are!!

On our way home, we stopped for a swamp tour. We saw some HUGE alligators. The biggest was around 18 feet long...

A very calm and still Blue Heron

Baby Alligators and Huge turtles..

Our group on the Swamp tour..

What an amazing trip. I wouldn't trade this for the world. I look forward to going back. I am excited about what God is doing in my life and the life of these kids and their families. God is Good and His love endures forever! Listen, He's talking to you!!

Have a Blessed Day! I know I am!!