This isn’t meant to be one of those nice mission reports that encourages everyone to go on a mission trip. I won’t be making statements like “I got more out of this trip then I put into it.” There won’t be 20 different pictures of different people posing with the same kid. That’s a different mission trip package that Bryan will be selling. Since Bryan’s little L.L.C. hasn’t been launched yet, I’ll have to create my own package.
Day 1 will be a Saturday. Everyone is to meet up at the church parking lot at 8:00 AM. (This is to ensure that we actually leave by 9:30 AM.) Since there are 24 people going, three vans will be needed to make this trip. However, the vans will not be divided evenly. Instead of 8, 8, and 8… we will be divided into 9, 9, and 6. One van is the designated singing van. This van will have 9 people. Another van, will be the non singing van. This van will also have 9 people. The leftover 6 will ride in what is called the comfort van. Only 6 people can ride on this due probably to insurance reasons. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the group will have to arrive later than originally anticipated. Restroom breaks will be on demand. If you need to stop, let the driver know and almost assuredly, a restroom break will be provided for you. There will be no holding it on this trip. For lunch, you can either join the big group at Cracker Barrel, join a much smaller group at Ruby Tuesday’s, or go off by yourself and eat at Subway. Since we are trying to waste time, there is no need to rush through lunch. For those that thought we would be eating KFC for lunch, you were giving misinformation (but we will use their parking lot to discuss going to the next exit which has a Cracker Barrel). Remember, if you feel the need to use the bathroom shortly after we finish lunch, just let your driver know. We will continue driving making stops for gas and restrooms until we get close to the coast. Since we’ve killed most of the time we needed to kill, we’ll go to a fast food place like Wendy’s. Some may choose to go to the Denny’s next door. I’ve got a hot tip that says the Denny’s will actually be faster then the Wendy’s. Once we arrive at the church, we will figure out our sleeping arrangements and inflate the 20 gazillion air mattresses that will be brought. For travel though, I still recommend the Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3.
Day 2 will be a Sunday. We aren’t quite sure if breakfast will be provided for you or not. You can hang out at the church building to see if it is or if you want, you can go with one of the drivers to check out a place that comes highly recommended. Unfortunately, this place may not be open on Sundays so you may end up going to McDonald’s and waiting in the parking lot under the Golden Arches for them to open up (at 6:00 CST). After breakfast, you will attend class and service at the church building followed by lunch at the building too. After lunch, we will use the rest of the afternoon to drive around Long Beach, Gulfport, and Biloxi to see the damage the hurricane caused. We will stop by Wal-Mart in case there is anything you need to pickup. We will come back in time for maybe a quick game of baseball (can such a thing exist?) before Sunday night services at the church. Dinner will be afterwards. At 9:00 we will have our first group devo.
Day 3 will be a Monday and the first work day. Since you have purchased this package, you will have 1 male driver and 8 female workers. The majority of these females will be 18 or 19. One will be 25 and the other will be the same age as my mom (who also happens to share the same first name too). For the morning work session, half of the group will be cleaning showers, toilets, urinals, etc. while the rest of the group will be picking up debris around the church building. After breaking for lunch, this group will load up in the van to go to a lady named Lori’s house. Real briefly, here’s the background story on Lori. She has an 18 year old son who is in a wheelchair. He will be graduating high school this year and will be attending college nearby. The house you will be working on will be his house. This house is in really bad shape and probably should be destroyed, but we will see if we can help her save it. The house has mold everywhere that she has been unable to effectively kill. She has heard that applying Kilz will stop the mold from spreading. This group will be doing that. You probably won’t finish this in one day though. There is also a chance that a lady named *Leigh*, (Due to the nature of Leigh’s story, the name has been changed and the back story will not be provided for all of Google to see. Ask me in person if you would like to know more about this special case.) will come to you with a need that will be bumped to high priority. After dinner, a group will go to Walgreens to pick up some facial stuff and a few 500 piece puzzles. When they return, a race will be on to see which group can complete the puzzle first. The puzzles will be a flower scene and a city scene. Your package has you working on the city scene. Another hot tip: The city scene will beat the flower scene by at least 20 minutes.
Day 4 (Tuesday) will see you continuing work at Lori’s house. Most all the work should be finished by lunch time, but there are probably a few people that will need to stay a little bit after lunch to complete the work. After lunch, all three groups will be combining to work over at Leigh’s house. Mostly, we will be prepping for work that is to be done the next day. This prep work will include scrubbing the inside with a bleach and water solution to help kill of mold and scraping the outside of her house (shutters, etc) to get it ready for paint. Also a demolition crew needs to be assembled to tear down an old shed. We will have dinner at 6:00 and then a group devo at 9:00. At this devo you will get a reward in the form of a nail to show how a college education doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to drive a nail with a hammer.
Day 5, that’s a Wednesday if you’ve lost track, you will continue working over at Leigh’s place. The inside of her walls should now be dried off enough to apply Kilz. Outside work will mostly involve painting and ensuring that all shutters and areas to be painted have been scrapped sufficiently. A demolition crew will also be assembled to tear down an awning for a car port that no longer exists. After lunch, the majority of the group will return to her house to finish up the work and they will be joined by some folks from The University of Kansas. Those not returning to her house will help in digging a ditch. Here’s the back story on why a ditch is needing to be dug. A few of the church members completely lost their homes because of Hurricane Katrina. Several are living either in their own trailer or one provided to them by F.E.M.A. Many of these trailers are on the church grounds. They had just run water hoses from a spicket near the building and the sewage hoses were all hooked up to the tank (regardless of how far the trailer was from the tank). Well as you might guess, the health department doesn’t like this, so they have asked the church to bury the sewage lines and create hookups like you would see at an RV park. The group that will dig in the afternoon will need to dig a trench about 60 feet from end to end and large enough to fit a 4 inch diameter PVC pipe. After you finish the ditch, you’ll check in with Buck. He’ll tell you some weeds need to be pulled and you’ll finish that in no time. After that is done, you can head back to Leigh’s house to finish up the work there. Unfortunately, when you return, several of the girls will have their money stolen from their purses. A police report will be filed. Those not affected can attend services. Later in the night, you can play pounce (a game similar to Killer Solitaire, but not as hard). Yet another hot tip: This package has you coming out as the victor of the game.
Thursday, Day 6, will be the last day of work. Groups will be go to different sites and do different jobs. Some will clean out gutters at the school next door, some will clean bathrooms, showers, etc. at the church, others will go move stuff to a storage shed. Since you have purchased this package, you will dig until you discover the water line and where the potential water leak is coming from. Once discovered, you will assist a couple of plumbers that are down from North Carolina in getting it fixed. To discover it though, you will need to bucket out water from the hole you have just dug. You will break for lunch and continue working with the plumbers. The city water department will send a couple of guys to shut off the water. However, in the past, they have not had any luck completely shutting the water off to the building. Once they have given up on finding that third valve, they decided to get wet and cut off the old pipe. A valve is put on one end so they can turn off the water and new PVC pipe is put in to replace the old one that had rusted and was causing the leak. For the rest of the afternoon, you will be leveling the sewer line, back filling the trenches you dug (beware of working down wind when a sewer hose becomes disconnected and starts to leak), and absorbing a lot of sun. Thursday night for dinner, you will get treated to a lot of fried food. Oysters, Catfish, Shrimp, Hush Puppies, French Fries, Cole Slaw, and the menu goes on. We will have our last devo before we leave at 8:30. Mainly this will just be to discuss important details before we leave.
Day 7, Friday, we will depart in the morning. Our breaks will probably be fewer because we don’t have to delay getting back. We will have to stop in Chattanooga since one of the girls will be meeting the parents. Mass confusion will occur at this stop because people don’t realize that we are actually going to fill up for gas at another gas station, so they shouldn’t actually get off the van.
All throughout the week, a guy named Mike Harden will be cooking all your meals for you. He’s a really good chef but you must be warned, he likes to use mushrooms in everything.