Friday, October 18, 2013

Welcome to our family Julia Drew Jones!

The day has finally arrived! We spent the night at the hospital while the process was begun to induce labor.  Becca is a trooper. She didn't have any pain meds overnight. About 6:00 in the morning they began the process preparing her for labor.  Dr. Williams said it may be dinner time before we would meet our precious bundle.  Julia and Becca had a different idea. By 12:30 she was ready to push and She and Julia worked together until 1:24. At that time we heard the wonderful cries of a newborn baby girl. Julia measured 21" and 7 lbs 8 oz. Julia and Becca are doing great!

Later in the afternoon our girls got to come up and meet their little sister.  It was a sweet time of family bonding. Of course Nadia had met a little sister in the hospital before and done great.  We were unsure how Lydia would do with meeting her.  They have been so excited about meeting "Baby Juli" for months. They both did fabulous. Each of them got to hold her on the couch in our room.  They each got to cuddle with mommy. And we got some great family shots of our new 5-person family.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this time in our lives!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Get After It Boys!

     Since yesterday was a rain-shortened work say we knew we had a lot to do. We decided to make an early day of it. We left the lodge at 7:30 and arrived at the work site a little after 8:30. We were starting on the back of the trailer. On one corner there was no wood whatsoever to which we would be able to attach the underpinning. We devised a pan to build the frame to which we would attach the underpinning and for to work. Stuart and Hance got the bottom boards nailed to the ground ask the way down the back and across the tongue-end of the trailer. Jeff and I were measuring and cutting the down pieces. We got into a rhythm and completed the back side of the 70' trailer by 11:30! The weather was much more cooperative today with only one short shower just after lunch.
     We decided that it was a good time to stop for a lunch break. As we were eating our lunch Terry and Brenda drove up to check progress. We could tell they were pleased as Terry said, ” yep, that's just how I pictured it.” After taking a few pictures and visiting with the family they back down the mountain. I appreciate the long drive they made for such a short visit.
     After lunch we contributed our way around the trailer. The tongue end of the trailer required some creative engineering to fit the underpinning behind and around the tongue itself. Jeff was a beast all day screwing in most of the underpinning himself. Stuart was the saw master cutting the 2x4s and cutting the metal with a circular saw blade turned around backwards. Hance and I worked on the framing, measuring, carrying cut pieces, and assisting whenever and wherever was a great team effort. As the day got hotter and longer we all needed frequent water breaks to keep going.
     The makeshift porch had been attached to the front of the trailer. There were also two sheets of tin that had been put in place lengthwise behind it. In order not to disturb the porch (it wouldn't take much) we only quirked on either end of the front of the trailer. We finished the top side about 4:45. We decided to press on and finish which would ultimately save us about 2.5 hours of driving time for air one hours width of work. At 6:30 we were all done, packed up, and ready to leave despite the last few pieces of tin being installed aromatically close to the septic system! We stopped at the first store we came to and Stuart treated us all to drinks and snacks.
     When we got back to the lodge we all took showers and for ready for supper. We went to Hi-Lite Pizza in the nearby town of Minnie. It was a short night when we got back to the lodge. They all had dessert while I checked emails. We all, being exhausted, turned in by 10:30. It was a good day, all day as or pastor is fond of saying.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Yard Sale Day

All 8 of us arrow early this morning to be at the GAP by 7:00. After waiting for our marching orders and for the rain to subside a little we began to unload the two trucks and trailer and stage the items for the sale. It continued to rain of and on throughout the morning. We covered the furniture with tarps and cardboard so as not to get it too wet.
     About 10AM the FBC crew loaded into Stuart's truck and followed Terry to Elkhorn City air an hour away. When we arrived it was sprinkling a little. Terry showed us what was to be done and then dove back to continue helping with the yard sale. Since it was raining we decided to easy our lunch before starting our work in earnest. We were able to complete the underpinning on one end of the trailer before the rain came back again. Unfortunately, it was a short day of work, but we have a plan of attack for tomorrow.
     Jeff cooked another great supper for us tonight. After supper we had a good discussion about Mission opportunities and development that have stemmed from our readings of ”When Helping Hurts” and other such books. Whether it is with or people in Augusta our with the good folks of Smoke Rise I am always energized by these discussions. They bring encouragement to me that we are on the right track. These discussions also serve to push me onward in my thinking and planning of current and future partnerships.
     The Smoke Rise gang will be heading back home tomorrow. We will head back to the worksite hopefully under sunnier conditions.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Appalachia Construction--McDowell and Beattyville (August 18-24, 2014)

This next series of blogs is a trip log from Kentucky. Trip participants are Jeff Badke, Stuart Evans, Hance Williamson, and Andy Jones from FBC Augusta and Bill Blanton, Page Fulgham, Jimmy Fulgham, and Jim Myrick from Smoke Rise.

     Yesterday, Jeff Badke and I left Augusta for Richburg, SC to the La-Z-Boy distribution center at 8AM. We arrived with the 26' Penske truck just before noon. We had been told that the supply was slim sure to the tractor trailer load of furniture (that I helped coordinate) having just been delivered to Oklahoma City in response to the tornados there this summer. A list of what was available had been emailed to me this past Monday. I must say that what looked like a small load on paper is enough to fill the Penske! We got 5 couches, 2 sectional sofas, 2 love seats, 6 side tables, an ottoman, and 8 chairs/recliners. We will gladly deliver them to G.A.P (God's Appalachian Partnership) in McDowell, KY and to Paula Settle with Mountain Hope (part of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship commitment to the 20 poorest counties in the US*). After loading up the truck we drove on to Mars Hill, NC to spend the night. Although the drove up was rainy, it was thankfully uneventful.
     Today we finished the drive up to McDowell. Brenda and Terry Carswell met us at the distribution center to drive us back to the lodge. The road to the lodge is not big enough to handle the Penske. Shortly after our arrival Stuart Evans and Hance Williamson met us at the lodge after having driven from Augusta this morning. The crew from Smoke Rise also came in this evening. They brought some furniture that has been donated by church members for the purpose of the GAP sale. They will be starting with us tonight and tomorrow, then heading back to Stone Mountain on Tuesday.
     Brenda and Terry came back this evening after supper for our group orientation and to let us know what we would be doing tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will unload furniture and then drive to Elkhorn City, KY to begin our construction project.

*based on 2000 US Census

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday-- Home, Sweet Home

     Thank you, Joy, for the wake up call. Front desk didn't answer last night for me to set one up with and I did not hear my alarm. I quickly got dressed. We loaded the van and headed to the Airport. It was a close call getting to the gate this morning. We were the last ones on the plane in Rapid City. Hopefully, that is the last hiccup of the trip.
     We had smooth travels the rest of the way home. There were no problems with either flights or bags. It was a sweet reunion with my girls. The team got back on the People Mover, which was waiting on us. We had a great trip. I hope you will seek out one of us that was on the trip to hear more stories than what I have written here.

     Just a reminder, pictures are forthcoming.

Friday--Sightseeing...Badlands, Rushmore, Crazy Horse, tatonka, and prairie dogs.

Today made for a long day of driving, but it was a good, fun day. We started early by breaking down our beds, repacking our suitcases, and cleaning up around the church. We arranged with Byron earlier in the week to ride horses this morning. When we got back from the pow-wow last night I noticed a horse trailer within the compound so I figured they must have brought some extra horses. I was glad of this because I know that some of the horses at the church were still in process of being broken. Ziggy, Josh, and Eric came by this morning to help with the riders. I got on Brownie and rode around the compound. Unfortunately, I was not "one with the horse"  and we went pretty much where he wanted to go. I decided not to go on the trail ride. Everyone got on a horse except for Kevin and Chip. Kevin was excited about the possibility until it was time to get on. However, he did pet the horse, which Betsy said was an accomplishment. Joy, Chiles, and Jacob road with Josh and Eric up to the top of the ridge and around behind Judy and Dean's ranch. They seemed to have a good time. (I'm not sure how I didn't get a picture of Chiles on a horse.  He did ride to be sure)

Mickie made  sandwiches for us to take on the road so when the riders came back we finalized packing the van and said our goodbyes. Toni and Byron gave each of us a certificate of appreciation. They also presented our church with a beautiful quilt as a gift and ”thank you” for coming out.

(L-R) Chiles, Jacob, Josh, Kevin, Mickie, Josh' daughter, Josh's wife, Betsy, Ziggy, Eric, Joy, Toni, Chip, Byron, Andy

our beautiful quilt (will be on display at church soon)

On our scenic tour to get to get to Mt. Rushmore we drove through the Badlands. They are an awe-inspiring site. Some call this the land they God forgot, but I thought it was beautiful in its uniqueness. Like many of our photos this week pictures and words do not do justice to what we have seen. We continued our journey through the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, and yes we did see a herd of Buffalo well off the road. We enjoyed the sights at Mt. Rushmore and the unfinished Crazy Horse monument. There was more to see in the museum at Crazy Horse than the monument itself. When completed the entire sculpture of Mt. Rushmore would be able to fit inside the headdress of Crazy Horse. We found another great restaurant, this time courtesy of Urban Spoon. We are in for a short night early flight out in the morning.

The just gotta see it

Buffalo on the roam

Mt. Rushmore

team at Mt. Rushmore

Crazy Horse monument.

We finally got Kevin on a horse!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday--The Final Push

     We were all geared up for the last day of work for the trip. I was to finish painting the church. We were to paint the bell tower and the rest of the basketball court. Chip was going to work on Byron's uncle's house (Ed Widow). The ladies were straightening the Fellowship Hall and preparing for our departure tomorrow. We were woken up early by a storm this morning. The rain water was still on the court so we couldn't so that project. I ran out of paint so I couldn't finish the church our do the bell tower. Chip was able to strengthen the bell tower mounts before breakfast. After breakfast he and Jacob went to Ed Widow's. They returned before lunch with a list of items to be purchased and completed (too much for the part of the day they had left). We will leave a note for the 2nd Baptist group from Liberty, MO that is coming next week of the tasks to be completed. Mickie cleaned up the trash that was left our after the cook-out. Betsy, Joy, and Mickie decided to organize the closets and clean the floors in the fellowship hall.
     In the afternoon I took Mickie, Kevin, and Betsy to Faith since they had not been. We got another gallon of paint at the hardware sore which should be enough for the last gable and bell tower. We also went to the grocery store for necessities before we leave tomorrow. If my definition for success on this trip was based solely on projects completed I would be disappointed. But, when I more correctly figure in the cook-out, the relationship and connection made with members of the community (young and old alike), the exposure to the ministry of the Gettysburg church, and the excitement of our team about coming back then there is no other way to describe this trip BUT successful! Thank you, team, for your hard work, compatibility, flexibility, and your selves. It has truly been a great week. I look forward to the partnership that FBC Augusta can form here. I eagerly await discovery of how our unique gifts can be used in the communities of Bridger, Takini, Red Scaffold, Cherry Creek, and even Faith. Thank you church for sending us and trusting us with your mission.
Andy and his hot dog helper

crowd at the cook-out

This is Beth (gray shirt) from yesterday's blog

shopping the beads

pow-wow at Takini

1st dance

jingle dancer

little fancy dancer

couples' competition (Joy and Chip)

Byron and Toni

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday--Preparing the cook-out

Today was a good day all day. After we began the day with devotion and prayer we split out to begin our tasks for the day. I started painting the other two sides of the church. Chiles was working on the grill that we would use for the cook-out tonight. He did a great job! We had a superb grill and so will the next groups.
Chiles' grill

Kevin and the chicken
Jacob began painting the lines on the basketball court. Chip and Joy went to Faith for a mid-week grocery and hardware run. Betsy and Mickie went into the community to invite then to our cook-out. Kevin talked to the chickens and hung out around the church.
    I left just the gable work front and back to so Thursday. In the afternoon Jake and Chip put up the mounts for the bell tower. When it was time to install the bell it became a full team effort. You can see from the pictures that this involved 7 people, 3 ladders, 2 2x4s,and 1 very heavy bell. We all were very glad to get the bell up. Chip and Jake finished mounting the bell. While they were doing that I hustled over to start the fire on the grill.
And the bell is up!
     I had several little helpers around the grill. They helped me turn the hot dogs and get them into the buns. The ladies were busy in the kitchen preparing the rest of the meal. Joy made a great banana pudding and some awesome chocolate cakes. We had several people stop I throughout the afternoon to visit and have coffee. Before we ate we had everyone come outside for a blessing of the meal and the bell led by pastor Byron. The bell had not been rung in over a year. It was apparently knocked down by vandals last summer. I don't think anyone was happier than Byron and Toni. The cook-out was a success. We had about 30 Lakota stop in at different times. I don't know if the kids say down more than 5 minutes. Byron came or to the fire after dinner and played his flute. Before he did he told three story of the lovers flute. I have enjoyed making connections with the people around the table and through stories.
   One of the ladies at my table tonight was Beth. She is some part Lakota. I think she may be a teacher in Pine Ridge. She was telling me about one of her friends, Leland, who is one of the last storytellers. With this guys help and through some NASA research they have determined that the Lakota are the oldest people group on the planet. They have also discovered a ”j” dialect of their language. She told a great story of an old Lakota gentleman being taken down to South America to meet with a medicine man. They took with them four interpreters to translate for these two. One from Lakota to French, French to English, English to Spanish, and Spanish to the language of the medicine man. As it turns out the medicine man and the Lakota man could understand one another in their own languages because they were so similar. After dinner and the fire put Toni brought out some bead work done by members of the Dakota association. Several of us bought some necklaces, bracelets, medicine bags, or dream catchers. It has been a true joy to be in this part of the country and to connect with these people.
     As a group we stayed up later than any night previous. We were all winding down around 11P. We have to get ready for the final push tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday--Paint the church, break the paint

     Around the breakfast table this morning we had our devotion and shared our highlights from Monday. I read a short devotion then the story of Mary and Martha. Both of which reminded us that we are not here to be fixers, but to enjoy the most important thing, which is relationships. We know that we have work to do, but I encouraged the team to be sure to take time to talk with those who come by.
     With that being said we all headed out to begin painting the church. Chiles and Jake worked on the front of the church. Betsy, Mickie, and Joy started on the side. Kevin even helped with the painting near the ground. Chip was holding the ladder for me while I primed the top part of the front wall. We continued to move around the church clockwise until lunch.
     We ate tacos fore lunch and worked on different projects around the church. We will finish painting tomorrow. Chip and I worked on the gate some more. I am satisfied now with the result. Chip, Jacob, and Chiles worked on the bell tower for a little while as well.
     Toni and Byron came by along with Eric. We all went or to the corral to watch Eric and Josh work with the horses. The brown horse had never had a saddle put on before today and the paint had thrown someone a couple months ago and not been ridden since. She was still a little would, but Josh handled her very well.
     Byron told us yesterday about how they view the corral a sacred space where the spirit of the human connects with the spirit of the horse. We saw that played out today as they were working with the horses. As Josh got on each horse Eric reminded him to relax. He took a deep breath and got into ”go” mode. As they went around the circle Josh's breath was even in sync with the horses.
     Betsy, Kevin, and I fed and watered the chickens. Chiles found 14 eggs I the henhouse perhaps because Kevin Talks-With-Chickens has been talking to them the last couple of days. We hear that helps the chickens lay.
     Tonight, we went to the Takini school for the festival put on by a missionary group from Gettysburg, PA. We got to meet and talk to several members of the group. They are doing construction in several communities coordinated through Doug Dupree as well as the festival and financial classes. They have also coordinated a Pow-Wow for Thursday night. I gave my information to Penny, their trip organizer. Hopefully, we can connect in the next few weeks to talk more about the area. Last night it was a rainbow tonight it was God's fireworks to close out our evening.
Last night's double rainbow

Monday sunset 

Josh preparing to saddle the horse

Kevin touching the colt

Kevin-talks-with-chickens doing his thing

Andy rehanging the chicken water

Takini School Festival put by Gettysburg, PA group

giveaways and furniture store

Joy and Toni selling snow cones

dinner and bingo

after dinner entertainment, water baloon toss