Monday, January 2, 2012

A time to serve... Tuscaloosa, AL


Samaritan's Purse, aka: The Calvary

One part of our vision for this journey around the USA, is to be the hands and feet of Jesus in areas and ministries with which we've never served before.  We want to be fully available for the Lord to use us as He needs us.  I haven't posted all that we've done so far because some are just for the Lord to know about :)  However, we really wanted to share our experience this week to bring awareness to Samaritan's Purse.  Most people know of this organization as the shoebox ministry, otherwise known as Operation Christmas Child.

But Samaritan's Purse http://www.samaritanspurse.org/  is so much more!  Check out their website and the "What We Do" link on the top right of the home page.  They are also US and International Disaster Relief and Recovery, medical missions, Turn on Tap Water, Haiti rebuilding, and Sudan church rebuilding to name a few of the other projects.  They do all this to reach the world with the gospel and God's love.

We've long had a heart for Samaritan's Purse.  Jon especially has a heart for disaster relief.  He has worked on many projects via his time in the Air Force and as a defense contractor... Hurricane Katrina, Haiti earthquake, and posturing for many other hurricanes that hit the US.  When he found out that Samaritan's Purse was still serving Tuscaloosa, AL by rebuilding the community, he eagerly volunteered for a week.

Some history of the deep need in Tuscaloosa:

The aftermath in Tuscaloosa, AL on May 2, 2011

Samaritan's Purse coming in...  The clean-up begins...

SP goal:  20 houses rebuilt for FREE within the next 2 years.

You can follow Samaritan's Purse US Disaster Relief on Facebook HERE.  On this page are pictures of the house that Jon worked on... check out the picture album under Tuscaloosa Rebuild (it's the green one, with the brick front steps and porch).  They were working hard to put the final touches on it in time for the lady to get back into her home for Christmas!

Jon will post about his time serving with Samaritan's Purse soon.  Until then, here is my perspective:

DAY ONE:
Jon was exhausted and filthy!
(I was able to take only one photo before he hit the shower and bed.)

We got to visit the worksite on Friday, Day Four:

Current state of the neighborhood that Jon served in.  There is still MUCH work to be done!
The house the team was working on this week.

Still smiling at the end of day 4!  He's much happier though, since he's working above the bathroom floor rather than under it, like in day 1 :)
And the funny thing about Jon laying tile.... it's one of the few projects we had hired to be done for us when we were getting our house ready to sell!  I guess God wanted him to learn how to install tile after all :)

A hard working team!!!!
Shannon, Monty, and Tom

Volunteer and staff crew week of: Dec 6-10, 2011

We knew that Samaritan's Purse was an excellent ministry.  But after serving with them, we are even more in awe of all that they do and the way in which they accomplish the mission.  They do all things with excellence for His glory.  

This particular Rebuild is headquartered at First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa.  When volunteers come in, they stay at the church (Jon however, stayed at the RV with us).  There are separate men and women's quarters.  Samaritan's Purse also feeds them 3 meals a day.  The morning starts off at 6:30 with breakfast and devotions.  Then they drive out to the worksite with a sack lunch.  They return to the church for dinner and a sharing time.

Not only did the staff and crew welcome Jon wholeheartedly on the team, they welcomed US---the whole family!  They invited us to join them for dinner on Wednesday.  They also had us to join them for dinner on Friday and for breakfast and devotions on Saturday.  It was so nice to meet the amazing people God brought together this week!

After dinner on Friday, one more time... the quality of the people overwhelmed us.  The Samaritan's Purse cook brought out a surprise!  Happy 13th Birthday treats for Faith!  Jon and I were totally surprised, too.  We didn't know they even knew it was Faith's birthday the next day!  The entire crew sang, "Happy Birthday" to her.  :)  Thank-you to the Samaritan's Purse staff and crew for making her birthday so special.

TWO cakes???  YUM!!!!!!
We are so thankful God opened an opportunity for us to co-labor with Samaritan's Purse this week.  We will try to serve with them again soon.

If you have time to serve, please check out:  http://spvolunteernetwork.org/  There are many ways to serve...and here is where you can apply to serve at a rebuild project.  :)

Because this is what it's all about:  A testimony of meeting Christ through this storm....

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