Friday, January 30, 2015

What a Week!

We sit here on Friday night trying to keep our eyes open after a week filled with hard work, new friends and an overwhelming sense of God's presence.  Every mission trip I have been on has had great moments and this one certainly has had more than its share.  As we finish our work for the week it always comes with mixed emotions.  Excitement that we will be heading home to see our family and friends (I am really missing Gina and my little guys).  Sadness that we will be saying goodbye to these new friends we have met here in Oklahoma.  People like Georgia whose house we had the opportunity to see become just about completed.  Her joy and gratitude is infectious.  Or Stan, our construction supervisor that led us this week with a quiet grace and calm that was amazing.

We have done good work this week.  We painted.  We raked (and raked and raked).  We laid sod to give Miss Georgia a new front lawn.  We mulched and spread seed and a host of other little tasks to make her house a home.

But, I believe the most important thing wasn't done by us.  It was done by God.  God brought us all here and touched each of us in a profound way.  These trips feed my soul.  It reminds me of what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to be and do.  To reach out.  To be "doers" of our faith.  This week the church left the building and lives were changed.  It is my prayer that what we bring back is more than what we had when we left.  I pray that this experience will remind us that we are called to be seed throwers and flame starters for Jesus.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let's Stomp Today

Let's Stomp Today

Thursday started with a slightly new twist on the day. The weather started to return to Oklahoma normal it was windy and starting to turn colder. Today's high was 55. The wind in Oklahoma is strong and constant which made today an Orange sweatshirt day! The first two stops of the day were for us to see the types of storm shelters that Samaritan's Purse installs. In the houses they build from the ground up they get an internal safe room where the homeowners can go if another tornado warning sounds. The other is an in-ground shelter for those houses that just need repairs and do not have an internal room.

 When we got to the house it was mainly an outside work day. We broke into work groups and started. Some planted the plants bought for the new home, And they also went with Miss Georgia to her destroyed house to dig up some of her favorite plant to be planted at her new home.  

Others started putting in the yard. Some spread peat moss and grass seed while others laid sod in the front of the house. This is were we had some fun because after you lay the sod you need to make sure it is firmly in contact with the ground. So we gathered together and you guessed it... a stomp party ensued.       

The final group installed a new stepping stone side walk to the front porch. This path leads to a wonderful warm and inviting front entrance to a new start for Miss Georgia. We love to see this new life coming out of the devastation from the storm. --Garth Johnston

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Working hard!!

Today was our 2nd full day on our job site at Georgia's house.  As Chef Rick from Samaritans Purse says, "God painted us another great day".  Weather was in the mid 70's and just a wonderful day to be the hands and feet of Christ.

We are making good strides as we try to finish Georgia's home by the end of the week.  The painting has finished!  The landscaping has begun.  Top soil was dumped and spread.  Bushes were planted and assorted plants were arranged..  We are thankful for this opportunity and blessed to see the joy in Georgia's face as she sees her house starting to look like a home.

Keep those prayers coming...we all are feeling them!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day One in Oklahoma

As happy as we are to be in Oklahoma, the first day of a mission trip holds its own particular challenges. Everyone gets up early- too early. New routines for mealtimes and clean up must be worked out. The group is anxious about work assignments- do we wear the work boots, googles or hats? How do we find our work site?  Wonderful blessings are also discovered…. We met our fellow workers from all over the US who will be partnering with us this week….we saw Oklahoma in the daylight. Worship with praise songs and meaningful devotions /prayers began our day.

 Samaritan’s Purse is the relief organization that sponsors this recovery work. (Note all the orange shirts, a gift to us from Samaritan’s purse)  

The name comes from Jesus’ story in the Bible, the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10. One grace filled part of the story defines our purpose for being here. The Samaritan finds the traveler hurt by the side of the road. “He went to him, bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, ‘Look after him, he said, when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Our purpose in being here is to care for the needs of others in distress so they will come to realize the love of God in their life. Sometimes we need to go immediately, other times we need to continue to provide care  to help people get their lives back in order long after a natural disaster.

Our work detail was assigned to Miss Georgia’s house. She lost everything in the devastating tornado in 2013.We will have more on her story tomorrow. For this night, we give thanks to God for our safe travels, for the opportunity to help others and serve for Christ.    

Louise Rogers


Monday, January 26, 2015

2nd Team Ready to Serve

Presbyterian Project's 2nd team has arrived in Oklahoma City ready to work with Samaritan's Purse to help those devastated by the tornadoes of May 2013.  There was some fear that with the snow in Pittsburgh today that the team might have some difficulty making the necessary connections.  But after a slight delay in Pittsburgh, the team arrived safe and mostly sound :) in Oklahoma at 5:30 pm.  It was good to be together and there is a lot of excitement about what this week will bring.

We arrived at Church of the Harvest (Norman campus), got some Samaritan Purse gear to wear on site and had an orientation of the building.  Arrangements look wonderful.  Bunk beds, large fellowship area and plenty of space to rest and have fun together.  Shower trailer is outside, but before you feel bad that we have to walk outside to get there, know that it was 77 degrees here today!!!  Sorry, to all of you back in Pittsburgh shoveling from a half foot of snow.

We took a friend's suggestion and went to eat at the Mexican restaurant, Chuy's.  Great place...looked very authentic.  But the best part of dinner was hanging with these authentic brothers and sisters in Christ.  I look forward to to being "seed throwers" and "fire starters" for Jesus this week.

Time for a good night sleep.  Tomorrow we wake at 6:30 am...orientation, devotion and off to work.  Pray for this team this week.  Pray for those still trying to recover from this disaster.  Pray for those we will be working with and for the ministry happening here.


Jeff Potter

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Finale

Today was our final full day. The week flew by!!! It was kind of a hectic one. We left around 8:30 to go to the job site. On the way there, the back of the bus door was not fully shut and magically opened itself as we were on the back roads. Luckily, Debbie shut it and managed to stay in the bus. We arrived at the house after and began working shortly after. The group was finishing up on the final touches of the house. Bob worked on the tile and accessorized the front porch posts with decorative wood encasing. Doug and Walt/Henry continued to work on the trim in the house. It is nearly complete and looks beautiful. Trent was cocking the seams of the trim. Debbie, Doreen, Laura, and I installed the door handles and struggled our way through putting the rods in the closet up. During this process, another one of those funny moments occurred. We managed to break the screw for the rod in the closer. Luckily Walt/Henry was our super man and saved the day.  Tons of giggles were shared though especially when the next funny moment happened. Out of all the screws in the boards we managed to find one covered over conveniently where we need to put the bracket screw.   Debbie gave Georgia this beautiful prayer shawl and the group gave her a beautiful handmade wooden cross. She was in tears because she was so happy. It was one of those special God moments. We even got to eat lunch outside and enjoyed the sunny 64 degree day. I never want to leave if the weather stays this way. For our final adventure, we went to the Braum's Ice Cream Store. For three ice creams, it was only 7 dollars and it was delicious! (Hint week 2 go there!) Tomorrow we continue working for part of the morning and then we are back on our way to Pittsburgh. I hope to see you all soon!



Work Site


The Closet

Handmade Cross from Scraps of Wood

Group Selfie

Brain Freeze

Photo Update

They let us use power tools.

More tools.

Doreen cleaning the tile floor.

Completed room.

Completed room.

Completed room.

Finished countertops.

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

The completed countertop.

Bob and Debbie's tile work.

Debbie with our supervisor, Stan, new friends.

Exterior view.

Friday - Notice the temperature and blue sky? 

Interior view.

Interior view.

Stan our supervisor, what a great guy!

Beans making Miss Georgia's Cross.

Bob working on the posts.

Say cheese.

The closet Queens in action.

Trent working the trim.

Da girls.


Interior view.

Henry/Walter approves of the work.