A typical day in Minot:
- 6:30am - Wake up, put on work clothes, eat breakfast
- 7:15am - Drive 25 miles to LDR Trailer, listening to morning devo in the car
- 8:00am - Receive assignment for the day, pick up tools from Tool Shed
- 8:30am - Drive to house
- 8:45am - Noonish - Work, work, work, work, work. Stopping only to use the lovely neighborhood port-a-pottys when absolutely necessary
- Noon - pause for prayer, lunch, devotions
- 12:30pm - Work, work, work, work, work.
- 5:00pmish - Stop work, clean-up house for the day, pack up tools, return to trailer, return Bill and Dar to their camper to pack Bag #2 of clothing for the day.
- 5:30pm - Drive everyone over to the local YMCA, where they let us use the showers for free
- 6:00pm - Drive to a local church, where we'd sit down and eat a hot meal with all the other volunteers
- 6:30pm - Return back to Trinity Church, pack snack and clothing bags
- 9:00pm - Collapse into the inflatable beds so we're ready to repeat for tomorrow.
A little bit of Fall for the back seat.
I'm sure Bill and Dar didn't mind the leaves in their hair one bit. HA!
...and back to reality.
Our 3rd and final house for the week.
A creative use for the front entry.
That water heater is on it's way OUT!
NOTHING prepares for this kind of scene.
The upstairs looked absolutely abandoned. Personal items still in place - and lots of military equipment. Makes us think the people who occupied the home were in the Armed Services at one time or another. Sigh.
How they lifted this from the basement to the curb is beyond me.
How about removing some more nails? Ugh.
I finally realized what was really, REALLY depressing me this week: the total absence of COLOR. When mud has ravaged a home, all that's left behind is brown and grey. Bright colors were completely missing from these homes, swept away with the floods. We found these shoes and doll in the backyard of this home, tangled in a tree.
Well, there you have it:
Bill, Dar, Bren, Verina, Sarah, Vick and Darryl.
I haven't yet decided if these signs are terribly sad or incredibly hopeful.
Dar met the owner of this B and B - she worked super hard to keep the home safe, and cleaned up as fast as she could to keep her hopes (and the hopes of future customers) up.
Dar said there was ROUNDED glass in the windows! Curved!
....and just around the corner. Look at those mud lines - oy.
Lines of a different kind: I swear you can still see where the mask was on my face. Not easy to breath in, that's for sure, but I felt better about the health of my lungs.
This is what happens when you let Sarah pull out a random nail on the floor...
The crew after hours:
Sarah, Lowell, Bren, Bill, Darryl and Rhonda.
Lowell was the King of the Tool Shed and total Jack of all trades. He delivered lunches, tools and cheer throughout the week - and a fine dose of charming stories.
Rhonda is the face of Lutheran Disaster Relief - the kind of woman who keeps the troops in line, offers a shoulder to cry on, and goes to clean up the blood when there's an injury on site! (Some guy slipped and just about sliced off his ear - she had to go clean up the scene.) She's clearing found her calling in life.Shut the front door. That's AM, people.
Dickinson, North Dakota!
Linda Jacobs, why are you here with me?!
Sunrise in Dickinson.
Even the cattle were cold!
You know, cheese would make this long road-trip better.
BOOYA for cheese curds!!!
See, SOUTH Dakota puts up signs, welcoming their visitors.
Take note, Montana. Take note.
If you zoom in on this sign, it says Newell,
the name of ANOTHER church member, Gayle!
Ah, South Dakota. The land of flat, endless roads and then sudden lush trees!
Oh, and deer on the road. Let's not forget the deer on the road.
Thank heavens I was awake enough to STOP in time.
Three more in the field to our left. Whew!
...and HOME. 4:30am - 6:00pm.
Colorado, it's good to see you again!
People keep asking if I had a good time on Fall Break, to which I keep responding "I worked really hard during my Fall Break", which is an abbreviated way of saying:
- I continue to be overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings of the last week
- I feel spoiled and blessed to return home to such lush accommodations
- Basic needs really only include food, shelter, faith and friends
- My prayers and empathy for people who are suffering in North and South Dakota because of flooding has increased exponentially (and the many, many other areas of the world where water becomes an out of control force)
- I thought of my brother's service in the Army in new and eye-opening ways
- I had never seen water act in such a destructive manner
- I'm always amazed at the incredible people God puts in your life at the right time: those for humor, those for comfort, those for inspiration
- I would do it all over again...and sincerely plan to soon.
God's work. Our hands indeed.