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La Grange, TX – Weekly Report – Feb 25-Mar 1, 2019

March 4, 2019

Coming Home 

There are LOTS of songs about coming home.  Each provides a particular perspective on what that means, from coming back to the old home place or to my sweet baby’s arms.

Some give a message that might even be beyond what the songwriter intended. “Coming Home” by Forrest O’Connor of the O’Connor Family Band is one of those for me.  On the surface it is about a young man on the road performing music, but longing to be home with his sweetheart.  However, the chorus has a more universal message which anyone who’s ever been out of touch with God can relate to.

And I say oh Lord, oh Lord               Oh Lord, I’m running low
So I’m coming home to you,             I’m coming home with the next sweet sunrise up on high
‘cause I’ll be dead before I die if I’m on my own.   So I’m coming home

Experiencing a disaster often results in being displaced from home. The efforts to regain the safety and sanctity of home may appear insurmountable.  Just as each “coming home” song is different, the journey back home is different for each flood survivor in La Grange.  The one constant for us here at MDS La Grange is joy in seeing those efforts reach their goal.

The cast of players in this past week’s effort included short-term volunteers from Indiana, Manitoba, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, plus our February long-term staff from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Kansas, Manitoba and Virginia.  Their efforts again had to overcome the distraction of rain and cool temperatures.  However, work did get accomplished and our clients’ journeys from displaced to coming home made progress.

Our ninth house got started and, despite the problems, did look like a house by the end of the week.  Trusses, lumber, windows and sheathing were all in place to define the shape of the future home of Ms. Laura and her grandson.  Even though we do not have enough weeks left to complete this house, we can give this client a good start on her road back home.

For Mr. Francisco and Ms. Lorena, their journey back home is now over.  From a flood destroyed home near the river to a new home on a high and dry lot in the city, they were finally able to be home.  Their stay in a temporary FEMA trailer had ended a week earlier, and even though family members were glad to take them in for a few days, it was time to be back home.  The dedication to mark the occasion was again a combination of Spanish and English.  Translation for this was carried out by one of our short-term volunteers, who was born in Belize.  Joy was experienced by all, regardless of the language used to express it.

The remaining trio of houses are about neck and neck in the race to return their clients to a permanent home.  The joy at those houses was being able to see the mudding and sanding part of the journey in their rear view mirrors.  Now the client-selected colors for the inside walls are being applied. Some delays are likely since we have exceeded the in-stock supply of flooring… another downside of having three houses at the same stage of completion.

As we turn to a new month, we are sending some long-term volunteers back to their homes.  We will miss the good food, good work, and good fun they helped to provide.  Even so, as they are leaving, new cooks, crew leaders and office manager are arriving. The journey home for our clients will continue through the next four weeks. We pray the work will result in a joyful “Coming Home” for all.

From La Grange, Fayette County, Texas
Departing: Errol, Edith, Mike, Sharon, Dick, Evie, Bob, Cheryl and Gene
Arriving: Willie, Lillian, Connie, Tom, Phil, Judy and Larry
Remaining: Carl, David, and Lowell