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La Grange, TX – Weekly Report – Feb 4-8, 2019

February 13, 2019

Ain’t Gonna Wait

Detroit is the home of Motown music, but that is not the only music in Michigan.  Detour is a popular bluegrass group from Michigan.   Jeff Rose is the creative force and writes many of the songs, while lead singer, Missy Armstrong contributes to the songwriting as well.  In 2014 they teamed up to write “Ain’t Gonna Wait”, gaining several IBMA nominations that year.

I ain’t gonna wait for heaven                  I ain’t gonna wait to pray
I ain’t gonna wait for heaven                  I’m gonna live like I’m in heaven today

The song is about a person who’s determined to not wait for the promise of eternal joy to begin after death, but to live knowing that God’s Kingdom is in the here and now. It is a good practice, but difficult to carry out when faced with roaring flood waters.

At the MDS response site in La Grange, Texas, this week the majority of volunteers hailed from Michigan. They joined volunteers from Nebraska and Pennsylvania some of whom were staying for a second week of work.  New long term volunteers for February also arrived, representing Ontario, Virginia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, joining others already here from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Michigan.

Many of the tasks for this week were difficult.  However, as the song describes, the volunteers for this week stayed focused on the aspects of heaven as a daily experience.  At one site where drywall finishing was in the final sanding and skim coat stages, singing broke out.  Even in the moments before breakfast and supper, voices sang hymns of heavenly splendor.  No task was too mundane to not become the framework for giving glory and praise… if not in words, then in teamwork and striving to do the best work possible.

Electrical and plumbing work joined the drywall work, but painting seemed to be the ubiquitous task at all of the new homes.  Our newest house, started with the foundation last week, sprang into shape this week as the framing crew nailed boards together at a blistering pace.  After eight days of work, the house for Ms. Jessica has gone from a bare level lot to a fully framed, dried-in house, with much of the metal roof installed.

The most heavenly experience for many was attending their first dedication of an MDS home.  We all marveled at the incredibly bright smiles of Ms. Sandra, her friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, vendors, reporters and city officials.  When looking at the crowd, you could see Ms. Sandra’s joy reflected in every person in attendance. One MDS volunteer, seeing her first dedication, observed that this house was being received not only by the client but by every member of that community.  When leaving, one volunteer who’d served dozens of times, but never saw a dedication before, said “This is why we do this.”

Another week of daily devotions started off each day and set the tone for the volunteers’ efforts. Games of many kinds provided enjoyment, while getting to know the other volunteers provided a deep sense of joy and fellowship.  When walking to the dining room, I was greeted by the dull roar of happy conversations.  The sound only diminished while the delicious food was being consumed. Having known most of the people in the Nebraska and Michigan groups for many years, it was a blessing to see these friends of mine become friends of each other. The goodbyes and “good working with you” expressed as volunteers headed for home were as sincere as you’d hear at the end of a joyous family reunion.

That is what I see as the main characteristic of God’s Kingdom here on earth and in heaven.  A great cloud of people joined together in God’s presence and in their shared love of God.  If that is remotely accurate, then being on an MDS response is what this song is about.  We have the opportunity to not wait to get to heaven, but to act as if it is here today.

Waiting for another week of heaven in La Grange, Fayette County, Texas
Bob, Evie, Sharon, Dick, Lowell, Dan, David, Errol, Mike, Edith, and Carl