La Grange, TX – Weekly Report – Mar 11-15, 2019
March 26, 2019
Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if some decision you made or some event you endured had never happened? An Austin, Texas songwriter, Walt Wilkins co-wrote the song Here’s to the Trains I Missed in 2005 with the answer to that question. It starts with what seems like a lament at missed opportunities.
Here’s to the trains I missed The loves I lost
The bridges I burned The rivers I never crossed
Here’s to the call I didn’t hear The signs I didn’t heed
But by the third verse it is being thankful for all of the twists and turns that led to where the writer is now.
Here’s to this place I’ve found The love I’ve known
The earth and the sky That I call home
Here’s to the things I believe Bigger than me
And the moments I find myself right where I’m supposed to be
To hear the best version of the full song, find the 2010 recording by Balsam Range.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, flood survivors went through a LOT of agony here in Fayette County and far beyond. As they reach a place of recovery, many say they are not thankful for the flood, but they are definitely thankful for the help and love that has been shown to them. Some say that without the flood, they would never have met their angels in the form of the volunteers who worked on their home.
As a volunteer, hearing those words make any other missed opportunities pale in comparison to the chance to be “right where I’m supposed to be.” As we near the end of our time in La Grange for this year, we can see that difficulties and disappointments encountered do not take away from the awareness that this is part of something I believe that is bigger than me, or any one of us.
For the past week, our short term volunteers were mostly a group from Hesston College in Kansas. They were students, plus a couple of sponsors for the trip. They were joined by two men from Saskatchewan. Some of the group had applicable skills to help in the rebuilding of hope, while others had never experienced this type of hands-on work. Fortunately, there were a variety of tasks needing to be done, so most days there was work suited to the skills and on other days new skills were learned to suit the task.
As always, the event most anticipated was the dedication of a new house. This was for Ms. Valerie, located a few miles west of La Grange. The county contractor got the septic system back in operation the day before the dedication. Ms. Valerie was very excited to be able to move into her new home. She was thankful so many people had heard the call to take part in the journey leading to her home dedication.
The second most exciting event was beginning work to help two more families. Both had homes destroyed by the river. Both had purchased land and relocated to “higher ground”. One bought an older home needing work and the other bought land and her brother was building a new home for her. Both were running short on energy and funding to continue unaided. Compared to building a complete new home, these seem like small jobs, but those families were giving thanks that the twists and turns of our prior 15 weeks led to MDS being able to work on their homes.
At the houses scheduled for dedication next week, lots of work was accomplished. At the home in Schulenburg, only a few punch list items remain. The electrical, plumbing and HVAC final work is needed to get an occupancy inspection scheduled. After many twists and turns, this home is nearing completion.
The house in the pines was a beehive of activity. Lots of wires were connected. Lots of doors, casing and baseboard were installed. Yet the most impressive progress was placing the cabinets in the kitchen. A lot of work remains, so it will be a close race to see if dedication day gets here before the final punch list items are checked off. We will need the skills this next week’s volunteers bring with them.
As we rest this weekend, we are refreshed by the beautiful spring that makes up the earth and sky we are calling home for two more weeks. We will think about all of the twists and turns, some of which might affect MDS returning to Fayette County. We will strive to make decisions that work and bring us closer to the place we need to be… namely finishing three more new homes and working on a couple more. We are glad to be here, thankful we missed the train that would have taken us somewhere else.
From La Grange, Fayette County, Texas
Lillian, Judy, Connie, Larry, Willie, Phil, Tom, David, and Carl