Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Feb 10-14, 2020

February 19, 2020

Most people attribute the song “Keep on the Sunny Side” to A.P. Carter and the Carter Family, who recorded it in 1928.  They used it as their theme song for many decades.  It was actually written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn, an otherwise unknown hymn writer, and was included in many hymn books at the start of the next century.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,

Keep on the sunny side of life;

It will help us every day,  it will brighten all the way,

If we keep on the sunny side of life.

We’ve had both stormy and sunny weather in the Marianna area over the past week.  The rains have not affected the progress greatly, so that lets us look on the sunny side of the week.  We have also decided it is best when volunteers have sunny Fridays as their last impression of the Marianna experience.

This week’s volunteers included a men’s group from Lancaster County, PA organized by Bob, a crew leader for February.  Most have participated in MDS responses in Texas, Louisiana and now Florida. The rest of our short term volunteers were from Virginia. They were the third group from that community to come to Marianna since November 2019.  So, the Sunday orientation information was old news to most of this group.

Let us greet with a song of hope each day,

tho’ the moments be cloudy or fair;

Let us trust in our Savior always,

who keepeth everyone in His care.

One thing that must never get old is the information about safety on the work site and around camp.  That was emphasized this week as two volunteers had encounters with framing nails on the same day.  That led to a mid-week refresher on equipment safety and the importance of staying out of the range of these potentially harmful tools. The injuries were both minor and with careful cleaning and monitoring they showed no signs of complications.

We gladly continued work on our new houses, with all four seeing major progress.  Framing on houses no. 3 and no. 4 made good progress.   Walls were going up and trusses were being set.  The experienced older guys from PA were teamed up with the youthful volunteers from VA, which produced a good mix for those two jobs.  The only delay was waiting for a strapping inspection on house no. 3.  That crew was able to make the roof rainproof before Thursday, so progress continued there despite the rain.

Our first two new houses are at about the halfway point. Drywall hanging and finishing led to interior painting.  One of the biggest milestones is ordering the interior flooring, doors, light fixtures and trim. Those orders were placed on Friday, with deliveries set for next week.  It is at this stage when clients, especially children, roam through the rooms of the house and imagine where their beds will be.  That simple act brings a big smile to the clients and our volunteers.

It is such a blessing to be able to order the materials when needed in the building process.  We are very grateful to God for the many donors to MDS and the organizations that help fund the building materials.  Tracking those funds is a lot of work for our office managers, but we know the life of any MDS response relies on this pillar of MDS support. 

The oldest open project, Job Card No. 2, started in November 2019, is firmly in the interior painting stage.  Drywall finishing was finally completed after waiting out some humid days when mud just did not dry.  Next on the schedule is installing flooring and interior doors, with other interior work soon to follow.  All of that is delivered and ready to go. Ms. Chrystal and Mr. Harold are ready to be in a house by themselves, so the completion day cannot come too soon for them.

One big effort this week was to insure indoor work was available on Thursday, when rainfall predictions were as high as 90 percent.  For that, we returned to the practice of painting a house before it is built.  The siding for Ms. Theresa’s house was painted in the church warehouse, like many before it.  She joined us for supper on Thursday evening, and was surprised to see the siding and trim for her house spread around the warehouse while it dried overnight.

Thursday evening also saw the singing of old time hymns with harmonies, rhythms and even Virginia accents similar to those of the Carter Family.  It was a good time for looking on the sunny side of our week.  God certainly has kept us in His care, and we are grateful for it.

From Marianna, Florida; Jackson and Calhoun Counties,
Sharon, Joanne, Evie, Edith, Doreen, Dick, Bob, Will, Mike, Leroy and Carl