Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Feb 3-7, 2020

February 11, 2020

There is an annual gathering in Winfield, Kansas called the Walnut Valley Festival.  About 15,000 people come together to celebrate music of mostly bluegrass, folk, and cowboy genres with some jazz, Celtic and old time acoustic music added in.  In 2001, this occurred the week after September 11.  In the midst of chaos, the people there mourned and encouraged each other, while celebrating the strength in the fabric of music that heals and comforts.

John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin, Michael Mark, and Jon Cobert managed to overcome planes being grounded and traveled to the festival. For their Saturday concert they performed the song “Follow the Light” that they had written in their hotel that morning.

When the world feels so big         And we seem so small
And you wonder if life                  Has any meaning left at all
When you’re losing your heart     When you’re losing the fight
Hold on to my hand                     And we will follow the light

After experiencing that debut, this song is the one I think of when trying to follow God’s light through difficult times.  The words have been used to release loved ones from this life.  They have provided guidance in the midst of hurricanes and floods.  They are words that can keep us focused on the light God shines toward us each day.

Follow the light                  When you’re lonely and lost
When out on the ocean       You are tumbled and tossed
Follow your heart              Wherever you may be
Follow the light on home to me

It is no secret that the MDS response in Marianna, Florida has encountered some difficult days.  This week had its fair share, but as the song instructs us, we strive to keep our minds on the light of God’s leading.  As a result, we have seen great strides forward on the projects each week.

There were two large groups of young people from Old Order communities in Pennsylvania this week as weekly volunteers.  They arrived by bus and van, plus two of the women arrived by way of Amtrak train to Fort Lauderdale and then on bicycles to Marianna. The groups did not know each other before arriving, but soon became friends.

They were welcomed by our new Long Term staff for February, comprised of volunteers from Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ontario, and Michigan.  After the Sunday evening orientation, crews were formed for work on Monday.

The new house for Charles and Aprille saw significant advancement this week.  Monday was the day for Rough-In inspection, which was followed by insulation, drywall hanging and the beginning of drywall finishing.  The outside received the final pieces of siding and a second coat paint, which leaves just the back porch for outside work.

The new house for Ms. Patricia was being tended to by the plumber and electrician at the start of the week.  It is now the recipient of ceiling and wall insulation, and is awaiting Rough-In inspection to begin drywall hanging.

We were able to start on the floor joists and subfloor system of our third new build house for Mr. Tony and Mrs. Vivian.  Unfortunately work had to halt, partly due to extremely stormy weather, but mainly due to corrections needed on the foundation.  We are keeping our eyes on the light, and expect to resume building on that site this coming Monday.

Out in Sneads, the rebuilding of the inside of Mrs. Crystal’s house moved right along. Taping and mudding of drywall seams are progressing well, considering the high humidity and long drying time.  While waiting for the mud to dry, the final work needed on the subfloor was done. Measurements for cabinets were made and selections for cabinet color, countertop, flooring and interior wall colors were made.  When those selection details are being made, you can begin to see the light at the end of the home repair process.

At Mr. Charles’ rebuild, there were a LOT of boards remaining to be removed, but by the end of the week, the floor joists and subfloor had been replaced.  With that sturdy floor, walls were built and readied for new drywall, while the old windows were removed and replacements ordered.

We started a small job for Ms. Agnes that involved some interior repairs, resetting both exterior doors and building a new porch and steps.  By the end of the week, her little dog was happily trying out the new steps, and the final coats of paint were being applied to the drywall repairs.

Our short term volunteers also included a couple from Michigan.  They were the perfect team to get several small tasks completed and we checked off most of the punch list items on three jobs from last week.

So, looking back at the work under the light of God’s plan, we had a productive week.  As in many prior weeks, it was not what we anticipated, but was important progress for our clients.  We look ahead to another week and have our plans in place. However, we know we need to follow the light through whatever delays or difficulties we will encounter.  There will be challenges, following that Light is a better way to get our clients back into their homes, accomplishing much more than worrying or complaining.

Striving to Follow the Light in Marianna, Florida; Jackson and Calhoun counties,
Evie, Bob, Joanne, Dick, Sharon, Edith, Mike, Leroy, Doreen, Will and Carl