Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Jan 13-17, 2010

January 22, 2020

Is it coincidence that on the last two Sundays we heard teachings in two different churches on Matthew 16?  Or is it that we needed to hear the teaching twice for it to penetrate our thoughts?  Both talked about the need for a Christ follower to pick up the burden of the cross every day. Other passages declare that the “yoke is easy and the burden is light,” but there is still a load to lift.  The question is “Are you willing to pick up the cross as the cost of following Jesus”.

A traditional bluegrass song, What Would You Give, asks the question in a slightly different way. After listening to the DVD recording by Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Ricky Skaggs, that question is firmly embedded in my thoughts.

Brother afar,  from the Savior today
Risking your soul,  for the things that decay
Oh if today,  God should call you away
What would you give, in exchange for your soul

All MDS volunteers make that decision every time they sign up for serving, whether as a weekly or long term volunteer.  By giving up time at work, time with family, or just time within their comfort zone of home, MDS volunteers decide to pick up the cross of following Christ.  For the clients, that act appears to be the MDS volunteers helping to pick up the burden of recovery after a disaster.

In the North Florida panhandle, MDS continues to help with the burdens of our clients’ recoveries.  Short term volunteers from Ohio and Alberta joined long termers from Alberta, Pennsylvania, Ontario and Michigan for the second week of 2020.  Work continued on four projects.

At Ms. Bobby’s house, the interior walls were painted, flooring was installed, doors were hung and most interior trim was fitted into place and painted.  Ms. Bobby is very pleased with the work, and feels especially blessed that MDS workers show up at her house every workday.  MDS crew leader, Janey, and crew get lots of hugs and praises at this work place.

A similar process is happening at Ms. Leverne’s house.  Painting was a few days behind the other house, so the flooring for her house was just started on Friday. Interior doors and trim have been painted, ready for installation after the flooring is done.  Ms. Leverne thinks that saying thank you is not enough, but it is.

At the two new build houses, work progressed, although it is behind where we had planned. Lack of windows, foundations or inspectors have all contributed to work happening at a slower pace. Regardless of the delays, the clients at both houses look in wonder at the structure taking shape outside their temporary RV living quarters. Their lives feel a little less burdened with each board and nail.

More than the silver and gold of the earth
More than all jewels  thy spirit is worth
God the creator  has given His word
What would you give in exchange for your soul

The houses we are building or repairing are neither silver nor gold in the eyes of the world, yet for our clients these are priceless. They are steps toward getting their lives back to normal.  For the volunteers, we can sometimes see the trim, paint, flooring, framing and siding as jewels shining amid the remains of a disaster.  The relationships with the clients and between volunteers are precious elements that are shaped into lasting memories.

For the MDS volunteer, making the decision to pick up the cross for the benefit of a client does not seem like a burdensome task.  Instead it is a way to take advantage of the power of God’s love.  Our hearts, souls, hands and feet are conduits through which that love moves.  It is not a matter of giving away, but one of receiving great blessings.

From Marianna, Florida, Jackson and Calhoun Counties
Janey, Henry, Andrew, Bob, Leo, Mim,
Daniel, Elsie, Ellen, Louise, Laura and Carl