Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Jan 20-24, 2020

January 28, 2020

At the Marianna MDS Site, there are many mornings when our daily devotions are given in the form of songs. This often happens when our volunteers are mostly younger Old Order Mennonites, whose familiarity with singing hymns becomes a comfortable means of leading devotions.

We experienced that this week, and one of the hymns sung was “My Daily Prayer” written by Geraldine Koehn. Not much can be found about her except that she has been a prolific writer of hymns that often find their way into song books like Heartland Hymns and Mountain Laurel. I have found almost 50 hymns attributed to her.

We had heard this song several times starting in November 2019. Like many hymns, these words are perfect for a morning devotion, especially for a group of people going out be the Hands and Feet of Jesus.
As I see the sunrise on another morning May I bow my head in prayer to God above Thanking Him for His great mercy and forgiveness And the many blessings He bestows in love

The volunteers who were in Marianna striving to live out these words were people who LOVED to sing. Our single volunteer from Alberta was joined by a group of young people from Leola, PA, plus a group of mostly older volunteers from Walnut Creek Mennonite Church in Ohio. They joined the long term volunteers from Michigan, Ontario, Alberta and Pennsylvania.

Meeting each sunrise with prayer is a good way to start a work day. The prayers helped to keep the predicted rain showers away from the main work hours each day, which enabled a lot of great work to be completed. They also possibly helped to bring the building inspector to both new houses, which allowed several building steps to proceed.

Both of our new build houses ended the week with shiny, galvanized metal roofs in place. That was a major accomplishment made possible by dryer than expected weather and a wonderful mix of volunteers that included younger folks comfortable on the 5:12 pitch roofs and ample strong volunteers who handled the ground level work, handing the metal panels up to the “high crew.” The windows for both houses arrived this week, and those are installed, which allowed exterior siding work to progress.

My Daily Prayer – Jan 24, 2020

A highlight of the week was having Ms. Patricia and her family out to supper with us all in our dining room. Ms. Patricia told the gathered volunteers of the difficulties of the past 16 months that included the deaths of loved ones amidst the events of Hurricane Michael. It is a very welcome blessing for us all to understand the impact the new house will have on the three generations who will live there.

Our two build outs are also progressing well. The major visible difference for each of them is the kitchen cabinets that were installed. Each of these have some significant tasks to complete, but we are praying daily that those can be finished by the end of this coming week.

As I go forth in this day that lies before me When the troubles and temptations come to try May I always look to Thee for strength and courage Seeking for a mansion in the starry sky

The troubles for this week continued to be permits not issued and foundations not started for our last two new build houses. Following what is becoming a tradition, the siding, trim and soffit for new build number 3 was painted prior to the house being started. One of the more senior members of that painting crew phoned home to report she had helped paint a whole house in two days. She had to assure them she did not climb on any ladders to accomplish the feat.

Two other jobs were taken on. One consisted of a very unconventional approach to closing off the end of a mobile home that had been struck by a fallen tree, plus building a new porch and steps. The other was replacing siding that had been whipped off the house in Michael’s high winds. Simple jobs, but very important to the clients who were still looking at the effects of the hurricane.

As the two main groups from PA and OH left, there were many hugs and comments celebrating the wonderful singing that graced our dining room during the week. Our continued daily prayers are for more opportunities to meet new friends, lift glad voices, and serve the clients in North Florida.

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