Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Jan 27-31, 2020

February 5, 2020

This past week in the MDS Marianna project camp there was a LOT of singing, with good harmonies and fine strong voices.  The singing occurred during morning devotions and during evenings after supper.  Among the songs sung more than once was “When Peach Like a River” lyrics by Horatio Spafford and music by Paul Bliss.

When peace like a river,  attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.

These words have given comfort to millions of people over the years this classic hymn has been sung.  For the MDS response here in the panhandle of Florida, these words fit well with the events of the past week. 

Our short term volunteers were all from Kentucky this week. Many had served in Texas and other MDS locations, so they were looking forward to the opportunities of an MDS response in Florida. Our long term volunteers from Ontario, Alberta, Pennsylvania and Michigan were facing their final week in Marianna, and hoping for a productive end to their time here.

Following the words in the hymn, we had some peaceful intervals and what felt like towering billows threatening to overwhelm us.  Through it all, we strove to listen well while being assured all is well.  We dodged several forecast rain showers and endured some colder than ideal mornings.  As a result, some of the potential difficulties of the week were diverted.  Lots of work was completed to the point that we were not sure what would be available for the next week’s crews.

At our two new builds, the outside of the houses are just about completed, except for handrails around porches which need to be left off for drywall delivery.  Both houses are showing off their nicely painted siding and shiny new roofs.  The first one has seen the subcontractors complete the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work and is ready for inspection.  The second is waiting for those trades to complete their parts in the process. The flow of work on those two has been interrupted as days have passed with no trades people working on the houses.  While we also await the final two foundations, we try hard to rest in the words of the hymn and find that it is well with my soul, despite delays.

Our other houses made good progress, and we had dedications for two of the build out jobs.  Although they were not 100% complete, the crew leaders were headed home, and we decided a ceremony to close out their efforts was important, both for the volunteers and the clients.  Ms. Bobbie was sad to see her crew leader, Janey, head home to Canada and Ms. Leverne was sorry to have Leo and Mim head home to PA.  The houses each have checklists of items that remain to be done, and we plan to finish those off as soon as the remaining items are purchased.

A couple of small jobs were worked on this week also, with meaningful changes made to a couple of homes.  A porch and ramp were restored after being hit by a falling tree, and the final coats of paint were applied to the work that closed off the end of another house damaged by a falling tree.

One new job that was started will involve several weeks of work.  We finished gutting a house built in the 1940’s.  It has sturdy concrete block walls and a new roof, so we are looking forward to restoring this house into a home.

At the end of the week, we sent our short term volunteers home to Kentucky.  We also said goodbye to the Long Term volunteers who served so well in January and welcomed the February staff.  It was a weekend of much change, and we awaited messages from our travelers to confirm they arrived back home safely.

In the midst of the changes and uncertainty of work being progressed at the pace we hope, we can daily look to the sky, as a symbol of God’s promises. Whether we see bright sunrises or banks of clouds, we can be assured that God does have a plan and we need to find what that might be.  If we do that, we can say, it is well with my soul.

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