Ukiah, CA – Weekly Report – Feb 17-21, 2020

February 26, 2020

Participating in the Ukiah, CA, MDS unit is a well-rounded experience.  Not only do you get to help others in need, you also make a new group of friends. Some of those friends include the owners of the homes we are building.

This week we heard the moving story of Gayle Zepeda’s home burning to the ground.  She took time to walk us carefully through her experience.  At times she had tears, and so did some of the volunteers.  We hear about these California fires in the news, but getting to know people who have lived through these experiences brings it home in a very real way. As volunteers work here, we see blackened trees and piles of forest debris around our work areas.

Gayle’s house moved ahead this week with touch-up spackling, sanding, and painting. Louella led a crew of girls from Kentucky and Indiana in this tedious, but necessary, phase. Victor and Noah worked diligently on finishing the electrical panel. Leon did a fine job of installing shelves where needed.

At Ed Norton’s house, electrical, shelving, and touch up of walls and baseboard started out the week. Attic pipes were insulated and the water heater drain pan was installed. Because some electrical items needed to be moved and rearranged, time was spent on wall patching and mudding plus additional touch up. Mitch was the crew leader for these two houses.

At the beginning of the week John O’Neal’s house was not as far along in the building process. Painting kept Barb and a lot of other volunteers busy.  Walls, window and door trim, as well as exterior doors and porch cement boards used up gallons of paint.  It was good to have a sizeable number of young people who did not mind getting slightly painted themselves! Large amounts of progress were made by Friday. Gideon, our MDS year-long volunteer from Germany, worked on several of the houses throughout the week.  He works well and has learned many skills which will carry on to his assignment in Pollocksville, NC, next month. Rick was the crew leader for John’s house.

Our fourth house is being built for Sylver Anderson. She shared her story of the fire and escape with the whole MDS crew at dinner one evening. Mudding and sanding of drywall occupied much time the first three days.  Careful work in this phase produces the smooth walls we all expect to see in our own homes. Work was completed on the front and back porches.  California laws have changed to include using materials that will withstand fire for longer lengths of time.  This includes all exterior materials from roof to foundation and porches. Horst was the crew leader for Sylver’s house.

Our daily experiences as volunteers worked well because of Judy’s organized work as office manager and the hours of food preparation Walter and Lorraine contributed.  Every morning after breakfast Larry, our project director, encouraged us to interact with each other and the home owners.  He reminded us that this ministry is about people as well as constructing homes.  Being the hands and feet of Christ to those we serve is our daily calling.

Written by Ann on behalf of the long-term team,

Gideon, Ann, Mitch, Lorraine, Walter, Judy & Larry