Tuesday: Our first workday

Tuesday morning I met Al in the dining hall at 6:00 for breakfast, which that day was scrambled eggs, bacon, and oatmeal (real oatmeal for which they had butter, brown sugar, raisins, and milk, so I was a happy camper). Also available each day were OJ, apple juice, toast, PB&J, yogurts, a variety of dry cereals, very strong coffee, and tea. Really generally a decent spread.

The night before, in my dorm room, a woman a couple bunks over had been saying she really didn't want to stay at camp and work, which seemed to be all that was available by the time she signed up at the organizational meeting. I told her I was pretty sure we had space on our crew, so at breakfast I told Frank, and so Janis was added to our team. Meanwhile, Pastor Larry had recruited Martin to our team also, so by the time breakfast was over, there were 6 of us.

At 6:30 each day it's time for morning devotions, which all this week consisted of someone saying a few words, and then a brief sing-along led by a couple from northern Mississippi, quite enthusiastic and enjoyable. On Tuesday the devotion was a woman (I'm not sure from where) who said she had not always been able to do volunteer work such as this, because she suffered from a debilitating eye problem…. I deserve, I want, and I need. She said that once she learned about Jesus, her "I" problem was gone and she could help others. She said it better than that, but you get the idea; that was another thing that I heard quoted throughout the rest of the week.

Also each day after breakfast, there were two tables set up with lunch fixings, for each person to pack themself a bagged lunch. Generally there was a variety of bread (I chose the brown and wheat swirl each day), lunchmeats, cheeses (or PB&J), bags of chips etc, fruits, and cookies or pound cake. There were also plenty of bottles of water to take. Each team got a cooler to pack their crew's lunches and drinks in.

Now began a period of some confusion. All we had was a sheaf of papers that gave particulars about the home we were to work on in Pascagoula (about 15 miles east of Ocean Springs), and a list of tasks we were to accomplish: 2nd coat of paint in certain areas they listed, primer and topcoat (1st and 2nd coats) in other areas. We were on our own as far as figuring out what all we needed to load into the bus to take to the jobsite, so that was a little disorganized we thought. We did find out at least that the paint was to be white, but the paper didn't say what gloss or anything, so we guessed. We gathered up a couple ladders, brushes, rollers, buckets, and scrapers. Also, since this was a 2-story house (which there aren't many of at all in Mississippi), we needed a longer extension ladder than they had in the warehouse, so arrangements were made for one to be purchased and delivered to our jobsite (and a brand new 24' ladder was indeed there by the time we got there).

Pastor Larry had organized our synod crews such that our crew and the crew that was doing tiling and carpeting in Moss Point, rode together to our jobsites on the "Bethesda Bus" that we had ridden down on. The synod had also rented 2 15-passenger vans to take the other crews, and also a van to run around with Pastor Larry, Harvey (not sure of his function), and Annie from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who will be writing a feature story about our trip for an upcoming Sunday issue (she was also filming a video for their website).

After stops for paint and primer (because there wasn't much exterior paint in the supply warehouse), and a pit stop (already!), and asking twice for directions, we finally arrived at the "flooring job" around 10:00, which was a little frustrating since we had started to organize ourselves at 7:00.

When the Moss Point crew got off the bus, there were two people we didn't know who were still on the bus besides Danica, the bus driver, so we asked them where they were going (we had assumed to the flooring job), and apparently they had been assigned to our crew too, which was fine, we just hadn't known. So with the addition of Steve and Karen (a pastor and one of his parishioners), and Danica (who would be working with us since we were her last stop), our crew totalled 9. Al and I knew each other (obviously), and Steve and Karen knew each other, and Al & I had met Martin (also a pastor) before, but everyone else was unknown to everyone else that first day.

Now, to work…

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