I suppose since Mahar isn't here to do the blogging for me I wil have to give it a shot. The First Baptist Church of Olean has been working with BonaResponds to coordinate a trip to the Gluf Coast. On Thursday, December 2nd, 11 volunteers set out for Pass Christian, MS. I can't say much about the first couple hours of the trip because I was asleep, but I hear we ran into a bit of snow. Around 9:30 we stopped for breakfast in Erie.
The drive was more mundane than I care to talk about, and I'm sure than you care to hear about. Around 10:30 we got to Nashville, TN where we rented hotel rooms. The wake-up call came way too early, but by 8AM we had already had breakfast, devotions, and were on the road again. Besides a quick pit-stop for gas and lunch, we drove straight from Nashville to Pass Christian. We pulled into Randy's around 6:30, unpacked, got a quicke tour of the facilities, and headed across the newly finished bridge into Bay St. Loius fr dinner.
Although this is my 3rd time at Randy's I still got excited when we pulled in. It has been amazing to watch the place progress since our first time here a year ago. The kitchen/dining hall now has a pantry added onto it, the walls that Cindy, Mike, Terry and I painted white have now been decorated with inspirational and entertaining sayings and drawings from various groups, there are about 40 signs hanging in front of the camp (where BonaRespond's was the first!), and Randy and Deb's trailer has a garden.
It was nice to see Randy again, but he seems pretty drained. I think he's glad he's getting out. Even though he is a little rough around the edges, there is no denying that the guy does good work and has helped countless "prisoners of Katrina." I hope the camp does so well after he leaves.
After dinner in BSL we got some groceries, and headed back to Randy's for devotionals. The message focused on keeping a servant's heart, an open mind, and being flexible. About half of us are between 17 ad 25 years old, and the rest are between 45 and 65, so the group dynamic is fairly interesting. We have one man who ran a business doing extremely detailed woodworking (about as intricate as building watches) and at least 3 people with virtually no construction experience. However, everyone is very eager to work hard so I'm sure everything will work out.
A trip to the Gulf Coast has yet to be a catstrophy yet, so here's hoping!