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We were on the road before 7 AM, after Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee for breakfast.  All cleaned up, packed up, and revved up to head home!  The weather was clear and we made good time.  We stopped for lunch in Chesterfield, MO, at a Steak ‘n Shake.  We thought it would be good to have something fast from a restaurant we don’t have in Sioux City.  It was pretty fast and pretty good.  We split up into smaller groups so we could be seated more quickly.  Pastor ordered a butter pecan shake, but was given a peanut butter cup shake instead.   He said it was good, but he is still wondering how a butter pecan shake might taste! 

We made it to St. Joseph, MO, around 6PM and ate at the Cracker Barrel.  We had to wait about 20 minutes, but that just gave us time to stretch our legs and shop.  A few of the guys bought Valentine cards for their sweethearts, which was sweet.  After a filling and satisfying dinner, we were back on the road.  We arranged to meet Deanna at the Salix exit so she wouldn’t have to drive in to town to pick up Dick.  We teased Dick that we would just slow down and he would have to tuck and roll.  Deanna was there waiting for us.  Roy and Randy hopped out to help and we were back on our way in less than two minutes.  That worked out well for everyone!

We pulled in to church a bit after 11PM.  We unloaded the trailer and loaded cars with sleeping bags, pillows, and suitcases.  We shared some hugs and said our good-byes. 

Help Given.  Hope delivered.  Mission accomplished.

Lutheran Disaster Response - Bringing Help and Hope


The last day is always a day full of emotions.  There was excitement in the air at breakfast as we all anticipated the day ahead of us.  The day didn’t let us down.

Today we:

  • Finished grouting the floors
  • Finished painting
  • Installed as much trim and base as was there
  • Rebuilt and set cabinets
  • Painted windows
  • Moved and hooked up appliances
  • Stained and varnished
  • Filled nail holes
  • Polished doorknobs
  • Cleaned up our dust 

At morning break we gave Raymond the quilt we had chosen for him.  He was surprised and genuinely thankful for all we have accomplished this week.  Raymond told us how grateful he is that we took our time to come here and help him.  He acknowledged that we took time away from our jobs and our lives to be here.  He said he might not remember our names, but he will forever remember our faces. 

We were done and packed up around 2:00.  We all gathered in the kitchen with Raymond.  Pastor said a prayer asking for blessings for Raymond and his home, and thanksgiving for a safe week and journey home.  Handshakes and hugs were shared.  And then we were done.

On our way back to Camp Faith, we stopped by the elderly couple’s house.  Roy went up to the door and talked to the woman.  She shared that Judy did find a house-raiser.  She said they feel very encouraged and feel their project will be approved.   Roy gave her the quilt that we picked out for them.  She hugged Roy and told him to tell the ladies who made the quilt, “Thank you very much!”   And then we went back to camp.

A Thank You Sign

At Camp Faith, we unhooked the job trailer we had been pulling and moved up our trailer so we’ll be prepared for packing it in the morning.  We cleaned the floors, kitchen, and bathrooms so they would be like we found them.  Supper was lasagna and finishing up leftovers.  By 5:00 we were off to the Grand Ole Opry!  Only a couple of us had been there before so for most of us it was an extra-special treat.  On two different occasions they announced that the “Outbound Servants from Redeemer Lutheran Church, Sioux City, Iowa, are here!”  The second time they even told that we are volunteers for the flood recovery.  During the opening of the show, they had a short history of the building and showed the devastation of the flood.  The acts were very entertaining and we all laughed and had a nice, relaxing time.  It was definitely the Grand Finale to the week!

We’re planning to be on the road by 7:00 AM tomorrow.  Looks like the weather will be perfect and we’ll be home before we know it.  Thank you for your prayers for safety. We have felt them!


French toast this morning!  Just what we needed to charge us up.  Thursday on a mission trip can be the hardest day of all.  You’re tired, you have blisters from doing things all day long that you don’t usually do at all, and you aren’t sure you’re going to get done with everything you wanted to.  Thursday is the day that we need to charge our batteries.    

Project Manager Tom found that out today when he went to leave for a meeting this afternoon.  He discovered that if you leave your flashers on, it might run your battery down and your truck won’t start, blocking in the volunteers.  Pastor went in the other van back to the camp so they could get supper started (Scalloped potatoes and ham. Yum!) while the other van waited for the diagnosis.  A new battery is needed!

No Spark

Today we:

  • Finished tiling the laundry room
  • Grouted the laundry room, 2 bathrooms, and the kitchen
  • Installed casing and base
  • Stained window frames and trim
  • Varnished trim, door frames and doors
  • Filled nail holes
  • Touch-up painting

The quilting group at Shepherd of Peace in Sergeant Bluff sent along 20 quilts for us to give to the camp.  They are amazing quilts lovingly made by amazing women.  We laid them all out on a table so we could oooh and aaah over them.  Then we had the guys pick one out to give to Raymond.  The rest will go to the camp to given to survivors or be used by volunteers.  (Probably when it snows and gets to 7 degrees!!)

Shepherd of Peace Quilts

On our mission trips we never know how we touch people.  We trust that God has chosen the right people for us to help.  The quilts from the ladies remind me of wrapping the love of Jesus around us, keeping us safe and secure.  May the people whom we have helped, like Raymond and the elderly couple, see our love for others through our actions and these quilts, just like a hug from God himself.


Scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast today.  We needed the sustenance, for the day ahead.   The third day of the mission trip is when we waffle between thinking we’ll run out of work, to that we have too much to do, to that it will be just right. 

When Tom, our Project Manager, arrived on the job this morning, he told me that the potluck that Celebration Lutheran Church had planned for us for this evening was cancelled due to the weather.  Now, I’ll have to admit as a seasoned Iowa driver, this seemed a bit extreme.  At the time, the sun was coming out every now and then, and the icicles were melting.  But this is what we drove “home” in:

Tennessee Snow

But before this drive home, we:

  • Finished installing all of the wood flooring
  • Finished staining the trim and doors
  • Adjusted doorways and got some doors hung
  • Finished varnishing the trim
  • Sorted and mapped out where the trim goes
  • Started varnishing the doors
  • Patching and taping drywall

Raymond was around this afternoon.  He and Tom both helped install one of the vanities.  Raymond sure seems to be smiling a lot.  That’s our goal!

Judy used a gift card that she had been saving for just such an occasion and bought us pizza and salad from Painturo’s.  And she had a birthday cake for Tom for dessert.  Tom’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago and Tom’s wife had left money with Judy to get a cake.  Wasn’t that thoughtful?  The pizza was very good.  Pastor Martin from Celebration Lutheran stopped by to meet us.  We sent one of our pumpkin pies home with him; he’s going to serve it Sunday morning.  Kind of a reverse potluck!  And we got to sing “Happy Birthday” to Tom.

Pizza "Potluck"


The second work day on a mission trip is typically a good day.  You don’t have the awkwardness of not knowing where to go.  You’ve been to the job site so you know your way around the area a bit, and, once you get there, you can usually pick up where you left off.  You’ve met most of the people you  need to meet.  You’re still enthused and maybe even a little energized about the task ahead.  And you feel like you kinda know what to expect.  After all, now you’re experienced! 

Today was that kind of day.  We had breakfast at Camp Faith – cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, milk and juice.  Marc made oatmeal.  (Thanks, Marc!)  We made our sandwiches and packed our lunches in brown paper sacks.  Pastor made some tuna salad for sandwiches, plus we still had some delicious roast beef left from the Super Bowl party.  We were on our way to Raymond’s house by 8:00.  It’s about a 20 minute drive.  When we arrived, we all had our places to start, from where we  left off yesterday, and got to work.  It wasn’t long and we had the place buzzing with saws, sanders, and even some sweat!

Raymond was around more today so we all got a chance to visit with him.  He is a likeable guy whose trade is upholstery.  He is currently laid off, but he has some interesting stories about jobs he has done and places he has worked.  His house is the perfect job for us to do.  It is utilizing the skills of each of us.  It is so amazing how God can send the right people at the right time to the right place. 

Roy, Tom, and Judy went first thing this morning to the home of the elderly couple that we had  thought we might be able to work for, but their funding hadn’t been approved yet.  Roy was initially asked to help provide a materials cost estimate.  After meeting with the couple and seeing the home, a new option became apparent.  Amazing!  Hopefully, armed with a new plan this special couple will be able to have their home reevaluated and approved. 

Today, the second work day, was also a day of accomplishing things. The tile in the kitchen got laid, so it was on to the bathrooms.  The flooring in the bedroom did indeed get done by noon, so it was on to the next bedroom.   The trim moved to the next stage – varnishing, although there is still prepping, sanding, and staining being done.  Most of the trim is stained so we’ve on to the doors.  All of that trim stacked up behind Ruth — she stained all of that just today.  She is one trim woman!

Ruth -- One Trim Woman

Our Living Quarters

Here is the picture of our sleeping quarters, or our caboose as Larry calls it!

Camp Faith Sleeping Trailers

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