God is Great

Well today concluded our Mission trip in Pearland, Texas and it was a great week of serving and fellowship with other Christ followers.  We met some incredible other people of God’s kingdom and were able to help a home owner get closer to getting back into her newly rebuilt home.  Where we started on Monday to the progress we made on Friday was truly amazing and we praise God. 

We were blessed to see the home owner and “little Willy” one final time and get a picture with them in front of their home.  We were also blessed to learn some new skills and witness how God is using us and many more of his followers to impact the Houston area community.

We ask for prayers on our final journey back to Madison and continued prayers for the Houston area as many people are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Finally, we thank everyone who has supported us and our families before and during this trip and appreciate all the positive comments on the blog throughout the week.  It was great reading them throughout the week to keep us going.

If you subscribed to the blog stay tuned because we are going to stay in contact with the site coordinator and try to get some pictures of the house all finished in the next couple weeks.

Go Team Texas – Brad, CJ, Jon, Paul, and Scott

Thoughts and Shout Outs!!!

As I reflect on the week I wanted to share a few experiences and take the time to give a few shout outs to a few people.

Experiences

  • We haven’t interacted with our homeowner much this week but the interactions we have had have been great.  I can’t share her personal story with you through this medium but trust me when I say to you that she is one strong woman that has gone through some struggles recently.  It has been awesome to know that we are able to tangibly do something to help her move back into her home.  It is awesome to be there in the finishing stages.  If you know construction much we are in the phases that you see at the end of the day.  It may be tedious and “slow” but this is what she will come home to every day and see.
  • The people in the neighborhood have been very friendly towards us but you can see there are probably people that live on the same street that are still in the rebuilding phase from after the Hurricane.  We have had several people approach us and ask how they could also receive help.  We have also experienced some generosity from the community which is also such a great blessing
  • We are volunteering with a large group of men from Pennsylvania.  It is amazing to see how well they all get along and work together.  We have heard some amazing stories of how God has been moving in their lives and it is refreshing to see such a large group of men so committed to their walks with Christ.

Shout Outs

  • I want to say thanks to my team Scott, Paul, CJ and Jon.  This is an awesome group of guys that are willing to do anything they are asked to do.  As I watch them all work together it is just an awesome experience to witness.
  • A special thanks to Scott for updating the blog.  Even though it looks like these posts came from me he was really the one writing the posts behind the scenes
  • A special thanks to my wife Melissa.  It isn’t just me that is on this trip.  It is both of us that are committed to me taking teams to respond to the calling I’ve had put on my heart.  Without her encouragement and strength I wouldn’t have begun working with Samaritan’s Purse just a few years ago.
  • I want to say thanks to our wives (Kate, Heidi, Blair, Melissa and Rachel).  Sorry if I misspelt any names.  Thanks for allowing your husbands to go on this trip.  I know how hard it can be to juggle all of the activities and responsibilities without your spouse at home.  I truly appreciate you doing this for your husbands this week.
  • I want to say thanks to the impact staff at Blackhawk (Susan and Maddie) and whoever else was involved with taking a chance on me for this trip.  It is humbling to call myself a team lead and to be responsible for something like this.  The staff at Blackhawk put structure around this process that made the planning and execution of this trip so much easier.
  • Lastly I wanted to say thanks to all the people that have written comments on our page, provided financial assistance and most of all are praying for us.  Your comments are encouraging to us and the prayers are felt and appreciated.

Finishing Touches

Today marked our final full day  here in Pearland, Texas and it is amazing to see how much progress we have made in the home since arriving there Monday morning.  We continued our progress with baseboard trim, tile work, and other little details.  Brad, CJ and Paul are official baseboard and quarter round trim masters while Jon and Scott are official tile masters.  We have definitely gained experience in things we can utilize in future mission trips.

We got another visit from Willy, the homeowner’s son, and he brought one of his friends along, Garrett.  Willy had been sharing the story his mom has been going through with Samaritan’s Purse and wanted Garrett to witness it for himself.  It was another reminder that the work we are doing stretches beyond just the homeowner.

As we approach our final day on working, we ask for continued prayers for safety while working tomorrow and safe travels back home.  We also ask for prayers for our families back home as they finish up holding the house down while we have been here in Texas.

Thanks for all the support and prayers throughout the week and we hope you have enjoyed our daily updates.  We will share a final update tomorrow and hope you enjoy some more pictures of today’s work!!!

Go Team Texas – Brad, CJ, Jon, Paul, and Scott

The gentleman in the middle is the homeowner’s son and the gentleman on the far right is a long time friend of his

Half Way

Today marked the half way point of our Mission work and the progress at the home we are serving at is really starting to show.  The other part of our team of men from Pennsylvania got put with another team lead that returned back to the site today, which just left us and our team lead Mark.  It was a great day of tile work and lots of baseboard trim. 

Later in the morning hours, Willy, the homeowner’s son stopped by and it was great getting to meet and chat with him.  Our team lead Mark told us earlier in the week that he was “a little guy” in joking way, so getting to meet Willy made that come to life.  Willy had a heart bigger than he was and it was great having him be able to see the continued transformation of his mother’s home.

We got a bit of relief from the heat and humidity after lunch as a storm passed through the area we were in, but that didn’t slow our progress down.  As the sun returned after the storm passed through, we had one of the neighbors stop by with three pies for us.  They wanted to show their appreciation as they have noticed how hard we had been working.  It is in those moments that we are reminded that the work and ministry we are a part of goes beyond just the home owners we are in direct contact with.  We aren’t showing the light of Jesus Christ for those impacted by just that home, but everyone else in the direct community and greater Houston community.

We appreciate the continued prayers and responses on the blog and ask that you continue those prayers as we finish the week up. 

Go Team Texas – Brad, CJ, Jon, Paul, and Scott

[Sorry no pictures today.  We were too busy.  We’ll get you some tomorrow]

Nice to Meet You

Today marked our second day on the job site which meant continuing the work we started on day 1 and even beginning some new tasks.  Brad, CJ, and Paul did a great job finishing hanging and setting kitchen cabinets and are now at professional status for cabinetry.  Jon and Scott began working on baseboard trim while fighting the heat and humidity while outside cutting. 

After lunch we had the pleasure of getting to meet the home owner who stopped by as she always tries to do each week as new volunteers come through to work on her home.  It was a true blessing to get to hear her story and learn a little bit about her.  She is in great spirits and extremely grateful for the work Samaritan’s Purse is doing to help her get back into her home.  It is moments like this where you take a step back to be thankful for all God has done and provided for us.  We ask you to keep this homeowner and all those who will continue to work on her home in your prayers.

With only half of the trip left, we also ask for continued prayers for safe travels to and from the site, safety while on the site, and positive spirits as we all continue taking on new and unfamiliar tasks.  We would like to thank everyone who has continued to pray for us and we truly appreciate all the responses on the blog as the words of encouragement keep us going as we get closer to the end of our trip.

Go Team Texas – Brad, CJ, Jon, Paul, and Scott

Jack of All Trades

Today began our five days of working on whatever job site we were going to be assigned to.  After waking up early, an incredible breakfast, and orientation, we headed about 30 minutes from headquarters to our work site north of Houston.  Upon arrival, our great team lead, Mark, walked us through the home to talk about the various tasks on the agenda for today.  Once we had our working buddy and assigned task, we began unloading the tools from the amazing tool trailers Samaritan Purse has.

Here are some of the various tasks that we tackled throughout the day:

  • Cutting and laying tile
  • Hanging kitchen cabinets
  • Building a base for a water heater
  • Installing doors and hanging trim

Even though the home owner didn’t show up today on site, we did experience working on things some of us had never done before.  CJ had the great accomplishment of after two hours finally getting a door installed along with the trim work (it may not have been the easiest job of the day).  Brad and Jon were great teachers throughout the day taking Scott, Paul, and CJ under their wing teaching and guiding us through things we had never done before (we are grateful for being alongside fellow brothers who have home improvement experience).

We wrapped the evening up with another fantastic meal (volunteer cooks are so incredible and we are so grateful for all their hard work and love they put into the food).  While our food settled, we played the one card game anyone from Wisconsin would play, which is Euchre.

IT was a great day minus the heat and humidity and we are so thankful for how God is continuing to use us in the Houston community and we ask for your continued prayers of safety and focus as the week moves forward.

Go Team Texas – Brad, CJ, Jon, Paul, and Scott.

I think it will hold a water heater after all

We Made It

Our journey to Pearland, Texas began earlier this morning at 7 am where we were met with a good amount of rain in the first few hours of driving.  Our journey took a quick detour as we decided to make a stop at the church that our senior pastor worked at back in the 80’s and 90’s, Shreveport Bible Church (see pictures).  It was a great stop and we took a few minutes to see if any of the staff or members remembered him and we did find some who remembered. 

After our quick detour we got back on the road to get a bite to eat and watch the Packer game.  The Packer game didn’t end up how we would have liked, but Paul was happy as the Bears ended up winning.  With only a couple hundred miles to go, we began our final drive to Pearland, Texas to get checked in and settle in at the host church.  Upon arrival to the host church site, we got settled into our living quarters for the week as we get prepared for the serving that God has called us to do.

We ask for your prayers tomorrow as we go through orientation and are on site for our first day.  We ask for your prayers for safety and that God will use us to show that He is the light.  We look forward to sharing stories this week on how God is using us to share the good news.

Go Team Texas – Brad, CJ, Jon, Paul, and Scott

695 Miles

Today began our driving journey to Pearland, Texas where we met at Blackhawk Church to be sent off by two of the elders, Jeff and Scott, and our awesome impact director Susan. Before hitting the road the elders prayed for our Mission trip and we even had the pigeons join in on the prayer as they began chirping once prayer began.

The goal for today’s drive was to make it to our overnight destination so we could finish off the driving to Texas on Sunday.  During our quest to our overnight destination, we had many little stops on the way from breakfast at the IHOP to Walmart so we could get an auxiliary cable so we could stream music in the car.  We capped the evening off with some great barbeque at The Mean Pig.  Jon even tasted their extreme hot sauce (he may have tears coming from his eyes).

We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers and we will back on the road early tomorrow morning to finish our quest to Pearland, Texas.

Meet Brad!

My name is Brad and I’m excited to travel to the Houston Texas area to rebuild homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.  I was fortunate enough to be part of the disaster response that happened for several weeks after the hurricane left much of the East coast of Texas heavily flooded.  As a profession I develop custom software for an insurance company in the Madison area but I have a strong passion for construction specifically related to helping others in need.  I’m looking forward to see what God has in store for the awesome team that I’m traveling to Texas with this year.

I have a wife named Melissa that I’ve been married to for 13 years in October.  I also have two kids: Caleb (9) and Isaac (6).

Meet Paul!

My name is Paul, and I am excited to participate on this GO Team to Pearland, Texas.  I have served once before with Samaritan’s Purse.

I am a Physician Assistant in Family Medicine, and have been in health care for more than 30 years.

I am happily married to my wonderful wife, Heidi.  We have four awesome daughters: Tess (25), Mary Grace (24), Emma (24), and Lillie (22).  We are relatively new empty nesters, and love it.

I have been involved with Blackhawk since 1981, and have served and been served in many ways.  I have been on GO Teams in the past to Honduras, and multiple trips to Kenya.

I enjoy playing and following sports, reading, and doing woodwork.