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The SC crew that was left in Cape Coral left for home around 2 yesterday afternoon. (Our group of 9 split up Sunday with 4 going to Jacksonville to serve until Thursday). We arrived at the association office just before 2 this morning. I was home and in bed by 2:30.

Pray for the PA/NJ team that is traveling today and tomorrow. Quite a few of them will be leaving for Puerto Rico in the coming weeks…some as early as this weekend. Their task will be much more time consuming and possibly more primitive (think sleeping on a barge under tents). It will be hot. They may have to crank out meals 24/7 depending on recovery efforts. Pray for their stamina and wisdom. Pray for their rest over the next few days, that it will be good and filling to sustain them for a 15 day deployment.

I am blessed to have met and worked with such godly people.

If you are interested in serving people in the capacity of disaster relief, contact your local Southern Baptist mission association to learn more about training.

While I have photos of beautiful scenery, disaster relief is in no way a vacation. It is hard work. Everyone, from the man wearing the white hat (in charge of the whole group at his site) to the people running the shower unit to the people washing dishes, works hard. Everyone left that church exhausted. My feet have never hurt so bad in my life. My ankles swelled every day. I sweated through every layer of clothing I had on. Disaster relief is one of the most rewarding things I have done – it is bringing hope to people who have been devastated. It is being the hands and feet of my savior, Jesus Christ. It is meeting physical needs so that we can meet spiritual needs. It is an open door to share Christ and his love with a community that needs him. It opens doors for the local church to step in and reach out to the community in ways they may not have been able to do before.

Before I post a few photos from around Cape Coral and our drive home, I’ll leave you with this: “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

New Hope

We slept and were based out of New Hope Baptist Fellowship in Cape Coral. I had a chance to take a few pictures this afternoon. The chainsaw guys worked on the huge tree next to the church that had fallen.

Recovery

I got to do something new today. No one from our group went over to help in the Alabama kitchen, so I went out with a chainsaw/recovery team. I loved it. Nevermind that I had sweat pouring from every part of my body or that it was 1000 degrees with 1000% humidity. The team started over there yesterday and went back to cut a few more tree limbs and haul branches across the road. We presented the homeowners with a Bible that we each signed and either wrote a note of encouragement or a scripture reference. They were so grateful for us coming and helping them out.

Unexpected Blessing…and More

Last night we were blessed to be a part of a Saturday worship service. We missed the sermon due to our debriefing meeting. The music spoke to what we’re accomplishing here.

Five of us went back to the Alabama feeding unit after this morning’s worship service. We made their mashed potatoes for them. Fortunately it was only 1700 servings. It also didn’t feel quite as hot today. It was still hard work to get them made.

I got some scenery pictures between Cape Coral and Ft. Myers.

Tonight’s worship service didn’t require shoes…at least for me.

And finally, there are coconuts here. They look different than any I’ve ever seen.

Ft. Myers

HUGE operation over there. So many people and so much equipment. So, so hot. I helped with ERVs again, but wasn’t the one doing the coordinating since we were there to help. Right at 6000 meals were sent out at lunch. We were released before they were done with supper preparation. The pictures speak for themselves, I think.

#laterpost

I wrote this post last night:

Wow. So, my God is a big God. We served 3950 meals today. Our team just arrived yesterday. There was a learning curve for me, but we got it done. Changes are coming starting tomorrow. FEMA has asked SBDR to assist in Puerto Rico. As a result, the kitchen unit we’re using with from Pennsylvania/New York is most likely being put on a boat to PR on Monday. We’ll be closing out here Friday night after we cook supper. Our group will be transported to a church in Fort Myers with an Alabama unit to help cook lunch and supper until our time is done here. But! Only God could have foreseen this. Our meals for tomorrow are both light cooking so we should be done early/on time and can start breaking down equipment and packing up dry goods and cold foods. Only God could know and orchestrate a lighter cooking day in advance.

Pray for the people of Puerto Rico.

Pray for us to be flexible.

Pray for our unity.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!”

Psalms 133:1 NASB

Back to today-

One word to describe much of this day: INTENSE. The heat was intense. Cooking 4 pots of pasta multiple times (in the sun) on a gas cooker was intense. Helping fix lunch and get cambroes to the correct pallets for the ERVs was intense. It was a lot of work going back and forth between kitchen and pallets and having to put on/remove my apron, rewash hands and glove up. I learned a lot today. I jumped in and asked questions. The ladies from Pennsylvania were more than willing to explain and demonstrate how to do things. I may never want to see a bag of lettuce again, though.

Forced Break

We’ve been working hard today to get stuff packed up and have been told to come inside and rest. It’s good ‘cause it’s thunderstorming now.

We had a frog join us in the kitchen this afternoon.

Someone brought us tiny Florida bananas yesterday. They’re delicious!

Flexibility

That’s the name of the game today. We’re packing up and heading to another feeding site tomorrow. We’ll be sleeping and showering at the church we’ve been in since Wednesday. Part of our team is heading to Jacksonville to help feed a mud-out unit. We’ll be going home separately. It’s a bit stressful, but everyone is working hard an well together.