My husband, Denny, and I and two other couples arrived a week before home repair work began to set up the housing center for the first team DRS volunteers.
Our housing was a lovely Christian camp used all summer for youth and family activities. In April 2018, we closed the site for the hot summer months and moved all of the DRS household, kitchen, and bedroom belongings into tool trailers until fall so the camp could use their space.
Five months later, we carried all of those boxes back into the camp housing in the 100-degree September heat. It was a challenge, but we got everything ready for the first DRS work team on September 22. We also left four DRS vehicles standing in Louisiana during the summer. They each needed some repairs before we could use them.
The first work team was comprised of 14 people, but three individuals had to leave due to personal emergencies after the first week. The team members came from all areas of the country and many walks of life. There were retired teachers, a CPA, a salesperson, a construction worker who served as our construction supervisor, and the retired director of Bible League International who joined us for the last few days of our assignment. Most of this team learned their construction skills informally through the years of their life or through working on DRS volunteer sites.
The team worked on homes damaged by flooding in August 2016 when a heavy downpour produced 17 inches of rain in a few hours. It was called a “thousand-year flood,” and it overwhelmed rivers and streams throughout the Hammond area.
Our team worked on three homes, all of which were occupied by elderly people who were displaced in 2016 and were not able to do the work themselves.
Our first job was a home that a DRS team started to repair the previous April. The local construction supervisor continued working on the project through the summer, along with two one-week volunteer teams. Our team worked on the house for two more weeks in September, finishing it to what the owner said was likely be the nicest home she ever had.
The second home we worked on was a doublewide mobile home with the damaged interior already removed. We finished putting the interior back into a livable condition. Our team completed the three bedrooms and did a lot of work in the dining and living areas. The project was finished with another two weeks of work by a new team of DRS volunteers who arrived at the site as we left.
The third and final home we worked on was a small, three-bedroom ranch. The house had been torn down to the studs so that our team could start with installing insulation and dry wall.
As usual, the comradery and fellowship we experienced while volunteering with World Renew DRS was inspiring. Everyone learned new skills and knowledge, and received blessings from the experience. Going by the number and severity of the disasters that happened the fall of 2018, it looks like we have job security in our volunteer work for some time.
We thank you for your prayers for DRS volunteers, disaster survivors, and the ministry as a whole.
Judy and Denny Stoel