Category Archives: SOWER Projects 2019

First Week and Saturday One

Well, we just finished our first week here at Mercy Ships! It’s been a good week, and even the work has been pretty mundane –
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it’s still been pretty exciting to be part of this international ministry. It’s a bustling campus as they are gearing up to launch a brand new ship in the next 24 months (or so!). Thursday we were privileged to attend their community meeting, where folks were updated on what’s happening on the African Mercy (currently docked in Senegal where severe storms hit recently), and other items for praise and prayer.
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Those folks standing in the front are part of the newest “On Board” class. About half of those folks are recent hires that will continue working here in Lindale (this campus is called the ISC – International Support Center). But the rest are training for work on the African Mercy – nurses, technicians, pipe fitters, etc.

African Mercy

It was exciting to be part of this initial introduction and see how varied the needs (and jobs) are in this ministry. At next week’s community meeting we’ll actually be (though the miracle of the internet) speaking directly with folks on the ship. Pretty cool, right?

Today we are enjoying one of the first ‘no agenda’ Fridays we’ve had in quite awhile. Gary’s changed out the water filters, gotten the suitcases put away (requires getting up on the roof!), installed our new propane leak protector, and got a haircut! On my end, I’ve ordered business cards with our new address, finished putting together our “Year 15” photo book (the coupon was about to expire! Always a good incentive!)

did a little research on why our weather station wasn’t working (I really wanted to believe it was only 84 outside, but it sure felt like it was 94!) and even did just a bit of cleaning. (I know, crazy, right?) All in all, this Saturday One (as we like to call it) has been quite successful. Gary may or may not’ve just retreated to the back to do some reading (um, snoozing), and I’m pretty sure my sewing machine is calling my name!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Steph

Montrose Memories

SOWER Board meeting –
SOWER Newsletter done (for the moment)
Settling in at our October project 

Must be time to do a bit of catch up! I just checked back and my last “This is what we’ve been doing at Montrose” was back on July 13th. Yikes! So let’s just do a couple of final thoughts about our time at Montrose Bible Conference.
First of all – it was way shorter than usual. We were scheduled to be there from May through August, but were delayed by our Waco house project until early July. But even though it was shorter, we still had a great time serving there. We worked with two couples in July – The Westgates and the Griffins.
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We were all kinda kindred spirits, so it was a joy filled month. We ladies did a fair bit of housekeeping (read making beds and folding linens) but also helped out when we could in one of the dorm renovations.
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Gary got the Walk-in Freezer as far along as he could, but some missing panels prevented actually getting the job all the way done.
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Thankfully he was able to complete the actual refrigeration part of the installation
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so hopefully when the walls are completed they will just need to pull the switch and it will start cooling. Well, that’s the plan anyway.
I was also able to attend parts of the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, which once again inspired me to do a better job at carving out time to actually write. While I can’t say I’ve made any great strides in that department, it still was a great week filled with great speakers and writers. So glad I can be part of this! I highly recommend it to other aspiring (or published) Christian writers. Fiction, non-fiction, anthologies, children’s books, poetry – even song writing was covered this year! It’s a spirit filled week indeed. Now to just get moving on that writing thing!

We wrapped up time at MBC by working with our buddies the Schoenenbergers.  Love them!
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More beds were made, more walls were spackled, more memories were made. We worked with a super crew this summer –
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and it was great to be part of the Montrose Team!

Although our Montrose Summer was shorter than usual, it was still filled with all good things. Once again we felt we were where God wanted us – and that’s always a very good thing!
Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

PS – the sweet pregnant couple on the left of that Montrose crew picture are now the proud parents of a sweet baby girl.
PPSS – (not sure if that is a thing but) There are more pictures of our time in Montrose (and other adventures during that time) HERE!

Catching up by phone

First of all I’d like to say “Thank you” for continuing to visit this little corner of the internet!! My posts seem to get farther and farther apart – somewhat because our life seems pretty mundane these days but mostly because it’s easier not to write a post than it is to write one! Just trying to keep it real here, friends! Since it’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, I thought I’d just look through my phone to see what I thought was interesting enough to document. And in that looking back I realized I’ve done a really poor job of photo-documenting some of the really important stuff!
So work – SOWER work that is!
We ladies have been largely working with housekeeping – making beds and getting rooms ready for guests. No pictures of that, but surely you can imagine the whole bed-making process. =) On the Fourth we were pulled into the kitchen, and that was super fun!
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Did you catch the whole red-white-and-blue theme of our attire?? Always working on getting in the spirit! It wasn’t all work, though and we did enjoy a yummy chicken BBQ
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and later in the day sported our matching (though you probably can’t see them) flag earrings!
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The guys have been busy working on that walk-in room.
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Framing approved and on to the insulation

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Insulation approved and on to the drywall….
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The drywall has passed inspection and hopefully sometime this week they will actually be able to start constructing the walk-in!! (I’m home alone this lovely Saturday morning, and I’m pretty sure that Gary is down tapin’ and muddin’ that drywall!)
So in a nutshell – this SOWER project has gone by in a flash, and with just one week to go, it will be sad to see our co-workers head off.
In Non-Work news, we took a little road trip last weekend up to the cabin (YIPPEE!!!!) for our annual Dwinell Cabin Association meeting. This is where I really fell down in photo-documenting it! No pictures of the cabin, no big group picture, no pictures of the friends we got to see along the way. Ugh. BUT – regardless of my sad photo taking, there were a couple of pictures on the phone from the weekend.
Like the produce at the Farmer’s Market in Ludlow, VT
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or the beautiful VT highway, with its lovely lack of traffic –
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or a candid shot from our meeting.
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What I failed to take pictures of are all the sweet moments we spent with friends and family. But maybe it’s just that I was too busy enjoying the time to get out the camera. Yep, I know that’s the case! Those wonderful memories are best stored in our hearts anyway, right?

Well, in the interest of getting something accomplished today, I’d best hit the ‘publish’ button on this.  I did just return from tracking down my sweet hubby, and sure enough –
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he’s been playing in the mud!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph
 

Finally!

We weren’t sure we’d ever get here!! As our Waco Reno project stretched from April to May to June – we didn’t know when we’d be able to finally get to our summer SOWER project – Montrose Bible Conference. But here we are, and I’m happy to report that for the first time in a long time I’ve spent the last four days doing pretty much nuttin’. No alarms, no paint brushes, no trips to Lowes. We’ve been hanging around home, taking care of long-ignored house chores, doing a bit of sewing, and catching up on old episodes of Big Valley and Laramie. Ahhhh……

Back to SOWER work tomorrow! Yippee!! We’re working with two other couples so it should be a fun month. The guys will be working on the construction of a new walk-in freezer
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(Yep, there’s lots of steps to go to make it a reality!)
and we ladies will be helping out with housekeeping and kitchen work. I’m pretty experienced in that – and I’m pretty happy no one has mentioned the word “paint”.
Phew.

Have a blessed week, everyone!
Steph

Wrapping up March

OK, so March isn’t actually OVER, but our March SOWER project at Panfork Camp has come to a close, so it seemed a good time to give a little review of our time there!

Since you already know about the De-Bunking we did-
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and the Great Lifeguard Chair Challenge
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I thought I’d give you some details about the other major job that was tackled during our project.
One of the staff houses sustained some major water damage over the rough winter just past. Plumbing need to be repaired/replaced, drywall needed to be removed and flooring needed to be redone. It involved a bathroom, a closet, a laundry room and of course, the room that all of those doors opened up to!
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It was a mess, and with the new director and wife moving in  (hopefully)  by April 1st, the timing was critical. Lots to do, but the guys were up to it!
They started with the floor
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(though in hindsight, they would recommend doing the floor AFTER the drywall, etc. You know, construction dirt).
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Work progressed at a nice rate,
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while we ladies were busy painting the trim for them to re-install,
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and doing any other painting we could do while not being in the guys’ way!
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By the end of the three weeks, the room was finished, the plumbing worked, and all was good!
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Of course, there was other work that was accomplished. While the guys checked off several other maintenance jobs (which included, but was not limited to, pulling up more carpeting in another building)
Dorothy & I did some spring cleaning in one of the guest houses –
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and Larry spent some more time under sinks and behind toilets.
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It was a rough winter on the plumbing at the camp!
We ladies also tackled the job of sorting all those screws, nuts and bolts that came off those bunkbeds!

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It’s all about organization, folks! (And not being afraid of getting dirty!)

This really was a sweet project! Although Panfork Camp has been around since the 1940’s, this was the first time that SOWERs were here to help. We were honored to be in that first group!
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I’m not going to lie. The Texas Panhandle is not the prettiest part of Texas.
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This time of year it looks pretty barren. And brown.
But I sense, that when the trees break out of their winter mode, and the kids start coming here to learn about Jesus and the Hope that is in Him, this will be hallowed ground indeed!
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(If you’d like to see some more Panfork photos, you can check them out here!)