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Why Shouldn’t We

New Jersey is the home state of singer-songwriter, Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her father was an executive with Life magazine, and when he was transferred, Carpenter moved with the family to Japan and Washington D.C. She began her music career in the D.C. area appearing at coffee shops and community events. She has won Grammy nominations and awards in country and folk categories. In 2007 she released the Grammy nominated album The Calling, which included the song Why Shouldn’t We

We believe in things that we cannot see. Why shouldn’t we, why shouldn’t we Hands that heal can set a chained man free. Why shouldn’t we, why shouldn’t we

During the years that a young person might spend in college or learning an occupation, the opportunities and possibilities seem almost endless. The future might be unknown, but the confidence and hope of youth is strong. For Christians, each day presents opportunities to put actions to their beliefs. Their confidence and hope in God is strong. At a Mennonite Disaster Service project, volunteers are called to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus and act out that confidence while restoring hope for our clients.

It is always a special week when the short term volunteers are a group of college students. Some come with little construction experience and some come with more skills. For most, an MDS week with several hours of daily physical effort is a big change from spending time in a library, doing online studies or taking notes in seminars and lectures. However the energy and desire to serve tend to win out over tired bodies and deliver an attitude of “Why shouldn’t we.“

And we believe in things that can’t be done. Why shouldn’t we, why shouldn’t we Lift up your heart, put down your gun. Why shouldn’t we, why shouldn’t we

The past week of volunteers were from Columbia Bible College. As expected, daily devotions were exceptionally good. It is hard to predict work progress in any week, but the efforts of the students exceeded my expectations. They gave us a chance to maintain the pace needed to finish both new houses by the end of March.

The week was filled with sunny days and drying winds, so it was excellent painting weather. At Ms. Dora’s house the siding was quickly given a first coat of Lilac Breeze paint on the saw horses. The volunteers mastered the process of installing lap siding, Why Shouldn’t We and by the middle of the week, the house siding was completed. A couple of volunteers completed the installation of roofing shingles, so the outside really looked like a house. Inside the plumbing contractor and our electrical crew finished their rough-in work. We hoped to have the open wall inspection on Friday, but the inspector did not show up. As a result, insulation work could not start as planned.

The same sunshine and warm weather blessed the crew at the house for Sra. Esmeralda. Trusses were quickly erected on Monday and by the end of the day Tuesday the exterior walls and roof were ready for sheathing inspection. That inspection did happen late Tuesday, so the siding and roofing tasks were able to get started and were completed by the end of the week. Electrical rough-in work started and was mostly completed by the end of the day Friday.

We believe in things we’re told that we can’t change Why shouldn’t we Why shouldn’t we We believe in things that will give us hope Why shouldn’t we, why shouldn’t we

Back at the MDS base there was nothing that dampened our hopes and expectations. Another week of great meals was experienced. Even the appearance of a 4 foot long rat snake did not deter the volunteers from being comfortable in the accommodations.

From four visitors at Tuesday supper, we heard how the Salvation Army took the lead in the long term recovery of Laguna Heights after the tornado. The combination of efforts by some very dedicated local volunteers and staff, plus substantial commitments by statewide Salvation Army staff has propelled the recovery during the 9 months since the tornado.

With these partners, MDS will continue to press toward completion of the two houses. We might not be able to change or avoid delays outside of our control, but we can rely on our God to give us the confidence to say “why shouldn’t we.”

From the MDS Port Isabel project in Cameron County, Texas Laura, Carol, Andrew, Anthony, Curvin, Josh, Leroy, Tom, and Carl

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