February 18, 2023
Bastrop, TX – Feb. 12-18, 2023
From watching her live performance in La Grange last week, we learned that Marcia Ball’s songs cover many genres and topics. “Shine Bright” was released in 2018 on the album of the same name. It is an up-tempo, rap-sounding message that encourages folks to live to their highest potential.
As we go around the sun, holding on when the corners come,
Putting ourselves out on the line, never heeding the warning signs.
Walk into the world ahead, learn everything that’s ever been said.
See everything that you can find, open up your mind.
As an MDS response moves toward completion, there are some weeks when sharp corners come along. This past week was one of those. Monday morning our crew at house no. 3 found the door on the storage container without a lock and partially open. Looking inside they saw that the generator was missing, as was the electrical distribution panel and some wire for the house. Another sharp corner came along the next day, as a ladder was lost from the top of a truck and not noticed by the driver until reaching the destination.
As Marcia’s song says, put yourselves out on the line and corners happen. Some may say that Satan is trying to divert our efforts. Our faith and some good advice from friends and coworkers reminded us that the best reaction to those set-backs is to continue on, learn from them and “Shine Bright.”
Go on and take somebody with you, shine bright.
That’s how you really live, you Shine Bright
And here’s the gift you’re given,
When you feel the Spirit, step into the light, and Shine Bright
The scheduled short term volunteers, a group of 10 young men from Ohio, helped our light to shine brightly. Most were experienced in construction work and demonstrated those skills quickly. They had signed up as a group of 15, but had a few cancellations. So, we invited some Texas folks to join us for whatever days they could. Response was good and each day those from Ohio were supplemented by one or more people from Bastrop, Taylor or Austin. As is often the case, God prompted the needed people to feel the spirit, show up and “Shine Bright.”
Two of the Ohioans had done only a little drywall finishing, but were able to tackle the mudding on the house for Ms. Cristina. By Wednesday, the primer, ceiling and wall paints were being applied and the final interior color of the house became as complete as the exterior. By Friday noon, when she, her son and friend brought lunch for the crews, the interior was ready for interior trim, flooring and interior doors.
Another crew was up the hill at Mr. Refugio’s house, hanging drywall at such a pace that taping and mudding was begun by mid-week. On the outside of that house, siding was installed until they ran out, needing only nine pieces to complete the job.
Be who you want to be for all the world to see, you Shine Bright
We’re making history with every time we breathe, Shine Bright
We’re trying to do it right, Shine Bright
At house No. 3, for Mr. Leonard, the work started slowly Monday without a generator, but moved along well after a replacement generator was brought from the MDS base. Rough-in electrical and plumbing was completed, the roof was graced with shiny metal panels, and siding was in-place to allow the replacement distribution panel to be installed. By Friday, the open wall inspection was passed, and all of the insulation inside was completed, ready for drywall to be delivered.
Feel the planet go round and round, moon and stars are coming unwound
Love your neighbor, teach your child, Tighten up the ties that bind
Stay your ground for now’s the time,
Open up your eyes, Shine Bright
Excellent progress was also made at Mr. Doyle’s house. Windows were installed, lots of loose siding was painted, and preparations for the metal roofing progressed. The crew thought they might run out of work, but remembered that the plumbing and electrical materials were in the barn. So, rough-in work was started.
The local helpers ensured the trusses at Ms. Patricia’s house went up without a hitch. Sheathing and underlayment were completed. Soffit, fascia and other preparations for metal also progressed. Windows and doors were installed and helped keep out the cold winds. At all of the houses, crew members from various places worked together to accomplish more than we had expected from having only 10 volunteers.
Carry a burden for a friend, be a pal to the bitter end
Life is work and work is good. God is love and love is true.
Art is music and music is art, Life’s a story, play a part,
Doesn’t matter who you are, open up your heart, Shine Bright
Step into the light, Shine Bright
All of the volunteers were well fed by our cooks and shared the Thursday supper with Mr. Leonard and his two brothers. We heard how Mr. Leonard survived what could easily have been a fatal encounter with the tornado. He credits the door that landed on him after being knocked about by the wind. He thanks God for placing that shield on him, for soon afterward the entire ceiling came down on top of the door and around him. Neighbors who had witnessed the funnel’s path were at the house within minutes to help him out of the ruble. After healing from some broken ribs and many bruises, he is looking to the completion of the house that will “Shine Bright” on Highway 95.
We are halfway through the allotted 12 weeks for the Elgin response. We are praying and looking forward to the future volunteers who will come to help us “Shine Bright” and complete the five new homes by April 1.
From Bastrop County, Texas
Andrew, Bernice, Brenda, Joanna, Jay, Jason, Jonah, Edith, Mike, Laura, and Carl